Posted January 2019
Belgium – AB-InBev refinances some debt and ponders Asia-Pacific IPO
In the battle of wills between the Money Men and AB-InBev, it appears that the world’s number one brewer is further caving in to pressure. To alleviate concerns over its mountainous debt pile, AB-InBev in early January announced that it was refinancing some of its debt while it muses floating its Asia-Pacific business on the stock market.
On 10 January 2019, AB-InBev issued USD 15.5 billion in bonds, whose proceeds will go towards refinancing older bonds worth USD 16 billion. The average maturity of the new bonds is 20 years, it was reported, whereas the repurchased bonds had an average maturity of 4.6 years. Read on
Belgium – AB-InBev locks horns with the Money Men
Whatever interpretation is offered for AB-InBev’s recent refinancing round, the whole agitation boils down to this: Can AB-InBev run its shop as it pleases or will it have to do as told by the Money Men? It seems like the Money Men have only now realised that AB-InBev has no intention to clinch any more major deals. All those lofty transaction scenarios – AB-InBev taking over Coke, Castel, etc. – are merely investors’ wishful thinking. Read on
USA – Craft beer sales slightly up in the off-premise but at a price
The going is getting tougher for craft brewers, if off-premise sales are anything to go by. According to market research firm IRI, sales of craft beer in supermarkets and the like in 2018 only rose 1.2 percent (until 2 December 2018), compared with the 6 percent growth in 2017. The small year-on-year increase really cannot surprise, as there are more than 7,000 breweries operating in the US today. In 2017, there were just some 6,000 craft breweries. Read on
Japan – After trade agreement with EU Asahi cuts retail prices for wine imports
After six years in the making, the EU and Japan finalised their trade agreement, which will become effective on 1 February 2019. Asahi Breweries Ltd. has said it will cut the suggested retail prices for wine imported from the European Union by 4 to 17 percent, starting 1 March 2019. As media reported, prices for 40 items will be lowered. A bottle of Italian sparkling wine will now sell for JPY 1,771 (USD 16.30), down from JPY 1,976 (USD 18.20). Read on
Belgium – AB-InBev to launch a non-alcoholic Leffe
No-alcohol and low-alcohol (“NOLA”) beers are considered a boom category and not just during “Dry January”, when people are urged to abstain from alcohol after the assumed excesses of the previous month. But they are still small fry. A recent report by the Brewers of Europe, a trade group, shows that non-alcoholic beers alone only account for 2 percent of Europe’s beer production by value (EUR 900 million/USD 1 billion in 2017). In pursuit of its ambitious goal of NOLAs representing 20 percent of its volume sales by 2025, AB-InBev, in early January 2019, announced the launch of the first ever non-alcoholic version of one of the country’s most celebrated abbey beers. Read on
Italy – Book review: “Birra” by Tullio Zangrando and Mirco Marconi
It must have been a labour of love. Or why would anybody spend years to write a three-volume (over 1,000 pages in total!) compendium on beer? As the authors are Italian and the books are written in Italian, you cannot rule out a pedagogic purpose. Tullio Zangrando and Mirco Marconi probably realised that this is just what Italy needed. Only thanks to craft brewers has beer risen in the public’s appreciation in recent years.
The first volume covers the history of beer and beer styles. The second volume deals with raw materials, as well as the technologies of malt, wort and beer production. There are also sections on quality assurance and international beer styles. The third volume is devoted to sensory issues, draught beer, and beer dispensing. There is even a chapter on food pairings. Of course, issues to do with beer and health and responsible consumption are dealt with, too.
The authors are well known industry figures, not least since the publication of their book “Il Libro della Birra” in 2002. Dr Zangrando is a graduate in brewing science and technology from the University of Weihenstephan. He later became a director at the Italian brewer Moretti and the editor of “Birra e Malto”. He has contributed to various journals, including “Il Mondo della Birra” and “Imbottigliamento”. Mirco Marconi is a sensory expert on food, with a focus on beer. He teaches Food Technology at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy, which is a cooperation between the Regions of Piedmont, Emilia Romagna and the Slow Food movement. Mr Marconi is also the author of “Dentro al Gusto” (“Inside Taste”), which looks at foodstuffs from a sensory-scientific perspective.
Both Prof Ludwig Narziß, the German Nestor of brewing science, and Charlie Papazian have praised the compendium for its scope and depth.
It is hoped that the books will be read widely. Unfortunately, it will be a while before anyone will attempt an English translation.
Volume I: Birra – Storia della birra e degli stili birrari. 296 pages, EUR 35.00
Volume II: Birra – Materie prime, tecnologie, stili. 450 pages, EUR 40.00
Volume III: Birra – Degustazione e servizio, comunicazione, formazione. 285 pages, EUR 35.00
The books are available from amazon.it