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 March 2020

Angola - Isabel Dos Santo’s brewery may be forced to close

Africa’s richest woman is in trouble, and so is her brewery. The local beer maker Sodiba may soon face insolvency, following the seizure of the assets of Ms Dos Santos and her husband, the company’s sole shareholders, Angolan media reported in February 2020. The company which produces the Luandina beer, relies on shareholder support “in the budget and business plan until the end of next year [2021]”, when the company planned to assume independence from shareholders’ investment. This was reported by the Portuguese news outlet expresso.pt on 5 February 2020. Should Sodiba go bust, 500 people could be put out of work. Read on

Nigeria - Heineken’s “painpoint”

Africa’s most populous country is a prime example as to how to bring a profitable beer market down. Since 2013, its beer profit pool has shrunk to less than a third of what it used to be. Only Nigerian Breweries (NB) is making any profit. The others must be loss-making. To the question from an analyst, which market is giving him least joy, Heineken’s departing CEO Jean-Francois van Boxmeer, first tried to avoid giving a straightforward answer. The timing – Heineken’s Full Year 2019 results release on 12 February 2020 – was critical. The market leader NB, which is stock-market listed and in which Heineken has a 56 percent stake, was to release its results the same day. Read on

Ethiopia – Beer market outlook is less rosy

Beer sales have more than doubled between 2014 and 2019: from 5.6 million hl to 13 million hl, says GlobalData. But last year’s blanket ban on alcohol advertising could hamper future growth. Not least, it will make it harder for new entrants to draw attention to themselves. Local media noted with some surprise that in February 2020, Heineken debuted its eponymous draught beer quietly and without fanfare. Well, how else could it have launched since the usual marketing blitz is prohibited? Read on

Belgium - AB-InBev’s fizz is gone

It was all about the debt. Felipe Dutra’s last public appearance as AB-InBev’s CFO was spent explaining the brewer’s debt. He reassured investors that “there is no year in which the total debt maturing exceeds our liquidity [of USD 16 billion].” Mr Dutra reported on 27 February 2020, that last year the world’s number one brewer undertook a significant effort to further extend the maturity of its debt. Read on

Russia – Union of Russian brewers calls for minimum price of beer

To secure a level playing field for all brewers, the Union of Russian Brewers, a trade body, wants to have a minimum retail price of beer introduced, but the country’s major brewers are against this. Already, in March 2019, the Izvestia newspaper reported that the National Union of Barley, Malt, Hops and Beer and Soft Drinkers Producers, another industry body, took the initiative to set a minimum retail price (MRP) for beer. Read on

Germany – Government will not raise legal drinking age

In a response to a minor interpellation by the Green Party, the government said on 18 February 2020, that it does not see any grounds for raising the legal drinking age to 18. It is more promising to encourage young people to use alcohol responsibly and to create a general awareness of the potential dangers of alcohol, the government replied to the Green Party’s interpellation. Read on

USA – Corona beer receives flak for Twitter post

Some people are stupid. Internet searches for “corona beer virus” have risen in recent weeks. Although there is obviously no connection between the coronavirus and the popular Mexican beer, that hasn’t stopped people from getting the two confused. Constellation Brands, which brews Corona in Mexico for sale in the US, has said it trusts its customers not to link its Corona beers to the coronavirus. However, for reasons unknown, some of its customers have still taken offence to Corona USA posting a short video on Twitter on 25 February. It shows Constellation’s new line of Corona hard seltzers with the catch line: “coming ashore soon”.
Read on

USA – Beer imports rise to more than 42 million hl in 2019

President Trump may plug “America first”, but when it comes to choosing a beer, American folks turn a deaf ear. Beer imports rose 1.8 percent in 2019 to reach 42.5 million hl, the Beer Institute, an industry body, reported on 5 February 2020. Mexico trumps all other countries when it comes to sending beer to the United States. Beer imports from Mexico rose 2.9 percent to reach about 30 million hl. This makes the Netherlands a distant number two as it only shipped 4.8 million hl beer across the Atlantic. Read on

Belgium – AB-InBev’s affordability strategy: another word for discounts?

Sometimes corporate language is just meant to befuddle. Take AB-InBev’s affordability strategy. In 2019, it was extended to markets with tough macro-economic conditions. Its initiatives call for lower revenue per hl but offer incremental profits. That is the theory. Read on

USA – Diageo fined USD 5 million for “misleading investors”

Diageo has agreed to pay a USD 5 million fine to settle with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which had charged the world’s number one drinks company of pressuring distributors to buy excess inventory to boost its results in a flagging market. Reuters reported on 19 February 2020 that Diageo will pay the penalty without admitting or denying the violations. Read on

Australia – Asahi offers to sell some brands to appease regulator

What is taking the regulator so long to vet Asahi’s purchase of CUB? In an effort to speed things up, Asahi has now proposed to ditch some brands. On 28 February 2020, Asahi told the ACCC, Australia’s competition watchdog, that it will divest a number of cider and beer brands if its AUD 16 billion purchase of CUB is allowed to go ahead. In July 2019, AB-InBev agreed to sell the country’s major brewer Carlton & United (CUB) to Asahi. Read on

Australia – Sydney’s All Hands brewpub sold for AUD 20 million

Melbourne-based hospitality entrepreneurs Brad Harris and James Sinclair have acquired the All Hands Brewing House in Darling Harbour for AUD 20 million (USD 13 million), media reported on 18 February 2020. It is an indication of how profitable brewpubs can be, if run well, that more hospitality firms are now moving into the sector. Read on

Belgium – AB-InBev forecasts coronavirus pains

The world’s number one brewer expects a 10 percent drop in first-quarter earnings due to the coronavirus. Already, in the last quarter 2019, its EBITDA fell 5.5 percent – on an adjusted basis. De facto, EBITDA was down 12 percent. The firm reported on 27 February 2020 that in the fourth quarter 2019, EBITDA dropped to USD 5.3 billion from USD 6 billion in the previous year’s quarter. Things aren’t going to get any better quickly. Although it is impossible to estimate the full impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the brewer has seen a significant decline in demand in China, in both on-premise and in-home channels. Read on

USA – Coronavirus outbreak to hurt Coca-Cola’s first quarter results

The Coca-Cola Company has reaffirmed its full year guidance, despite an expected impact from COVID-19 on its first quarter 2020 results. The company reported on 21 February 2020 that the coronavirus will hurt volume sales by 2 to 3 percentage points, organic revenue by 1 to 2 percentage points and earnings per share by 1 to 2 cents in the first quarter. Coke still expects to achieve its previously provided full year guidance. Read on

Belgium – AB-InBev “not satisfied” with Full Year 2019 results

You don’t often get AB-InBev’s CEO Carlos Brito sounding contrite. 2019 was a challenging year for the brewer. “Our performance was below our expectations, and we are not satisfied with the results,” he said on 27 February 2020. This year doesn’t look much better. Announcing Full Year 2019 results, the brewer reported a turnover of USD 52.3 billion, down from USD 53 billion in 2018, which somehow managed to translate into an organic growth of 4.2 percent. Read on

USA – Boston Beer must hike capacity to meet hard seltzer demand

Boston Beer, the maker of Samuel Adams beer, saw volume sales rise 24 percent to 5.3 million barrels (6.2 million hl) in 2019, thanks to buoyant demand for its Truly hard seltzer and Twisted Tea brands, plus the addition of the Dogfish Head brands. Sales were partially offset by decreases in its Samuel Adams beer and Angry Orchard cider brands, Boston Beer reported on 20 February 2020. Analysts estimate that three-quarters of the company’s sales already come from Truly hard seltzer and other non-beer drinks. Read on

USA – More trouble brewing? Maria Stipp resigns as Lagunitas’ CEO

The top brass for Lagunitas announced on 20 February 2020 that she is stepping down with immediate effect after nearly five years as CEO. Her departure comes shortly after Lagunitas reported another round of layoffs. Read on

Australia – Phil Sexton to step in as keynote speaker at IBD convention

The founder of vanguard craft brewer Matilda Bay, Phil Sexton, has been announced as the keynote speaker at the IBD Asia Pacific Convention in Perth this month. Mr Sexton is taking over from Rebecca Newman, Director of Quality at Lagunitas brewery, who may be needed back home after the sudden resignation of Lagunitas’ CEO Maria Stipp. Read on


Netherlands – Praise for new Heineken CEO

The appointment of Dolf van den Brink, 46, as Heineken’s new CEO has created quite some buzz. There would have been the odd complaint that Mr van den Brink is neither black nor a woman. Ah well. But he will still be the brewing industry’ youngest executive. AB-InBev’s CEO Carlos Brito is 59, Carlsberg’s Cees ‘t Hart is 61. Despite having been groomed for the task, Mr van den Brink will have some big shoes to fill. Read on

Germany – The drama of demographics

Why will German beer sales continue to swoon? Blame it on an upside-down population pyramid. Baby boomers are about to approach retirement as German brewers will find themselves short of 20 million consumers aged 20 to 60 years in the next two decades. Add to these predictable demographic changes an equally foreseeable change in consumption patterns, and it is easy to see why German brewers are concerned. Since 1991 total beverage consumption has risen 100 litres to 761 litres per capita (2018), but beer’s share of throat has declined to 102 litres from 142 litres over the same period. Read on

USA – BrewDog eyes brewery in California

Is there no limit to BrewDog’s expansion across the globe? The Scottish craft brewer is now looking to build or buy a brewery in California as its business continues to grow across the United States. Having opened a brewery and hotel in Columbus, Ohio, in 2017, the craft brewer is weighing options to better serve the West Coast.Read on

USA – Vizzy or Brizzy: Molson Coors’ launch of Vizzy challenged

Molson Coors’s hard seltzer Vizzy is not even out in the market yet and already its competitor Future Proof Brands that sells Brizzy hard seltzer has cried foul.

The company based in Austin, Texas, has filed litigation against Molson Coors and its MillerCoors subsidiary on 6 February 2020 for infringing on Brizzy's federally registered trademark and creating market confusion. Read on

USA – Hard Seltzers may have led to drop in wine consumption

There is hard evidence that hard seltzer has altered the brewing industry, maybe irreparably so. Boston Beer, which remains a leading craft brewer despite the protracted decline of its flagship Samuel Adams brand, now produces more “other beverages” than it does beer. Yet, is hard seltzer also changing the wine industry? For the first time in 25 years, wine sales dropped in 2019.
Read on

USA – Carol Stoudt to retire and close her brewery

So sad. A legacy brewer bows out. Carol Stoudt, a 1980s pioneer in the craft brewing industry in Pennsylvania, will close her brewery in early spring, the firm from Adamstown said on 2 February 2020. “This was a difficult decision to make,” founder Carol Stoudt said, “but we’re not moving enough volume to justify the expense of keeping the brewery open.” Read on

China – Coronavirus: Brewers expect beer sales to take a hit

People come first. While analysts worry that the Chinese government’s measures to stop the virus from spreading will hamper beer sales, Carlsberg’s CEO Cees ´t Hart showed above all sympathy for China’s citizens. He called the current situation “very sad for China and its people.” Fielding questions from analysts during Carlsberg’s Full Year 2019 conference call on 4 February 2020, he said that Carlsberg is monitoring the situation closely. However, Carlsberg’s key focus is the safety of its employees in the country. So far, and luckily, no infections among employees have been reported. Read on

Netherlands – Heineken CEO van Boxmeer steps down

On 11 February 2020, the Supervisory Board of Heineken announced the upcoming succession of Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO Jean-François van Boxmeer, following his 15-year-long leadership of the firm.

The Supervisory Board will nominate Dolf van den Brink, 46, currently President of Heineken’s Asia Pacific region, to be appointed as CEO at the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 23 April 2020, for a period of four years. Read on

Belgium – Management reshuffle at AB-InBev

As Brauwelt predicted, AB-InBev has announced some leadership changes ahead of its Full Year 2019 results presentation at the end of this month. On 6 February 2020, AB-InBev said that CFO Felipe Dutra, 50, is stepping down from his position, as part of a wider shakeup. A well-placed leak to the Financial Times in early January 2020 had said that AB-InBev was preparing to replace Mr Dutra, its long-time finance chief, to revive the brewer’s fortunes and share price. AB-InBev did not deny the rumour. It has now named Fernando Tennenbaum, 42, currently the CFO of its Brazilian unit AmBev, to step into the CFO role on 29 April 2020.
Read on

Netherlands – Heineken’s CEO bows out with notable 2019 results

Heineken saw another year of “superior top-line growth”, thanks to a strong performance in the second half of 2019. Beer volumes were up 3.1 percent, net revenue 5.6 percent and operating profit 3.9 percent. Heineken’s departing CEO Jean-Francois van Boxmeer reported on 12 February 2020 that last year’s revenue per hl increased 3.3 percent, driven by price increases and a focus on premium brands. In 2019, sales of the Heineken brand accelerated to 8.3 percent. The roll-out of Heineken 0.0 continued and it is now available in 57 markets. Read on

Denmark – Carlsberg maintains outlook for 2020

Times are a-changing. Ten years ago, Russia was Carlsberg’s big profit spinner. Today, most of the Danish brewer’s growth comes from Asia. Sometimes things don’t work out as planned. When Carlsberg fully took over Russia’s leading brewer Baltika in the Noughties, the reason was to reduce Carlsberg’s dependency on Western Europe, a region of mature beer markets and often declining consumption. Until 2009, the plan worked. Eastern Europe contributed over half of Carlsberg’s profit. Come 2019, and Eastern Europe’s contribution is down to 16 percent of operating profit. Read on

Canada – Labatt buys tiny craft brewer from Calgary

Banded Peak Brewing has been acquired by Labatt Breweries, the Canadian unit of AB-InBev, media reported on 30 January 2020. It is relatively young and small in terms of output. Banded Peak was founded by Alex Horner with some childhood friends in only 2016. But it quickly became a staple in Calgary’s barley belt, in the city’s southeast, producing 3,000 hl beer annually. Read on

Brazil – Coca-Cola Brasil seeks compensation from Heineken

Heineken has refuted a Brazilian newspaper report, which said that Coca-Cola Brasil had filed a lawsuit seeking to void Heineken’s 2017 acquisition of Brasil Kirin. This was reported by esmmagazine.com on 27 January 2020. The Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico said on 24 January 2020 that the filing in a Brazilian court accused the Dutch brewer of designing the acquisition contract for Brasil Kirin in such a way that it would break the distribution contract Heineken had with Coca-Cola. Read on

Vietnam – Clampdown on drink-driving could slash beer sales

Beer sales in January are estimated to have dropped by at least 25 percent, as the authorities have cracked down on driving under the influence. Analysts say the new measures could drive down beer sales this year by 5 percent. Since 1 January 2020, anyone caught driving under the influence of alcohol on a motorbike can be fined up to VND 8 million (USD 345) and banned for two years. Car and truck drivers face up to VND 40 million (USD 1,730) in fines and an immediate licence suspension. The law, which came after a number of high-profile accidents last year, sets the blood alcohol concentration for drivers at zero. Read on

USA – Lagunitas to axe 5 percent of jobs

Having shifted some of Lagunitas’ export production to The Netherlands and Brazil, the Petaluma-based brewer has said it is cutting “under 5 percent” of its workforce, as part of a restructuring strategy. Lagunitas is estimated to employ under 800 people these days. Founded in 1993, Lagunitas has been fully owned by Heineken since 2017. In an increasingly crowded craft beer market, in October 2018, it was already forced to lay off 12 percent of its employees, or about 100 workers. In the same year, it crossed the 1 million barrel (1.17 million hl) threshold in beer produced. Read on

USA – Molson Coors acquires Detroit brewer Atwater

There goes another one. Detroit’s Atwater brewery has sold itself to Tenth and Blake Beer Company, the US craft beer division of brewer Molson Coors, for an undisclosed sum, media reported on 22 January 2020. Atwater is the first US craft brewery that Tenth and Blake has purchased since 2016, when it bought three small producers – Georgia’s Terrapin Brewing, Texas’ Revolver Brewing and Oregon’s Hop Valley Brewing – in the span of a few weeks. Read on

USA – Mark Anthony Group to construct brewery in only seven months Driven by the phenomenal growth of its brands Mike’s Hard Lemonade and White Claw in 2019, the privately owned firm will invest USD 385 million in two breweries. The first to open in June 2020 is an USD 250 million plant in Glendale, Arizona. Mark Anthony Brands has selected Glendale, Arizona, as the location of its West Coast production facility, it was reported in January 2020. The maker of White Claw hard seltzer and Mike’s Hard Lemonade first revealed plans in the autumn of 2019 to spend USD 385 million towards the construction of two new production facilities, including a plant in New Jersey. Read on

South Africa – AB-InBev goes for solar energy

AB-InBev is installing solar panels at its South African breweries in a push to gain greater independence from the state-owned utility firm Eskom, which struggles with blackouts. According to the website moneyweb.co.za, AB-InBev plans to invest USD 1.2 billion in environmentally friendly energy sources across Africa. The solar panels in South Africa are just one part of the initiative. AB-InBev has set a global target of securing all of its purchased energy from renewable sources by 2025. Read on



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