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 2020 >> podcast

Australia – Asahi may sell beer brands to CCA and ciders to Heineken

When Asahi proposed to buy market leader Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) from AB-InBev in 2019, the regulator would only approve of the deal, if Asahi divests two of its beer brands and three of its cider brands. The brands to be sold are the Strongbow, Bonamy’s and Little Green cider brands and the Stella Artois and Beck’s beer brands. In April this year, the regulator, ACCC, finally ruled that without the sale of two beer and three cider brands, the combined Asahi-CUB company would have accounted for two thirds of cider sales in Australia, and owned the two largest cider brands, Somersby and Strongbow. This was not to be. Read on

Australia – Lion to close Adelaide’s historic West End brewery

Lion announced plans to close Adelaide’s 160-year-old West End Brewery in June 2021, with the loss of up to 100 production jobs. The Kirin-owned brewer described the closure as a “sad day for the West End team, Lion and South Australia”. “West End has been operating well below its full production capacity for some time now and unfortunately this is no longer viable,” the statement said. The 1.2 million hl brewery (it produced 2 million hl beer in the 1980s) has been under pressure for some years, with shifts being reduced in 2018, which saw the loss of 36 full-time jobs. Read on

United Kingdom – Heineken fined for putting undue pressure on pubs

Heineken’s UK pub business, Star Pubs and Bars, was fined GBP 2 million (EUR 2.2 million) by the pub industry watchdog, after forcing tenants to sell “unreasonable levels” of its own beers and ciders. An inquiry by the Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) found that Star Pubs “seriously and repeatedly” broke rules between 2016 and 2019. In fact, several pubs, which had asked to no longer be tied to Star Pubs, were told nevertheless that 100 percent of their keg beer had to be Heineken brands. Star Pubs said it was considering an appeal, calling the fine “unwarranted”, the BBC reported. Read on

Germany – Carlsberg not off the hook in beer cartel trial

The Federal Court of Justice overturned a ruling by a lower court in Düsseldorf, which had argued in April 2019 that the case against Carlsberg in the so-called German beer cartel had lapsed. Now the case needs to be retried. Read on

Germany – Bitburger sells Wernesgrüner brewery to Carlsberg

Carlsberg Group will buy the Wernesgrüner Brewery, including the Wernesgrüner brand, in the Vogtland region of eastern Germany from Bitburger Brewing Group for an undisclosed price. The transaction, announced on 12 October 2020, is pending regulatory approval. Read on

Switzerland – Difficult year for Swiss breweries

The covid-19 pandemic is also proving calamitous for breweries. Due to restaurants, bars and concert halls having been closed for months, and major events being cancelled, beer sales in the 2019/2020 brewing year (until 30 September) are likely to be significantly lower than in the previous year. It is estimated that on-premise beer sales slumped by 40 percent in the first half of the year. The most dramatic decline was in April, when on-premise sales tanked by 80 percent during the lockdown. Read on

Europe – Governments warn of new lockdowns

Governments across Europe have enforced new restrictions to slow the spread of covid-19. Unable to prevent people from socialising and fearful of the consequences of another lockdown, they resort to the only measure they have: closing pubs and bars. Governments are struggling with a sharp rise in infections, especially among the young, as the pandemic’s second wave arrives ahead of the northern hemisphere’s flu season. Read on

Global – 2020 beer output may decline up to 14 percent

Per its modelling, the global supplier of hop products, BarthHaas, estimates that this year global beer output could drop between 8 percent and 14 percent over 2019 because of the covid-19 pandemic. In 2019, around 1.9 billion hl beer were produced in 170 countries. If BarthHaas’s forecasts are realistic – and there is no reason to doubt them – brewers across the world could lose between 150 million hl and 260 million hl in beer sales this year. For comparison: in 2019, South American breweries churned out 230 million hl beer. Read on

United Kingdom – Home working forces pub chains to axe jobs

The government’s decision to encourage people to work from home has hit city centre pubs hard. The pub chain Fuller’s told the BBC it may have to lay off up to 10 percent of its staff – about 500 people. Fuller’s owns about 400 pubs and hotels in the UK, with many in central London, and employs almost 5,000 people. The firm also criticised the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants as “illogical” and “ill-conceived”. It is still working out how many staff will have to be made redundant, but said it will be at least 10 percent. Read on

Vietnam – Sabeco proves a drag on ThaiBev’s results

It wasn’t covid-19 that has hit Sabeco, the country’s major brewer, hard, but tough drunken-driving penalties, which were introduced in January 2020. Beer consumption dropped 23 percent in the first half of 2020, and is only recovering slowly. It stood at 46 million hl in 2019, up 7 percent from 2018. Drinking beer is one of Vietnam’s national pastimes. But even popular bars have struggled to fill their seats after the government clamped down on drunken drivers. Inebriated motorcyclists now face a fine of up to USD 350 and can have their license revoked for up to two years. Read on

Japan – Brewers hope revised beer tax will boost pandemic-hit sales

Brewers reeling from the drop in on-premise sales will get some relief from the long-awaited revisions to the liquor tax system that were implemented in October 2020. Read on

India – AB-InBev and Indian Hotels Company open first brewpub

Despite a six-month delay due to the covid-19 induced lockdown, the Indian Hotels Company Limited (IHCL) and AB-InBev are on course to open the planned 15 such microbreweries in the next five years. Their first brewpub, 7Rivers, threw open its doors at the hotel Taj-MG Road in Bengaluru (formerly known as Bangalore) – a year after the two announced their joint venture. IHCL is a subsidiary of the Tata Group, a large conglomerate whose investments range from metal, telecommunications, to automobile and software industries. It manages hotels and resorts, the chain of Taj luxury hotels among them. The next brewpub will open at a Taj hotel in Goa, followed by one in Mumbai. Read on


Germany – Coronavirus pandemic creates crisis for brewers

The covid-19 pandemic will have a massive impact on the German brewing industry. According to an industry survey, conducted by the German Brewers Association (DBB), beer sales dropped 16 percent in the first half of 2020, while turnover declined 18 percent over the same period last year. For the full year 2020, the member breweries of the DBB expect sales to decrease by at least 14 percent and turnover to drop by 16 percent. Read on

Germany – Return of the patio heaters?

Publicans tend to regard the end of summer with a certain wistfulness. But the idea of a cold and wet autumn under coronavirus restrictions is a real horror scenario for them. Is this the moment of the patio heater? Patio heaters, also called umbrella or mushroom heaters, are the bête noire of climate savers. Because they often run on gas, they have been likened to coal-fired power stations on wheels, spewing forth CO2 like there is no tomorrow. Pointing to their negative impact on the environment, they were outlawed for use in hospitality venues about ten years ago. Read on

Germany – When is a lemonade a lemonade?

How bizarre: Because its lemonade contains less than the prescribed amount of sugar, the Hamburg manufacturer Lemonaid has already received two cease and desist warnings. It is now calling for new guidelines for these products. The Bonn Office for Consumer Protection, a watchdog, accused Lemonaid of misleading labelling because one of its lemonades doesn’t contain the prescribed minimum sugar content of 7 grams per 100 ml. It has only 5.6 grams per 100 ml. Lemonaid is thus violating the guidelines for lemonades. The authority suggested that the manufacturer either rename the product or increase the sugar content. Read on

Germany – Oktoberfest 1900: beer and blood … and now on Netflix

Munich’s publicans weren’t amused when the TV mini-series “Oktoberfest 1900” was aired in September to coincide with the 2020 Oktoberfest, sadly cancelled due to the pandemic. Their – fictional – predecessors in this epic historical crime drama are two-faced sleazebags, switching from suave burghers to bloodthirsty thugs in their battles to control the Oktoberfest. The series doesn’t present a celebratory vision of Munich at the turn of 19th century. There are no elegant ladies and their chivalrous paramours digging into their pork knuckles. Instead, Munich is shown as a cauldron of violence and conflict: there is murder, rape, intrigue and blackmail. Read on

France – Heineken trials in-store beer taps in Paris supermarket

The covid-19 pandemic forces brewers to get more creative. Long a feature of US supermarkets, Heineken has finally latched onto the concept in Europe. The brewer is running a trial for draught beer dispensers and returnable growlers in a supermarket in Paris. Read on

USA – Yuengling expands distribution with Molson Coors joint venture

Looks like brewer Molson Coors has lots of spare capacity. In September 2020 Molson Coors Beverage and D.G. Yuengling & Son formed a joint venture that will expand the reach of America’s oldest brewery to millions more drinkers outside its mostly East Coast distribution territory. The Brewers Association has counted Yuengling as its biggest member since 2014, ahead of Boston Beer and Sierra Nevada. It sold 3 million hl beer in 2019. Its biggest seller is a brand called Traditional Lager, which is exactly what it says. Read on



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