Beer Monopoly



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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 July 2018

Germany – AB-InBev’s sale of two breweries falls through

The financial investor CK Corporate Finance was to take over two regional breweries – Diebels and Hasseröder – from AB-InBev. The sale was announced in January 2018 and was to be completed by June. However, as was announced on 2 July 2018, the one-man outfit from Kronberg near Frankfurt has been unable to fulfil his contractual obligations. Read: the investor Daniel Deistler probably could not cough up the money, estimated at less than EUR 200 million for the two breweries, whose combined beer output is around 2 million hl.

Allegedly, in order to get rid of its struggling units, AB-InBev has twice reduced the asking price since January and even agreed to hedge part of the financing by CK Corporate Finance.

Therefore, the deal will not go ahead as planned. AB-InBev has said it will reopen negotiations with other interested parties. At this stage a management buy-out looks most likely. Hasseröder and Diebels’ staff (450 in total) have already been informed about the new situation.

Belgium – What is behind brewer Haacht’s recent stock rally?

Is there a reason why Co.Br.Ha, under which the Haacht brewery is listed, has seen its share price skyrocket in merely one week? During the last week in June 2018 it picked up over EUR 300 per share to reach EUR 4,820 (USD 5,630), thus continuing its rally that began in December 2017 when the share price was only EUR 3,700.

We wonder: Is someone purposefully driving up the stock to make a sale of the company more attractive to its refusnik CEO, Frederic van der Kelen? He has run the company, known for its brands Primus, Super 8, Tongerlo and Keizer Karel, since 1968 and has always turned down offers. Mr van der Kelen, whose family owns an estimated 86 percent of the stock, turned 85 in June. Read on


USA – Lagunitas launches sparkling water with cannabis

Lagunitas’ founder, the weed-loving Tony Magee, must have whipped his team into a frenzy to be the first in the market with a proper cannabis-infused product. Last year the Heineken-owned craft brewer tested the waters with SuperCritical, an ale brewed with aromatic compounds of essential oils extracted from marijuana plants. However, it left out the good stuff in cannabis.

This time it was to be a THC-infused beverage. Guess what, it turns out to be a sparkling water, which tastes of hops and contains THC and/or CBD. Read on

USA – Molson Coors rumoured to make cannabis move

Half drew she him, half sank he down. The lure of the weed seems to make Molson Coors weighing an entry into cannabis. Originally slated for September 2018, Canada will now legalise the recreational use of the drug on 17 October 2018. Several cannabis producers have declared an interest in cannabis-infused beverages but still lack a beverage industry partner. Although edibles, including “drinkables” will not be legal initially, polls suggest a huge interest in these products. According to a report by Deloitte, six out of ten consumers would probably choose to consume edible cannabis products.

Allegedly, Molson Coors, which is the number two brewer both in the US and Canada, has spent the past six months in talks with as many as four cannabis companies. The brewer would have been emboldened by rival Constellation Brands, which bought a minority stake in Canopy Growth last year. The listed company is Canada’s largest marijuana producer with a market value of USD 6.6 billion.

United Kingdom – Beavertown’s Wicked Weed moment

What’s different this time? When Heineken bought into London’s Brixton brewery last year, the usually vocal commentariat kept quiet. After London’s craft brewer Beavertown announced the sale of a minority stake to Heineken on 21 June 2018, all hell broke loose. Well, not quite. But many breweries and fans took to the internet to voice their disappointment. In fact, hours after the deal was announced, Manchester’s craft brewer Cloudwater wrote on Twitter that it will not be attending the annual Beavertown Extravaganza event to be held on 7 and 8 September 2018 in London. Read on


USA – Hot sauce in perfume bottles: Tabasco on Avery Island

These days, brett, lacto and pedio are the feted Three Musketeers among US craft brewers and so it is easily forgotten that other famous American foods are fermented, too. If spicy food is your thing, then Tabasco sauce should immediately come to mind.

Incidentally, the company, which goes by the name of McIlhenny and invented Tabasco sauce, is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. Which makes its founding year 1868 – shortly after the end of the American Civil War. But don’t mention the war or who won it to folks down in Louisiana. It is still a bit of a sore issue.

From what I had read about Tabasco – it is among the oldest family-owned food companies in the US – I had gained the impression that it is to US craft food what Yuengling beer is to craft brewing: a heritage company that takes great pride in its independence and time-honoured processes. Read on

USA – Will AB-InBev’s international craft beers join troops in battle for high-end segment?

MillerCoors, the number two brewer in the US, is worried. According to its blog, rival AB-InBev plans to bring several of its international craft brands in kegs to the US in order to carve out a bigger share of the lucrative high-end segment, currently dominated by craft beer and imports.

However, before it can sell its foreign beers, AB-InBev has to secure US regulatory approval. MillerCoors thinks beer labels from the UK’s Camden Town, Brazil’s Cervejaria Colorado, Mexico’s Artesanas de Malta y Cebada, South Africa’s Newlands Spring, Canada’s Archibald and Belgium’s Belle-Vue Brouwerij have received clearance from the regulators in June 2018 and are heading to the United States. Read on

USA – Forget Wall Street: BrewDog places bets on US crowdfunder instead

Second time lucky? Scottish brewer BrewDog has launched another crowdfunding campaign in the US with a goal to raise USD 10 million. The brewer made the announcement by parachuting soft toy ‘fat cats’ (slang for self-enriching business types) from a helicopter above Manhattan. They produced a video of this stunt, which can be watched at https://vimeo.com/273017278

The response to BrewDog’s first US crowdfunder, which launched in 2016 and closed in 2017, was underwhelming. It only flushed in USD 7 million. Apparently, this was not enough to cover BrewDog’s ambitious investment schemes and forced the founders James Watt and Martin Dickie to sell a 22 percent stake to a private equity investor. Read on

USA – Truck drivers desperately wanted by food and beverage companies

At the Beverage Forum in Chicago in April 2018, there was already angsty talk of a shortage of truck drivers, hampering brewers and wholesalers’ ability to get their products into consumers’ hands on time.

“There are 10 truckloads waiting to be moved for every driver available right now,” Holly Pixler, Senior Director of Transportation and Logistics at MillerCoors, was quoted as saying.

For its part, MillerCoors has been working to mitigate the effects, Ms Pixler said. The company relies on third-party carriers to move products from its breweries to the independent wholesalers that supply retailers. Read on

USA – AB-InBev to trial beer vending machines

New generation beer vending machines, that have overcome the issues which plagued earlier models, will be trialled by AB-InBev. The new ones accept all types of cash-less payments and sell cans that are opened inside the machine prior to discharging. As to age control (in the US buyers of alcohol must be over 21 years of age), they will only be in operation in places like sports and concert venues which have already ensured that punters meet the legal age requirements.

It was AB-InBev’s ZX Ventures that partnered with Intelligent Product Solutions (IPS), a global product design and development firm, to develop an Internet connected beer vending machine. It is called BeerBox and will basically act like a staff-less bar at concert and sports venues, cutting down the long waiting lines in front of regular bars. Read on

Australia – Craft brewers aim for greater market share

Independent craft brewers have set themselves a lofty growth target: they seek to control 15 percent of the beer market by 2015, up from 9 percent today. If the US can serve as an example, the target appears not all that ambitious considering that the current level includes all the “crafty” beers too. Australia’s 520+ indies only account for 2 percent of beer sales.

Still, Australia’s Independent Brewers Association (IBA) thinks that the “indies” are on track to keep on growing. Thanks to lobbying hard, the IBA managed to wrangle from lawmakers an increase to the Australian Alcohol Manufacturing Refund, an excise rebate, to AUD 100,000 (USD 74,000) annually from 1 July 2019. Read on



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