Beer Monopoly



    International Reports






On our own behalf – The Beer Monopoly on the Forbes List „Best Booze Books of 2017“

We are speechless. Surprised. Humbled. Incredibly grateful. Our book The Beer Monopoly appears on this year`s Forbes List "Best Booze Books". No, no, it`s not the Forbes Rich List. Fat chance of us ever getting on to that one. The list was compiled by Tara Nurin and can be found here >>


Posted February 2019

Russia – Beer sales turned around in 2018 after eleven years of decline

The Russian brewer Baltika, which is owned by Carlsberg, estimates that after eleven years of steady declines, the beer market grew 3 percent in 2018. In the previous year, beer consumption dropped between 4 percent and 5 percent. The uptick in sales was helped by favourable weather and the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia. Read on


Turkey – Efes saw beer volumes drop in Turkey

Turkey’s tipplers are a hardened lot. Despite half-yearly tax hikes, beer consumption was up in the low-to-mid-single digits in 2018, according to estimates by Turkish brewer Anadolu Efes. However, Turkey’s major brewer could not benefit from this turn of events. It saw domestic beer sales decline 2 percent to 5.3 million hl. With exports down 2 percent too, its total beer production only came to 5.7 million hl. Read on


Turkey – Tax hikes have tripled prices for raki over past five years

Ever wondered why Diageo in recent years has downplayed its costly 2011 acquisition of Turkey’s raki producer Mey Icki, with its famous Yeni Raki brand? Only two years later, following the introduction of stiff advertising and sales restrictions, Diageo’s return-on-investment projections on the Mey Icki deal were in tatters. Given the political and economic climate, it is also unlikely that Diageo will ever be able to use its Turkish purchase as a platform to push its other spirits into the market.

On 1 January 2019, Turkey saw a 13.5 percent increase in alcohol prices. A 700 ml bottle of raki, the country’s popular aniseed spirit, now costs TRY 142.50 (EUR 23/USD 27). When the currently ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) came into power in 2002, the same bottle would have set you back only TRY 7.00 (EUR 5.50/USD 4.80). Read on


USA – Lagunitas reformulates Newcastle Brown Ale

Craft brewer Lagunitas may have gone fully corporate under Heineken’s roof, but it is not as if its brewers have lost their knack for creating new recipes. Lagunitas was called in to modernise the iconic brown ale and give it a more craft appeal for release in the US in March 2019. Read on


Belgium – Rodenbach and Dogfish Head to do a collaboration beer

Is Rodenbach getting a new lease on life, thanks to a collaboration with US craft brewer Dogfish Head? It is to be hoped. Rodenbach is one of the original sours, and many have thought it mightily unfair that it has been unable to benefit from a renewed consumer interest in this beer style. Sours by new generation craft brewers may be all the rage among aficionados. However, this does not mean that they have turned to Rodenbach’s Grand Cru (a brown sour, blended from 1/3 young beer and 2/3 of beer matured for two years in large oak vats) in droves. Read on


Netherlands – Sales of Heineken brand boosted by the non-alcoholic variety

Heineken saw sales of its flagship brand rise 7.7 percent to 38.7 million hl last year, the highest increase in a decade, the company said on 13 February 2019. Heineken attributes the increase largely to the success of its non-alcoholic variety, Heineken 0.0, which was launched in 2016 and is now available in 38 countries, up from 16 in 2017. The growth boosted the Dutch brewer’s full-year figures. Adjusted net revenues were EUR 22.5 billion (USD 25.4 billion), an increase of 6.1 percent organically. Operating profit was up 6.4 percent to reach EUR 3.8 billion (USD 4.3 billion). Operating profit margin was 17.2 percent.

Heineken sold 234 million hl beer, an increase of 4.2 percent. Read on


Denmark – Carlsberg benefits from sun and soccer in 2018

Danish brewer Carlsberg’s revenues rose last year for the first time in three years, helped by the long, hot summer in northern Europe and Russia. Net revenues were DKK 62.5 billion (USD 9.4 billion), up 3.1 percent over 2017, but still short of the DKK 64.5 billion in 2014. Read on


USA – AB-InBev rekindles debate over corn syrup in beer

In case you missed out on Super Bowl this year, here’s the verdict: the commercial breaks were almost as bland as the sluggish on-field action, says marketingdive.com. The only reason the event (3 February 2019) will linger in viewers’ memories is a Bud Light commercial. It aimed a broadside against Miller Lite and Coors Light for using a corn-derived sugar or corn syrup called dextrose.

In the ad, which mixes tropes from Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean, a gigantic barrel marked corn syrup is erroneously delivered to the Bud castle. But they have no use for it. So it is arduously rolled up and down mountain slopes to the Miller Lite castle. Alas, there they have already received their supply. After crossing an ocean and fighting off a sea monster, the barrel finally arrives at Coors Light’s wintry fortress. Here it is received with thanks. The final still says: Bud Light: brewed with no corn syrup.

No idea, why AB-InBev used part of its relatively big ad spend during Super Bowl to tout the fact that Bud Light does not use corn syrup, whereas rival brands Miller and Coors do. Read on


USA – Sierra Nevada clinches deal with Sufferfest brewery

Gluten-free beers may be still a niche but a rapidly expanding one, it seems. One of the largest US craft brewers, Sierra Nevada, on 4 February 2019, announced on Facebook the acquisition of its first brewery, Sufferfest, from San Francisco. Founded in 2016 by Caitlin Landesberg, a long-distance trail runner, who was looking for a healthier post-run beer, Sufferfest’s beers are meant to appeal to “athletes and adventurers”, but not just them. It also has a line of gluten-removed beers like its 95-calorie Kolsch, brewed with bee pollen, and its FKT (Fastest Known Time) Pale Ale, brewed with salt and black currant. Read on


USA – ZX Ventures buys out RateBeer.com

ZX Ventures, AB-InBev’s venture capital firm, has acquired the remaining stake of beer ratings website RateBeer.com that it did not already own, Brewbound reported on 4 February 2019. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. ZX Ventures’ full purchase of RateBeer comes after an initial investment was made in October 2016 and disclosed in June 2017. Read on


USA – Constellation Brands takes stake in craft distiller Block Button

Taking localism to its logical conclusion, over 90 percent of ingredients in Black Button’s spirits are grown or produced in its home state of New York. Calling itself a farm distillery, Black Button was founded in Rochester, New York, in 2012 by Jason Barrett, then only 24 years old. Mr Barrett stems from a family of button-makers. Their buttons have closed suits worn by presidents, popes, kings, and businessmen the world over, he says on his website. Read on


USA – PepsiCo to release world’s first nitrogen-infused cola

It looks like a nitro-stout but it will taste like a cola. Called Nitro Pepsi, the drink combines nitrogen infusion with the classic Pepsi taste to “deliver an entirely reimagined cola experience”, according to Pepsi’s PR. Describing the taste experience, PepsiCo said that a creamy flavour, combined with a velvety, cascading foam, will provide a unique texture. Read on


USA – Corona Extra’s year of reckoning

You would have thought that Corona Extra, the number one imported beer brand, with a near 5 percent share of the market, can do no wrong. But in 2018, after more than a decade of growth, the brand swung into decline. However, the Corona family of brands grew 7.5 percent in 2018, it was reported, thanks to the launch of two line extensions: Corona Premier, a lower-calorie light lager; and Corona Familiar. Another Constellation Mexican import, Modelo, also posted a big year, with sales up 12.1 percent. Read on


United Kingdom – Fuller’s sells beer business to Asahi

History is repeating itself. Thirty years after Mrs Thatcher’s Beer Orders, which forced integrated brewers to separate their beer and pub businesses, London’s family-owned brewer and pub operator Fuller’s, which is best known for its London Pride ale, is following in its peers’ footsteps. Like Bass and Whitbread before, Fuller’s decided to sell its beer business while keeping its 400 strong pub estate. The transaction with Japan’s brewer Ashai, announced on 25 January 2019, values Fuller’s beer unit at GBP 250 million (USD 327 million), including debt (GBP 202 million in March 2018). Read on


United Kingdom – Asahi undaunted by Brexit worries

Asahi’s decision to invest GBP 250 million in the UK brewer Fuller’s runs counter to the trend among some other Japanese companies like Panasonic or Toyota. This past October, Panasonic shifted its headquarters from London to Amsterdam, while Toyota threatened to halt production at its two UK plants if the country crashes out of the European Union without a deal. Read on


United Kingdom – No-deal Brexit is a doomsday scenario for BrewDog

As Mrs May’s Brexit agreement was crushed in the Commons on 15 January 2019, many, including Scottish brewer BrewDog, are worrying that the UK could quit the EU on 29 March 219 with no transition plan in place. The UK’s largest craft brewer sells more than a third of its volume brewed in Scotland, in mainland Europe. It fears that the sudden imposition of tariffs and duties, not to mention customs delays, could spur supermarkets and bars on the continent to reconsider whether to carry its products. Read on


Australia – CUB sells beer over eBay

The country’s major brewer Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), which is owned by AB-InBev, is selling direct to consumers, as part of a “trial” conducted by AB-InBev’s ZX Ventures on the auction and e-commerce website eBay. ZX Ventures was also the company behind the purchase of the Australian online alcohol retailer BoozeBud in 2018. Read on


USA – AB-InBev’s CEO Brito refutes claims that cannabis hurts beer sales

Could there be a correlation between declining beer sales in the US and the onward march of legal recreational cannabis? AB-InBev’s North American beer volumes, including Canada, dropped 3 percent during the first nine months of 2018. Still, AB-InBev’s CEO Carlos Brito insisted that the company still does not have any data to prove that. Read on


Mexico – Constellation versus the Will of the People

With a plebiscite on its brewery in Mexicali, Baja California, looming, Constellation Brands has slowed the construction of its USD 1.5 billion plant with a capacity of 10 million hl. It now hopes to finish construction work in 2021, which represents a delay of two years. Constellation originally planned to open it in December 2018.

Part of the population opposes the brewery for its presumed environmental impact, especially for the use of water. Mexico’s Baja California peninsula already faces water supply challenges for agricultural and urban uses, and residents fear Constellation’s brewery will suck up what little water there is to make beer for export to the US – criticisms that the company denies. Read on


Japan – Orion puts itself up for sale

Japan’s largest investment bank Nomura and US private equity firm Carlyle Group, on 23 January 2019, made a joint USD 476 million tender offer for unlisted Orion Breweries. Orion posted USD 260 million in group sales in the year through March 2018, up 1 percent from the previous year. However, its net profit fell 17 percent to approximately USD 21 million. The brewer, which is based in Okinawa, said its board had decided to support the takeover and recommended that shareholders offer their shares. Read on



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