Posted July 2019
Australia – AB-InBev sells Australian unit CUB to Asahi
It’s a fire sale by another name. After its aborted IPO on 12 July 2019, AB-InBev has moved quickly and sold its Australian unit CUB to Japan’s brewer Asahi for an enterprise value of USD 11.3 billion. The transaction was announced on 19 July 2019. The sale of Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) will allow AB-InBev to reduce its USD 106 billion debt mountain.
This is the third time that the Japanese group has scooped up assets from AB-InBev. After AB-InBev’s takeover of SABMiller, Asahi acquired SABMiller’s western and central European units, including brands like Pilsner Urquell, Peroni and Grolsch, in 2016 for a total of USD 11 billion.
The sale of CUB includes a host of local mainstream and craft beer brands, as well as the rights to sell in the country AB-InBev’s global brands, such as Beck’s, Corona Extra and Goose Island. Read on
Australia – CUB changes hands again
Under globalisation, brewers have become used to being reduced to a plaything at the mercy of their owners and none more so than Carlton & United (CUB).
Headquartered in Melbourne and founded in 1903, CUB has been a staple of the Australian market for more than a century.
Australia’s Elders IXL, which would go on to become the Foster’s Group in 1990, originally acquired the business in 1983. After a failed attempt to “Fosterise the world” and expand into wine, the company became adrift and the beer side of Foster’s was sold to SABMiller in 2011. Only five years later AB-InBev bought SABMiller and took control. Read on
Belgium – Why AB-InBev called off its Asia IPO
The embarrassment of toing and froing with its Asia IPO will soon be forgotten. But the implications are clear for all to see: financial markets no longer play to the tune of AB-InBev. Although AB-InBev cited unfavourable market conditions as the reason for ditching its USD 9.8 billion listing, it had actually asked for too much. Hence investors’ lukewarm response to the share offering, which in turn forced AB-InBev to call the whole thing off. Read on
Belgium – AB-InBev may not be done with disposals
Rumour has it that AB-InBev is considering selling off business units in South Korea and Central America to cut its massive debt pile after it had to junk its Asia IPO. According to both Barrons.com and Marketwatch.com, the private-equity firm KKR approached AB-InBev in May 2019 about buying some of the Asian assets. KKR previously bought AB-InBev’s Korean business and sold it back to AB-InBev in 2014 for USD 5.8 billion. Read on
United Kingdom - Molson Coors buys London craft brewer Hop Stuff
Molson Coors has saved the London craft brewer Hop Stuff from bankruptcy. Hop Stuff merely called it an asset sale. Fact is, Hop Stuff, which was started in 2013, entered into administration in early July 2019. Molson Coors’ acquisition of the Woolwich-based craft brewer, announced on 15 July 2019, includes its brewery and two bars in London, as well as one in Ashford, Kent. Read on
United Kingdom – Regulator to investigate Heineken’s pub business
Heineken’s pubs business, Star Pubs & Bars, is being investigated by the industry watchdog over suspicions that tenants on rent-only contracts are still forced to stock Heineken beers and sell them at inflated prices. Read on
USA – Stone winds down its angel fund True Craft
Long time no hear from Stone’s “True Craft” investment fund. USD 100 million were put into its piggy bank in 2016 to create an alternative source of investment for craft breweries who did not want to sell to a Big Brewer. But the fund never clinched any deals and was recently scrapped. In an interview with the journalist Peter Rowe on pacificsandiego.com on 28 June 2019, Stone officially confirmed that True Craft is dead, having never made any investments into small breweries at all. Read on
Scotland – Minimum pricing for alcohol has lowered consumption levels
After the introduction of price controls in 2018, alcohol consumption has dropped 3 percent. Scotland’s health secretary, Jeane Freeman, welcomed the figures released in June 2019. It was a promising start in tackling Scotland’s difficult relationship with alcohol, she said. The government reported that there are, on average, 22 alcohol-specific deaths every week in Scotland, and 683 hospital admissions. Read on
Austria – Political zig zag course: public smoking ban finally in place
As of 1 November 2019, smoking in Austrian pubs and restaurants will be prohibited. The long-running issue in a country considered among the last in Europe to hold out against a smoking ban had initially appeared to be resolved with the implementation of the ban on 1 May 2018. The ban had been agreed upon by a centre-left government in 2015. However, it was overturned in 2017 by the following centre-right coalition government. Read on
USA – Coke and Monster settle their dispute over Coke’s energy drink
After months of arbitration due to concerns over Coca-Cola violating its agreement with Monster Beverage Corp, courts have ruled on 1 July 2019 that Coke can sell its brand-name line of energy drinks globally. Read on
Belgium – AB-InBev wins case against tax man
AB-InBev has won a multi-million dollar case against the Special Tax Inspectorate (BBI), media reported on 22 June 2019. Thanks to a deal with the Belgian government (the 2012 ruling), the brewer only had to pay EUR 11.2 million in taxes on more than EUR 287 million in profits from 2011 to 2015. BBI, aka the tax man, huffed and puffed because of the loss in taxes to its coffers, but the Brussels court has now ruled AB-InBev right and the tax man’s objections invalid.
Germany – Anyone a hemp shandy?
Hemp drinks have been around Germany for a while. But Oettinger brewery, renowned for its economy labels, is the first major brewer to launch a hemp beer mix. Called Hanfkiss (Hemp Kiss), it is a 2.5 percent ABV shandy, infused with green tea, herbs and hemp extracts. Read on
USA – German brewer Gilde to expand into US
One of Germany’s oldest breweries is to establish a brewing base in Charlotte, North Carolina, a city 200 km to the east of Asheville. Founded in 1526 in Hannover, Gilde (German for “Guild) today is owned by TCB Group. Gilde fell on hard times after it was bought by Belgium’s Interbrew in 2003. AB-InBev disposed of Gilde to TCB in 2016 for an undisclosed sum. By this stage its beer output had dropped to 150,000 hl. TCB Group is a privately-owned group of breweries with a subsidiary in France, (Brasserie Champigneulles). It claims to be Europe’s major producer of private label beers. Read on
Israel – AB-InBev sets up cybersecurity hub in Tel Aviv
AB-InBev plans to open a cybersecurity unit in Tel Aviv after an upsurge in hacking attacks. In recent times, AB-InBev has had to deal with various cybersecurity issues. Read on
Italy – Gin is it
The gin revival washes ashore in Italy. Known for its wines and grappe, it has become quietly known for its gins. There are now more than 30 Italian gin brands which are considered a must-try. No wonder that the world’s major drinks companies, Diageo and Pernod Ricard have piled in on it. Read on
Canada – Rules for cannabis drinkables and edibles released
Recreational cannabis is set to enter a new era later this year when drinkables and edibles will become legal. In June 2019, Health Canada officials announced the regulations for those new categories as well as a timetable for their coming to market. Media report that drinkables, edibles, and other new products will become legal on 17 October 2019, exactly one year after Canada legalised the recreational use of cannabis. Read on
Ireland – Diageo opens Roe & Co distillery in Dublin
In the former Guinness Power Station at St James’s Gate, Diageo has opened its new, USD 28 million “urban distillery” Roe & Co in June 2019. The plant will distil 14,000 litres of whiskey in every run, with an annual maximum capacity of approximately 500,000 litres of alcohol. Read on
Scotland – Diageo invests in Scotch whisky tourism
You would not have thought that Scotland needs more punters on its whisky trail. Over 2 million tourists stopped by her 68 Scotch whisky visitor centres in 2018. But Kentucky is catching up fast and so is Ireland. In 2018, over 1.6 million people went on the Kentucky Bourbon trail. Even Ireland recorded one million visitors to its distilleries. Read on