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 October 2019

US craft brewers warn Supreme Court: back the Clean Water Act

USA – The Supreme Court will hear arguments in November in a major environment case concerning the Clean Water Act. Sixty craft breweries have clubbed together over the summer and told the justices in a brief that weakening the federal regulation would damage their businesses. The case to be argued has wound its way through the courts since 2012. It concerns the Lahaina Wastewater Reclamation Facility on Hawaii’s island of Maui. The facility’s processed sewage is injected into wells that pump it underground. From there, it eventually travels into the Pacific Ocean. Read on

US hits Scotch whisky, Italian cheese, French wine with 25 percent tariffs

USA – On 18 October 2018 the US slapped hundreds of European products with new tariffs, including whiskies, wines, and cheese. The levies will be unevenly felt by food and drinks producers across the region. Europe’s brewers are lucky: for now, their beers are exempted from the new tariffs. Read on

Phil Sexton to rejuvenate Australia’s Matilda Bay brewery

Australia – Nearly 30 years after leaving the brewery he founded, Phil Sexton is re-opening Matilda Bay as a boutique brewery in Healesville, near Melbourne, in partnership with Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), now owned by Asahi. Trained as a brewer, Mr Sexton set up Matilda Bay in Fremantle, Western Australia, in 1983 and sold it to what was Foster’s (today CUB) in 1990 for AUD 23 million (then USD 18 million). Read on

Tilray and AB-InBev to hit Canada with CBD drinks in late 2019

Canada – Ten months into the partnership between Canadian cannabis company Tilray and the world’s largest brewer AB-InBev, they are ready to launch CBD-infused drinks in December. Beverages containing the psychoactive cannabis compound THC will be made available at a later stage, as they require more time to research. Read on

Diageo launches gingerbread-flavoured rum

United Kingdom – The flavour of the season? As craft brewers promote their pumpkin ales, Diageo has decided to issue a limited edition of its Captain Morgan rum with gingerbread flavours. The limited edition Captain Morgan Gingerbread Spiced is available exclusively in the UK through supermarket chain Asda and selected Green King pubs, the website thespiritsbusiness.com reports. Read on

Boom in Swiss microbreweries could peter out as beer consumption flags

Switzerland – Consumption of locally produced beer is on the rise. There are now more than 1,000 breweries throughout the country. But many observers worry that saturation is imminent as access to taps and shelf space has turned into a scramble. Switzerland probably holds the world record in terms of breweries per capita. With 1,021 breweries in operation at the end of 2018, the country of 8.4 million people has about one brewery per small town. Read on

USA – Hard Seltzers the “biggest disruption in beer since light beer”

Boston Beer’s shares are up more than 40 percent this year. A lot of the credit goes to its hard seltzer Truly. Together with privately-owned White Claw, it has cornered about 90 percent of the category. Investors will be glad that Truly has boosted sales, because Boston Beer’s beer brands, such as Samuel Adams and Dogfish Head, are continuing to slump. Indeed, Truly, which was launched in late 2016, has been something of a lifeboat for Boston Beer, following hard seltzers’ sales explosion of some 200 percent over the past year, according to Nielsen data. Read on

USA – Coors and Lagunitas enter Colorado with cannabis drinks

Hot on the heels of Keith Villa’s Ceria beers, brewer MillerCoors has announced it will soon start distributing Sparkling CBD, a line of non-alcoholic sodas and sparkling beverages infused with CBD, from the Rocky Mountain Soda Company. The beverages will only be available in metro Denver at the moment, but could be rolled out much further if demand meets expectations.

The non-intoxicating CBD continues to grab more and more shelf space at Colorado’s liquor stores. Even bitters and cocktail mixers can be bought that contain CBD. Read on

USA – Non-alcoholic beers are here to stay

The US market for non-alcoholic beer is only starting to show signs of life. But acknowledging that consumer preferences are changing, craft brewers have moved in on the action. Brooklyn Brewery will launch its non-alcoholic offering, a hoppy lager-style brew called Brooklyn Special Effects, in select states in the autumn. The beer was developed by Brooklyn Brewery’s partner Carlsberg in France. It was first introduced into Sweden at the end of 2018.Read on

India – AB-InBev and hotel group IHCL to open a chain of microbreweries

The country’s alcohol laws can be bamboozling, not to say prohibitive. So it may have been a shrewd move by AB-InBev to partner with hotel operator The Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL). They will open 15 microbreweries over the next five years at the chain’s top properties on the subcontinent. The agreement was signed on 4 October 2019 and represents an investment of USD 21 million, local pundits say. Media report that ZX Ventures, which is AB-InBev’s global innovation and investment team, will develop the blueprint for the microbreweries. Read on

Spain – Mahou San Miguel expands further into craft beer and signs contract with AB-InBev

Beer market leader Mahou San Miguel must have felt under pressure to fill gaps in its portfolio. Buying into craft beer, both in the US and domestically, proved the easy part. But it still lacked international premium brands. Hence it struck a licensing deal with AB-InBev. In September 2019, Mahou San Miguel secured a deal to produce and distribute some of AB-InBev’s beers in Spain, as of January 2020. AB-InBev does not have a production unit in Spain, whereas Mahou San Miguel needed brands with international clout to better compete with its local rival Heineken and its formidable stable of brands.Read on

Italy – Microbreweries hike output in 2018 but market share remains small

Italians drank 20.3 million hl beer in 2018. This is 3.4 percent more than in 2017, taking per capita consumption up to 33.6 litres. Microbrewers did even better. They managed to raise their output by 4.3 percent to 504,000 hl beer. This translates into a market share of 2.5 percent of total consumption. The figures were released by Assobirra, an industry body, in September 2019. The increase in beer consumption benefitted domestic brewers and importers alike. Domestic production was 16.4 million hl beer in 2018, of which 3 million hl were exported. But beer imports increased too, reaching 6.9 million hl. Read on

Austria – Brau Union increases sales again in 2018

Small country brewing can be fairly profitable. Viz Brau Union Österreich. The country’s leading brewer recently gazetted that in 2018 it had a turnover of EUR 755 million (USD 832 million), which represents an increase of 3 percent over 2017. The previous December, Brau Union, with brands like Gösser, Puntigamer, Zipfer and Schwechater, had raised its beer prices by an average of 2.5 percent. The Heineken subsidiary said at the time that this was due to increased raw material costs, especially malt. Nevertheless, Brau Union tends to raise prices every December: in December 2018 they were put up by 3 percent compared with 2 percent in 2016. Read on


Germany – Brewers Erdinger, Schneider and Maisel launch „Noble Maturation“ seal

Never underestimate consumers‘ ignorance. In an effort to highlight wheat beer’s craft credentials, three well-known beer industry personalities have launched a seal. On 20 September 2019, the owners of breweries Schneider Weisse, Erdinger and Maisel, Georg Schneider, Werner Brombach, and Jeff Maisel, announced that they have agreed to put a seal on their packaging which extols the virtues of wheat beer’s maturation process. Read on

Germany – Bitburger buys into craft beer distributor Brausturm

Take it as an indication that selling craft beer continues to be a tall order. The specialist craft beer distributor Brausturm (“Brew Storm”) from Hamburg has sold a 30 percent stake to brewer Bitburger for EUR 1.15 million in what observers have called a rescue mission. The transaction was reported on 10 September 2019 – only days after the Munich craft brewer Crew Republic had announced that it had sold a 20 percent stake to AB-InBev.

Although Germany’s number of breweries has risen by 200 since 2014 to reach over 1530 in 2018, it is still impossible to say how many qualify as craft brewers. For example: shall we include the more than 800 breweries which have an annual output of less than 1,000 hl? Or shall we generously count all of those that produce less than 10,000 hl annually? It would not make much of a difference in terms of market share. It would still be under 2 percent. Read on

Belgium – AB-InBev pays down some debt

As the IPO of its unit Budweiser Asia has flushed in some USD 5 billion in cash, AB-InBev wasted no time and decided to reduce its debt load. According to the website seekingalpha.com, the brewer has exercised an option to redeem in full three outstanding notes, issued by itself and subsidiaries. This was reported on 30 September 2019. The total amount being redeemed is USD 4.88 billion. That is USD 2.97 billion worth of US notes and EUR 1.75 billion worth of European notes. Read on

South Africa – AB-InBev closes SAB’s World of Beer museum

South Africa – It’s a shame. SAB’s World of Beer museum is no more. Opened in Johannesburg in 1994, its last tour was conducted on 30 September 2019. For 25 years, the World of Beer museum has allowed visitors to learn about brewing and its history in South Africa. When former South African President, the late Nelson Mandela, officially opened the centre in 1994, he delivered a memorable speech that summed up the importance of the SAB World of Beer. Read on

USA – Craft brewers contribute USD 79 billion to economy

The Brewers Association (BA) estimates that small and independent craft brewers contributed USD 79.1 billion to the U.S. economy in 2018, which is roughly 0.4 percent of gross domestic product. The 2018 numbers, which were released on 25 September 2019, mark a 4 percent increase from 2017, highlighting the industry’s steady performance across the country. Read on


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