News - Anheuser Busch InBev, AB InBev

News - Anheuser Busch InBev, AB InBev

Anheuser Busch InBev, AB InBev

USASt. Louis, MO


News - Anheuser Busch InBev, AB InBev


USA: Trouble brewing in craft beer industry over government shutdown  (

There's trouble brewing in the craft beer industry over the government shutdown, reported on January 12.

Because the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has been furloughed by the partial government shutdown, breweries have been unable to secure necessary approvals from the agency's tax and trade bureau — ranging from permits for new facilities to new labels on cans.

In a business dependent on releasing and marketing new beers regularly to quench its customers' expectations for novelty, those delays could potentially be financially devastating.

"It’s really that question mark that’s the scary part, because we don’t have that end in sight," Mariah Scanlon, brand manager for Smuttlab, a line from Smuttynose Brewing Company in Hampton, New Hampshire, told NBC News.

"You can’t develop a contingency strategy without knowing how long [the shutdown] is going to go on."

To ship beer over state lines, breweries need certificates of label approvals from the ATF's trade bureau for any new packaging or beer branding. Last year alone, the government agency processed 34,166 label applications for malt beverages, an average of 93.6 a day, according to the trade group, the Brewers Association.

Brewers producing new recipes that fall outside the bureau's pre-approved list also require a formula approval.

As the shutdown lingers, a backlog of those requests continue to pile up, ensuring that the approval delays will stretch even after the bureau gets back to work.

“It’s tough being a small owner and the craft beer industry is a tough industry to be in," said Rob Burns, co-founder and president of Night Shift Brewing in Everett, Massachusetts.

"Business is really so unpredictable and fragile and things that are completely out of control can have a big impact on us," Burns said.

"It’s not just us that gets hurt, it’s also the retailers and bar owners. I think the damage of this situation is going to be really hard to calculate and far reaching.”

Particularly hard-hit have been those waiting for the processing of "brewer’s notices," permits for new breweries or expansions of existing facilities. The latter has left a bad taste in the mouths of the ownership of the Alementary Brewing Company in Hackensack, New Jersey.

Co-owner Michael Roosevelt told "NBC Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt on Thursday that the company recently invested $1 million in capital equipment and other costs to lease a new facility across the street from its current brewhouse to increase production.

Without official approval, it's become little more than an anchor threatening to submerge the company deep into debt.

"I'm feeling the pinch right now because ... I was expecting that approval this month," Roosevelt said. "I'm spending about a thousand dollars a day between my lease, utilities and the equipment and I was expecting to start seeing some revenue in the next couple of weeks.

"With the shutdown continuing for who knows how long I don’t know when I'm going to get some revenue which means that I'm going to quickly get to a point where I don't have a thousand dollars a day to keep spending."

In a sign of how much the lapse in appropriations is slowing down the ATF, a representative told NBC News that the agency is no longer officially responding to requests for comment on any subjects not related to national security.

"There is one part of the TTB that is still operational: They’re still collecting beverage excise taxes," said Jen Kimmich, co-owner of Alchemy Beer, the maker of Heady Topper, a favorite of IPA connoisseurs, referring to the tax and trade bureau.

While the permits are necessary for breweries across the industry, the bureaucratic standstill is hitting midsize companies particularly hard, said Burns. Smaller breweries that just serve their beer in taprooms or at local bars do not need the approvals, and the larger industry titans, like Anheuser-Busch, can easily absorb the financial hit with their signature brands. It's the mid-tier breweries that have taken the biggest hit.

"The craft beer industry accounts for more than 23 percent of the $111.4 billion U.S. beer market, and small breweries and beermakers introduce new and seasonal products with less lead time than larger breweries, making delays in permits are particularly impactful,” Brewers Association President and CEO Bob Pease said in a statement.

Many of the affected breweries have been forced to improvise.

Cape May Brewing Co. had drawn up plans months ago to introduce a new beer called Eminently Drinkable at Boston's prestigious Extreme Beer Festival — down to the recipe, the design and the label. Once the shutdown threw the applications in limbo, however, the brewery scrambled to come up with a Plan B in time.

"We did have a brand-approved label for a Beer Name Ale that was originally just meant to be a placeholder," says marketing director Alicia Grasso. "So now we're going to Boston under that name."

"We were going to go to that festival no matter what," she said.


USA: Craft beer production growth flattens  (

The heady days of the craft beer industry have given way to slower growth as small and independent brewers face stiffer competition on the retail shelf, especially from the “Big Beer” sector, the Press Democrat reported on September 6.

The news at the fourth annual California Craft Beer Summit in Sacramento on September 6 wasn’t all that bad, though. The United States should reach an all-time high of about 7,000 breweries — the vast majority of them small brewers — by year end and the craft sector is on pace for a 5 percent increase in production compared with 2017, said Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association, the trade group representing independent and craft breweries nationwide.

Yet, the mood inside the Sacramento Convention Center was more subdued than in past years for an industry that posted 18 percent annual production growth as recently as 2014. Industry officials had conceded that level of robust growth would be unsustainable over the long haul for the $26 billion-a-year U.S. craft beer sector.

The smaller growth numbers this year, however, also coincided with some high-profile setbacks, among them San Diego’s Green Flash Brewing Co. scaling back its national distribution ambition to a few Western states due to financial woes that forced the sale of the company.

The North Bay has not been immune to the changing industry currents, as both Mendocino Brewing Co. in Ukiah and Carneros Brewing Co. in Sonoma closed this year. A local investor is attempting to revive Mendocino Brewing on a much smaller scale.

“It’s a slower growth rate. It’s a changing growth rate from what we have seen. The old order is being disrupted. It’s the order that we thought was in place five years ago,” Watson said.

The craft beer slowdown comes as big wholesalers have consolidated to gain greater market share, making it much harder for smaller brewers to secure local, regional and national retail distribution deals. In addition, the two largest U.S. brewers — Anheuser-Busch Cos. and MillerCoors — have in recent years acquired about 20 smaller craft brewers.

“There are a lot of clouds on the horizon,” said Joe Whitney, chief commercial officer for Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. of Chico. The family-owned operation is the third-largest craft brewery in the country. “You don’t have to look too far to see what has caused that.”

Still, Sonoma County has a thriving craft beer business with about 30 breweries. By comparison, there are 467 wineries in unincorporated areas of Sonoma County. While the local area is noted for its wine tourism, beer tourism is steadily catching up. For example, 400,000 people visited Russian River Brewing Co.’s downtown Santa Rosa taproom last year even with the October wildfires. And that taproom is one of the county’s top tourist destinations.

Despite the headwinds, more craft beer industry expansion activity is scheduled for the fall in the county to specifically capitalize on beer tourism.

“Visiting breweries has become a great business,” Watson said. “It probably provides the majority of dollars for a few people in this room.”

Russian River will open its more than $30 million brewery and restaurant in Windsor and Seismic Brewing Co. of Santa Rosa will debut its first taproom in Sebastopol. Another entry will be 3 Disciples Brewing Co., slated to open a taproom just north of the reunified Old Courthouse Square by November.

“I have people calling late at night asking where they can find our beers,” said James Claus, a co-founder and brewmaster for 3 Disciples, in a phone interview.

The brewery now has a small production facility in Sebastopol and its beers are only available on tap at a few local restaurants and taprooms. The Santa Rosa taproom should have 12 draft beers with at least half of the selection rotating and featuring sour beers and Belgian-style ales. The plan is to eventually add food service.

The local craft brewing business is much more competitive now than four years ago, Claus said, when he and his partners started planning the brewery. The self-financed 3 Disciples was able to generate good word-of-mouth buzz among local craft beer lovers, making it less risky to open the taproom as opposed to being a new entrant, he said.

“We probably wouldn’t jump in the game now seeing the amount of breweries out there,” Claus added.

Brian Hunt, founder of Moonlight Brewing Co. in Santa Rosa, said the sector is ending its phase of “irrational exuberance” — borrowing a phrase former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan used to describe the late 1990’s dot-com bubble.

Hunt sold half of his Moonlight stake to Lagunitas Brewing Co. of Petaluma in 2016 to help secure its future because his children don’t want to operate the business. Lagunitas is owned by international brewer Heineken International.

“There will always be room for more (breweries) and there will always be failures,” Hunt said.


USA: AB InBev moves craft beer portfolio into standalone business  (

Anheuser-Busch InBev has moved its US craft beer portfolio into a standalone business unit as part of a shake-up of its High End division, the company announced.

The new unit houses all 12 of A-B InBev's North American craft beer brands, including Goose Island, 10 Barrel Brewing and Elysian Brewing Co. The unit is led by Felipe Szpigel, head of the High End since it was set up in 2014.

Meanwhile, sales and marketing for The High End's non-craft brands, which include Stella Artois, Estrella Jalisco and Shock Top, have moved to AB InBev's core US sales and marketing team. At the same time, dedicated sales and marketing resources have been given to the brewer's 'Beyond Beer' segment, which includes non-alcoholic drinks such as Teavana and flavoured malt beverages such as Lime-a-Rita and SpikedSeltzer.

Announcing the changes last week, Anheuser-Busch, the US unit of AB InBev, said: "[This] is an important step to better align our commercial structure with our new long-term business strategy, specifically as it relates to premiumisation and innovation.

"We are encouraged by the early signs of growth that have been reported, and believe this new structure offers us the best opportunity to build on the momentum."

Newsgrafik #33911

Budweiser Celebrates Summer with New Freedom Reserve Red Lager  (Company news)

Budweiser unveiled the newest addition to its Reserve Collection – Budweiser Freedom Reserve Red Lager. The new beer was specially brewed by Budweiser’s own veterans and builds on Budweiser’s long-standing support of American veterans with a portion of proceeds sold this summer benefiting Folds of Honor -- a nonprofit organization providing educational scholarships to military families. As of this year, the company has raised $14 Million in support of Folds of Honor.

“To call Budweiser a partner would be an understatement – they are considered family to us and the 3,000 families their donations help to support,” said Major Dan Rooney, founder and CEO of Folds of Honor. “Freedom Reserve is a great testament to their unwavering dedication and compassion for our armed forces and we salute them.”

Freedom Reserve Red Lager is the second specialty lager to appear in Budweiser’s Reserve Collection and is inspired by George Washington’s hand-penned recipe from his personal military journal dating back to 1757. Packaged both in a vintage stubby bottle and also available in a one-pint can, the Red Lager is brewed with toasted barley grains for a slightly sweet aroma with a touch of hops, a rich caramel malt taste and a smooth finish with a hint of molasses. Marking the seventh consecutive year Budweiser is teaming up with Folds of Honor, the brand brought together a select group of Budweiser brewers who are also proud veterans to brew Freedom Reserve and their signatures are prominently featured on each bottle and can.

We are incredibly proud of our Freedom Reserve Red Lager because it was passionately brewed by our veteran brewers who have bravely served our country,” said Ricardo Marques, vice president, Budweiser. “With Freedom Reserve we remain dedicated to our mission to support our veterans and their families through our longstanding partnership with Folds of Honor.”

As the great American lager, Budweiser is committed to supporting U.S. veterans and their families, with the brand’s total contributions helping to benefit more than 3,000 families across the country. To help spread the message of support this summer, Budweiser will deploy a fully integrated marketing campaign for Freedom Reserve, complete with in-store displays, online advertising and digital marketing programming along with new national TV creative airing during marquee sports moments, including the NBA Finals and NHL Stanley Cup Finals. Freedom Reserve is available from May through September 30, or while limited supplies last.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)

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Anheuser-Busch Announces U.S. 2025 Sustainability Goals  (Company news)

Launches 100% Renewable Electricity Symbol on Budweiser Packaging in U.S.

Anheuser-Busch launched its U.S. 2025 Sustainability Goals, focused on four key areas: renewable electricity and carbon reduction, water stewardship, smart agriculture, and circular packaging. The ambitious goals, which build on the 2025 Global Sustainability Goals recently announced by the brewer’s parent company AB InBev, will guide and further Anheuser-Busch’s industry-leading sustainability efforts in the U.S. through 2025:
-Renewable Electricity and Carbon Reduction: 100% of purchased electricity will come from renewable sources; and CO2 emissions across the value chain will be reduced by 25%
-Water Stewardship: 100% of facilities will be engaged in water efficiency efforts; and 100% of communities in high stress areas will have measurably improved water availability and quality
-Smart Agriculture: 100% of direct farmers will be highly skilled, connected and financially empowered
-Circular Packaging: 100% of packaging will be made from majority recycled content or will be returnable

Anheuser-Busch recognizes the huge opportunity it has to help protect the environment and inspire its partners to do the same. As beer is a natural product, a healthy environment is crucial to the brewing process. In fact, 98 percent of the primary ingredients used in the beers Anheuser-Busch proudly brews are grown in the U.S.

“We take great pride in our sustainability efforts and our long history of striving to be good stewards of the environment. Now, we are challenging ourselves to do more,” said Michel Doukeris, CEO of Anheuser-Busch. “Our company has been around for 165 years, and these goals will ensure that we continue to make meaningful contributions toward building strong communities and a healthy environment for the next 165 years.”

In conjunction with the announcement of the Goals, Budweiser today launched the 100% Renewable Electricity symbol, which will appear on its U.S. packaging beginning on Earth Day (4/22). The symbol celebrates that Anheuser-Busch, through its partnership with Enel Green Power, now secures 50 percent of its purchased electricity from wind power — more than the electricity used to brew Budweiser in the U.S. each year.

This is just one of many examples of the progress Anheuser-Busch, together with its craft partners, has made toward building a better world:
-The company’s 12 major breweries boast a 99.8 percent recycling rate
-Over the past decade, Anheuser-Busch’s major breweries have reduced water usage by 46 percent —saving the equivalent of 73 billion 12oz servings of beer
-Last year, Anheuser-Busch launched its Elevate platform through which the brewer is working with its 10 craft partners on sustainability efforts, including installing solar panels across their facilities, which will transition to 100 percent purchased renewable electricity by 2020
-The brewer has also pioneered new barley varieties that produce high yields using 40 percent less water
-To reduce the environmental impact of its supply chain, Anheuser-Busch last year committed to purchasing 40 Tesla electric powered trucks

“This is a team effort — together with our wholesalers, suppliers, retailers, NGOs and government partners and more than 18,000 colleagues across the country — we’re committed to driving change, not just within our facilities, but in the broader communities where we live, work and play,” added Ingrid De Ryck, VP Procurement and Sustainability, Anheuser-Busch. “We firmly believe that investing in a more sustainable future not only brings us closer to realizing our dream of a better world, it moves our business forward.”
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


USA: AB InBev launching lager inspired by George Washington's handwritten recipe  (

Budweiser went to the history books for its latest lager, USA Today reported on May 2.

A new beer the massive brewer is rolling out this month, Freedom Reserve Red Lager, is inspired by a handwritten recipe found in George Washington’s military journal kept during the French and Indian War in 1757.

Meant to celebrate U.S. veterans and American history, the red lager is made by Budweiser brewers who are also "proud veterans," the company says. Proceeds benefit Folds of Honor, a non-profit group that provides educational scholarships to military families.

This is the latest marketing move by Budweiser to tap into historical notes for its beers. Two years ago, Budweiser was available in packaging labeled "America" on cans and bottles. And in October 2017, the brewery released its first Reserve Collection beer, 1933 Repeal Reserve Amber Lager, which celebrated the end of Prohibition.

This second Reserve Collection beer, Freedom Reserve Red Lager, was described by Washington as a "small beer" in his journal, which is online in the Digital Public Library of America.

A small beer, which typically was of lower quality and lower alcohol, would have been ideal for brewing by soldiers, the library entry notes. Washington enjoyed beer and brewed stronger, better beers at Mount Vernon, it says.

Budweiser's 5.4% alcohol beer based on Washington's recipe will not be hop-heavy but will have "a rich caramel malt taste and a smooth finish with a hint of molasses," the company says in a news release announcing the beer.

The beer will begin showing up at retailers this month and will be available through September or while supplies last. "We are incredibly proud of our Freedom Reserve Red Lager because it was passionately brewed by our veteran brewers who have bravely served our country,” Budweiser Vice President Ricardo Marques said in a statement.

Freedom Reserve Red Lager is just one of several new recipes Budweiser has in the works to energize sales. Scheduled for release in September is another limited-edition beer, Budweiser Reserve Copper Lager, which is aged on Jim Beam bourbon barrel staves.

Don't want to go out to get Bud's new beer? Bud is teaming with alcohol delivery service Drizly to give new customers $5 off their first delivery with the code "Freedom," through July 15.

This is not the first time the founding fathers have served up inspiration to brewers. Blue Point Brewing Co., made its own beer from Washington’s military journal two years ago. Anheuser-Busch acquired the Patchogue, N.Y. brewery in 2014.

Yards Brewing of Philadelphia has made George Washington’s Tavern Porter, which is inspired by Washington’s descriptions, since 1999. It also makes Thomas Jefferson’s Tavern Ale, based on Jefferson’s recipe of beer made at his Monticello home, and Poor Richard’s Tavern Spruce, an amber ale based on Benjamin Franklin’s original recipe.


USA: Big brewers struggling to tap into shifting consumer trends  (

Once the undisputed kings of beer in the US, AB InBev and MillerCoors are struggling to curtail a multi-year slump in sales of their top brands and re-energize brews that have failed to keep pace with changing consumer tastes and trends, Food Dive reported on April 26.

"If you could go back in a time machine you would say, 'Shoot, I wish back then that we had started to follow those trends that were growing,' ...but we recognize it now and we're fixing it," Greg Butler, vice president of Miller Brands at MillerCoors, told Food Dive. "We held on to the equation for too long."

The major beer producers are facing threats on several fronts as Americans move away from domestic lagers in favor of Mexican imports, craft beers and wine and spirits. A growing number of consumers are also turning to low-calorie and no- or low-alcohol brews as part of a broader health and wellness trend sweeping the food and beverage industry.

Despite a host of new products tied to these preferences and trends, the big players in U.S. beer continue to struggle to curtail slumping sales and stem the loss in market share. Total beer shipments declined 1.3% in 2017, led by sharp drops among flagship products including Budweiser (-6.8%), Coors Light (-4.1%), Miller Lite (-2.8%) and the most popular U.S. brand, Bud Light (-5.7%).

But while the market-leading beers are still providing lucrative sources of revenue and product volume for their owners, manufacturers are not oblivious to the fact that for the industry — and their bottom lines — to rebound, they need to reinvent these beverages, giving consumers more reasons to drink them instead of competitors.

"If we can't get our big legacy brand stabilized, the math just doesn't work," Butler told attendees at the Beverage Forum in Chicago, noting a 1% drop in Coors Light requires a 12% increase in the company's Blue Moon brand to offset the decline. "The thing we always hear across CPGs is, 'How do you rebuild a legacy brand from a different generation for today's generation, especially when consumer needs are changing, and what consumers are looking for are changing?' "

The major beer manufactures have expanded their presence in many of the trends impacting the industry through acquisitions and internal innovation.

Executives at the AB InBev, the world's largest brewer, have gobbled up craft breweries in recent years — including Wicked Weed, Devils Backbone and Karbach Brewing. They've worked to position Stella Artois as a premium brand; introduced Bud Light Orange flavored with real orange peels, and partnered with Jim Beam to create a limited-edition beverage aged in bourbon barrel staves called Budweiser Reserve Copper Lager.

And AB InBev has continued to benefit from growth in its Michelob Ultra brand, a pricier, low-calorie beer that has boosted sales annually since 2011. With a 21% increase a year ago, it's the fastest-growing beer in the country during the last few years — showing if the product meets the needs of the consumer, sales will follow. AB InBev recently expanded the brand by adding 7-ounce bottles to attract more weeknight consumption and introduced Michelob Ultra Pure Gold, which is made with organic grains and has slightly fewer calories and carbs than the original.

For its part, MillerCoors introduced a new light beer called Two Hats in lime and pineapple flavors. It has a tagline of "Good, Cheap Beer" and quirky ads to appeal to millennial drinkers who are less status conscious and more budget conscious. Molson Coors, which owns MillerCoors, also has added craft players to its lineup and expanded its reach into other beverages after purchasing Aspall Cider, a nearly 300-year-old maker of premium ciders and specialty vinegars.

So far, MillerCoors and AB InBev have struggled to generate meaningful consumer traction from these and other investments. AB InBev's volume share of the U.S. beer market, by far its largest, has fallen from 49.8% in 2009 to 41.5% a year ago. MillerCoors has seen its position erode during the same period to 25%, a drop of 5.1%, according to trade group data.

"You see these consumer trends and our portfolio not being adjusted to this. You see that the market is moving in a direction and we need to catch up,” Michel Doukeris, who began overseeing AB InBev's Anheuser-Busch division in January, told Food Dive. “Trends are very brutal because they change directions, and if your portfolio is not very well aligned with those trends, you end up being behind.”

Doukeris expressed concern about the company's recent struggles and loss of market share, but was confident the steps it is taking are positioning it for future growth.

”I think we always need to do more,” he said. "At the end of day, the [sales] results, they're a very clear expression as to whether you are doing enough.”

Brian Sudano, a managing partner with the Beverage Marketing Corporation, said at the Beverage Forum that AB InBev's focus on health and wellness — and commitment to have 20% of its sales volume coming from its low- or no-alcohol portfolio by 2025 — were among the signs that the beer giant is on the right track.

“There are a lot of things going on that point to a competitor that is starting to gain their footing,” Sudano said at the conference.

Analysts speaking at the Beverage Forum applauded the job Constellation Brands has done marketing its Mexican brands — including Corona and Modelo Especial — to stand out from its competitors and give people a reason to pay up for the products. Constellation, which controls 90% of the premium beer market, posted robust volume growth of 8.9% in 2017, its fourth straight year leading the industry.

“If you look at the marketing job that Constellation has done, it has really been phenomenal in terms of differentiating their brands and getting people to buy those particular beers that tend to be lagers," Robert Ottenstein, senior managing director at Evercore ISI, said at the conference Wednesday. "This is really great marketing, and I don’t think we should sell short marketing with these companies.”

Paul Hetterich, president of Constellation's beer division, said the company's success isn't so much tied to its Mexican beers, but is about the steps it has taken to establish them as premium brands attractive to the consumer. The company hasn't overhauled its label, formula or how it markets the products. It only recently launched a new higher-priced, low-calorie light beer called Corona Premier — its first new Corona-branded product in 29 years.

“We probably wouldn't sell as much Corona today if it were priced the same as domestic light beers, which I know sounds crazy," Hetterich said at the conference. "The consumer wants to trade up. They want ... a premium product for certain occasions.”

Even craft beer, which rose 5% in 2017, is starting to experience its share of growing pains as the industry and its estimated 6,000 players mature. Some craft breweries have experienced a drop in sales as more competitors enter the segment and deep-pocketed megabrewers muscle themselves into the space.

The shakeout is proving to be especially damaging to the major beer companies who have collectively spent billions to boost their craft portfolios, only to find that growing these brands beyond their core markets can be difficult as consumers demand more locally made products.

In a study released at the conference, the Beverage Marketing Corporation found 60% of 3,900 bartenders surveyed said a beer was not craft if it was owned by a big brewery, mass produced or had no local connection. This could have long-term implications because bartenders may be less inclined to sell or recommend a beer owned by a major brewery if they don't believe it's craft.

“This creates another set of issues, which makes it difficult for the major brewers to extend craft beers beyond the local market and that might be behind some of the challenges we see,” Sudano said.

In an interview, Miller Brands' Butler echoed a common theme repeated by beer executives who spoke at the Beverage Forum. Consumers have an increasingly wide array of beverages to choose from — including thousands of beers ranging from craft to the flagship macrobrews. They need to be given reasons to want the product, whether that's through meaningful marketing or specific attributes of the brand.

"Consumers do care about their beer and what they're drinking," he said. "Choice is important and you have to have a compelling difference and you have to stand for something. For us, it's simply can we offer a better value proposition in our portfolio to" grow?


USA: Beam Suntory and AB InBev to create limited-edition collaboration beer  (

Beam Suntory and AB InBev’s Jim Beam and Budweiser brands will collaborate for the first time to create a new limited-edition beer for the US market, which will go sale later this year, reported on April 4.

The collaboration will see the creation of the Budweiser Reserve Copper Lager, which will be released to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the end of prohibition in the US.

Set for release in September, the lager will be brewed using two-row barley before being aged in Jim Beam barrels to give the drink an oaky aroma and a slightly nutty taste.

Ricardo Marques, vice-president of marketing for Budweiser said: “We are very excited about this partnership not only because both brands share common history but also an obsession for quality and a decade’s long connection to America.

“This is a truly unique partnership and innovation that will surely drive excitement with our drinkers.”

Rob Mason, vice-president of marketing for Jim Beam added: “This partnership feels especially natural given our brands’ common values and the pivotal roles they’ve both played in American history.

“Our family distillers have produced ‘America’s Native Spirit’ since 1795, using traditions and techniques passed down through the generations. This is another exciting milestone in Jim Beam’s history.”


USA: AB InBev could be about to ramp up its craft beer activity - analyst  (

Anheuser-Busch InBev could be about to ramp up its craft beer activity after recent industry figures show its current craft breweries lagging the US market, an analyst has forecast.

Citing IRI data, SIG's Pablo Zuanic wrote this week that AB InBev's US craft beer volumes in the eight weeks to 17 December grew by just over 2%, below the estimated mid-single-digit growth for overall US craft beer. Zuanic said this was a poor performance, especially for a company that is under-represented in the craft area - about 2% of AB InBev's portfolio, compared to 12% for the US industry.

To help boost growth, Zuanic believes AB InBev "will likely need to ramp up its craft strategy". The analyst said this could include picking up its buy option on Craft Brew Alliance, in which AB InBev already owns a minority stake. As part of an agreement signed last year, AB InBev has the option to take full control of CBA in a clause that expires in August 2019.

AB InBev has bought ten US craft brewers so far, starting with Chicago's Goose Island in 2011 and ending in May with North Carolina's Wicked Weed. Goose Island has more than quadrupled volumes since its takeover, and its beers are now produced around the country. However, for other acquisitions, AB InBev has concentrated on regional sales.

Digging deeper into IRI's eight-week numbers, Zuanic said Goose Island volumes fell 10% in the eight-week period and Shock Top was down 13%. The brands are AB InBev's biggest craft volume players, representing about 60% of its total craft beer business. The biggest increases were for Elysian (+70%) and Karbach (+8%).

This is not the first time that Zuanic has highlighted a potential sale of CBA. Last month, he said AB InBev may take full control of the company within the next year.


USA: Big beer sales continue to slide  (

When it rains, it pours, the old saying goes, but unfortunately for the U.S.' biggest brewers, beer drinkers aren't pouring as many of their pints as they once did. Instead, they've turned to craft beer and, increasingly, Mexican imports, the Motley Fool reported on December 21.

In its third-quarter earnings report last month, Anheuser-Busch InBev saw its own production and sales fall. The megabrewer said North American volumes fell over 6% to 31.9 million hectoliters, while revenues were down 5% to $4.3 billion. Year to date, they're down almost 4% and 2.5%, respectively, suggesting the downturn is accelerating.

In particular, global Budweiser sales were down 2.2% in the third quarter, but if you removed U.S. sales from the picture, they were actually up 4.4%.

Similarly, Molson Coors also reported a decline in volumes and sales in the U.S. for its Miller Lite brand, though global volumes inched ahead 0.7% for the period. The brand was, however, able to gain market share in the U.S. premium light beer segment, the 12th consecutive quarter it had done so.

While big beers like Budweiser and Miller Lite continue to see sales slide, craft beer, which despite the decline in its growth rate is still actually growing, now represents over 12% of the total U.S. beer market. The industry trade group Brewers Association says there are now more than 6,000 breweries operating in the U.S., more than at any time in the country's history, and 95% of them are regional and craft breweries.

But the megabrewers are still that - mega. The Brewers Association's annual list of the biggest brewing companies in the U.S., based on beer sales volume, not surprisingly found Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, and Pabst Blue Ribbon to be the three biggest brewers, though D.G. Yuengling & Son reprised its position as the largest craft brewer and the fourth-largest brewer overall.

And when it comes to 2016 dollar sales, the market researchers at IRI found the biggest brands were the usual suspects, too.

What might not have been expected, however, was the enduring popularity of Miller Lite after MillerCoors was sold as part of Anheuser-Busch's acquisition of SABMiller last year. As noted earlier, although sales have continued to ebb away here in the U.S., management has hinted that Miller Lite was on the rise and was "on track to become the number three beer in America."

And now it's achieved that distinction, though it's more due to Budweiser falling faster than Miller Lite. At a recent area conference for business executives hosted by the Milwaukee Business Journal, the news site reported MillerCoors CEO Gavin Hattersley announced Miller Lite had finally surpassed Budweiser as the third-largest beer. It still has a long way to go before it catches up to No. 2 Coors Light, let alone top-ranked Bud Light, but the achievement is significant nonetheless.

It also suggests Miller Lite may yet move higher. Nielsen data shows Bud Light sales falling by 5.7% over the first nine months of 2017, while Coors Light was down 3.4%. Miller Lite, falling at the much slower rate of just 1.7%, can actually gain position simply by attrition.

This means that although light beer is now solidly the most favored type of beer in the U.S., it is a rapidly shrinking pool. As super-premium beers, wine, and spirits all gain ascendance, Miller Lite might end up king of the mini-keg rather than the beer barrel.


EU & Japan: Asahi Group to ramp up sales of its Super Dry beer in Europe  (

Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. will ramp up sales of its top-selling Super Dry beer in Europe with local production aided by faster integration of last year’s $11 billion purchase of brands from Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, Bloomberg reported on September 21.

Japan’s largest brewer will produce Super Dry in Padua, Italy, starting this month and sell the premium brand in Italy and the U.K. by January, President Akiyoshi Koji said in an interview on September 21. Koji had previously expected sales to begin in 2019.

Asahi sees overseas sales of Super Dry in Europe and other markets outside of China, Hong Kong and the U.S. almost doubling to 11 million cases within five years on distribution efficiencies. Koji said the brewer is also hoping to use its Super Dry brand to build a stronger presence in the U.S. as it seeks ways of expanding its sales channels there.

Asahi is reaping benefits after strengthening its foothold in the European beer market with last year’s purchase of brands that catapulted it to be among the four biggest brewers on the continent. The Japanese company has been stepping up expansion overseas as demand at home wanes and local competition with rivals like Kirin Holdings Co. intensifies.

The Padua factory that is producing Super Dry is part of the European assets acquired last year.

“I tried the beer there before production began, and the taste was the same as in Japan,” Koji, 65, said at the brewer’s headquarters in Tokyo.

The company is targeting 35 percent to 36 percent of its total operating profit to come from overseas within five to six years, up from a forecast of 31 percent for 2017. In August, Asahi raised its full-year profit forecast by 15 percent based on contributions from its European acquisitions as well as better-than-expected performance in its soft drinks and food businesses.

Asahi’s goals for Europe are ambitious and the U.K. presents the biggest opportunity for Super Dry, said Euan McLeish, a Bernstein & Co. analyst in Hong Kong. “Asahi has set some extremely bold growth targets for the European business,” he said. “Producing Super Dry in Italy is a small step in the right direction.”

Buying into Europe is part of Asahi’s plan to become a global premium beer company alongside Heineken NV and Anheuser-Busch InBev. Asahi in March completed the purchase of the beer business previously owned by SABMiller, including the popular Czech beer Pilsner Urquell. Last year, Asahi closed on a deal to buy Peroni Nastro Azzurro and other beer brands from Anheuser-Busch InBev, which took over SABMiller.

Koji said Asahi would start selling Pilsner Urquell and Peroni in Japan next year.

Asahi’s Super Dry, Japan’s first dry draft beer, was unveiled in 1987 and sold 200,000 cases in the first two weeks. In 1997, the brew was introduced in 12 European countries via imports.

Although Asahi has little presence in the U.S., Koji said he would like to find new outlets to sell Super Dry in the world’s largest economy besides Japanese restaurants, where the beer is most commonly proffered. Koji said he wants to focus on Asahi’s own premium brand rather than craft beer in the U.S. He added he believes there is room in the global market for the taste of Japanese beer.

“Growing Super Dry has the highest priority in North America for us,” Koji said.

Meanwhile, its rivals have been busy making deals in craft brews. Sapporo Holdings Ltd. agreed earlier this year to acquire Anchor Brewing Co., a century-old San Francisco brewer that helped pioneer the craft-beer movement. Kirin, Japan’s second-biggest brewer, acquired about 25 percent of closely held Brooklyn Brewery for an undisclosed sum last year.

Asahi has been shedding some assets to pay for its acquisitions. In June, the Japanese company said it’s selling its remaining stake in a joint venture with Tianjin-based Tingyi Cayman Islands Holding Corp. Asahi also hired Morgan Stanley to advise on the potential sale of its 20 percent holding in Tsingtao Brewery Co. Koji reiterated the company will decide what to do about the stake by the end of this year.

Newsgrafik #33053

Bud Light Kicks Off the 2017 NFL Season with All-New Team Cans  (Company news)

With the 2017-2018 NFL season set to kickoff on Thursday, September 7, Bud Light — the official beer of the NFL — is excited to announce its continuing partnership with all-new team-themed packaging.

America’s favorite light lager will celebrate the new season with 28 new designs that feature the official logo and catchphrase or rallying cry for each NFL franchise. Available in both cans and aluminum bottles, fans can be the MVP of their Sunday kickoff party by picking up a specially marked 36-pack containing all 32 NFL teams represented.

This year’s NFL cans are currently on shelves in select markets, and will be available nationwide later this month.

"NFL team packaging has become something fans look for from Bud Light year after year," said Anna Rogers, Director of Marketing, NFL, Bud Light. "We are proud to continue that tradition and give fans another way to support their favorite teams while enjoying NFL football with their friends. We are also very excited to roll out NFL packaging on aluminum bottles for the first time in addition to cans.”

Along with new team cans and bottles, Bud Light will debut new television commercials throughout the NFL season, highlighting its ongoing “Famous Among Friends” campaign that celebrates the fun times made while building friendships over football and beer. The first commercial spot is slated to debut during the aforementioned season-opening match-up between the Kansas City Chiefs and the defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


South Africa: AB InBev to launch Budweiser in South Africa  (

Anheuser-Busch InBev plans to launch Budweiser in SA, it said in its March quarter results on May 4.

The group’s overall revenue grew 3.7% to $12.9 bln from the matching quarter in 2016.

Its South African business, gained via its acquisition of SABMiller, grew revenue by "mid-single digits" despite a 1.6% decline in beer volumes.

Anheuser-Busch InBev blamed the drop on "the timing of Easter".

"Castle Lite continues its strong growth in the core plus segment with packaging innovations aimed at improving convenience for in-home consumption. Core brands recovered some of the prior year volume losses to cheap wines and spirits through our commercial initiatives," the company said in its statement.

"The business is well-positioned to grow our global brands, with Stella Artois and Corona already present in the market and plans to launch Budweiser later in the year."

Despite the drop in combined beer volumes, Anheuser-Busch InBev said the "SAB integration continues at a fast pace, with $252 mln of synergies captured in the quarter".


USA: Per capita beer consumption decline would have been more if it weren’t for craft beer  (

Per capita beer consumption in the US has declined 25% since 2000 and “it would’ve been significantly more than that if it weren’t for craft beer,” Boston Beer Company founder, Jim Koch, said at the Beverage Forum in Chicago last week, reported on May 2.

Volume loss comes from the declining consumption of mass domestic beer, Koch said, but the relationship between big beer and independent craft beer is somewhat symbiotic.

“They (large domestic beer companies) create the customers that we can trade up to more flavorful, craft beer,” Koch said.

“We’d all be better off if we could see some success with mass domestic brands and they could get their mojo back.”

Large domestic beer companies need to figure out a way to regain cultural relevance and this should not come by way of acquiring small craft brewers, Koch explained.

“If you’ve got a 50% market [share], you’re not supposed to buy up the other 50% of what you don’t own. You’re supposed to grow by innovating,” he said.

Koch has spoken against continued consolidation in the US beer industry: most recently with the US Department of Justice approving AB InBev's takeover of SABMiller, 'creating a new duopoly' between AB InBev and Molson Coors.

“The Department of Justice is allowing the damage to continue by greenlighting these two big brewers to extend their duopoly into craft beer by acquiring craft brewers,” Koch penned in an OpEd piece for the New York Times earlier this month.

The growth and innovation of the beer business comes from small and independent brewers, Koch said, and that will not continue if big brewers threatens its market share potential through constant acquisitions.

“Get some craft brewers really talking, and they’ll tell you we are headed for a time when independent breweries can’t afford to compete, can’t afford the best ingredients, can’t get wholesalers to support them, and can’t get shelf space and draft lines,” Koch wrote.

The Boston Beer Company reported a 14% decline in net revenue for Q1 2017 falling to $27.1 mln primarily driven by loss of sales in its Samuel Adams and Angry Orchard brands, the company said.

Before craft beer came onto the scene like it has today, American beer was not desirable due to its watery taste profile, according to Koch.

“When I started (1984), American beer was a joke, it was a laughing stock of the world,” he said.

“Today, the rest of the world looks to the small and independent American craft brewers.”

While the craft beer market growth has slowed down to roughly 6% growth in 2016, Koch believes the category will continue to grow through developing new beer styles and consumption occasions.

“Eventually you deplete the unconverted drinkers,” Koch said.

“We’ve kind of brought everybody into the category so we can’t expand by bringing in new drinkers; we have to expand occasions.”


USA: Two largest brewers trying to boost sales of their cheaper beers  (

For years, US sales of the cheapest beers fell as America’s two largest brewers focused on higher-priced craft brands. Now the neglected suds are back in the spotlight, The Australian reported on February 3.

Anheuser-Busch InBev plans to air its first Super Bowl ad for Busch, its namesake economy brand. The 30-second spot follows the company’s move last year to shift its Nascar sponsorship back to Busch from Budweiser.

MillerCoors, the US business unit of Molson Coors, has begun rolling out new ads and redesigned logos for its economy beers, including Miller High Life and Keystone. It is increasing the quantity of beer in some bottles and packages, without raising prices. Both companies are offering price promotions on cheaper brands.

Sales of so-called sub-premium brews, costing an average $US16 ($21.90) for a 24-pack, have long been in decline. From 2010 to 2015, shipments dropped by 16 per cent to 46 million barrels, while craft beers shipments doubled to 22 million barrels, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights.

But the sub-premium category still represents about one out of every five beers sold in the US. AB InBev and MillerCoors, together accounting for about two-thirds of US beer sold by volume, acknowledge they must stop the slide to achieve their performance goals.

From consumer surveys, “one of the greater realisations that we have is that as we prioritise other parts of our portfolio for all the right reasons … we also did that at the expense of our economy portfolio,” said Ryan Marek, director of economy brands for MillerCoors. “It’s not only critical to our growth but critical to the health of the entire beer industry.”

After the merger of InBev and Anheuser-Busch in 2008, the company began raising prices on its lowest-priced beers more sharply than on premium beers, analysts and industry observers said. MillerCoors did the same.

Those moves boosted revenue for a time but resulted in other consequences: some consumers switched to inexpensive spirits, and the beer industry lost some of its most loyal customers. And young people, for whom cheap brands might be a gateway to a lifetime of beer consumption, increasingly turned to other options.

“We’ve lost a generation,” said industry consultant Joe Thompson, president of Independent Beverage Group. “And I think we’re going to pay a price for it.”

Newsgrafik #32389

Bud Light Debuts New NBA Team Cans Ahead Of All-Star Weekend In New Orleans  (Company news)

With NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans fast approaching, Bud Light is tipping-off the celebration in style with an all-new series of special edition cans that celebrate 13 of the league’s teams.

Bud Light’s focus in 2017 is the value of friendship and the brand understands that friendship among players on the court and fans off of it, are an essential part of NBA culture. As the official beer partner of the NBA, Bud Light worked alongside the league to create cans that speak directly to each team’s passionate fan base, and serve as a way for die-hard supporters to proudly display their allegiance whether they’re cheering courtside or from the couch.

In this initial phase of the NBA team cans program, fans of the Bulls, Cavs, Grizzlies, Heat, Knicks, Lakers, Mavericks, Pelicans, Spurs, Rockets, Thunders and Warriors can get their hands on these special-edition items, in-store now throughout the remainder of the season.

In addition to the NBA cans, Bud Light will be celebrating All-Star Weekend in “The Big Easy” with special events and experiences through the weekend of Feb. 17-19.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


USA: AB InBev invests in growing its craft beer brands domestically and abroad  (

Anheuser-Busch InBev is making a number of sizable investments to grow its acquired craft beer brands both domestically and abroad, according to recent reports.

The world’s largest beer company is planning a large-scale international expansion for its biggest craft offering, Goose Island, and making significant investments to scale production capabilities for its Blue Point and Karbach Brewing brands in their respective home markets of New York and Texas.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Goose Island’s global strategy will begin to materialize in 2017, as it begins operating outposts in six countries, including:
•Sao Paulo, Brazil,
•Seoul South Korea,
•Shanghai, China
•Monterrey, Mexico
•Toronto, Canada
•London, England

“It’s plain and simple — if we don’t do it, somebody else is going to,” Goose Island President Ken Stout told the Tribune.

In addition to increased product availability and the potential to brew large-scale batches of Goose Island beer at AB InBev breweries abroad, physical expansion takes three forms: Goose Island Brewhouses, Vintage Ale Houses and branded Goose Island pubs.

According to the Tribune, brewhouses in Sao Paolo, Seoul and Shanghai were set to open this month. The company’s Vintage Ale House concept also opened this month in London and a branded pub serving Goose Island beer opened in Mexico. Brewhouse openings in Toronto and Philadelphia are planned for early-to-mid 2017.

Meanwhile, AB InBev is also making considerable investments to expand distribution and production capabilities at two of its other U.S. craft breweries: Blue Point and Karbach.

Since purchasing Long Island’s Blue Point Brewing in 2014, AB InBev has expanded distribution of that company’s products from 15 to 46 states, and the final four are slated to come online in 2017, according to Newsday.

Production of Blue Point products has increased 75 percent, Newsday noted, and Blue Point president Todd Ahsmann said the company plans to grow volumes by 20 percent in 2017.

Blue Point is currently in the midst of relocating to downtown Patchogue, where it was founded, as part of a $35 million expansion effort. The company is taking over a 53,000 sq. ft. building previously occupied by Briarcliffe College. Plans call for increased production capabilities, a restaurant and at least 20 new hires, according to Newsday.

A similar expansion at recently acquired Karbach Brewing is also on tap in Texas, the Houston Business Journal reported Monday.

Karbach will expand into more than 43,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space and 8,200 sq. ft. of office space as part of a planned $4.5 million project that is expected to be completed next summer.

The new location, adjacent to its current facility, will expand Karbach’s canning operations and feature additional space for storage and barrel-aging.

Karbach expects to produce upwards of 150,000 barrels by 2019, according to the outlet.


USA: AB InBev and Craft Brew Alliance expand collaboration  (

Brewery news
Craft Brew Alliance, Inc. (CBA) and Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) announced on August 23 a series of new commercial agreements that expand and strengthen the companies’ long-term relationship and create new growth opportunities for both companies. The agreements include an amended and extended master distribution agreement, a new contract brewing arrangement, and a new international distribution agreement.

Through the agreements, AB InBev will provide additional support and committed resources to accelerate CBA’s growth strategy, which includes: strengthening its distinctive portfolio of craft brands; maximizing the potential of Kona Brewing Co. as one of the fastest-growing American craft brands; and optimizing CBA’s brewing footprint to drive gross margin expansion and deliver its craft beers to more beer lovers in the U.S. and around the world.

CBA and AB InBev have extended the current fee structure of their existing Master Distributor Agreement for 10 additional years, through 2028. The amended agreement secures CBA’s brands in the industry’s strongest wholesaler network, enabling continued investment in brand growth and strategic partnerships, such as Appalachian Mountain Brewery and Cisco Brewers.

Under the terms of a new contract brewing arrangement, CBA and AB InBev will work together to transition up to 300,000 barrels of volume into AB InBev’s state-of-the-art breweries. This agreement will directly support CBA’s ongoing brewery footprint optimization and enable both companies to realize additional operational efficiencies.

AB InBev will support the expansion of CBA’s portfolio of brands globally through a new international distribution agreement. This agreement builds on CBA’s recent distribution arrangements with AB InBev, which launched Kona in Brazil and Mexico, and creates opportunities to accelerate the growth of CBA’s craft portfolio in additional international markets.

Commenting on the new agreements, Andy Thomas, CEO of CBA said: “We are proud of our long-standing relationship with AB InBev and have always been candid about the competitive advantage of our distribution arrangement, which allows CBA to independently manage our brands and still enjoy the benefits of being a valued part of AB’s exceptional wholesaler network. As both of our companies evolved over the past 18 months, it became clear that our strategic focus and commitment to the growth of craft beer were increasingly more aligned, and we started to explore ways to collaborate more closely. We’re excited to build on this partnership and look forward to the financial and operational benefits, which will positively impact our top and bottom line.”

Felipe Szpigel, president, The High End, Anheuser-Busch, added: “We have deep respect for CBA and these agreements represent a natural progression of our relationship with them. As a company, we believe in brewing amazing beers and elevating the sophistication of beer and the category as a whole. CBA shares these beliefs and today’s announcement will help bring CBA’s impressive portfolio of craft brands to more beer lovers in the U.S. and around the world. We will support the growth of CBA’s brands and create new opportunities for both companies through our unparalleled network of U.S. wholesaler partners, dedication to quality through our industry-leading breweries and international reach.”

CBA is expected to gain significant financial benefits from these commercial agreements that will allow the company to continue investing in its growth strategy and increase its sales and marketing spend behind its brands. As a major CBA shareholder, AB InBev is positioned to benefit directly from those gains, along with the expected new opportunities the agreements create for its international distribution system, U.S. wholesaler partners, and breweries.

CBA and AB InBev will work together over the coming months to implement the brewing and international distribution aspects of these agreements.

Goldman Sachs acted as financial advisor to CBA, and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz served as legal counsel.


Italy: Retail beer sales up 6.9% in value in January-May this year  (

Italian beer sales, in the retail channel, have grown by 6.9% in value, and by 4% in volume, during the first five months of 2016, compared to the same period in 2015, ESM reported on August 17.

According to data published by IRI, total turnover amounted to €1.2 billion, with “speciality” beers, although still representing a niche market, boosting the growth.

Light pale ales (representing 95% of sales) grew by 4.3%; flavoured beers were up by 36%, red and pale ales (+6% alcohol) grew by 14%, while weiss beer increased by 8%.

Italy is third in Europe for the number of microbreweries, producing 445,000 hectolitres in 2014, equivalent to 3.3% of the total production.

The three major players (Heineken, Peroni (SABMiller), and AB InBev), together account for 66% of the overall beer market in Italy, according to IRI.

For its part, the Italian Association of Beer and Malt Producers (Assobirra) claims that Heineken has a 28% in volume, followed by SABMiller (18.6%), AB InBev (8.7%), and Carlsberg (6.1%).


USA: Kirin to deepen partnership with AB InBev in hopes to increase US sales  (

Kirin Holdings will deepen an American sales partnership with Anheuser-Busch InBev, tapping into the larger beverage group's distributor network in hopes of gaining more market share for its Kirin Ichiban brew, Nikkei Asian Review reported on August 18.

Tokyo-based Kirin aims to double its beer sales volume in the U.S. by 2021.

Kirin works with the world's biggest beer company in Japan and abroad. In Japan, AB InBev licenses Kirin to brew and sell such beers as Budweiser. In the U.S., it produces and sells Ichiban for its Japanese partner.

With their U.S. licensing agreement up for renewal at year-end, the two companies are planning changes. Employees of Kirin Brewery of America will be transferred to AB InBev under the new arrangement. There, they will form a special marketing team for Ichiban.

Ichiban will take its place alongside other priority brands in AB InBev's import lineup, such as Stella Artois and Hoegaarden. Until now, the brew with the mythical Chinese beast on its label - sold as Ichiban Shibori in Japan - has gotten lost among the 300-plus beer brands that AB InBev imports into the U.S.

In return, AB InBev will get a bigger cut than before of earnings on each beer sold. Kirin is willing to take a smaller share in exchange for what it hopes will be greater sales overall.

The Japanese brewer's annual overseas sales of Kirin brand beers come to the equivalent of 5.34 million cases. (One case equals 20 633ml bottles.) The U.S. is thought to account for 1 million cases of this amount. Kirin's share of the world's second-largest beer market remains small. But the brewer is making an effort there, as well as in such emerging markets as Myanmar, to try to offset the slowing growth in Japan.

As Americans develop a taste for craft beers and imports - the two now make up more than 10% of the local beer market - such traditional mass-market brews as AB InBev's Budweiser are looking tired. Kirin's U.S. partner sees ample room for growth in sales of Ichiban, given the rising popularity of Japanese food.

Domestic rival Sapporo Holdings was quick to seize on the American market's potential and now leads in sales among Japanese brewers there, at 2.3 million cases.


USA: Big brewers agree to detailed beer labelling  (

Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors and other big brewers are backing an initiative to disclose a consistent listing of calories, carbs and other information on beer labels, St. Louis Post Dispatch reported on July 12.

Following debate on the issue stretching several years, the Beer Institute, a national trade group that lobbies on behalf of the country's largest brewers, announced the 'Brewers Voluntary Disclosure Initiative' on July 12.

The initiative encourages brewers to provide more information to consumers on beer labels, the group said, by disclosing calorie, carbohydrate, protein, fat, and alcohol content information on labels. The guidelines also include displaying a freshness date or date of production. Many brewers already disclose some of this information on beer labels.

The voluntary initiative doesn't say all ingredients should be disclosed on each label, however, a measure that some have backed. Instead, the initiative says ingredients should be either disclosed on labels, or the label should include a link or QR code that refers to a website with a list of ingredients.

Some participating brewers are making the changes immediately and the trade group said brewers and importers are encouraged to achieve compliance by the end of 2020.

HeinekenUSA, Constellation Brands Beer Division, North American Breweries and Craft Brew Alliance also have agreed to follow the guidelines, the Beer Institute said. These brewers, A-B and MillerCoors produce more than 81 percent of beer sold in the U.S., based on volume.

“The Beer Institute, and its member companies, believes this is a step in the right direction to demonstrate a commitment to quality and transparency through these voluntary measures," Beer Institute CEO Jim McGreevy said in a statement.

The federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, which oversees beer label approvals, said in 2013 that optional labeling of alcohol content and 'serving fact' statements are permitted.

A-B, which has its U.S. unit based in St. Louis, said it has voluntarily provided information on many of its beers sold domestically on the website, including Budweiser and Bud Light, since December 2012. About half of its 60 core brands list the website on its bottle labels or packaging, and more are being added, A-B said.

"The Brewers’ Voluntary Disclosure Initiative reflects U.S. consumers’ increasing interest in knowing more about the products they enjoy," A-B spokeswoman Katie Petru said in an email to the Post-Dispatch.

"We will consider consumer interests as they evolve and will continue to find ways to share information with consumers in ways that are most meaningful to them, and depending on our capabilities and local regulatory requirements," she continued.

The beer label changes aren't being adopted by all brewers, according to the Brewers Association, a Colorado-based industry group that represents craft brewers that produce 6 million barrels of beer or less annually. While the group supports transparency in labeling, the BA's president and CEO Bob Pease said in an email, "the approach the large brewers have taken may not be feasible for smaller brewers, many of whom offer dozens of small scale, seasonal products every year."

The Brewers Association said it's working separately with the FDA and the USDA to develop a plan for beer styles rather than specific individual brands to be included in the USDA Nutrient Database to help members comply with FDA rules on menu labeling. "We will continue to work with our members to encourage voluntary compliance with all existing government mandates regarding labeling," Pease said.


USA: Craft beer sales estimated to be up almost 9% from the beginning of the year through May 15  (

After experiencing incredible growth in recent years, there are reports that sales of craft beers are slowing in 2016, Seeking Alpha reported on July 11.

After 19% growth in 2014 and 13% growth by volume in 2015, research firm IRI Worldwide reported that craft beer sales are up 6.5% by volume so far this year.

Bart Wilson, chief economist for the industry trade group The Brewer's Association, says that part of the lower figure is due to how market data is gathered. For instance, IRI includes Blue Moon and Shock Top beers in their calculations. These beers are owned by Coors and Anheuser-Busch InBev, which are a far cry from craft brewers. Excluding those types of brewers, the number climbs to 8.9% growth through May 15. Still, according to Wilson, "If it's 6 percent or 10 percent, that's a number that many industries in the U.S. economy would kill for."

Some big brewers, namely The Boston Beer Company, have seen sales dampened by the emergence of hundreds of new small craft brewers. In general, the maker of Sam Adams beer and Angry Orchard cider is regarded as a founder of the craft brew movement and the biggest craft beer maker in the world with its roots in the space going back 30 years. However, the total number of U.S. beer makers rising from about 100 in the early 1980s to more than 4,200 in 2015 has fragmented the space and is now cutting into Boston Beer's growth.


USA: AB InBev brings in Estrella Jalisco with demand for Mexican beers on the rise  (

Anheuser-Busch InBev is bringing Estrella Jalisco across the border to the U.S. with demand for Mexican beers on the rise, Seeking Alpha reported on May 20.
The brewer acquired Estrella in the Grupo Modelo deal.

Estrella fills in a bit of a gap in AB InBev's portfolio with Corona out its control in the U.S. due to a DOJ agreement. The company is advertising the brand widely, including on Spanish-language TV networks.

Early reports on demand for the brand have been very encouraging, AB InBev said.


USA: Constellation Brands facing the challenge of overcoming own supply chain issues  (

With Mexican beer sales soaring in the U.S., the biggest hurdle facing Corona brewer Constellation Brands Inc. is its own supply chain, the Wall Street Journal reported on April 2.

The company, which reports fourth-quarter earnings on April 6, issued a recall of Corona in March, its second in the last two years. Distributors scrambled to pull select 12-packs and 18-packs of the top-selling Mexican beer from U.S. stores before consumers drank from bottles containing glass particles.

The recall isn’t expected to affect earnings on April 6 because the fourth quarter ended Feb. 29, but it will raise questions from analysts about the cause, cost and possibility of future recalls.

Constellation’s ability to avoid another incident hinges in part on ramping up production at its brewery in Nava, Mexico, so it can reduce its dependency on Anheuser-Busch InBev NV. That is because the recently recalled Corona came from AB InBev breweries in Mexico.

Constellation has been relying on AB InBev for beer production since the brewers struck an agreement in 2013 with the U.S. Justice Department, allowing AB InBev to close its acquisition of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo by selling Constellation the U.S. rights to Modelo beers and the Nava brewery.

AB InBev said it discovered the glass defect and traced it back to a glass manufacturing plant owned by a third-party supplier, Fevisa.

An AB InBev spokeswoman said the brewer had since reviewed Fevisa’s compliance and control measures to make sure it meets AB InBev’s “strictest internal quality standards.” She added, “We always aim to respect the highest production and safety standards.”

But as long as Constellation isn’t controlling its supply, CLSA analyst Caroline Levy said “there’s a small risk” of another recall happening.

Constellation planned to double production capacity at the Nava brewery to 17 million barrels this year, but sales of Modelo and Corona have been so strong they have outpaced the expansion. The company’s beer shipments have increased 23% to 16 million barrels from 13 million barrels in 2013, according to industry tracker Beer Marketer’s Insights.

To meet demand, Constellation said earlier this year that it extended its supply agreement with AB InBev through mid-2017. It also plans to increase the Nava brewery capacity by 4.2 million barrels, bringing total annual production to 21 million barrels.

Analyst Ms. Levy projects Constellation will be handling 90% of its production by next year.

Until then, Constellation will continue to rely on AB InBev to supply Corona, a situation that is awkward at best since Constellation’s beers are competing with Budweiser and Bud Light in the U.S. Last month, AB InBev introduced a Mexican beer of its own—Estrella Jalisco—to compete with Constellation.

On April 6, Constellation Chief Executive Rob Sands will seek to assure investors the company’s brewery expansion is proceeding as planned. A spokeswoman said Mr. Sands would address the recall on April 6 but what he plans to say remains unclear.

Analysts currently expect the company to report fourth-quarter earnings of $1.14 a share, according to Thomson Reuters, compared with last year’s $1.06 a share.

Newsgrafik #31251

Anheuser-Busch Launching Best Damn Cherry Cola – America's First Nationally Available ...  (Company news)

...Hard Cherry Cola

Best Damn Brewing Co. reveals mission to “Put a Cherry on Tap” with new brew, hit the shelves in March

Anheuser-Busch announced the upcoming launch of Best Damn Cherry Cola, the second national offering from Best Damn Brewing Co. Hitting shelves March 7, Best Damn Cherry Cola is aged on whole cherries after brewing for a flavorful, harder take on the timeless taste of cherry cola.

“Best Damn Cherry Cola continues to build our portfolio of bold, approachable and down-to-earth beers,” said Rashmi Patel, vice president, share of throat, Anheuser-Busch. “We named our Cherry Cola mission, ‘Put a Cherry on Tap,’ and our brewmasters have outdone themselves with this new brew: a delicious combination of cherry, caramel and cola notes.”

Anheuser-Busch launched Best Damn Brewing Co.—a brand platform with the mission to bring you the Best Damn thing you’ve had all day—in December 2015 with its first nationally available brew, Best Damn Root Beer. Best Damn Brewing Co. exists within the portfolio of Anheuser-Busch brands and leverages the talent of its brewmasters and its state-of-the-art brewing facilities across the U.S. to deliver great-tasting brews.

Best Damn Cherry Cola will be available at bars, clubs and restaurants, as well as grocery and liquor stores across the U.S. in six-packs of bottles, 16-oz. cans, and on draught. The brew will be supported by a national media and digital campaign and an experiential activation at the SXSW Interactive Festival, where attendees will be among the first in the country to taste Best Damn Cherry Cola.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


USA: The “King of Beers” but suffers from continuous volume decline  (

There's no doubt when it comes to the amount of beer brewed, Anheuser-Busch InBev reigns supreme in the U.S., where it accounts for 46% of the market all by itself, as well as globally, where it is also the largest brewer in the world, The Motley Fool reported.

In 2015 AB InBev brewed 413 million hectolitres of beer - that's some 10.9 billion gallons, or over 351 million barrels - while No. 2 brewer SABMiller reported it produced 324 million hectolitres last year, or 276 million barrels. In comparison, leading US craft brewer Boston Beer produced 4 million barrels. And the 4,100 craft breweries in existence in the U.S. today collectively produced just 22 million barrels.

But if bigger were always better, then Anheuser-Busch, Miller, and No. 3 brewer Molson Coors would be seeing sales grow, and in the USA that is not the case. According to the Brewers Association's mid-year report last July, craft production volumes were up 16% over 2014 and had reached an 11% share of total volume production for beer, which on a retail dollar basis, gave the industry almost 20% market share. Considering the total beer market itself was up just 0.5% in 2014, it's been the craft brewers and not the mass-brewed beers that have been carrying the industry higher.

Although Anheuser-Busch InBev's Budweiser brand terms itself the "King of Beers" and has reveled in its vast size for years, it's obvious volume isn't everything.

The American Customer Satisfaction Index recently released its latest annual survey of more than 70,000 consumers on how satisfied they are with more than 300 companies across 43 industries and 10 economic sectors. Based on the responses, the market researchers assign a score to the companies between 100 and -100.

The latest index results gave Anheuser-Busch InBev a 74 rating in customer satisfaction, a 3.9% drop from last year's ranking of 77, and almost 12% below its score of 84, recorded back in 1994 when ASCI first began tracking customer opinion. Significantly, A-B's score is also below the industry average of 76.

When it comes to mass brewers, there really are only a handful of breweries to compete against. So which one was deemed best? MillerCoors, the joint venture of SABMiller and Molson.

While the survey doesn't break out by brands which beer might have generated such consumer support, by looking at the brewer's financial results, it's probable it was its Coors brand that carried the day.

MillerCoors reported both the Coors Light and Coors Banquet brands grew market share in their respective segments in 2015, with the light beer enjoying its best quarterly volume performance since the second quarter of 2014, while the full-bodied version achieved its ninth consecutive year of growth.

However, in light of the merger that may happen between Anheuser-Busch and SABMiller, this could be the end of the line for MillerCoors. As part of A-B's effort to smooth the regulatory path to approval for its $107 billion takeover of Miller, it hammered out a side agreement to sell to Molson for $12 billion the 42% share in MillerCoors that it doesn't already own, giving Molson the global rights to the Miller brand.

As a result of adding that portfolio to its own, Molson Coors will be launched it into the No. 2 spot in the beer market with about a 25% market share, ahead of Heineken, which is a distant third with a 9% share.

The world of the macro brewers is shrinking as a result of consolidation. Soon, perhaps, Anheuser-Busch InBev will be able to once again make "King of Beers" more than a branding slogan, but that might be because there's nobody left to really compete against it. Whether that leaves consumers satisfied is another question.


UK: AB InBev expands non-alcoholic beer offering with Beck’s Blue Lemon  (

AB InBev has expanded its non-alcoholic beer range in the UK with new flavour Beck’s Blue Lemon, The Grocer reported on January 27.

With sales up 20% last year to £14.6 mln, Beck’s Blue is the UK’s bestselling non-alcoholic beer [Nielsen 52 w/e 10 October 2015].

Heineken introduced a 0.0% abv version of its lemon flavour Foster’s Radler in 2014, while last February saw Carlsberg’s San Miguel enter the alcohol-free market, with both standard and Limon versions. Carlsberg followed this with an alcohol-free version of its flagship brand in June.

Lemon flavours have also been popular in the lower abv beer segment, with popular products including Carling Zest, Foster’s Radler, and Carlsberg Citrus, all 2% - 2.8% abv.


World: Private equity firm KKR reportedly back in tender for Peroni, ...  (

... Grolsch beer brandsb

The line-up of bidders for SABMiller‘s Peroni and Grolsch beers has changed, with U.S. private equity firm KKR replacing Bain Capital, which was unwilling to engage in a bidding war with industry players, Thomson Reuters reported on January 27 citing three sources familiar with the matter.

KKR was not initially shortlisted as one of the final bidders for the brands being unloaded by Anheuser-Busch InBev to smooth its $100 billion-plus takeover of SAB. However, it was later readmitted to the auction after sweetening its bid, said one of the sources.

Other private equity funds including BC Partners backed away earlier in the process, which is expected to wrap up in March.

“Price expectations were pure madness,” said one of the sources, who declined to be identified as the matter is confidential.

AB InBev, the maker of Budweiser, values the brands at no less than 2.5 billion euros ($2.73 billion), said the source, noting that strategic players were well placed to outbid private equity firms, given possible synergies.

Another bidder for the package, which also includes London craft beer Meantime, is Zurich-based investment firm Jacobs Holding, the sources said.

Jacobs, which owns 50 percent of Swiss chocolate company Barry Callebaut, had no comment.

Reuters reported on Jan. 21 that four other parties made it to the final stages of bidding, namely Japan’s Asahi Group, Fraser and Neave, which is part of Thai Beverage, and European private equity firms PAI Partners and EQT.

The bidders are expected to hand in binding offers in mid-February.

AB InBev, SABMiller, KKR and Bain declined to comment.


The Czech Republic: Budejovicky Budvar’s production and exports reach record high in 2015  (

Czech state-owned brewery Budejovicky Budvar, which has been fighting a long legal battle with U.S. beer giant Anheuser-Busch over the use of the "Budweiser" brand, says its output and exports reached a record in 2015, reported on January 7.

Budejovicky Budvar NP said its exports rose 10.5 percent to 898,000 hectolitres (23.72 million gallons) of beer, the best result in the brewer's 120-year history.

Budvar exported to 73 countries last year, three more than the previous year. Overall output reached 1.6 million hectolitres (42.27 million gallons), up 10 percent from 2014.

Profit figures from the brewery are due in late April.

Both Budvar and Anheuser-Busch — which was taken over by Belgian brewer InBev in 2008 to form AB InBev — claim exclusive right to the Budweiser name.


USA: History suggests there could be more room for craft industry growth - experts  (

There are more U.S. breweries than ever before. And they are opening at a record pace of two-a-day, SCTimes reported on December 17.

Yet history suggest there could be more room for growth.

“We are still way off the all-time per capita total," argues Bart Watson, economist for the Brewer's Association. "We have a long ways to catch the 1870s.

"People talk about bubble (burst) but they don't understand what it means. The key is to continuing to find a local demand."

By the end of 2013, there were 2,863 craft breweries, a growth of about 400 from 2012.

In 2015, the total number surpassed 4,000. And specifically at the end of November, the number of U.S. breweries surpassed the previous high total of 4,131 set in 1873.

Watson said the industry saw the biggest growth in IPA styles — he refers to it the 'IPA-fication' of beer. Also growing is lower-alcohol "sessionable" beers. Watson speculates the next style growth could come in lighter blonde ale and gose-style beers.

Much of the brewery growth is coming outside of communities like Denver and Seattle, cities known for their established craft beer scenes. Many are also setting up in smaller communities, often without an extensive previous brewing history.

"To me that signals craft is more in the mainstream," Watson said. "Craft is now reaching the larger population.

"The majority of these breweries opening are independents, small and locally focused. They aren't large regional production facilities. Yet they are still finding a niche market."

Still, with all the growth there are bound to be challenges.

A CNBC report speculates that 2016 could feature a hop shortage due to a higher demand combined with the impact from the summer drought on the West Coast. A Forbes report also speculates an aluminum can shortage could impact the craft industry.

There's also concern in the industry over how proposed calorie listing laws and recent Anheuser-Busch InBev acquisitions could impact craft beer in 2016.

The biggest challenges for craft brewers could come with distribution.

"(Distribution) is more competitive now than ever before," Watson said. "The large brewers have already started to flex their muscles a bit with incentive programs. It will be interesting to see (how the distribution industry evolves)."

Newsgrafik #30896

Bud Light Unveils First-Ever Super Bowl Series Cans  (Company news)

In celebration of Super Bowl 50, Bud Light – the Official Beer of the NFL – is debuting 40 new NFL Bud Light can designs that highlight previous Super Bowl winners. This marks the first time that Bud Light will be customizing team cans for the Super Bowl.

Bud Light’s first-ever Super Bowl Series collection of cans builds on the success of Bud Light’s popular 28 NFL team specific-cans, released during NFL kickoff. Each design in the Series features logos from past Super Bowls and the teams that won them, or this year’s gold-infused Super Bowl 50 logo.

“This year Bud Light has completely evolved its NFL sponsorship strategy, placing a strong focus on customization and localization to bring the pride and traditions of the NFL’s varied fan base to life, from new can designs to in-stadium experiences,” said Alexander Lambrecht, vice president, Bud Light. “We kicked off the season with new team-specific cans that were wildly popular with consumers. Our first-ever Super Bowl Series cans are the latest way that Bud Light is proving itself as the beer of the fan, helping fans connect with sports in new and unique ways.”

To introduce the Super Bowl Series cans, Bud Light is also releasing a new ad highlighting the unique can designs.

Bud Light’s Super Bowl Series cans are the first of many exciting experiences Bud Light will unveil for Super Bowl 50 and represent an evolution of the recently signed new agreement between Bud Light and the NFL. The new agreement will enhance how Bud Light will use new assets and expanded marketing rights to connect in radically new ways with the sport, its teams, and most importantly its fans.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)

Newsgrafik #30756

Budweiser brings back popular limited-edition wooden crates for the holiday season  (Company news)

Make way for Macro-sized holiday cheer.

To celebrate the 139th holiday season of America’s No. 1 full-flavored lager, Budweiser is bringing back its limited-edition wooden crates. Available in select locations starting November 9, the crates include two pilsner glasses and 18 Budweiser bottles featuring the authentic, classic label from 1933 – the first label following the repeal of Prohibition.

The brand is releasing 60,000 crates this year (vs. 10,000 in 2014), each of which will be hand-made to mirror the original crates that were distributed by the Budweiser Clydesdales following the end of Prohibition.

Budweiser is also celebrating the holidays with a brand new television spot featuring the crates. Filmed at Anheuser-Busch’s St. Louis brewery, the spot will focus on the extra care brewmasters put into brewing Budweiser during the holidays and features the most Macro of all icons: the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales. Watch for the spot in the coming weeks.

Those who get one of the 60,000 crates are encouraged to share images of their own Macro holiday celebrations on social media, using the hashtag #ThisBudsForYou.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


Australia: Coopers Brewery not really interested in expanding imported beers portfolio  (

The managing director of Australia's third-largest beer company, Coopers Brewery, says there might not be room for any extra imported beer brands in his portfolio if any were to spring free in Australia from the proposed global A$146 billion merger of Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on October 20.

Tim Cooper says Coopers has been able to deliver solid growth from the Carlsberg brand and Kronenbourg 1664, which it took over from Foster's Group in 2012 under a licensing deal following the A$12.3 billion takeover of Foster's by SABMiller.

"It's been growing every year," Dr Cooper said of the Carlsberg brand, which is the flagship imported brand.

Coopers also has the Japanese brand Sapporo in its international portfolio.

"They both keep us pretty busy," he said.

Foster's surrendered the licences to Carlsberg, Corona and Stella Artois in the space of a few months after the takeover by SABMiller under change of control clauses. Arch rival Lion took on Corona, which is the No 1 imported beer in Australia and has 5.9 per cent of the total market by volume, and Stella Artois.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says it will take into account a number of factors, including imported beer licensing deals, when assessing the Australian market in beer, and whether any competition issues arise from the proposed global merger.

Dr Cooper said the company, the largest independently owned brewer in Australia, was watching the situation closely and would remain alert for any opportunities that might arise.

"It's hard to know what potentially could fall out," he said.

Mainstream beers are on the wane in Australia but the craft beer segment is growing at more than 20 per a year.

Dr Cooper said the company, which makes beer from a large plant in the Adelaide industrial suburb of Regency Park, had a foot in both camps.

"I think it's a reasonable spot to be in," he said. "The big guys look at us as being in the forefront of the craft beer movement in Australia."

The international beers in the Coopers portfolio make up about 10 per cent of total volume.

Coopers evaded the clutches of Lion, which makes Tooheys and XXXX Gold, in a bitterly fought takeover battle in 2005.


USA: Anheuser-Busch InBev to compensate drinkers who thought locally brewed ...  (

... Beck’s was a German import

Plaintiffs’ lawyers say a class-action settlement involving Beck’s beer will provide considerable benefits to consumers who were allegedly tricked into believing the St. Louis-brewed beer was a German import, The Wall Street Journal reported on October 22.

In court papers, lawyers representing the plaintiffs who sued Anheuser-Busch InBev said the settlement approved by a judge on October 20 “confers over $20 million in cash benefits” to class members.

Lawyers for both sides, though, don’t expect the actual payout to class members to approach anywhere near that dollar figure.

The way the $20 million was calculated isn’t out of the ordinary in these types of cases. Judges and plaintiffs often rely on estimates of maximum value when assessing the fairness of a settlement and the requested attorneys’ fees.

But the method has attracted criticism, including recently from a prominent federal appeals court judge who said the calculations used by the plaintiffs’ attorneys in another class action led to a “scandalous” attorneys’ fee award.

Anheuser-Busch agreed to give Beck’s drinkers 10 cents back for every individual bottle purchased; 50 cents for a six-pack or $1.75 per 20-pack. Consumers who back up their claims with receipts can get refunds up to $50 a household. Claims without receipts are capped at $12. The agreement also awards up to $3.5 million in attorneys’ fees.

The $20 million figure is based on an analysis by an economist at Anderson Economic Group LLC who used sales data to estimate the number of Beck’s consuming households. That number, 1.7 million, was then multiplied by 12, representing the maximum payoff if every claim lacked proof of purchase and sought the maximum $12.

Plaintiffs attorney Thomas A. “Tucker” Ronzetti of Miami firm Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton LLP told Law Blog that they’re hoping for 170,000 claims but said 60,000 claims so far had been filed with the claims deadline less than a month away.

Neither side in the case would guess what the final payout would be. But the general counsel for Anheuser-Busch’s U.S. operations, Katherine Barrett, made this prediction to Law Blog. “It’s certainly possible that the $3.5 million fee collected by the plaintiffs’ attorneys will outsize the benefit paid to consumers, an outcome that is increasingly more common in class action suits such as this,” she said in a statement.

Mr. Ronzetti said the benefits to consumers “extend beyond the money they get back,” noting that Anheuser-Busch also agreed to packaging and marketing changes that he said would prevent consumer deception. (AB InBev didn’t admit any wrongdoing by settling the lawsuit.)

In court papers, he and co-counsel described the $3.5 million attorneys’ as “modest” and based on a federal appeals court precedent. “The requested fee is only 10.9% to 15.3% of the estimated value of the Settlement to the Class,” they wrote.

Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals drew attention to how class-action settlements are valued in an opinion last year involving a class action case against a company that allegedly sold defective windows.

The final settlement directed the company to pay $11 million in attorneys’ fees based on claims that the settlement was worth $90 million to the class. Judge Posner said the aggregate value of benefits was at most $8.5 million, labeling the settlement “inequitable — even scandalous.”

Litigator and class-action activist Ted Frank raised similar concerns last year when he objected to a settlement of allegations that Gillette Co.’s Duracell unit misled consumers about the battery life of a premium battery line.

While approving the settlement, the federal trial court judge in Florida questioned the plaintiffs’ assertion that their request for $5-plus million fee was more than reasonable. The lawyers said it was only 10% of the estimated value of the settlement. “[T]he $50 million calculation is somewhat illusory, because the parties never expected that Gillette would actually pay anything close to that amount,” wrote Judge Gregory A. Presnell.

Mr. Frank told Law Blog that inflated estimates of settlement value are common in class actions and help plaintiffs’ lawyers make their fee requests “seem more reasonable.” He said he’s hoping the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the issue, saying he plans to ask the justices to review the battery settlement, which was affirmed by a federal appeals court.


USA: Red Stripe beer accused of misleading consumers about where it is brewed  (

Red Stripe is the latest beer to face the wrath of US consumers who say they're being duped, Fox News reported on August 4.

Two people have filed a suit in federal court in San Diego against liquor giant Diageo, makers of the beer, alleging that the company wilfully misleads customers into thinking Red Stripe beer is brewed in Jamaica.

The suit alleges that Diageo uses deceptive phrasing like calling the brew a “Jamaican Style Lager” and that the brown bottle says it contains the “taste of Jamaica.” The suit alleges that the shorter, squat packaging is misleading because it so closely mirrors that of typical Jamaican beer bottles.

In 2012, Diageo moved production of Red Stripe bound for the U.S. from Kingston, Jamaica to Latrobe, Penn. Current packaging states that the product is "Brewed & Bottled by Red Stripe Beer Company, Latrobe, PA."

Robbins Arroyo, the San Diego law firm representing the plaintiffs, claim that the label's white text stating that is “obscure” and “not easily noticed by consumers.”

The suit also accuses Diageo of selling Red Stripe at prices substantially higher than most domestic beers, even though it is brewed in the U.S. and uses only domestic ingredients.

This latest complaint comes after Anheuser-Busch InBev recently settled two similar lawsuits over misleading consumers about the production location of its Beck’s and Kirin brand beers.

Newsgrafik #30246

Growing the Perfect Barley for America's Favorite Lager  (Company news)

The barley used in Anheuser-Busch beers is some of the highest quality grain grown. After thriving for months in ideal climate conditions, the harvested barley undergoes a rigorous quality control process to ensure each kernel is worthy of being malted for a bottle of Budweiser , Goose Island Honker’s Ale, or Shock Top Belgian White (yes, even wheat beers contain some barley!).

Clark Hamilton is a barley grower in eastern Idaho who provides A-B with some of its stellar grain. Hamilton is not only equipped with nearly twenty years of experience as a third generation grower, but can lean on A-B’s SmartBarley program, an online benchmarking tool. SmartBarley enables a grower in Idaho to learn what a European farmer facing similar conditions in a different part of the world is doing to get the best results from a crop. These international colleagues can then share practices with regards to water, pests, or yield, to optimally achieve the performance metrics A-B requires of its ingredients.

One specific resource of the SmartBarley program is the AgriMet weather-data tool. Hamilton’s son, Jordan – also a barley grower – hopes that AgriMet will help his family to more efficiently irrigate fields to save water while increasing crop yields and lowering costs. The technology is so cutting edge that its full effects have not yet been measured, but the younger Hamilton already appreciates that AgriMet can measure rain and give an estimate of when and how much water should be applied. “Because we have been blessed with some good rain this season,” he explains, “we have not had to irrigate — but the AgriMet still extrapolates soil information.”

Hamilton also employs other techniques to get the best result from his crop. For example, as he explains, “We apply a growth regulator to help the crop stand tall. It actually shortens the straw a little bit and makes it stronger. And it makes for a better quality, more plump kernel.”

Once harvested, the barley must still undergo an intense examination before it is used as an ingredient in any of A-B’s beers. To do this, A-B pulls a homogenous sample representing the entire lot that will be analyzed for any negative traits. Tools used include a digital scale that can accurately weigh items to the nearest hundredth of a gram, separating tools such as tweezers or forceps, magnifying equipment, and a scalpel. The examination must take place in a well-lit area on a background surface that properly enhances each of the characteristics being considered.

The barley is evaluated by its color, odor, and overall health (which includes any damage due to blight, mold, heat, frost, or insect infestation). Additionally, inspectors take note of any kernels that have been broken, skinned, or have sprouted prematurely (due to exposure to rain or atmospheric moisture, which would render the barley impossible to malt). Only barley that passes all of these scrupulous testing points will be used by A-B in its beers.

Hamilton is quite proud to be producing such high-quality grain, and the standards that A-B have set for his product only pushes him harder in his quest for excellence. “It’s a win-win relationship,” he says of the partnership with A-B, “because we live in an area that we can produce good malt barley, and A-B is in a position where they can buy it.”
(Anheuser Busch InBev)

Newsgrafik #30118

Budweiser Wins 2015 SABRE Award  (Company news)

Budweiser’s “Make Opening Day a Holiday” Wins at the 2015 SABRE Awards

America’s Favorite Full-Flavored Lager Hits a Grand Slam at the SABRE Awards

Two American staples, Budweiser and baseball, came together last year in celebration of Major League Baseball’s Opening Day. And this year, the successful program was awarded the coveted Gold SABRE Award in the Beer, Wine and Spirits category. The SABRE Awards recognize superior achievement in branding, reputation and engagement.

For the program, Budweiser led-off the festivities by asking America to make Opening Day a holiday. And who better to lead the change to Washington than Mr. Smith himself? Mr. Ozzie Smith – the legendary Hall of Fame Shortstop.

Budweiser kicked off the campaign at Spring Training with a petition and the debut of a “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” video content series. That same day in Florida, Smith conducted a national media tour to discuss why Opening Day warranted its own holiday, turning the campaign into a trending topic across social media channels.

By Opening Day, baseball fans had rallied with more than 100,000 signatures and awaited a response from the White House. Budweiser celebrated with day-fresh draught kegs in MLB cities and stadiums and a national TV commercial, “Always There,” honoring the legacies of two iconic brands: Budweiser and baseball.

Being a finalist for the award is a huge honor and winning is a home run for Budweiser.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


USA: Strong dollar does not reduce global thirst for US craft beer  (

A strong dollar may be harming the competitiveness of US exports but it has failed to damp the world’s thirst for US-brewed craft beer, The Financial Times reported on April 5.

Led by increased consumption in Europe and emerging markets, total exports of US craft beer surged 36 per cent in 2014, topping $100 mln for the first time ever.

“The growth is being driven by the beer drinker,” said Bob Pease, president of the Brewers Association, which represents small, independently owned brewers in the US. “The American craft beer revolution is not restricted to the US. It’s a global phenomenon.”

Though trade in the product hardly existed just a decade ago as US brewers struggled to satisfy domestic demand, exports have posted double-digit growth in recent years as brewers have expanded their production capacity.

Backed by a US Department of Agriculture grant and, in some cases, the Export-Import Bank, more than 80 US craft brewers exported in 2014, increasing their sales to Brazil by 64 per cent over the previous year and to the Asia-Pacific region by 38 per cent. Sales to Western Europe and Canada were also up 37 per cent and 32 per cent, respectively.

Mr Pease pointed out that brewing tastes have now come full circle, as many US craft brewers initially began by trying to emulate what they felt were the superior beer styles they encountered in European countries.

“Thirty years ago, US beer in terms of flavour was pretty much considered a joke – an industrial lager. [European] countries did not take American beer seriously. American craft brewers have changed that,” he added.

The surging demand for craft comes as exports of more traditional US beers, including those mass produced by AB InBev and MillerCoors, have tapered off, growing just 4 per cent from 2013-14 after experiencing double-digit growth in the previous two years.

The trend is indicative of changing consumer tastes around the world as well as a shift toward “premiumisation” in consumer goods sectors.

In 2014, total sales of US craft beer increased to $19.6 bln, a 37 per cent increase from 2013. Craft beer now comprises nearly 20 per cent of the domestic beer market, a jump from 14.3 per cent the previous year.

Still, US beer exports on the whole topped $542 mln in 2014 — about tripling in size since 2004, according to data from the US International Trade Commission. The majority of these sales have gone to the Nafta countries as well as emerging market economies in Latin America and Asia. In 2011, developing nations overtook western ones as the primary export markets for US beer.


India: Hoegaarden back in India’s market thanks to complying with food ...  (

... regulator’s labelling norms

Months after many imported beers, including Hoegaarden, disappeared from shops because of stricter enforcement of labelling rules, the Belgian beer is back in the market after the company’s local partner complied with the Indian food regulator’s norms, Livemint reported on February 12.

Gurgaon-based RJ Corp. (Ravi Jaipuria), the local partner of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, adhered to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s (FSSAI’s) norms that require importers to clearly state all ingredients of a beverage to be printed on the bottle label.

“We have adapted labels where it was needed,” said Chris White, president and group chief executive officer of Gurgaon-based RJ Corp. “Our company always complies with local laws.”

“We will be bringing in greater quantities in 2015 to satisfy demand,” added White.

AB InBev also sells brands such as Budweiser—locally bottled in India, apart from importing beers such as Leffe, Hoegaarden and Stella Artois into the country.

Trouble for food and beverage importers started in 2014 after FSSAI tightened labelling norms on products.

According to the new norms, companies must list on the label all the ingredients used in the product in the form of imprints and not stickers. As a result of the new guideline, many imported foods and beverage items, including beers such as Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Corona and Victoria Bitter, were withdrawn from the market.

Business at local breweries and bars across top metros suffered as imported beers were unavailable.

“Stocks are back in the market in a sporadic manner,” said Rahul Singh, founder and chief executive of The Beer Café that runs close to 20 outlets in cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Mohali and Amritsar.

Demand for the Belgian beer, he adds, remained pent up, with consumers showing loyalty to the brand almost immediately, “we are seeing a very positive shelf take-off for the brand since it returned to the market.”

Lack of stock, for over six months, led local pubs and breweries to turn to locally brewed imported style beer in the country to supplement demand for such brands that have found a niche in India’s domestic beer market dominated largely by United Breweries Ltd and SABMiller India.

More urban, high-income groups have taken to more expensive imported beers over the past few years. The retail price of 330ml Hoegaarden is Rs.210.

“Popularity of these brands is unprecedented,” added Singh.

To be sure, the draught variant of the beer, however, still remains unavailable in the market.

Retailers also have no clarity on when brands such as Stella Artois will be made available.

The supply remains erratic, said Singh, adding that, even though the stock is back, it’s not easily available because of pent-up demand.

Liquor companies are swiftly adhering to newer labelling norms, even as they continue to engage with the FSSAI for more simplified labelling regulations.

“The goals of FSSAI are good ones, and we continue to work with the government as an industry body to make the process of compliance easier for members,” added White, also chairman of All India Brewers Association.


USA: AB InBev to continue to expand its regional and national craft brands  (

Anheuser-Busch InBev plans to continue to expand the market share of regional and national craft brands like Shock Top and Goose Island in the United States this year, while also adding new flavors to other beer options and expand market share in the cider category, Fortune reported on February 26.

The maker of Budweiser and Stella Artois outlined plans for 2015 as it reported a 7.6% jump in fourth quarter revenue, with per-share earnings for the period rising to $1.54 from $1.46 a year ago. But in the U.S., the beer maker remained challenged. Beer sales to retailers slid 1.4%, while Anheuser-Busch estimated the overall industry reported flat sales.


India: Hoegaarden back in India’s market thanks to complying with food ...  (

... regulator’s labelling norms

Months after many imported beers, including Hoegaarden, disappeared from shops because of stricter enforcement of labelling rules, the Belgian beer is back in the market after the company’s local partner complied with the Indian food regulator’s norms, Livemint reported on February 12.

Gurgaon-based RJ Corp. (Ravi Jaipuria), the local partner of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, adhered to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India’s (FSSAI’s) norms that require importers to clearly state all ingredients of a beverage to be printed on the bottle label.

“We have adapted labels where it was needed,” said Chris White, president and group chief executive officer of Gurgaon-based RJ Corp. “Our company always complies with local laws.”

“We will be bringing in greater quantities in 2015 to satisfy demand,” added White.

AB InBev also sells brands such as Budweiser—locally bottled in India, apart from importing beers such as Leffe, Hoegaarden and Stella Artois into the country.

Trouble for food and beverage importers started in 2014 after FSSAI tightened labelling norms on products.

According to the new norms, companies must list on the label all the ingredients used in the product in the form of imprints and not stickers. As a result of the new guideline, many imported foods and beverage items, including beers such as Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Corona and Victoria Bitter, were withdrawn from the market.

Business at local breweries and bars across top metros suffered as imported beers were unavailable.

“Stocks are back in the market in a sporadic manner,” said Rahul Singh, founder and chief executive of The Beer Café that runs close to 20 outlets in cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh, Mohali and Amritsar.

Demand for the Belgian beer, he adds, remained pent up, with consumers showing loyalty to the brand almost immediately, “we are seeing a very positive shelf take-off for the brand since it returned to the market.”

Lack of stock, for over six months, led local pubs and breweries to turn to locally brewed imported style beer in the country to supplement demand for such brands that have found a niche in India’s domestic beer market dominated largely by United Breweries Ltd and SABMiller India.

More urban, high-income groups have taken to more expensive imported beers over the past few years. The retail price of 330ml Hoegaarden is Rs.210.

“Popularity of these brands is unprecedented,” added Singh.

To be sure, the draught variant of the beer, however, still remains unavailable in the market.

Retailers also have no clarity on when brands such as Stella Artois will be made available.

The supply remains erratic, said Singh, adding that, even though the stock is back, it’s not easily available because of pent-up demand.

Liquor companies are swiftly adhering to newer labelling norms, even as they continue to engage with the FSSAI for more simplified labelling regulations.

“The goals of FSSAI are good ones, and we continue to work with the government as an industry body to make the process of compliance easier for members,” added White, also chairman of All India Brewers Association.


World: Carlsberg names new CEO as from June 2015  (

Danish brewer Carlsberg named a new chief executive on February 18 and warned that problems in Russia and Ukraine would weigh on earnings again this year.

Dutchman Cees 't Hart, the head of dairy company FrieslandCampina, will become Carlsberg chief executive in June. He replaces Jorgen Buhl Rasmussen who turns 60 this year and had told the board that he wanted to take a step back into non-executive roles.

"It's a decision we both agreed upon is the right thing for Carlsberg, and also right for Jorgen to move on in his non-executive career," Chairman Flemming Besenbacher told reporters.

For seven years Rasmussen has fought a tough battle as sales in Russia, Carlsberg's main market after the acquisition of the Baltika brand in 2004, had been affected by tighter regulations and more recently a sanctions-hit economy.

"Maybe his energy has been exhausted, and this change will definitely bring a breath of fresh air into the company," analyst Morten Imsgard from Sydbank said.

New CEO 't Hart has run FrieslandCampina, one of the world's largest dairy companies, for six years and steered the group through a large merger and substantial growth in Asia, a key focus area for Carlsberg as well.

Prior to that he had worked for consumer goods company Unilever for 25 years.

Carlsberg reported a 22 percent fall in fourth-quarter operating profit, hit by 32 percent lower sales in Eastern Europe mainly due to problems in Russia.

Operating profit before special items dropped to 1.79 billion crowns ($276 million) from 2.3 billion crowns a year earlier, missing analysts' forecasts for 1.93 billion crowns. Its shares fell two percent.

The world's fourth largest brewer expects underlying operating profit to grow by less than 10 percent this year when its eastern European operations will again act as a brake.

"While we expect our Western Europe and Asia regions to continue their positive development, the expected GDP decline and currency devaluation in Russia and Ukraine will put significant pressure on the group's overall performance," Carlsberg said.

Carlsberg's large global competitors, Anheuser-Busch InBev, SABMiller and Heineken, are less dependent on the Russian market than the Danish brewer.

Carlsberg said in January that it had decided to close down two of its 10 breweries in Russia, a market that has declined more than 30 percent since 2008.

However, outgoing CEO Rasmussen told reporters that leaving Russia was not an option for Carlsberg.


USA: AB InBev buying another US craft brewer  (

Anheuser-Busch is buying Seattle's Elysian Brewing Co., further expanding its collection of craft brewers as it tries to offset sagging sales of its flagship beers, ABC News reported.

The financial terms of the deal announced on January 23 were not disclosed.

Anheuser-Busch is the U.S. arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA, a Belgian company that is the world's largest brewer. The company, which makes Budweiser and Bud Lite, has been combatting soft sales by buying up increasingly popular craft brewers.

While nationwide beer sales declined 1.9 percent in 2013, craft beer sales rose 17 percent, according to the Brewers Association, which represents craft brewers.

Anheuser-Busch announced in November that it was buying 10 Barrel Brewing of Oregon, raising the ire of many of its fans. That follows the purchase of Blue Point Brewing Co. on Long Island, New York, earlier in the year. It bought Goose Island Beer Co. in Chicago in 2011. InBev also has a one-third share in a Northwest group that produces Red Hook, Widmer and Kona beers.

Anheuser-Busch and Elysian say the deal will bring the brewer's popular beers — most notably Immortal IPA — to a larger audience. The deal includes Elysian's brewery business and its four Seattle brewpubs. It is expected to close by the end of the first quarter.

"Throughout our journey we've been focused on brewing a portfolio of both classic and groundbreaking beers and supporting innovation and camaraderie in the beer industry," Dick Cantwell, Elysian co-founder and head brewer, said. "By joining with Anheuser-Busch we'll be able to take the next steps to bring that energy and commitment to a larger audience."

Elysian was founded in 1995 by Cantwell along with partners Joe Bisacca and David Buhler, who will stay on following the acquisition.

The company is the fastest-growing brewery in Washington state. It sold more than 50,000 barrels of beer in 2014, with Immortal IPA accounting for more than a quarter of the company's total volume.

It also makes a beer called Loser Pale Ale, which says "Corporate Beer Still Sucks" on its packaging. The beer celebrates Seattle-based independent music label Sub Pop Records and the line is a nod to the "Corporate Magazines Still Suck" T-shirt Nirvana's Kurt Cobain once wore on the cover of Rolling Stone.

Cantwell acknowledges that now the joke has another layer, but says the Elysian will keep brewing Loser Pale Ale after the acquisition is complete. The founders say they recognize some fans may be upset by their decision to sell to Anheuser-Busch, but say little will change.

"We have some loyal fans that are questioning it, but we are hoping they will take a breath ... and see that what is still in the glass is amazing," Buhler said.

Elysian's beer is distributed in 11 states in the U.S. as well as Canada, Taiwan, Australia and Japan.

Newsgrafik #29705

Anheuser-Busch Introduces Bud Light Delivery at the Tap of a Button with New Branded App in ...  (Company news)

... Washington, D.C.

Bud Light Button” App To Provide Washington, D.C. Residents with Bud Light and “Up For Whatever” Experiences

Anheuser-Busch is bringing consumers a new way to order and enjoy Bud Light with the brand new Bud Light Button. The Bud Light Button is a beer delivery app that allows users to order Bud Light with one easy tap of the finger. What separates the Bud Light Button from its competitors is the unique “Up for Whatever” experiences that could accompany special deliveries made through the app. The app will launch initially in the Washington, D.C. area on January 15, 2015.

When consumers download the Bud Light Button, they may get more than just beer. The brand is infusing the new app with “Up for Whatever” experiences, designed to inspire spontaneous fun. As a result, Bud Light Button users may receive an “Up For Whatever” experience with their delivery.

“Some people will get just a little something extra, like Bud Light-branded gear, but once in a while, we’re going to deliver a really over-the-top, amazing experiences,” said Lucas Herscovici, Anheuser-Busch vice president of consumer connections. “Maybe that means we show up with a DJ who turns your gathering of friends into an amazing event. The only way to find out for sure what we’re going to do is to grab your phone and use the Bud Light Button.”

As Anheuser-Busch works to deliver on its dream of becoming the top consumer packaged goods company in digital, it is constantly looking for innovative ways to enhance the consumer’s experience. Bud Light partnered with its digital innovation agency of record AKQA and platform provider Klink to create a unique service that will separate Bud Light from its competitors – by delivering beer and “Up for Whatever” Bud Light experiences.

“Anheuser-Busch always pushes the boundaries in developing services that enable spontaneous fun through ‘Up for Whatever’ experiences,” said Stephen Clements, Executive Creative Director, AKQA. “We’re delighted to partner with Anheuser-Busch to bring a fresh, new way to enjoy Bud Light to market.”

The Bud Light Button app is currently available on the Android platform with iOS coming soon, allowing easy and quick beer delivery. Once installed, users can scan their credit card for easy repeat purchase. The app then tracks the user’s current location, so ordering is as simple as tapping the button. Consumers can order between 1 to 100 cases of beer and get it delivered in under an hour by Klink, a new alcohol delivery app that utilizes independent retailers to fulfill deliveries.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


UK: Carlsberg considering the future of its super-strength brands  (

Carlsberg is considering a range of options in the UK over its super-strength lager brands Special Brew and Skol Super, including cutting their ABVs, as part of the country's government's Responsibility Deal.

The brewer announced late last month it will meet a pledge to stop selling cans containing four units of alcohol or more. The 50cl formats of Special Brew and Skol Super, both with an ABV of 9%, do not currently meet this pledge.

The Danish firm's UK unit is looking at changing the size of serve for the brands, or reducing their strength, industry sources report. Any changes will be made by this autumn.

Skol Super is only available in a 50cl can, while Special Brew currently comes in 50cl and 44cl cans and a 27.5cl bottle.

“It is clearly down to individual consumers how they drink our products, but to help create this responsible drinking environment, we will be reviewing our portfolio and withdrawing any single-serve cans containing over four units of alcohol from sale during 2015,” said Bruce Ray, Carlsberg UK's corporate affairs director.

Last July, Carlsberg's rival Anheuser-Busch InBev confirmed it was stopping production of its 9% abv Tennent's Super Lager in the UK as part of the Responsibility Deal.

The move was included in a series of new pledges unveiled by the UK's Home Office as part of an agreement between the drinks industry and the Government, first established in 2011. The Public Health Responsibility Deal is aimed at cutting alcohol abuse in the UK and is seen as a way of avoiding legislation.


USA: AB InBev’s ‘aggressive’ pricing could benefit Boston Beer sales  (

One US analyst believes that a more aggressive US pricing strategy led by Anheuser Busch InBev could reignite sales growth for craft beer competitor Samuel Adams, reported on January 15.

Vivien Azer from Cowen and Company made her comments in a note on January 14 that summed-up her impressions of the Beer Summit 2015 in Palm Beach, California – which featured presentations from top executives representing the likes of AB InBev, MillerCoors and Constellation Brands.

Reflecting on a presentation by AB InBev’s VP of consumer communications, Lucas Herscovici, Azer said the world’s biggest brewer was increasingly focused on digital to balance out its strong focus in past years – with up to 70% of its media spend – on a sports-centric strategy.

The company is de-emphasizing loyalist ‘retention’ to focus more on millennial consumers (wedded to their smartphones) to drive growth, and Cowen said AB InBev’s future media strategy hinges on digital, experiential and media strands, with savings from classical media reinvested in brands.

“Looking ahead the key question for us will be the impact that AB InBev’s market share aspirations have on the underlying growth of the category,” Azer wrote.

Beer volume finished 2014 in growth, but this was driven by aggressive pricing led by AB InBev, Azer wrote, noting that a similar price/mix dip in autumn 2011 also spurred category sales growth.

Of course, where AB InBev leads, the rest of the US beer industry, follows – even if rivals don’t lower (or change) their own prices, they at least feels the effects in terms of retail and shopper behaviour.

Azer said that while Samuel Adams didn’t present at Beer Summit 2015, smaller craft brewers including Revolution, New Belgium and 21st Amendment did, and all predicted ‘robust’ 2015 growth.

“At face value, this heightened competition, coupled with the improved results that we have seen for AB InBev, MillerCoors and Constellation, could clearly be viewed as a concern for Samuel Adams, in particular given the deceleration we have been seeing in the company’s top line growth,” Azer wrote.

She noted in passing that Samuel Adams (The Boston Beer Company) management had been open regarding reduced growth expectations for calendar 2015, especially given a lack of new planned product launches.

But the analyst said she expects Samuel Adams to benefit from an AB InBev-led reduction in beer price/mix, which has in the past spurred category growth, especially given Samuel Adams’ exposure to the fast-growing craft beer segment.

“What is more, while the company’s growth in cider has slowed, the growth rates remain robust. While all-outlet beer sales growth slowed to +6% in the month of December…the company delivered dollar sales growth of nearly 22% when cider and tea are included,” Azer added.

Of course, this US ‘craft’ beer threat would not be complete without Constellation Brands import portfolio, and the brewer told the summit that its calendar 2015 focuses includes Corona Extra in cans, Corona Light, expanded distribution for Modelo Especial and a craft beer test in Chicago.


US: AB InBev settles lawsuit over Kirin beer origin it sells in the US  (

Anheuser-Busch InBev has settled a lawsuit over deceptive marketing tied to the origin of the two brands of Kirin beer it sells in the US, Seeking Alpha reported on January 6.

The brewer was accused of misleading consumers into believing Kirin was a pure import. Consumers who purchased Kirin beer in the U.S. between October of 2009 and December of 2014 can claim a payment of $0.50 per six-pack.

A-B has a long alliance with Japanese brewer Kirin which allows it to sell and market the beers in the U.S.


USA: AB InBev preparing a line extension for Bud Light  (

Anheuser Busch InBev is prepping a line extension for Bud Light called Mixx Tail that appears to continue the brewer's recent innovation strategy of blurring the lines between cocktails and beer, Ad Age reported on November 14.

AB InBev filed a recent trademark application for the product which lists it as a flavored beer. The company on November 14 confirmed the launch to Ad Age but did not provide other details, only saying that it would debut this spring.

One of the brewer's distributors recently tweeted about the launch, saying the product would come in flavors such as Hurricane, Firewalker and Long Island Ice Tea.

AB InBev, the world's largest brewer, already sells a version of the product in Argentina where the product is sold under the Quilmes brand name.

The brewer did not share marketing details on the U.S. launch. But typically AB InBev puts significant money behind products that carry the Bud Light name. For instance, the launch of higher-alcohol line extension Bud Light Platinum in early 2012 was accompanied with a Super Bowl ad. And the brewer continues to invest behind its Bud Light Ritas franchise, which is a line of fruity, margarita-inspired flavored malt beverages.

Brewers have been tinkering with flavorful drinks as a way to appeal to fickle millennial drinkers, who tend to like intense flavors and constant variety.

In a separate move, AB InBev is also planning to launch a new tequila-flavored beer called Oculto that was first reported by the Wall Street Journal earlier this month. The brand will debut in the spring targeting drinkers ages 21 to 27. The brewer describes it as a lager "infused with blue agave and blended with beer aged on Mexican tequila barrel staves."

Newsgrafik #29258

Breezy Brewing: Anheuser-Busch Installs Second Turbine at Fairfield Brewery  (Company news)

As part of its commitment to environmental stewardship from ‘seed to sip,’ Anheuser-Busch is installing a second wind turbine at its Fairfield brewery in Northern California this week. The nearly 400-foot tall turbine will generate 1.6 megawatts of electricity and brings the Fairfield brewery’s total alternative energy generation up to 4.1 megawatts, or 30 percent of the electricity needs for the brewery.
“Increasing energy efficiency through wind reflects our commitment to reducing environmental impact while producing the best beers in the world,” said Tony Sanfillipo, general manager, Fairfield brewery.
In addition to the wind turbines, the brewery’s energy efficiency and conservation efforts include seven acres of solar arrays, a bio-energy recovery system (BERS), recycling and water conservation efforts.
“Expanding our alternative energy use allows us to be increasingly efficient with natural resources,” said Damon Waker, resident engineer, Fairfield brewery. “We look forward to having the turbine fully operational in October.”

The Fairfield brewery has reduced its overall water use by 47 percent since 2007. The brewery also recycles more than 99 percent of the solid waste used in the brewing and packaging processes.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


USA: AB InBev creating new premium beer business in the US  (

Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) is creating a new business unit in the United States devoted to premium beers as it tries to improve its presence in a fast-growing segment of the beer market, Reuters reported on August 6.
With young drinkers increasingly interested in spirits and other drinks, the U.S. beer market shrank 1.9 percent in 2013 to 196.2 million barrels, according to the Brewers Association trade group. Yet "craft" beers, or those made by small, independent brewers, rose 17.2 percent.
The new unit, which will include AB InBev brands such as Goose Island and Blue Point, will be based in Chicago, which places it "in closer touch with urban consumers, their way of thinking, lifestyle and the accounts they visit," said an internal announcement made on August 6 and seen by Reuters.
It will be led by Felipe Szpigel, who joined the brewer 15 years ago as a global management trainee.
AB InBev, the world's largest brewer, is not alone in trying to accelerate sales of beers that are more profitable and appeal to more discerning drinkers.
MillerCoors, the combined US operations of SABMiller and Molson Coors, has a unit called Tenth and Blake, which promotes its premium beers Blue Moon, Jacob Leinenkugel and Blitz-Weinhard and its Crispin and Fox Barrel ciders.
Mainstream lagers such as Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller Lite have lost ground in recent years, hit by a wave of more upmarket, more flavourful drinks such as ales, stouts and wheat beers.
AB InBev's new unit should boost sales of its higher-end beers since it includes dedicated marketing and sales staff, as well as staff for supply and finance functions.
Another internal message announced the departure of Bud Light vice president, Rob McCarthy. McCarthy will be replaced by Alexander Lambrecht.


USA: AB InBev to launch new Mexican Montejo beer in September  (

Anheuser-Busch InBev is set to launch a new brand in the U.S. market’s thriving Mexican beer category. The brewing giant will introduce Montejo—produced by AB InBev subsidiary Grupo Modelo — in California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico starting in September, Shanken News Daily reported on August 7.
The newcomer will go head-to-head with fellow Modelo brands Corona and Modelo Especial—which are controlled by Constellation in the U.S. market—as well as Heineken’s Mexican stable, including Dos Equis and Tecate. Mexican beer shipments to the U.S. rose 4.6% in 2013, according to Impact Databank, comprising 58% of the total imported beer market.
Additionally, AB InBev is planning to shift management of its premium craft and imported beers from its U.S. headquarters in St. Louis to a new divisional office in Chicago, Advertising Age reported on August 5. While there were no details on the exact timing of the move or exactly where the new offices will be located, the Chicago division reportedly will be headed by Felipe Szpigel, who’s set to relocate from New York, where he’s been vice president of trade marketing. Adam Oakley, the St. Louis-based vice-president of import, craft and specialty brands, is also expected to move to Chicago. Ad Age also reported that Rob McCarthy, brand vice president for Bud Light, will leave the company by Labor Day. He will be replaced by Alexander Lambrecht, who had been a brand director in the Asia Pacific region.

Newsgrafik #29077

Anheuser-Busch Debuts SmartBarley Benchmarking Program to Generate Higher Yields  (Company news)

SmartBarley, a barley benchmarking program developed by Anheuser-Busch, will mean higher yields and increased water efficiency for barley growers. The initiative is part of the global beer company’s efforts to develop a more robust supply chain by supporting its network of barley growers.
“SmartBarley creates shared value between our growers and Anheuser-Busch,” said Russ Harville, senior director of raw material procurement. “Growers benefit from knowledge-sharing that translates into increased crop productivity and efficient water use, while strengthening Anheuser-Busch’s sustainable, high-quality supply of malting barley.
This year, SmartBarley, is incorporating data and best practice sharing from more than 1,900 malt barley growers worldwide so they can compare their crop performance to others’ in their region and globally through advanced productivity and key environmental performance indicators. The expanded pilot initiative begins this summer and is making its U.S. debut at Grower Field Day festivities in the barley-producing regions of Idaho Falls, Idaho and Conrad, Montana.
The benchmarking program includes indicators such as irrigation water productivity, nitrogen use efficiency, yield realization and various soil health parameters. This information allows Anheuser-Busch and its growers to work in partnership to more reliably produce and deliver different varieties of malt barley that support established brands, while bringing barley-based beer innovations more quickly to the market.
SmartBarley was first piloted in 2013 with 341 growers across 7 countries. It has since grown to include growers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Russia and China, with a development agenda that further enhances the system and adds even greater value to growers. Initial feedback from early pilots has been positive and the company is developing robust mechanisms for collecting and incorporating feedback from participating growers later this year.
SmartBarley is also smart business, for Anheuser-Busch and its growers. In 2013, the company completed a robust water assessment in key barley regions – identifying local water availability and water quality concerns, mapping relevant stakeholders for potential partnerships, and developing locally tailored pilot initiatives that improve water management.
“A reliable supply of malting barley is strategically critical to our business, and working with growers to minimize water-related risks ensures we can continue to deliver great beers to our consumers, today and into the future,” said Lee Keathley, vice president of procurement.
SmartBarley will be used as a measurement tool for the effectiveness of one of these initiatives – AgriMet, also on display at the Idaho Falls grower days. This spring, Anheuser-Busch purchased six AgriMet weather stations located in Southeast Idaho to arm barley growers with vital water conservation data. AgriMet‘s weather stations collect and report weather data necessary for computing evapotranspiration (ET). When linked to an irrigation scheduler program via the web or mobile application, growers can access AgriMet data to better monitor crop water use, precipitation and soil conditions. They can reduce the amount of water used in irrigation and decide exactly when and how much to irrigate.
“AgriMet can not only help growers conserve their water, but it can increase yields and improve crop quality and save pumping costs, “ says Jama Hamel, AgriMet Program Coordinator, Bureau of Reclamation.
Another example of water conservation is found in the company’s Global Barley Research Program based in Fort Collins, Colorado, which has created barley varieties that produce the highest quality and best yields, while using less water and tolerating drought and other extreme weather conditions. In Southern Idaho, Anheuser-Busch uses specially adapted winter barley varieties that require 25% less water than regular varieties, which can reduce irrigation water applied by more than 1.5 billion liters of water during one growing season.
Working in step with AgriMet and Global Barley Research, SmartBarley is helping growers improve their barley yields while supporting Anheuser-Busch’s commitment of reducing water risks and improving water management in 100 percent of its key barley growing regions by the end of 2017 in partnership with local stakeholders.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)

Newsgrafik #28941

Capital Cities, Aloe Blacc Take Over Beck's Beer Bottles  (Company news)

Original Designs from Capital Cities, Aloe Blacc, Luis Fonsi, DJ Irie, TYPOE, Maluca Mala, Ron Finley, Camille Rose Garcia to Adorn Millions of Beck’s Beer Bottles This Summer

Beck’s Beer announced that indie pop sensation Capital Cities and singer/songwriter/rapper Aloe Blacc, as well as six additional artists, will collectively take over millions of Beck’s beer bottle labels beginning July 1, 2014.

In addition to Capital Cities and Aloe Blacc, 2014 participants include:
-Latin Grammy-winning Puerto Rican singer/composer Luis Fonsi;
-Club sensation DJ Irie;
-Miami-based visual artist TYPOE;
-Neo-rave and tribal music artist Maluca Mala;
-LA-based renegade gardener Ron Finley; and
-Surrealist artist Camille Rose Garcia.

“Live Beyond Labels participants tend to be drawn to the idea of reaching millions of people in an entirely new way,” said Ryan Garcia, vice president, regional marketing. “The size of their audience and their creative focus differs from artist to artist. But they all share an independent streak, a fearlessness Beck’s admires.”
Every year for the past 27 years, Beck’s Beer commissions original artwork for the summer-long Live Beyond Labels series. The brand replaces its traditional labels with the original designs from both emerging and established artists.
Throughout the life of the program, Beck’s labels have showcased original designs from a range of creative celebrities, including Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst, Yoko Ono, MIA and Kid Cudi. The program began in the UK and moved to the US in 2012.
One reason for the program’s popularity is its disruptiveness. Beer drinkers do not traditionally find original artwork on the side of a bottle of beer, let alone designs created by musicians, DJs and “guerilla gardeners.” In its history, the program has placed original art on more than 500 million bottles of Beck’s beer.

The 2014 roster of participants includes musicians, a DJ, a visual artist, a renegade gardener and a lowbrow artist:
-Capital Cities is an American indie pop band based in Los Angeles. Formed by Ryan Merchant and Sebu Simonian, Capital Cities released their debut EP in 2011. This summer, Capital Cities will tour with Katy Perry.
-Aloe Blacc is an American singer, songwriter, rapper and musician. Blacc co-wrote and performed the smash hit single “Wake Me Up” with Swedish DJ Avicii. His newest album, “Lift Your Spirits,” was created in partnership with producers including Pharrell Williams, DJ Khalil and Rock Mafia. He is now on tour with Bruno Mars.
-Luis Fonsi is a Puerto Rican pop singer and composer. Since debuting in 1998, Fonsi has won a Latin Grammy and been named by Billboard magazine as a “Leader of Latin Music’s New Generation.” His latest album, “8,” was described by Billboard as a “cohesive package of truly great pop songs.”
-DJ Irie is a Miami-based DJ. Dubbed the “King of the South Florida party scene,” Irie is the official DJ of the Miami Heat and an in-demand touring DJ.
-TYPOE is a visual artist and a mainstay in Miami’s thriving art scene. He is represented by Spinello Projects and is co-founder of project space PRIMARY.
-Maluca Mala is a Dominican musician based in New York City. Mala’s music is described as Latin-dance, tropical punk hip-hop and ghetto techno. Raised in Manhattan’s Washington Heights, Mala performs a “decadent mix” of musical styles, according to the New York Times.
-Ron Finley is a creative phenomenon on a quest to conquer the world, one garden at a time. Armed with a shovel, some soil and seeds, Ron Finley has come to be known as the “renegade gardener,” and his unexpected tactics have made him one of L.A.’s most widely known activists.
-Camille Rose Garcia is a Los Angeles based artist who creates colorful surrealist fairy-tale paintings about failed utopias and the relationship to the natural world.

Live Beyond Labels is intended to celebrate the fact that design is everywhere. The program intends to transform the traditional into the exceptional, by giving creative people an opportunity to treat millions of Beck’s beer bottles as a non-traditional artistic canvas.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


USA: Shandy gradually conquering more and more consumers in the States  (

Shandy, a mixture of lager beer and lemon soda, is a long-time staple in Europe, but until recently, it was largely unknown in the United States, CNBC reported on May 25.
Now a growing number of U.S. brewers are finding success experimenting with the style—a result of many beer drinkers continuing to seek out new flavors.
Leading the shandy charge was Wisconsin-based Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing, which introduced its Summer Shandy in 2007.
After many years of steady growth, 2012 was a breakout year for the brand after it achieved nationwide distribution and the support of national ad campaign from its parent company MillerCoors.
Summer Shandy now accounts for 50 percent of Leinenkugel's total business and the brewery is looking to keep the shandy momentum going.
"We're just now seeing shandies in the United States starting to blossom because probably half of all beer drinkers still don't know what a shandy is," said Jake Leinenkugel, president of Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing. "We're at a point where the shandy still has nothing but upside."

But it's becoming a more crowded category.
Traveler Beer, which is part of Burlington, Vermont-based Alchemy & Science, a unit of Boston Beer, is also betting big on shandy. Founded in 2012, as the House of Shandy, the company's stated mission is to "combine the European Shandy tradition with American ingenuity."
Alan Newman, its president and founder of Magic Hat Brewing, acknowledges there is still plenty of work to be done in introducing the shandy to the American consumer.
"We recently hired an online survey company to ask Americans 'What is a shandy?'," he said.
"Eighty-nine percent missed it completely. I think, maybe 7 percent figured it was a beer. So the understanding of the category still has a way to go."
Five generations after it was founded, Leinenkugel Brewing Company is still run by the family and trying to help those who just can't pronounce the name.
While still small, the category remains a bright spot at a time when overall beer sales are stagnant. Off-premise sales of the major shandy brands in multi-outlet channels, which include supermarkets, drugstores, Target and Wal-Mart, totaled $67 million in 2013, up 227 percent versus the year before, according to Daniel Wandel, senior vice president, Beverage Alcohol Market Insights Group for IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm.

Wandel likens the current state of the shandy segment to another recent high-growth area.
"When I look at shandies now, the thing that comes to top of mind is cider, 10 years ago, when ciders weren't even a blip on the radar," he said. "Yet ciders continued year after year to have high double-digit growth increases, albeit off a small base, much like we're seeing with shandy, but over the last several years ciders have exploded."
It's that type of room to grow that has Leinenkugel's pursuing an aggressive growth strategy for the Summer Shandy brand.
"We feel wherever there is a Sam Adams placement there should be a Leinenkugel Summer Shandy placement. We're still below that line, but we're building and I would say we're at least one-and-half times better off on distribution than we were at this time last year," said Jake Leinenkugel.
As the shandy audience expands, so too does the competition, as brewers both large and small look to capture a piece of the pie. Larger players like Anheuser Busch, with its Shock Top Lemon Shandy, and Mike's Hard Lemonade have already entered the space.
But smaller players like Rhode Island-based Narragansett Beer, are also finding success. The brewery released its first shandy this year, made with New England favorite Del's Lemonade, and President and CEO Mark Hellendrung told beer industry trade site that it can't keep the new shandy in stock, saying sales are "out of control."
Even brewers like Boston's Harpoon Brewing, which built its business on the back of the hoppier and bolder flavors of the popular IPA style, are offering shandys for the first time this year. Its UFO Big Squeeze shandy has a grapefruit flavor.
Reflecting on the competition, Jake Leinenkugel said where he once saw confusion, if not outright derision, from fellow brewers, he now sees imitation.
"Some of the same brewers that were making fun of it seven years ago are now starting to get into it and I think it's a nice form of flattery," he said. "It's opened up some eyes and people are admitting it's a lot bigger than they'd ever thought it would be and it's bringing in new beer drinkers."
While shandy may be bringing new drinkers into the beer category, for most consumers, shandy has all the attributes of a classic summer romance: exciting and refreshing in June, but over by September. Both Leinenkugel and Newman admit they see shandy sales drop off substantially after the Labor Day holiday weekend.
Newman said part of the seasonality problem stems from the way category leader, Leinenkugel, has trained people to view the shandy as solely a summer drink.
"There's no question that Leinenkugel is putting shandy on the map, and you know that's helping us as well," he said. "On the other hand, they've also done a great disservice by calling their beer Summer Shandy."
Newman said he expects that if Leinenkugel did not have "Summer" as part of its flagship shandy's title, the issue of seasonality would be diminished.
He points to the success of brands like Blue Moon Brewing's Belgian White and Magic Hat's Number #9 as example of beers once perceived largely as summer staples that have crossed over to become successful year-round brands.
"Over time you'll see (shandy) stick around longer and it will eventually go year round," said Newman. "But I'm not gonna lie. I think the idea of a straight-ahead Shandy outside the summer season at this point is gonna be difficult."
Both companies are hoping a lineup of seasonal flavors can keep the shandy party going a little longer. Last year, Traveler introduced the first pumpkin shandy and it also offers a seasonal strawberry shandy. Leinenkugel plans to roll out an Autumn Sampler shandy variety pack this fall with three new flavors: Pumpkin Harvest, Cranberry Ginger and Old Fashioned Shandy, inspired by the classic cocktail.
Despite the high hopes for seasonal offerings, shandy, like the rest of the beer business, will always rely on summer as the key selling season.
It's this reality that has Jake Leinenkugel happy to have "summer" in the title of his brewery's flagship shandy offering.
"The one thing it's done is made us the 'rite of summer' beer for a lot of people," he said. "Our distributors have told us don't change the Summer Shandy name, because we own the summer space now."


USA: Heineken’s tequila-flavored Desperados to be available in the entire US next year  (

Spanish-sounding, tequila-flavored Desperados, which is owned by Heineken, is making its U.S. debut after being sold overseas for more than 15 years. The brewer's U.S. importing division began selling bottles in Florida and Georgia earlier this month and has plans for national distribution next year, AdAge reported on April 24.

The ad campaign, which debuts next week, will target urban markets. "We are trying to deliver on that high-energy, nightlife type of scene," said Raul Esquer, the Desperados brand manager for Heineken USA.

The importer will use the same campaign that is rolling out internationally for the brand, which is sold in more than 60 countries. The agency is Dufresne Corrigan Scarlett, an independent shop based in Paris. The campaign, called "At Dusk, We Rise," includes two TV spots (above) that are full of music and dancing. A big chunk of the spending will be on digital and out-of-home ads.

Desperados is the latest example of beer marketers relying on flavors and higher-alcohol products to lure millennial drinkers. Anheuser-Busch InBev, for instance, began seeking more party-drinkers with the 2012 launch of Bud Light Platinum, and has continued to expand its line of Bud Light Lime branded margarita-inspired flavored malt beverages. Earlier this year, MillerCoors launched Miller Fortune, with advertising that touts the brew for "spirited nights."

Heineken USA refers to Desperados as a "spirited beer." It has 6% alcohol by volume, which equals the alcohol content of Platinum, but is lower than Fortune's 6.9%.

Heineken USA has also launched Dos-A-Rita, a Dos Equis line extension that weighs in at 7.2% ABV. The importer refers to it as a "ready-to-serve lager margarita made with 100 percent real Agave nectar" and Dos Equis beer. On the other end of the ABV scale, Heineken USA has launched Amstel Radler at 2% ABV, which is comprised of 40% Amstel lager and 60% lemon juice.

Desperados is made by combining lager that is aged in tequila barrels for a few months, then blended with beer that is mixed with tequila and lemon flavors. While the product has trace amounts of tequila, it is technically classified as a malt beverage.

Tequila-flavored beer is not unprecedented in the states. Anheuser-Busch several years ago marketed a brand called Tequiza, which burst out of the gate in 1999 backed by significant advertising spending, but later floundered.

Heineken USA is bullish on Desperados partly because of its barrel aged positioning, which Mr. Esquer said speaks to "the craftsmanship of the product." Barrel-aging is trendy in the states, with craft beers and liquor brands playing it up in marketing. (The Desperados formula sold overseas does not include the barrel-aged process.)

Desperados is especially popular in France, where as of 2012 it was the fifth-ranked beer brand with 3% market share, up from 2% in 2006, according to the latest available data from Euromonitor International. According to Mr. Esquer, Desperados now has 4% of the beer market in the country, and is the No. 1 alcohol brand among millennial consumers.

Due to France's strict alcohol advertising rules - which forbid tactics such as TV ads and showing people in ads - the Desperados marketing playbook is limited in the country. The newest campaign features bottle shot photography. It resonates because it avoids the "frill" graphical elements other French alcohol brands use that take "weeks of photoshop" but are "inevitably fake," Yv Corbeil, digital and integrated creative director for Dufresne Corrigan Scarlett, said in an email.

By contrast, Desperados ads use "rough images" with "no retouching," he said, resulting in a "whisper rather than a scream."

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Shock Top to Create Buzz with Honey Bourbon Cask Wheat  (Company news)

Shock Top brewmasters are always looking for unique twists on beer styles and today they’re introducing the newest full-time member of the Shock Top family. Shock Top Honey Bourbon Cask Wheat is an unfiltered Belgian-style wheat ale featuring the sweetness of honey and the boldness of bourbon.
Quality ingredients and creativity drive the Shock Top brewing team, so when Brewmaster Jill Vaughn saw honey and bourbon flavors driving interest with diners and beer drinkers alike, she got to work with her team. Shock Top Honey Bourbon Cask Wheat is brewed with honey, caramel malt and aged on bourbon cask staves for the perfect balance of flavor and refreshment.
Vaughn created a special introduction video to share more about her inspiration and how Shock Top Honey Bourbon Cask Wheat gets its incredible flavor.
Amber in color and 5.5 percent ABV, Shock Top Honey Bourbon Cask Wheat is the latest year-round offering from Shock Top. The beer is available nationwide in 6- and 12-packs of bottles and also on draught.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


USA: Heineken’s lager margaritas will be launched in April to replicate the success ...  (

... of AB InBev’s Bud Light Ritas

Heineken will launch lager margaritas in the US from April as it bids to replicate the success of Anheuser Busch InBev’s Bud Light Ritas line, reported on March 14.

Heineken’s Dos-A-Rita launch differs from AB InBev’s in that it uses a splash of Dos Equis lager, where use of the brew from its Mexican import portfolio is perhaps the key point of difference from mainstream premium light Bud Light.

Another difference is the fact that the 7.2% ABV drink ‘with natural flavors and caramel color’ is sweetened with agave nectar, a ‘natural’ sweetener that is principally fructose.

Surprisingly large 24oz (680ml) single-serve cans and 8oz (227ml) cans in 12 packs will be trialled across southern and mid-western states.

Namely, Texas, Arizona, California, Nevada, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, New Mexico North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama.

Predictably, and perhaps with Bud Light Lime Ritas in its sights, Monique Acevedo, VP of innovation at Heineken USA, is talking up the drink’s status “as a more premium and authentic lager margarita that leverages the strength and momentum of the Dos Equis brand”.

“Independent research confirms that Dos-A-Rita generates strong interest among 22-34 year-old consumers and is viewed as an exciting product,” she added, noting double-digit growth for Dos Equis across all channels.

Reflecting on the launch, Amin Alkhatib, US alcoholic drinks analyst for Euromonitor International said: “Initially it is the offering of something different that is attracting consumers, but the aspect of ‘authenticity’ is a plus for Heineken to beat away competition from the Bud Light mixed beer range.”

Acevedo said 197% year-on-year growth in flavored/mixed beer sales (the highest rate of growth in the category) showed that consumers in the LDA+ group in particular were more open to experimentation and variety beyond regular beer.

It will be interesting to see if Heineken USA extends distribution in time, and even adds to it – given that the Dos Equis website recommends four cocktails using the beer – a Michelada (with lime juice) Sidra (a lager, cider, blackcurrent mix) and Mosa (lager with orange juice) as well as a Dos-Arita.

Former Heineken executive John Hunt, latterly the brewer's head of global strategy, is developing his own beer brand, and said that big beer was working hard to keep the category young and vital.

“The big brewers have not been slow to bring forward their innovations in terms of different kinds of drinks…in America InBev have been successful with the Lime-A-Ritas and say they’re bring a lot of new people into the beer category,” he said.


USA: AB InBev adds two new flavours to Bud Light Lime Ritas range  (

Beer major AB InBev has expanded the portfolio of its Bud Light Lime Ritas with two new flavors - Mang-O-Rita and Raz-Ber-Rita, Drinks Business Review reported on March 4.

Lime-A-Rita, Straw-Ber-Rita and seasonal Cran-Brrr-Rita are the other three existing flavors in the Bud Light Lime Ritas range.

With 8% ABV, the new flavored malt beverages offer Bud Light Lime refreshment with the taste of mango and raspberry margaritas.

The company is offering Mang-O-Rita and Raz-Ber-Rita flavors for sale in three pack sizes including, 12-pack 8oz cans; four-pack 16oz cans; and 24oz individual cans.

AB InBev has also introduced a four-flavor Mix-A-Rita 18-pack to encourage mixology.

All the flavors are also available in a Mix-A-Rita 18-pack, which includes six Lime-A-Ritas, four Straw-Ber-Ritas, four Mang-O-Ritas and four Raz-Ber-Ritas.

Bud Light vice president Rob McCarthy said they anticipate Raz-Ber-Rita and Mang-O-Rita to continue extending the brand into the popular margarita space.

"With four permanent Rita flavors to choose from, and our new convenient mixed pack featuring them all, we're excited to see consumers experiment and create their own "Mix-A-Rita" combinations," McCarthy added.

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Long Island-Based Brewer to Access Anheuser-Busch Resources, Bring Craft Brands to More Consumers

Anheuser-Busch announced it has agreed to purchase Blue Point Brewing Co., one of the nation’s top craft brewers with more than 40 beers and sales concentrated along the East Coast, in a move that will bring additional resources to Blue Point’s operations, allowing it to meet growing consumer demand for its award‑winning brands. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Blue Point, known for its creativity, was founded by Mark Burford and Peter Cotter 15 years ago in Patchogue, N.Y., where the brewery will continue to operate. Anheuser-Busch also plans to invest in the brewery to grow its operational capabilities and enhance the consumer experience over the next few years.
“We are deeply grateful to our family of loyal employees and customers. Our success was made possible by the hard work of good people and good beer in Patchogue,” said Peter Cotter, who will continue to be instrumental in the success of the brands along with co-founder Mark Burford. “Together, our talented brewing team and Anheuser-Busch will have the resources to create new and exciting beers and share our portfolio with even more beer lovers,” said Mark Burford.
In 2013, Blue Point sold approximately 60,000 barrels, with 50 percent of the volume from its flagship brand, Toasted Lager. It also sells Hoptical Illusion, Blueberry Ale and seasonal brands among others.
“As we welcome Blue Point into the Anheuser-Busch family of brands, we look forward to working with Mark and Peter to accelerate the growth of the Blue Point portfolio and expand to new markets, while preserving the heritage and innovation of the brands,” said Luiz Edmond, CEO of Anheuser-Busch. “With Anheuser-Busch’s strong beer credentials, we share a commitment to offering high-quality beers that excite consumers. Blue Point brands have a strong following and even more potential.”

Anheuser-Busch’s purchase of Blue Point is expected to close in early second quarter of 2014.
Ippolito Christon & Co. acted as financial advisers to Blue Point. Ettelman & Hochheiser, P.C. acted as legal counsel to Blue Point.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)

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Red Hot Bud Light Lime Cran-Brrr-Rita Holiday Sales Spur On-Shelf Extension  (Company news)

From tech to fashion, the holiday season is ripe for turning limited-edition products into highly sought after sellouts, but rarely does such success make its way into the beer aisle. One exception this year is Bud Light Lime Cran-Brrr-Rita, a limited-edition winter offering introduced in November that combines the taste of a cranberry margarita with a splash of Bud Light Lime.
Initially intended to come and go along with the major holidays, demand for Cran-Brrr-Rita has led to stock shortages across the country as merrymakers look for the perfect cocktail-alternative to serve this season. In fact, Cran-Brrr-Rita has been so popular that Anheuser-Busch announced they are extending its availability through the end of January.
To help promote the new Rita flavor during the key holiday selling season, Bud Light Lime enlisted Philadelphia-based Poptent to have its network of freelance videographers compete to create a video juxtaposing the stress of the holidays with the stress-free enjoyment of drinking a Cran-Brr-Rita. The winning spot, “Holidays Are Hard, Ritas Are Easy,” was released on November 27 via Bud Light social media channels.
The success of Bud Light Lime Cran-Brrr-Rita highlights the strength of the Bud Light Lime Ritas. Straw-Ber-Rita, which debuted in March 2013, is the largest share gainer in the beer industry this year, and Straw-Ber-Rita and Lime-A-Rita represent the No. 1 and No. 2 brands in the FMB category*. Combined the Ritas are larger than the category’s next eight brands.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)

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Lagers Lead with Beer Drinkers, According to New Survey from Anheuser-Busch  (Company news)

This National Lager Day, Dec. 10, Anheuser-Busch raised a toast to America’s most preferred style of beer, and for good reason. With ever-increasing interest in beers and brewing, adults still say that lager is their favorite type of beer, according to a new survey conducted by the brewer and KRC Research.
The findings show a preference for lager by a wide margin over ales with the majority citing lager’s crisp flavor as the reason.
Beer drinkers have long loved lagers, and the style still reigns supreme. American lagers make up the large majority (75%) of today’s overall beer category, according to IRI data[i], with Anheuser-Busch leading the way in the United States, representing nearly two-thirds (63%) of the category.[ii] Two of the company’s flagship lagers, Budweiser and Bud Light, are consistently among the world’s leading brands.
The National Lager Day survey of more than 600 beer-drinking Americans age 21 and older affirms a prevailing preference for lagers and reveals more about how they are enjoyed. Key findings include:
-Beer drinkers prefer lagers 2-to-1 over pale ales and 3-to-1 over IPAs and stouts.
-Two-thirds of beer drinkers like the crisp flavor of lager more than beers with bitter, sweet or fruity flavors.
-When it comes to serving style, respondents say enjoying beer in a glass bottle is best (38%), followed closely by beer on draught (32%).

“It’s great to see excitement for lagers reaffirmed through the survey results,” said Pete Kraemer, head brewmaster, Anheuser-Busch. “They are the most challenging beers to brew, but also the most rewarding. There is nothing I enjoy more than the light, refined flavor complexity of an American lager.”
Whether seeking the clean flavor of Bud Light or the crisp, distinct taste of Budweiser, beer drinkers have confirmed lagers are their favorite by making the two Anheuser-Busch beers among the top-selling in the country.
“Lagers have a crisper, cleaner taste than traditional ales and require an immense amount of attention during the brewing process,” said Kraemer. “For our brewmasters, the ultimate measure of quality is taste, which is why we taste every batch of beer at every step in the process. The consistent quality of Budweiser and Bud Light are a testament to the talent and training of our brewmasters.”
(Anheuser Busch InBev)

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Anheuser-Busch Annnounces $10 million investment in Williamsburg brewery to expand brewing and ...  (Company news)

... packaging capabilities

Company Has Invested More Than $39 Million in Williamsburg Operation Since 2011

Anheuser-Busch announced a new capital investment of $10 million into its Williamsburg brewery. The investment will help expand the brewery’s packaging operation and other production needs and is part of more than $39 million that has been invested into the facility since 2011.
“The continued investment in our Williamsburg brewery allows us to expand our brewing and production capabilities, as well as make upgrades to increase the energy and water efficiencies of our operation,” said Pete Kraemer, vice president of supply and head brewmaster for Anheuser-Busch. “These investments also help support our talented team in Williamsburg, which is committed to carrying on our company’s long history of brewing excellence.”
The Williamsburg brewery, which opened in 1972, serves the states of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Kentucky, Georgia and the District of Columbia. It produces more than 40 different Anheuser-Busch beers, including the company’s flagship brands, Budweiser and Bud Light.
“Today’s announcement is another demonstration of Anheuser-Busch’s commitment to our brewery, which has been in operation for more than 40 years,” said Rick Shippey, general manager of the Anheuser-Busch Williamsburg brewery. “This investment includes the addition of a slim package to one of our existing can lines, which will further enhance our ability to offer new and innovative packages for our consumers.”
The Anheuser-Busch Williamsburg brewery remains one of James City County’s key employers and contributors to the regional economy. The brewery has also been recognized with several environmental awards this year, including the Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award for Energy Conservation and the Most Outstanding Business in Virginia for Excellence in Recycling by the Virginia Recycling Association.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


The Czech Republic: Budějovický Budvar might appeal the French verdict on the “BUD” designation ...  (

... of origin

Czech brewery Budějovický Budvar is considering whether it will file an appeal to the Supreme Court over the verdict of the French Appellate Court that the "BUD" designation of origin, owned by Budvar, is invalid, Budvar's spokesman Petr Samec was quoted as saying by Prague Post on December 5.

The French court ruled that the "BUD" trademark cannot be protected as a designation of origin in France, confirming an earlier verdict of a lower-instance court against that Budvar had appealed, brewing group and Budvar's rival Anheuser-Busch InBev said in a press release on December 5.

The decision strengthens the position in trademarks of Anheuser-Busch InBev in France, the company said.

"The court's verdict has not taken effect yet. We are now analyzing our chances of success in a possible appeal to the Supreme Court with our lawyers," Samec said.

Europe's Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) had granted the registration for the "BUD" trademark in the entire European Union to AB InBev in June already.

It did so after Budvar lost a dispute over the trademark at an EU court in January this year.

Court disputes over the BUDWEISER trademark have dragged since 1907.

In 2000 to 2012, a total of 173 court disputes and administrative proceedings were closed, of which Budvar won 120 cases. Ten disputes ended in a settlement or a victory of none of the two sides.

The registration of trademarks BUDWEISER and BUDWEISER BUDVAR, owned by Budvar, bans the AB InBev concern from using its flagship trademark BUDWEISER in almost 70 countries.

Budějovický Budvar was established in 1895 by Czech brewers who had produced beer called Budweiser Bier since the 13th century. Budweiser Bier has been exported from České Budějovice, southern Bohemia, to the USA since at least 1872. Anheuser-Busch introduced its own US trademark Budweiser in 1876.

Newsgrafik #28059

Budweiser Brings Time-Honored Brewing Process to Life with New Brewmaster Tour  (Company news)

New Mobile Brewing Experience to Visit Dozens of U.S. Cities

Since 1876, Budweiser has been brewed by skilled brewmasters using techniques and processes that have been passed down from generation to generation. Now, the brewmasters behind every bottle, can and keg of the great American lager are launching a mobile brewing experience to provide consumers their own taste of the art, science and passion that goes into making Budweiser. The mobile Budweiser Brewmaster Tour has begin a 45-week journey on October 18 in St. Louis and travel to various parts of the country to offer beer drinkers an authentic, hands-on tour that engages all five senses.
Budweiser brewmasters or brewing ambassadors will lead small groups of guests through five brewing zones that culminate with a sampling opportunity, where allowed by law, during which adults can enjoy the finished lager complete with its signature clean, crisp taste. The brief tour will focus on Budweiser’s key ingredients—barley, hops, rice, yeast and water—the brewing process, fermentation and beechwood aging, and finishing. Ambassadors will also answer questions at the conclusion of each tour while guests sample beer and peruse a small pop-up shop of Budweiser merchandise.
“The Budweiser Brewmaster Tour offers visitors a unique sensory experience complete with a hot brewing zone and a cold finishing zone,” said Julia Mize, Vice President of Experiential Marketing, Anheuser-Busch. “With the help of our brewing ambassadors, we’ve created a connection for beer drinkers between the beer in their hand and the history and heritage of Budweiser brewing.”
The Budweiser Brewmaster Tour is slated to visit more than three dozen cities through fall 2014. A number of stops coincide with local celebrations, including sporting events and festivals. The mobile unit is also scheduled to visit several Anheuser-Busch breweries and hop and rice farms, where Budweiser’s premium ingredients are harvested.
“Every Budweiser we brew is the result of passionate people who put time, care and skill into every step along the way,” said Brian Perkins, Vice President, Budweiser. “From farm to bottle, we do everything possible to ensure that the best-tasting, freshest Budweiser ends up in the hands of beer lovers everywhere. The Budweiser Brewmaster Tour provides a fantastic window into the intricacies and unique methods that give Budweiser its unparalleled smoothness, balance, and crisp, clean taste.”
(Anheuser Busch InBev)

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'Project 12' is Back: Budweiser Brewmasters Surprise Beer Drinkers with Three New Brews   (Company news)

Last Year’s Inaugural ‘Project 12’ Program Created Budweiser Black Crown; This Year, Sampler Pack Hit Shelves Oct. 28

Budweiser’s Project 12 – the brewmaster innovation platform that resulted in the introduction of Budweiser Black Crown – is back with three new beers named for the ZIP codes where the beers were brewed, beginning Oct. 28.
The premise is simple: Budweiser’s team of brewmasters develop new beer recipes featuring the signature yeast first used by Adolphus Busch in 1876, creating brews that exhibit Budweiser’s clean and crisp taste while expanding the brand’s offerings.
“Our brewmasters are the best in the business and the quality of our brewing standards is unmatched,” said Brian Perkins, vice president, Budweiser. “’Project 12’ showcases our brewmasters at the top of their game, challenging them to create new recipes that stay true to the Budweiser taste profile while also introducing unique, new flavors.”

The three small-batch Budweisers named for the ZIP code where the beer is brewed include:
-Batch 94534 (Fairfield, Calif.): Brewed with a unique blend of North Pacific hop varieties, including Cascade and Palisade, this bold, hoppy lager is 5.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and offers a distinct taste of the American Northwest.
-Batch 23185 (Williamsburg, Va.): Aged on a bed of bourbon barrel staves and vanilla beans, this light amber lager indulges the sweet side and features a 5.5 percent ABV.
-Batch 43229 (Columbus, Ohio): Brewed with chocolate and caramel malts for a rich auburn appearance and finished on Beechwood chips for a crisp, clean taste, this deep amber lager is 6 percent ABV.

On Labor Day weekend, Budweiser hosted a sampling event at the Budweiser Made in America Music Festival, giving adult concert-goers an exclusive chance to taste and provide feedback on the beers featured in the soon-to-be-released sampler pack.
“The initial response from beer drinkers has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Pete Kraemer, head brewmaster, Anheuser-Busch. “Each of the three beers has a distinct taste with a common thread. ‘Project 12’ is all about showcasing brewing creativity and credentials, and making beer drinkers happy. We are confident we’ve achieved that with the 2013 edition.”
Last year, a groundswell of positive feedback led Budweiser to introduce Budweiser Black Crown – originally known as Project 12’s Batch 91406 – as a permanent extension to the Budweiser brand during Super Bowl XLVI.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


USA: Anheuser-Busch's Project 12 back with three new beers  (

Budweiser’s Project 12 – the brewmaster innovation platform that resulted in the introduction of Budweiser Black Crown – is back with three new beers named for the ZIP codes where the beers were brewed, beginning October 28, Brewbound reported on October 8.
Budweiser’s team of brewmasters develop new beer recipes featuring the signature yeast first used by Adolphus Busch in 1876, creating brews that exhibit Budweiser’s clean and crisp taste while expanding the brand’s offerings.
“Our brewmasters are the best in the business and the quality of our brewing standards is unmatched,” said Brian Perkins, vice president, Budweiser. “’Project 12’ showcases our brewmasters at the top of their game, challenging them to create new recipes that stay true to the Budweiser taste profile while also introducing unique, new flavors.”

The three small-batch Budweisers named for the ZIP code where the beer is brewed include:
-Batch 94534 (Fairfield, Calif.): Brewed with a unique blend of North Pacific hop varieties, including Cascade and Palisade, this bold, hoppy lager is 5.5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and offers a distinct taste of the American Northwest.
-Batch 23185 (Williamsburg, Va.): Aged on a bed of bourbon barrel staves and vanilla beans, this light amber lager indulges the sweet side and features a 5.5 percent ABV.
-Batch 43229 (Columbus, Ohio): Brewed with chocolate and caramel malts for a rich auburn appearance and finished on Beechwood chips for a crisp, clean taste, this deep amber lager is 6 percent ABV.

On Labor Day weekend, Budweiser hosted a sampling event at the Budweiser Made in America Music Festival, giving adult concert-goers an exclusive chance to taste and provide feedback on the beers featured in the soon-to-be-released sampler pack.
“The initial response from beer drinkers has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Pete Kraemer, head brewmaster, Anheuser-Busch. “Each of the three beers has a distinct taste with a common thread. ‘Project 12’ is all about showcasing brewing creativity and credentials, and making beer drinkers happy. We are confident we’ve achieved that with the 2013 edition.”
Last year, a groundswell of positive feedback led Budweiser to introduce Budweiser Black Crown – originally known as Project 12’s Batch 91406 – as a permanent extension to the Budweiser brand during Super Bowl XLVI.
Budweiser, an American-style lager, was introduced in 1876 when company founder Adolphus Busch set out to create the United States’ first truly national beer brand – brewed to be universally popular and transcend regional tastes. Each batch of Budweiser follows the same family recipe used by five generations of Busch family brewmasters.
Based in St. Louis, Anheuser-Busch is the leading American brewer, holding a 47.7 percent share of U.S. beer sales to retailers. The company brews Budweiser and Bud Light, two of the world’s largest-selling beers. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev, the leading global brewer, and continues to operate under the Anheuser-Busch name and logo.

Newsgrafik #27645



Serving Anheuser-Busch Beers and Small Bites Daily plus Exclusive 3 p.m. Tasting

Building on a rich history of creating innovative ways to engage and educate beer enthusiasts on the art of brewing and beer tasting, Anheuser-Busch opened the gates to The Biergarten for the first time on August 6. The outdoor establishment, part of the famed Anheuser-Busch St. Louis Brewery and Tour Center, gives guests a relaxed place to gather while enjoying an exceptional beer experience, from exploring lager beers—the style popularized and perfected by Anheuser-Busch—to trying ales and other specialty beers.
Anheuser-Busch’s history and traditions have been integrated into every aspect of The Biergarten. Every day, adults can participate in an exclusive 3 p.m. Tasting, the same time Anheuser-Busch brewmasters from around the country taste beer each day to make sure it is of the highest quality and consistency. The décor also pays homage to Anheuser-Busch’s iconic historical imagery. A grand feature wall showcases an eye-catching graphical treatment of the “Anheuser-Busch St. Louis, MO” logo that was stamped on wooden crates designed to safely deliver Budweiser beer from the brewery to local taverns.
“For more than 125 years, we’ve opened our doors and given visitors an in-depth look into the passion and precision that go into making our world-famous beers,” said Peter Kraemer, vice president of Supply and Head Brewmaster for Anheuser-Busch. “As we look to the next 100 years and beyond, The Biergarten will help continue that tradition by giving guests an unforgettable opportunity to participate in time-honored traditions and enjoy our beers in a beautiful space.”
Complimentary access to The Biergarten is offered before or after regular brewery tours or any time during operating hours from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. It seats up to 275 guests, serves a variety of Anheuser-Busch beers, including 17 on draught, and features several tasting flights. Adults will learn about a number of beer styles, including the nation’s most-loved American-style lagers, how to pour the perfect beer, and what glassware best complements each beer style to bring out its unique aroma and taste. Food options will include a limited menu initially, with a full menu featuring small plates and other light fare to be offered later this year.
Biergartens are a common part of beer culture and places where friends and families gather to enjoy each other’s company over drinks and food. These traditional outdoor settings originated in Southern Germany in the 19th century, but spread in popularity around the world as beer grew to be a global beverage of choice.
“The Biergarten is truly a labor of love for us,” said Julia Mize, vice president, experiential marketing for Anheuser-Busch. “From the craftsmanship that went into designing the unique bar made from reclaimed beechwood, to hand-selecting the glassware that accentuates each beer style, we are thrilled to bring our guests a traditional German biergarten experience in a relaxed setting. We hope The Biergarten will be a destination for St. Louisans and beer lovers around the world – just as our brewery tour has been for decades.”
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


USA: Craft beer cuts the on-trade market share of America’s top 25 beer brands  (

Craft beer has helped cut the on-trade market share of the top 25 US beer brands by four percentage points over the past year, a new survey has revealed.

At the start of last year, the top 25 brands accounted for 57.5% of the US on-trade market, tracking firm Guestmetrics reported on August 13. The most recent quarter saw the share fall to 53%.

Guestmetrics said the drop was “largely reflective” of the rise in craft beer, as well as growth in innovations.

Despite the market share drop, top 25 beer brands Blue Moon, Stella, Dos Equis, Corona Light, Shock Top and Negra Modelo all posted “robust growth” in the past year.

GuestMetrics figures are based on around US$8 bln of annual transactions in US restaurants and bars.

Last week, Guestmetrics said Anheuser-Busch InBev's Budweiser Black Crown gained an 11 percentage-point jump in US on-trade distribution in the first half of this year, second only to the Boston Beer Co's hard cider brand Angry Orchard.


USA: MillerCoors planning high alcohol content beer  (

MillerCoors LLC will introduce a high alcohol content beer, Miller Fortune, and a hard cider targeting men, Smith & Forge Hard Cider, in the first half of 2014, The Business Journal reported on August 15.

A MillerCoors spokeswoman confirmed the brands will hit shelves next year.

Miller Fortune, at 6.9 percent alcohol by volume, aims to compete with Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Bud Light Platinum, a 6 percent ABV beer introduced last year, AdAge reported. Those are both higher than typical domestics.

Newsgrafik #26932

Bud Light Platinum Launches New Reclosable Aluminum Bottle in Las Vegas  (Company news)

Bud Light Platinum – the No. 1 new beer of 2012 – is launching a new 11.5 oz. reclosable aluminum bottle in Las Vegas that will be available at nightclubs and pools throughout the city.
Bud Light Platinum is the first beer to be made available in Anheuser-Busch’s new reclosable aluminum bottle.
“We hand-picked Bud Light Platinum to launch our company’s first reclosable aluminum bottle because of our confidence in the beer,” said Rob McCarthy, vice president of Bud Light. “Platinum has been able to elevate the premium light beer category with its blend of image and flavor, and we believe it will do the same to for the perception of aluminum bottles.”
The design of the Bud Light Platinum aluminum bottle – which features a twist-off cap – provides for a tool-less opening. The new bottle is also more than 50% stronger than a standard aluminum can and helps the beer get colder faster.
“The new reclosable bottle continues our long tradition of innovative packaging that delivers the freshest, coldest, best-tasting beer possible,” said Pat McGauley, vice president of innovation for Anheuser-Busch.
The Bud Light Platinum reclosable bottle will also be available at Las Vegas retail stores in 10-packs. Bud Light Platinum is also available in 12 oz. glass bottles, 22 oz. single-serve bottles and the 12 oz. sleek can, which launched nationally in January.
The Bud Light Platinum reclosable aluminum bottle will launch nationally later this year.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)

Newsgrafik #26916

New Brands Introduced in 2013 by Anheuser-Busch Win Medals at North American Beer Awards  (Company news)

-Stella Artois Cidre (photo) and Budweiser Black Crown Among the 15 Brands Winning Gold, Silver or Bronze Awards

Anheuser-Busch brought home 15 medals from the prestigious North American Beer Awards last weekend, with its newest brand – Stella Artois Cidre – earning a gold medal in the cider category.
Budweiser Black Crown, the crowd-sourced favorite introduced in February following the brewer’s Project 12 initiative last year, won a bronze medal in the amber lager category.
Other gold medal beers for the company include Leffe Brune, O’Doul’s and Hurricane High Gravity.
“There are a number of great breweries in North America, and I’m proud to say that Anheuser-Busch won more medals than any other brewer,” said Pete Kraemer, head brewmaster for Anheuser-Busch. “We invest extra cost, time and extensive checks to produce the best and most consistent beers in the world. That’s why we are so proud of all our beers, the farmers we work with to ensure our beers get the best ingredients and the people from coast to coast and around the world who brew them.”

The competition, now in its 17th year, saw a record number of brewery entries this year. The full list of winners from Anheuser-Busch and the categories are as follows:
Award Style/Category Brand
Gold Draft Cider and Perry Stella Artois Cidre
Gold Dubbel Leffe Brune
Gold Non-Alcoholic Beers, Lager or Ale O’Doul’s
Gold American-Style Malt Liquor or Ice Lager Hurricane High Gravity
Silver American-Style Light (Low Calorie) Lager Michelob Ultra
Silver American-Style Standard or Premium Lager Busch
Silver American-Style Malt Liquor or Ice Lager Busch Ice
Silver Non-Alcoholic Beers, Lager or Ale Busch NA
Bronze Ordinary Bitter Goose Island Honkers Ale
Bronze American-Style Light (Low Calorie) Lager Budweiser Select
Bronze American-Style Malt Liquor or Ice Lager King Cobra
Bronze Dortmunder / Export Stella Artois
Bronze American-Style Amber Lager Budweiser Black Crown
Bronze Marzen-Oktoberfest Lager Spaten Oktoberfest
Bronze Non-Alcoholic Beers, Lager or Ale O’Doul’s Amber

The North American Beer Awards is organized by the North American Brewers Association. This year more than 1,400 beers were entered by brewers of all sizes from across the country. In blind samplings, panels of judges comprised of brewmasters, beer writers and certified beer judges evaluated flights organized by style. Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded for each category at a ceremony in Idaho Falls, Idaho.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)

Newsgrafik #26901

The Can, ReinVented: Louisville is Pilot Market for New Bud Light Vented Can  (Company news)

This summer, Louisville, Ky., will pilot market the new 12 oz. Bud Light Vented Can – an innovation featuring a first-of-its-kind self-contained venting tab that delivers the world’s smoothest drinking experience in a can.
The integrated tab design gives consumers the freedom to enjoy the superior drinkability of America’s favorite light beer in a vented can without the inconvenience of needing additional tools or objects to puncture the lid. After opening the mouth of the can, consumers simply give the tab an extra push to activate the vent underneath. This effortless action releases additional air to flow into the can, creating a smoother pour with less “glug.” It’s a design intended to optimize delivery of Bud Light’s crisp, refreshing flavor.
“The great thing about our new Vented Can is that it’s activated by a common skill among beer drinkers: opening a can of Bud Light,” said Rob McCarthy, vice president of Bud Light. “With just an extra push on the tab, beer drinkers can unlock the smoothest drinking experience in the world.”
The Anheuser-Busch Global and North American Innovation Groups have been developing the Bud Light Vented Can for more than two years to ensure the self-contained vent mechanism created a better can drinking experience that was also easy to use.
“The beauty of the Bud Light Vented Can is in its simplicity,” said Pat McGauley, vice president of innovation for Anheuser-Busch. “Our testing showed consumers naturally gravitated to the Vented Can thanks to its intuitive design and enhanced smoothness, and we expect similar feedback in Louisville.”
The Louisville pilot market launch of the Vented Can will be supported by a local marketing campaign that includes digital, radio, out-of-home and print media.
The 12-ounce Bud Light Vented Can will be available in specially-marked 12-packs throughout the Louisville area.
“Launching exclusively in Louisville will provide us an opportunity to continue gathering feedback from consumers before we roll out the Bud Light Vented Can nationally,” said McCarthy.
The Bud Light Vented Can is scheduled to launch nationally later this year.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)

Newsgrafik #26744

World's Most Unique Beer Can: Budweiser Introducing Bowtie-Shaped Can on May 6  (Company news)

This spring Budweiser will introduce a striking and original new beer can – a bowtie-shaped aluminum can that mirrors Budweiser’s iconic bowtie logo.
Beer lovers can see for themselves the new bowtie-shaped can when it becomes available in a special 8-pack on store shelves nationwide beginning May 6.
“This can is incomparable, like nothing you’ve ever seen before,” said Pat McGauley, vice president of innovation for Anheuser-Busch. “The world’s most iconic beer brand deserves the world’s most unique and innovative can. I think we have it here.”
The proprietary can, in development since 2010, will be available only in the United States and in an 8-pack and will not replace the traditional Budweiser can.
To make the new can possible, Anheuser-Busch engineers needed to solve a number of technical challenges, and major equipment investments were required at Budweiser’s can-making facility in Newburgh, N.Y. Significant capital investments also were required to upgrade packaging lines at the Budweiser breweries in Los Angeles and Williamsburg, Va., the first breweries with capability to package this unique can innovation.
Newburgh,about 60 miles north of New York City and 90 miles south of Albany,is where proprietary equipment is located that shapes the can. Creating the can requires a 16-step process – 10 steps to form the bottom half of the can, with an additional six steps to form the top portion.
The Anheuser-Busch Global Innovation Group has been investigating potential can innovations for several years.
“We explored various shapes that would be distinguishable in the marketplace, but also viable from an engineering standpoint,” McGauley said. “Aluminum can be stretched only about 10 percent without fracturing, which requires that the angles of the bowtie be very precise.”
An initial run of more than 10 million bowtie cans were produced in Newburgh through March 31 for the spring introduction. An additional 8 million cans are scheduled to be produced this month.
Due to the can’s slimmer middle and sleek design, it holds 11.3 ounces of beer and has about 137 calories, approximately 8.5 fewer calories than a traditional 12-ounce can of Budweiser.
“This can is certainly a conversation starter: eye-catching, easy-to-grip, trendy and – according to our research – very appealing to young adults,” McGauley said. “It’s a beer can like no other.”
Though there is no written documentation on the origins of the Budweiser bowtie, it is a brand icon found the world over. According to company lore, the bowtie was introduced when too many people were using the “Bud” bar call too frequently, so the double triangles were added to emphasize the full Budweiser name.
The Budweiser bowtie can is a natural progression from the new packaging introduced in 2011 that emphasized the iconic bowtie, a symbol that first appeared in a national advertising campaign for Budweiser in 1956.
The bowtie can is another example of how Budweiser continues to innovate, evolve and attract a new generation of beer drinkers. “It builds on the success of Budweiser Black Crown, the crowd-sourced fan favorite introduced earlier this year,” McGauley said.
The launch of the can is being supported with a marketing campaign that includes digital, print and television. It will be offered for sale in grocery stores and super markets, convenience stores and packaged liquor stores.
Consumers interested in locating where they can purchase the special 8-pack can call 1-800-dial-Bud.
In other packaging innovations on the horizon in the U.S. for Anheuser-Busch, the company is announcing it is test-marketing in 10 states a new 25-ounce can that replaces a 24-ounce serving – giving consumers an additional ounce of beer. Sales of this new can will begin this summer.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)

Newsgrafik #26608

Anheuser-Busch InBev Achieves Global Three-Year Environmental Goals  (Company news)

-BetterWorld Brewer reached leading-edge global water usage level of 3.5 hl of water per hl of production, an 18.6% reduction since 2009
-Reduced energy use per hectoliter worldwide by 12% and carbon emissions by 15.7%
-Increased recycling rate to 99.2% for solid waste and byproducts

Anheuser-Busch InBev (Euronext: ABI) (NYSE: BUD) announced it has achieved the three-year global environmental goals on water, energy, carbon emissions and recycling the company set for its beer and soft drink operations three years ago. The goals are part of AB InBev’s commitment to reduce its impact on the environment and be the Best Beer Company in a Better World.
The targets were achieved through a multi-faceted approach that applied a mix of operational changes, technological solutions, partnerships and a sustainability-focused mindset underscored by the strong teamwork among 118,000 employees around the world. The goals involve 130 breweries and soft drinks facilities across more than 20 countries.

AB InBev achieved the following against a 2009 baseline:
-Reached its three-year goal of using a leading-edge 3.5 hectoliters of water per hectoliter of production within a three-year period. This represents an 18.6% reduction in water usage across #ABInBev’s global operations against a 2009 baseline. This is equivalent to the amount of water needed to produce approximately 25 billion cans of AB InBev products, which is about 20% of one year’s production.[1]
-Decreased energy use per hectoliter in breweries and soft drink facilities worldwide by 12%. This result surpasses AB InBev’s #sustainability target of a 10% reduction.
-Reduced carbon emissions by 15.7%, surpassing its original three-year target of reducing emissions by 10%.
-Increased recycling rate to 99.2% for solid waste and byproducts, passing its original three-year target of achieving a 99% recycling rate.

In addition to the positive environmental impacts, efforts to reach the goals helped to identify new revenue streams, generate savings and spur the involvement of more employees and partners in AB InBev’s sustainability initiatives. Recycling initiatives have generated approximately 420 million USD in revenues globally from finding beneficial uses for recyclable materials generated from AB InBev’s processes. Efforts to use water and energy more efficiently also generated an estimated global cost savings of 92 million USD.
“By working to make our operations both more efficient and more sustainable, we have returned value to our business and to the communities in which we live and work, while uncovering new ways to achieve our Better World dream,” said Carlos Brito, CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev. “While each of our breweries and soft drink facilities faced unique circumstances, the combination of operational focus, technological solutions and most importantly, our more than 118,000 dedicated colleagues around the world, has made this shared achievement possible.”

Progress toward reaching the targets was possible because of a mix of strategies:
-Applying New Management and Technology Approaches to Bring Sustainability Solutions to Scale: AB InBev efficiently applied its management system and new technology solutions, which have added up to big results. By the end of 2012, 95% of AB InBev brewery and soft drink facilities were Voyager Plant Optimization (VPO)-certified. VPO is a facility management system that includes rigorous standards for sustainability, operations, quality and safety outcomes. It played a vital role in the company successfully meeting its three-year goals.
-Building a Culture of Sustainability: AB InBev’s employees have contributed to this achievement through work in operations, the supply chain and with community partners. Integrating sustainability into every aspect of the business by keeping employees and stakeholders engaged through global rally days, such as the United Nations Environment Programme’s World Environment Day, and work with partners like community groups and municipal governments, have helped small steps add up to big results.

Operations around the world contributed to the progress:
-Breweries in the United States reduced water use by 17.5% between 2009 and 2012 – saving the equivalent of 10.2 billion liters. The Cartersville brewery in Georgia achieved a company-leading 2.8 hectoliters of water per hectoliter of production. AB InBev is also one of the largest users of solar power in the U.S. brewing industry, with photovoltaic solar systems at our breweries in Newark, New Jersey and Fairfield, California.
-In Canada, VPO’s Self-Directed Operator and Technician initiative gives operators the authority and training required to take responsibility for specific key performance indicators and apply proven methods and management tools to identify and implement improvements. Between 2009 and 2012, AB InBev colleagues in Canada reduced water consumption by 17% and total carbon emissions by 26%.
-Breweries in China reduced water use by 38.4% and energy use by 30% between 2009 and 2012, leading all Zones. In addition, the China team has formed a strategic alliance with GE, the energy solutions provider, and is piloting innovative solutions that will result in greater energy and water savings and reduced carbon emissions.
-A new bottle for the Beck’s and Beck’s Blue brands, introduced in the United Kingdom, is 11% lighter than its predecessor and is expected to reduce carbon emissions by almost 2,000 metric tons in 2013.
-A new power plant in Belgium’s Leuven brewery uses the heat from electricity production to create steam for the brewing process, reducing fuel consumption by 10%; and new state-of-the-art bottle-washers at the Jupille brewery use 15% less energy and 20% less water.
-In Brazil, the company developed the first 100% recycled PET bottle for the Guaraná Antarctica soft drink. The bottle uses 70% less energy and 70% less carbon emissions to manufacture. The Maranhão brewery shares part of its treated effluent with Alumar, an aluminum company, resulting in a savings of 85,000 cubic meters of water per month – the equivalent of providing water to 25,000 people.
-At the Sur plant in Argentina, the largest soft drinks facility in the Latin America South Zone, the company installed advanced technology for the biological treatment of effluent, using permeable membrane technology. The process allows the company to reuse a portion of the treated effluent internally for cleaning and other non-product processes. It also ensures extremely high-quality effluent is discharged to the Riachuelo River, which flows through Buenos Aires and has suffered from years of industrial and residential pollution.
-In Russia and Ukraine, the company has invested more than 50 million USD since 2010 in the construction of Bio Treatment System facilities, which generate biogas fuel from byproducts of the breweries’ operations. This process further enhances the effectiveness of these effluent treatment systems by reducing the amount of conventional fuel needs.
AB InBev will be announcing a new set of global environmental goals later this year, pending review of this initial three-year cycle and consultation with stakeholders.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


Belgium & USA & Mexico: The same lawyer tries to block AB InBev's new acquisition  (

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV was sued by the California lawyer who previously tried to block the merger that created the company and now seeks to stop its purchase of Grupo Modelo SAB over claims the deal will drive up beer prices, Bloomberg reported on March, 23.
The proposed merger, which the U.S. Justice Department sued to prevent on Jan. 31, would result in higher prices for the beverage by eliminating competition between AB InBev and Modelo, according to a complaint filed on March, 22 in federal court in San Francisco by Joseph Alioto on behalf of nine individuals.
“The proposed acquisition significantly threatens consumer welfare by the threatened increase in price, elimination of quality, curtailment of innovation, and destruction of consumer choice,” Alioto wrote in the complaint.
The lawsuit isn’t likely to have an impact on the merger, according to Roxann Henry, an antitrust lawyer with Morrison Foerster in Washington, who said private challenges to mergers are seldom successful. Alioto has sued to block other deals, including the one that created United Continental Holdings Inc. and the merger of Southwest Airlines Co. and AirTran Holdings Inc.
“Joe Alioto is a very capable lawyer who also likes to be a thorn in the side of the Justice Department,” said Allen Grunes, an antitrust lawyer with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP in Washington, who isn’t involved in the case. “But federal judges generally pay attention to the Justice Department’s decisions and reasons. If unhappy parties could block major mergers every time they thought Justice wasn’t tough enough, that would invite a great deal of mischief.”
The transaction between AB InBev, the world’s largest beer maker with almost half the U.S. market, and Modelo would marry Bud Light, the top-selling domestic brand, with Corona, the biggest import, and create a combined company with estimated revenue of about $47 billion this year.
After the Justice Department sued to block the merger, AB InBev presented a revised proposal to sell full control of Corona and Modelo’s other brands in the U.S., as well as a brewery, to Victor, New York-based Constellation Brands Inc., paving the way for the continuing settlement talks, people familiar with the matter said Feb. 25.
“It’s an absolute fraud,” Alioto, of the Alioto Law Firm in San Francisco, said in a phone interview, referring to the proposed remedy. “If the government allows this cosmetic fix to go through, they will have eliminated Modelo as being a ceiling on prices and then the dam will break and prices will go wild.”
A federal judge put the Justice Department’s lawsuit on hold until April, 9 to allow the settlement talks to continue.
In InBev’s $52 billion takeover of Budweiser-maker Anheuser Busch Cos. in 2008, the largest brewing deal in history, the new entity had to sell its Labatt’s operations in the U.S. to appease regulators.
In the previous lawsuit, filed against Anheuser-Busch in federal court in St. Louis, the judge threw out the complaint, saying that the plaintiffs hadn’t supported their claim the merger would result in higher beer prices. The plaintiffs in that case included five of the individuals suing in the new one.
Alioto lost an appeal of the dismissal in the U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis.
The Justice Department is reviewing Constellation’s plan to boost brewing capacity by about 70 percent at a plant in Piedras Negras, Mexico, that it would get from Modelo under the revised proposal, to ensure it can keep Modelo-brand products as a viable competitor in the U.S. beer market, people familiar with the matter have said.
Laura Vallis, a spokeswoman for AB InBev in New York, Jennifer Shelley, a spokeswoman for Grupo Modelo in Mexico City, Angie Blackwell, a spokeswoman for Constellation and Gina Talamona, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The case is Edstrom v. Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI), 13-01309, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco). The government’s case is U.S. v. Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, 13-cv-00127, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).


USA: AB InBev launches Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita  (

Nearly a year after launching its successful Bud Light Lime Lime-A-Rita, Anheuser-Busch InBev is launching Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita, St. Louis Business Journal reported on March, 25.
Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita, an 8 percent alcohol-by-volume malt beverage, blends the taste of Bud Light Lime with the taste of a strawberry margarita.
Bud Light Lime Lime-A-Rita hit shelves in April 2012 and became the leading flavored malt beverage brand in eight months, according to AB InBev officials, selling more than 500,000 barrels in the period since its launch. Company officials would not disclose how much AB InBev is spending to launch Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita.
The new brand will be available in 12 packs of 8 oz. cans; four packs of 16 oz. cans; and in 24 oz. cans.
In anticipating first-quarter short-term pressure on consumer disposable income, Anheuser-Busch InBev planned to focus on its “premiumization strategy” of selling more expensive types of beer and introducing such new products, CFO Felipe Dutra had said during a fourth-quarter conference call.
St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch is part of Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev, which reported revenue of $39.8 billion in 2012.


USA: AB InBev’s recently launched products enjoying immediate success  (

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s pending takeover of Grupo Modelo has been grabbing all the headlines, but while AB InBev continues to try to close that deal, it’s enjoying immediate success with three recent new products in the U.S. market: Bud Light Platinum, Bud Light Lime-a-Rita and Michelob Ultra Light Cider, Shanken News Daily reported on February, 21.

Bud Light Platinum rolled out in January of last year, and by summer AB InBev said it had already captured 1% of the U.S. beer market. By the end of 2012, the higher-priced, higher-alcohol Bud Light extension had depleted 27.5 million (2.25-gallon) cases, according to Impact Databank, overtaking Blue Moon among many other established players.

Fellow Bud Light extension Lime-a-Rita, which, like Platinum, sells at a premium to the core brand, also made an immediate impact following its launch last April, ending the year at 7.3 million cases. Lime-a-Rita’s strong start, in particular, prompts the question of how much of AB InBev’s new-product success is coming as a result of cannibalization of existing brands, especially Bud Light Lime, which surged to 27.5 million cases in 2009, its second year on the market, only to slip by 20% from 2009-2011. However, AB InBev claims its initial research shows that more than 40% of volume for Lime-a-Rita—an 8%-abv offering sold in eight-ounce cans—is being sourced from spirits and other beverage categories outside beer.

On a much smaller scale, AB InBev’s Michelob Ultra Light Cider also made a statement in its debut. Introduced in the second quarter of 2012, Ultra Light Cider depleted 350,000 cases for the calendar year. Cider currently accounts for only a tiny piece of the beer market, but it’s among the fastest-growing segments, rising at rates above 20% in recent years. While MillerCoors (with its acquisition of Crispin), C&C (with its acquisition of Vermont Hard Cider), Heineken (with its play to bring its Strongbow brand in-house in the U.S.) and Crown Imports (which now distributes Carlsberg’s Somersby Cider in the U.S.) have all made moves in the category of late, AB InBev is differentiating by staking out cider’s low-calorie segment with its Ultra Light offering.

Keeping up momentum behind Platinum, Lime-a-Rita and Ultra Light Cider to make sure they don’t go the way of former high-profile launches like Bud Select—which soared in the early going only to lose steam after a few years—will no doubt be a key part of AB InBev’s U.S. market strategy this year. So too will be its effort to continue innovating with a new batch of upstarts, notably upscale Budweiser offshoot Black Crown.


Canada: Bud Light Platinum officially launches in Canada  (

Bud Light Platinum - the newest member of the Bud Light family of beers - is set to take Canada by storm, reported on February, 6.

Only available in the U.S. until now, Bud Light Platinum has officially launched in Canada.

"Innovation is key to building Labatt's momentum now and as we head into the all important summer season. The launch of Bud Light Platinum in Canada - our first innovation of 2013 - is the newest addition to the growing Bud Light family and one that will deliver a new premium drinking experience for Canadians," said Jorn Socquet, Vice President of Marketing, Labatt Breweries of Canada. "Labatt identified an opportunity to shape a new category of premium beer in Canada - one that delivers strong beer with a light, easy-drinking taste in a sophisticated and approachable style. Bud Light Platinum fits this profile. It has differentiated packaging including a distinctive large cobalt blue glass bottle that looks and feels like nothing else on the market."

Bud Light Platinum saw huge success in the U.S. when it first launched last year. By the end of 2012, Bud Light Platinum claimed more than 1 per cent of U.S. market share and was one of the most successful beer launches in the U.S. since 2005. Bud Light Platinum's arrival in Canada further solidifies the Bud Light brand's dedication to innovation, including recent extensions Bud Light Lime and Bud Light Lime Mojito.

Bud Light Platinum is now available in 650 ml glass bottles, a sleek 355 ml can and first-to-market 355 ml aluminum bottle. Bud Light Platinum is available nationally at select retailers.

Newsgrafik #26359

Timeless Beauty: Stella Artois Unveils New Campaign Shot by Legendary Photographer Annie Leibovitz  (Company news)

Stella Artois announced that photographer Annie Leibovitz has harnessed her legendary creative talents on behalf of the iconic Belgian beer. Leibovitz recently shot a new campaign for Stella Artois that will be formally unveiled at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.
“Annie Leibovitz’s work marries artistic genius with painstaking craftsmanship to create timeless beauty,” said Emma Fox, Global Marketing Director, Stella Artois. “This concept is a personal one for Stella Artois. Our fans experience the beer in its finished form, but 600 years of brewing expertise helped make this possible. So we wanted to celebrate both the beauty and the craftsmanship that go into its creation.”
To celebrate this new collaboration, Stella Artois will hold a launch party to unveil the work at the Sundance Film Festival, of which it is the official beer sponsor. British actor Noah Huntley, who stars in the ad alongside Ukrainian model Tanya Ruban, will host; Leibovitz’s work will serve as the visual centerpiece of the party. Stella Artois has also engaged with a global mix of influential, well-trafficked bloggers who use photography as their medium. These bloggers were asked to develop images of timeless beauty and their work will be displayed at Sundance.
“Sundance is the premiere destination for American and international independent filmmakers to showcase their work,” said Rick Oleshak, Director, Stella Artois. “And just as the filmmakers strive to bring something new and exciting each year to the festival, everyone at Stella Artois does the same. We are excited to debut the campaign from Annie Leibovitz this year as well as some of the other new and exciting events taking place at our venues.”
From there, Leibovitz’s work will appear in GQ, Elle and Vanity Fair, beginning in February 2013.
Stella Artois has also created an online experience, Studio Stella Artois, to celebrate timeless beauty and to showcase the experts who bring it to life. The site can be accessed via Beginning on Jan. 18, it will feature the stills from the Annie Leibovitz shoot, as well as stylish “behind the scenes” films featuring interviews with the subjects, stylists and craftsmen behind the Leibovitz campaign.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)

Newsgrafik #26324

The 'King of Beers' Unveils Budweiser Black Crown on Jan. 21  (Company news)

First TV Spot Will Be Featured During Super Bowl XLVII

It started with a bold experiment. A year ago, Budweiser asked its 12 brewmasters to envision their own unique version of one of the world’s most iconic beers. After 12 recipes, six beers brewed for national sampling, and 25,000 opinions, the experiment has resulted in a new golden amber lager based on the voice of the people: Budweiser Black Crown.
The winning recipe from Budweiser’s “Project 12” is now a new brand available for purchase starting Monday, Jan. 21. In suitable fashion for the King of Beers, Budweiser Black Crown will take its place on the national stage less than two weeks later when its first 30-second television advertisement airs during Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday, Feb. 3.
With a blend of two-row caramel malt and four types of domestic hops, Budweiser Black Crown is finished on a bed of Beechwood chips for a smooth, balanced taste. Incorporating the proprietary yeast directly descended from the original Budweiser yeast strain used by Adolphus Busch in 1876, Budweiser Black Crown retains the key characteristics of Budweiser with its clean taste and high drinkability. Featuring more body, color and hop character than the flagship lager, it also has a slightly higher alcohol content at 6% ABV.
The Budweiser Black Crown recipe was the creation of Los Angeles brewmaster Bryan Sullivan and was the crowd favorite among the more than 25,000 adult drinkers from coast to coast who participated in the brand’s Project 12 sampling initiative.
“It didn’t matter where in the United States we asked, this is the beer that consistently drew the best feedback, and overwhelmingly so,” said Rob McCarthy, vice president of Budweiser.
During the process that led to Budweiser Black Crown, Sullivan and his fellow Budweiser brewmasters personally sampled the beer with consumers to get their direct feedback. Sullivan collaborated with Fairfield, Calif., brewmaster Scott Ungermann and Houston brewmaster Dave Cohen to perfect the recipe.
“People respond really well to Budweiser Black Crown, which has a little more body and color and a touch more hop character than our flagship Budweiser lager,” said Sullivan, who heard from beer drinkers during a sampling program at the Budweiser Made in America music festival over Labor Day weekend in Philadelphia. “As brewmasters we spend most of our time in the brewhouse. Project 12 gave us a chance to hear firsthand from the people we brew our beers for. Budweiser Black Crown is a great beer and it is a thrill for our whole brewing team to see it launch with a Super Bowl spot.”
The beer will be sold nationwide in 12-ounce glass bottles available in six- and 12-packs and in 22-ounce single bottles. It will be available both on-premise (bars and restaurants) and off-premise (grocery stores, supermarkets and convenience stores). The packaging for Budweiser Black Crown is distinctive and modern, with the crown “design cues” on the bottle and secondary packaging a nod to the history and heritage of Budweiser, McCarthy said.
McCarthy said Budweiser Black Crown will debut a TV spot during the Super Bowl XLVII broadcast. “We’ve set our sales-to-retailers date for Jan. 21 so we’re fully ready for sales on Super Bowl Sunday,” McCarthy said.
The beer’s national advertising campaign also includes outdoor, digital, radio and print. In social media, the new brand will have interactive consumer programs on Facebook and Twitter that are designed to be participatory, similar in spirit to when consumers were asked to help choose the recipe that would ultimately become Budweiser Black Crown. The campaign will feature the Twitter hashtag #TASTEIS.
Nate Scudieri, senior brand manager for Budweiser Black Crown, says the beer is, like Budweiser, very refreshing and appealing to a large base of beer drinkers.
“Our research shows that after beer drinkers try Budweiser Black Crown, 84 percent would purchase it,” Scudieri said. “It stays true to the original Budweiser recipe but has its own unique take. It’s flavorful, smooth and highly drinkable.”
Budweiser is America’s No. 1 premium regular beer, selling more than its four nearest competitors combined.
The Super Bowl commercial was filmed in Los Angeles last month and directed by Samuel Bayer, whose previous Super Bowl work includes a spot that won an Emmy for best commercial. More information about the spots will be released later.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)

Newsgrafik #26299

Black Is The New Black: Introducing Beck's Sapphire  (Company news)

A New, Smooth 6 Percent ABV Golden Pilsner in an Exclusive Sleek Black Bottle

Beck’s, the number one German beer brand in the world, introduced Beck’s Sapphire, a remarkably smooth and distinctive golden pilsner brewed with German Saphir hops. Inspired by the rarest sapphire gemstones, brewed to 6 percent ABV and served in an exclusive sleek black glass bottle, Beck’s Sapphire represents a new standard for premium beer in high-end occasions, and for the ambitious, confident consumers who experience them.
“Beck’s Sapphire continues and builds the great brewing tradition of the Beck’s brand,” said Paul Chibe, vice president, U.S. marketing, Anheuser-Busch. “Brewing with rare Saphir hops gives Beck’s Sapphire an incredibly delicious taste that will make you think differently about Beck’s.”
Beck’s Sapphire is brewed with German Saphir aroma hops, which are traditionally used as a finishing or conditioning hop. German Saphir hops give Beck’s Sapphire its distinctly smooth finish. It will be available at high-end clubs, bars and restaurants. It will also be available in grocery and liquor accounts nationwide in 12-oz black glass bottles in six- and 12-packs. Beck’s spent over two years developing a truly unique black glass bottle for Beck’s Sapphire.
As part of the marketing campaign supporting the launch of Beck’s Sapphire, the product debuted at high-end New Year’s Eve occasions nationwide. Consumers will also be able to experience the brand at pop-up locations in Beverly Hills in Los Angeles, on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, in SoHo in New York City and along South Beach in Miami. The brand launch will be sustained with a multi-faceted national advertising campaign throughout 2013.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


Latin America: SABMiller achieving strong growth with malt drinks  (

SABMiller Plc is brewing strong growth in pockets of Latin America with non-alcoholic malt drinks that expand the beer maker's target audience beyond adults and mark baby steps into a soft drink market dominated by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, Reuters reported on November, 14.
Malt drinks, which look like cola but have a strong bready character, have been popular in Colombia and Venezuela for ages, but are catching on quickly in other Latin American markets, even as consumer spending is crimped in some markets by economic weakness.
SABMiller, the No. 2 brewer worldwide but No. 3 in Latin America, is also exploring complementary products like shandies and ciders, which are gaining popularity in the United States, as it navigates an economy that is still growing, but less than before.
"It's not that we're running off to other beverage categories. The core of our growth opportunity is beer," said Karl Lippert, president of SABMiller Latin America, in an interview last week at his new Miami office. But malt, he said, is "a lovely business".
"It's entirely complementary to the beer business because you make the wort as if you're making beer and then you finish off the product without the fermentation process," Lippert said of the liquid extract made from ground malt and grain. "It's quite a unique phenomenon."
Other brewers, including the region's No. 1 and No. 2 players, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Heineken, respectively, also sell malt drinks, which are more easily made by brewers than traditional soft drink makers since they are made from the same liquid as beer, just bottled before fermentation turns sugar to alcohol.
SAB's most established malt market is Colombia, where its Pony Malta has been a staple for over 50 years. It is the nation's second-largest soft drink, with market share of around 9 percent, Lippert said. SABMiller also sells Pony in Ecuador, ActiMalta in Honduras and El Salvador, Malta Vigor in Panama and Maltin Power in Peru.
The drinks are popular with mothers and children, since they have various nutrients and are viewed as healthy. They are also popular with construction workers who often use them as meal replacements, he said.
Malt drinks account for about 3.4 million hectolitres, or about 6 percent, of the volume SABMiller sells in Latin America, Lipper said. He expects to reach 5 million hectolitres in the next three years.
That implies growth of about 50 percent, which will far outpace that of beer. In the six months ended September 30, SABMiller's sales of lager in Latin American rose 4 percent.
The company also recently launched Maltizz in Colombia, which has a light straw color and is meant to be lighter and more refreshing than traditional malts. Lippert said Maltizz, which tastes like a cross between a Pony Malta and a lemon-lime soda, is so far performing well.
Malt is also very popular in Venezuela, where it is made by Empresas Polar. Other brands made by rivals are sold in the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico. They can also be found in some U.S. cities including Miami and New York.
SABMiller also sells about 500,000 hectoliters of malt drinks in Africa, where it introduced them in 2010.
Overall, London-based SABMiller is more focused on growing organically, with its own development, rather than moving into new markets through acquisitions.
"We think we have significant potential to grow in our existing markets because consumption in our markets is relatively low," said Lippert in a 34th-floor conference room overlooking Biscayne Bay.
AB InBev controls more than half of the Latin American market, helped by a big presence in Brazil. It also plans to buy the half of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo that it does not already own. Heineken has nearly 16 percent of the market, since buying the beer division of Mexico's Femsa in 2010.
Brazil and Mexico together account for some two-thirds of the Latin American beer market, Lippert said.
The remaining third is where SABMiller plays, deriving its 14 percent of the Latin American beer market through leading positions in the smaller nations of Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Honduras and El Salvador.
Aside from beer, SABMiller sells Coca-Cola drinks in Honduras and El Salvador and PepsiCo drinks in Panama, giving it access to bottled water, juices and iced teas.
Within soft drinks, Coca-Cola is the region's leader, with nearly 36 percent of the market, according to Euromonitor International. PepsiCo is second with 12 percent, while France's Danone is third with 11 percent.
Some beer markets not already dominated by another international player are Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Venezuela, Lippert said. He did not rule out acquisitions by SABMiller but said some of those markets were either too small or too volatile.
"Business is not just about buying things," Lippert said. "You also have to cook at home."


USA: AB InBev planning launch of Budweiser 'Black Crown' in early 2013 – report  (

According to a report by Advertising Age earlier this week, Anheuser-Busch InBev plans to introduce Budweiser "Black Crown" in early 2013 that will have 6 percent alcohol by volume (ABV), surpassing the 5 percent ABV in regular Budweiser.
The brew - part of "Project 12" in which brewmasters at 12 breweries created their own small-batch "tribute" beers - is described as as a "golden amber lager" that is "distinctively smooth and beech wood finished."
In January Anheuser-Busch InBev introduced Bud Light Platinum which has 6 percent ABV - the same ABV content as reported in Black Crown. Platinum was launched with the help of two pricey Super Bowl ads, and Advertising Age suggests the company may launch Black Crown in a similar way, although the final ad line-up has yet to be completed.
In a statement to Ad Age, Budweiser Brand vice president Rob McCarthy said the company is also planning a new "bow-tie" shaped can for Budweiser, designed like well-known brand logo.


USA: AB InBev getting into a whole new style of beers  (

After waging battle over America's weight-conscious beer drinkers with light, ultra light, and "select" varieties, the mass brewing industry has now set its sights on another demographic, one that cares much less about calories and much more about quirkiness and quality, reported on October, 23.
Mega brewer Anheuser-Busch is getting ready to launch a whole new suite of beers, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but instead of that familiar yellow tint, the new varieties come with a darker amber or black hue designed to mimic the look and taste of increasingly popular craft brews. Craft beers typically come from smaller, independent breweries and have unique characteristics and distinct flavor profiles.
Sales of standard and light lagers have been in decline for a number of years as the U.S. beer market—the second largest in the world according to some estimates—has grown increasingly diverse, especially with the relatively recent popularity of beer alternatives such as cider and the flourishing craft beer industry.
The new offerings from Anheuser-Busch—Budweiser Black Crown, Beck's Black Jewel, Michelob Black Bock, Busch Black Light Lager, and Rolling Rock Black Rock—are designed to appeal to the increasing number of beer drinkers who prefer the more complex and flavorful craft brews and help the company win back some of the market share that big breweries have lost to smaller independent companies over the past several years.
"They're trying to fish where the fish are, which is in more flavorful beers," says Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association.
"Beer drinkers are getting far more educated and they're finding out they really like the craft beers from the smaller breweries, so we see the large brewers trying to get into other styles," Gatza adds.
Recently that's included even fizzy, semi-sweet cider, with big brewers such as Anheuser-Busch, Heineken, and MillerCoors all inking deals to acquire positions in the cider industry, according to a recent report from BusinessWeek.
"Cider's a growth story because of the demographics—it's sweet, it's natural, it appeals to the Coke generation," Stephen Glancey, chief executive officer of Dublin-based C&C Group PLC, which sells two of the world's biggest brands in Magners and Gaymers, told BusinessWeek. "It's unisex beer."
But while Anheuser-Busch is branding its new line of darker beers with familiar household names, big breweries are also capturing market share behind the scenes by buying significant positions in smaller craft breweries. That way they can capitalize on the popularity of more obscure brews without plastering a more commercially known name on labels and turning off consumers who prefer more character and a local touch.
Although not technically considered a craft brew, Gatza points out that not many people know that Blue Moon beers are actually manufactured under the much bigger umbrella of MillerCoors Beers.
"It's another tactic for them in trying to address this part of the market," he says.
Another reason large breweries are expanding into different varieties is the price point. According to Gatza, sales of higher-end beer, wine, and spirits have all been doing very well and expanding offerings to include craft-like beers allows big breweries to tap into that market and increase profit margins.
As the battle for market share continues to rage, Gatza only expects big breweries to get more creative in how they respond to the shifting whims of consumers and their beverage preferences.
"It's all about possibilities."

Newsgrafik #25969

Consumers Help Choose Three New Budweiser Beers for 'Project 12' Sampler Pack  (Company news)

Picture: Brews Developed in Los Angeles, St. Louis and Williamsburg Available This Fall; Thousands Sampled Experimental Beers as Part of ‘Largest Focus Group in Budweiser History

And then there were three.
“Project 12” started in the early spring when Budweiser’s 12 brewmasters across America were asked to write a unique beer recipe worthy of the Budweiser name. After internal discussion and debate, six of the recipes were chosen to be brewed in small batches. Now, after a summer-long nationwide sampling effort involving thousands of consumers at dozens of events, U.S. beer drinkers have provided feedback, which helped Budweiser decide which three beers would be available for sale in a limited-edition sampler pack this fall.
The “winning” recipes, named for the ZIP Code in which the beer was originally brewed, are from brewmasters at the Budweiser breweries in Los Angeles, St. Louis and Williamsburg, Va.
Tens of thousands of consumers tasted and gave feedback about the Project 12 beers. This included approximately 10,000 festival- goers to the Budweiser Made in America music festival in Philadelphia over Labor Day weekend, where Budweiser’s 12 U.S. brewmasters personally sampled the beers and asked for feedback. At other sampling events throughout the United States, brand ambassadors asked consumers to describe the taste, freshness, style and flavor of the six Project 12 beers, and to choose their favorites. Consumers also were able to enter feedback onsite via iPad stations.
“We’ve never done anything like this before,” said Rob McCarthy, vice president of Budweiser. “With all this feedback from consumers, I guess you can call this the largest focus group in Budweiser history, maybe even beer history. There really were no winners or losers with Project 12, but we wound up with three great beers that slightly edged out the others. It certainly wasn’t an easy choice. Best of all, we listened to what our beer drinkers told us and we let them help us make the decision about what to bring to stores.”
The limited edition sampler pack, available for sale starting on Oct. 29, is a 12-bottle package containing four each of the special “ZIP Code” beers. These beers are:

Budweiser Batch No. 91406 (Los Angeles):
A deep-amber lager with 6 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).
The beer was originated by brewmaster Bryan Sullivan in Los Angeles in collaboration with brewmasters Scott Ungermann in Fairfield, Calif. and Dave Cohen in Houston.
“Our collaboration team used caramel malt on Batch No. 91406, which gives the beer a deep amber color and a little more body,” said Sullivan, whose signature will be on the bottle. “It has a little bit more hop character than our flagship Budweiser lager, but like Budweiser it’s a very clean and refreshing beer.”

Budweiser Batch No. 63118 (St. Louis):
A deep-golden pilsner with 6 percent ABV.
The beer was first brewed in St. Louis by brewmaster Jim Bicklein and was developed in collaboration with brewmaster Katie Rippel from Fort Collins, Colo.
“The original Budweiser brewery is, of course, here in St. Louis, so we wanted to honor our brewing heritage with a beer that uses ingredients that German immigrants, like our founder Adolphus Busch, would have used when they came to the United States,” Bicklein said. “In this pilsner we use the same types of Hallertau and Tettnang hops commonly used in St. Louis during the late 1800s.”

Budweiser Batch No. 23185 (Williamsburg, Va.):
A bourbon cask lager with 5.5 percent ABV.
The beer is brewed by Daniel Westmoreland from the Williamsburg, Va. brewery and was developed in collaboration with brewmasters Mike Anderson in Jacksonville, Fla. and Dan Kahn in Cartersville, Ga.
“We took staves from fresh bourbon barrels and we aged the beer on those staves and spiced it with a hint of vanilla,” said Westmoreland, who has been a Budweiser brewmaster for more than 30 years. “It’s an all-malt brew, and it has a perfect color that is similar to the color of bourbon itself. Batch No. 23185 has a nice vanilla aroma with a little oakiness on the end – it’s a great beer.”

Budweiser will continue to request feedback from beer drinkers on these three beers. Via a QR code on the package, as well as an in-pack flighting sheet, the brand is asking consumers their opinions of these three new Budweiser-inspired beers. The flighting sheet also includes tasting notes and details about each beer for in-home tastings.

While not available in the fall sampler pack, the Project 12 beers developed in Baldwinsville, N.Y.; Columbus, Ohio; and Fort Collins, Colo. also received favorable feedback from consumers, creating a task for the team responsible for paring the six Project 12 beers to three.
All the beers developed for Project 12 pay homage to Budweiser’s clean and crisp taste by using the proprietary yeast directly descended from the original Budweiser yeast culture used by Adolphus Busch in 1876. The yeast is still used by Budweiser today.
“Budweiser is an exacting style of beer to brew,” said Peter Kraemer, a fifth-generation brewmaster who leads Anheuser-Busch’s brewing operations in North America. “Our brewmasters are responsible for one of the world’s most technically challenging beers and are able to make a high-quality beer that is consistent all over the United States and the world. Project 12 was a way for our world-class brewmasters to have fun experimenting with new ingredients, flavors and brewing processes to bring beer lovers some new options inspired by our flagship beer.”
Anheuser-Busch’s commitment to quality and its spirit of innovation have been defining characteristics of the company since its beginning. This passion helped the company expand from a local St. Louis brewery to a leader in the industry. Today, Budweiser’s recipe for success brings together its proud heritage and talented teams to brew, package and sell some of the most popular beers in the world.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


USA: Bud Light Platinum sales continue to grow  (

Sales of Bud Light Platinum continue to skyrocket, with Anheuser-Busch InBev reporting that it's shipped more than 1 mln barrels of the brew in the past five months, reported on August, 20.

22-ounce bottles are on the way, and AB InBev plans to "significantly" increase its marketing for the brand through the rest of the year.

Since its debut in late January, Bud Light Platinum has been a bright spot in the brewer's portfolio, being hailed as the strongest new-product launch in the alcohol industry in seven years.

Newsgrafik #25742

Six Small-Batch Beers from Budweiser Brewmasters, Named for the ZIP Codes Where They are Brewed  (Company news)

Consumer Feedback Will Determine Three Beers for Fall Sampler Pack

Call it a friendly competition, one best argued over a bottle or pint. Its name is “Project 12.” Twelve Anheuser-Busch brewmasters at Budweiser’s 12 geographically dispersed breweries worked together to create their own “tribute” beers to fit the Budweiser brand’s reputation for quality and consistency. The assignment pays homage to Budweiser’s “clean and crisp” taste by using the proprietary yeast directly descended from the original Budweiser yeast culture used by Adolphus Busch in 1876 and still used by Budweiser today.
Through internal tasting and analysis, the 12 small-batch beers – each a lager using all-natural ingredients – were pared to six to take part in a summer-long, nationwide sampling effort. Consumer feedback will help Budweiser narrow the six beers to three for inclusion in a limited-edition sampler pack, available for purchase this fall.
“We asked our Budweiser brewmasters to each submit a beer idea in styles that consumers have shown interest in,” said Rob McCarthy, vice president of Budweiser. “From those 12 ideas, we narrowed it to the six best. Our brewmasters have been working in small teams this spring and early summer to perfect these six and now it’s time for consumers to let us know what they think.”

Each small batch Budweiser is distinguished by the ZIP code where the beer is brewed. Among the six beers being sampled this summer and the brewmasters behind them:
-Budweiser Small Batch 91406 (Los Angeles): A deep-amber lager with 6 percent ABV that uses four different types of hops. The beer is brewed by brewmaster Bryan Sullivan in Los Angeles and was developed in collaboration with Scott Ungermann in Fairfield and Dave Cohen in Houston.
-Budweiser Small Batch 63118 (St. Louis): A deep-gold 5 percent ABV American lager that uses the same types of hops (Hallertau and Tettnang) commonly used at the St. Louis brewery during the 19th century. The beer is brewed in St. Louis by brewmaster Jim Bicklein and was developed in collaboration with Katie Rippel from Fort Collins.
-Budweiser Small Batch 43229 (Ohio): A light-amber lager using eight different types of hops with 6 percent ABV. The beer is brewed in Columbus, Ohio, and was the brainchild of the brewery’s general manager, Kevin Lee and developed with assistant brewmasters Travis Burge and Tyler Hunter.
-Budweiser Small Batch 23185 (Virginia): A light-amber all-malt bourbon cask lager aged on bourbon staves and vanilla beans and with an ABV of 5.5 percent. The beer is brewed by Daniel Westmoreland in Williamsburg and was developed in collaboration with Mike Anderson in Jacksonville and Dan Kahn in Cartersville.
-Budweiser Small Batch 13027 (New York): A bright-golden lager brewed with six imported and domestic hops and with an ABV of 7 percent. The beer is brewed in Baldwinsville, N.Y., by brewmaster Nick Mills in consult with general manager Steve McCormick.
-Budweiser Small Batch 80524 (Colorado): A deep-gold, filtered wheat beer with 5.2 percent ABV using lemon peel, orange peel and coriander. The beer is brewed by Katie Rippel in Fort Collins and was developed by Nick Mills in Baldwinsville, Otto Kuhn in Merrimack and Tiago Darocha in Newark.

“The key to this project was the common yeast – which is a very important and often under-appreciated contributor to the flavor and aroma of beer,” said Jane Killebrew-Galeski, director of brewing, quality and innovation for Anheuser-Busch. “We are proud of all these beers – the variety and the quality – but we want consumer feedback. So, we’re looking forward to what we hear when we sample this summer. Our objective is to allow our brewmasters to show some creativity, but the beers must fit the hallmarks the Budweiser brand is respected for, such as quality and consistency, and have a very crisp and clean taste.”
Anheuser-Busch’s commitment to quality and spirit of innovation are at the foundation of the company’s history and continue to be it defining characteristics. This passion helped the company expand from a local St. Louis brewery to a leader in the industry. Today, Budweiser’s recipe for success brings together its proud heritage and talented teams to brew, package and sell some of the most popular beers in the world.
The six sampler beers also will be sampled during “Budweiser Made in America” over Labor Day weekend in Philadelphia. The two-day music festival benefits United Way and will culminate following a summer of music parties in cities all across America in which Budweiser will invite its Facebook fans to experience talented local bands and artists and sample some of these news beers along with local food in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Denver, Dallas, St. Louis, Chicago, Cincinnati, Nashville, Miami, Boston and New York City.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)

Newsgrafik #25684

Anheuser-Busch Launches New Site to Encourage Today’s Adults to Drink Responsibly  (Company news)

Brewer’s Celebrates 30 Years Since Iconic ‘Know When To Say When’ Campaign Debuted

Thirty years after the launch of Know When to Say When, Anheuser-Busch is unveiling its newest responsible drinking campaign, which relies on online and social media – both unheard of in 1982 – to engage adult drinkers and raise awareness.

The new site –
– asks adults to pledge their commitment to drink responsibly and then share it through Facebook to encourage friends to do the same. The pledge is three-fold:
• Respect the legal drinking age
• Enjoy responsibly and know when to say when
• Be or use a designated driver

Each pledge is then populated on an interactive map, showing those who have taken the pledge in their communities.
“With close to half a billion adults on Facebook, we see an enormous opportunity to expand our reach to newer generations of adult drinkers – most of whom came of age after Know When to Say When and our earlier responsible drinking campaigns,” said Kathy Casso, vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility for Anheuser-Busch. “We’re looking to the future of alcohol responsibility, and we see the potential in social media – with its ability to bring adults together and peer-to-peer persuasion – to help friends and family make smarter choices.”
The Know When to Say When campaign was expanded in 1985, making Anheuser-Busch the first brewer to bring a responsible drinking message to network television. Since that time, Anheuser-Busch and its wholesalers have invested more than $930 million in advertising and community-based programs that promote responsible drinking and prevent underage drinking and drunk driving. The latest government data shows that drunk-driving fatalities fell to their lowest level since alcohol record-keeping began in 1982 (52 percent decline from 1982 to 2010).
“We’ve made significant progress in the past three decades, but there’s more we can do. That’s why we encourage adults to pledge and join the Nation of Responsible Drinkers,” Casso added. “We’re committed to promoting responsible consumption today and into the future. It’s always been important to our company – and always will be.”
The Know When to Say When campaign ran for more than a decade and included a variety of media, such as TV, newspapers, magazine, radio and billboards. Other Anheuser-Busch responsibility campaigns like We All Make A Difference, Wanna Go Home With Me Tonight?, Who’s Your Bud and Responsibility Matters have featured a number of legendary sports figures, including Dan Marino, Wayne Gretzky, Patrick Ewing, Oscar De la Hoya, Payne Stewart and music stars George Strait, Tim McGraw and Nelly.
Anheuser-Busch has developed and supports community-based programs that help parents talk with their children about drinking; help retailers educate their employees on how to properly check IDs and prevent sales to minors; assist schools in building self-esteem among teens; and support law enforcement officials in enforcing the law.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


The Czech Republic & USA: Budejovicky Budvar terminating distribution agreement with AB InBev  (

State-owned Czech brewery Budejovicky Budvar NP says it is terminating a distribution deal with its U.S. archrival Anheuser-Busch, The Washington Post reported on July, 3.
In 2007, Anheuser-Busch — now Anheuser-Busch InBev — agreed to distribute Budvar’s Czechvar lager in the United States.
The move originally helped Budvar, which has been fighting a long legal battle with Anheuser-Busch over the use of the “Budweiser” brand, boost U.S. sales.
But Budvar says after Anheuser-Busch was taken over by Belgian brewer InBev in 2008, it lost its interest in importing Czechvar and didn’t meet the imports goals for 2011.
Budvar said on July, 3 that United State Beverages based in Stamford, Connecticut will take over Czechvar’s U.S. distribution Saturday, July, 7.
Budvar has since 2001 exported its lager to the U.S. under the name Czechvar due to trademark issues.

Newsgrafik #25526

Artists Take Over Beck's Bottle  (Company news)

Beck’s Celebrates Those Who Challenge Convention By Providing Unique Canvas to Showcase Original Work of Six Artists, Including Grammy-Nominated Singer M.I.A.

This summer, Beck’s beer continues its long-standing support for today’s most original artists, by showcasing their creative work on a series of limited-edition art bottles.
Now through July 2012, all 12-ounce bottle labels will transform to display one of six original designs created exclusively for Beck’s. Artists include Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter M.I.A. from London, Aerosyn-Lex from New York, Bert Rodriguez from Los Angeles, Freegums from Miami, Geoff McFetridge from Los Angeles and Willy Chyr from Chicago.
“To me, as an artist, there is a responsibility that goes with the opportunity to create art and put it out there in the world, whether it’s on a Beck’s bottle or you’re hanging it up in a gallery,” said singer/artist M.I.A., who debuted her new song “Bad Girls” earlier this year and will release a single in June, with an album to follow in the fall.
For more than 25 years, Beck’s has been a supporter of the arts and a champion of independent thinking. Beck’s has featured the work of legendary artists such as Andy Warhol, Yoko Ono, Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons – many before they became cultural icons. Beck’s selected these six artists for the new U.S. labels based on the originality of their accomplishments in the artistic and graphic design world.
“We are always looking to support artists who are doing really interesting and groundbreaking work. The stuff that may go unnoticed at first, but can’t be ignored,” said Chris Curtis, brand manager for Beck’s. “These artists are shaping our culture and we are excited to share their creative ideas with Beck’s drinkers around the country.”
(Anheuser Busch InBev)

Newsgrafik #25489

Iconic Budweiser Bottle Gets a Makeover With Special Red, White and Blue Packaging  (Company news)

For the first time in many years, the iconic Budweiser bottle will see a major makeover – special red, white and blue packaging for a limited window this summer.
The new design comes in advance of a summer initiative in which the brand will contribute a portion of all sales from May 20 – July 7 to help raise as much as $2.5 million for the Folds of Honor Foundation*, which provides post-secondary educational scholarships for families of U.S. military personnel killed or disabled while serving their country.
The patriotic bottle, which comes with one of five decorated bottle caps, features the brand’s iconic bowtie as its focal point. Budweiser cans and secondary packaging also will convert to red, white and blue for a limited time, beginning in mid-May and continuing until mid-July.
“It’s going to be a red, white and blue summer for Budweiser – most visibly in our packaging but more importantly in our philanthropic support for the families of America’s fallen heroes through the Folds of Honor Foundation,” said Rob McCarthy, vice president of Budweiser at Anheuser-Busch. “Our partnership with Folds of Honor is helping to make a difference in the lives of families whose loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice to protect the freedoms we all hold so dear.”
This year’s patriotic packaging will be available in 8-, 12-, 16- and 24-ounce cans and in a 12-ounce glass bottle, 16-ounce plastic bottle and 16-ounce aluminum bottle. The patriotic theme continues on secondary packaging for all of the top-selling configurations, including 6-packs, 24-packs, 30-packs and other popular sizes.

McCarthy said other components of Budweiser’s “Red, White and Blue Summer” are:
-“Walk Off a Hero:” There is no more exciting play in baseball than a walk-off, when the home team wins the game in the bottom of the final inning. This season, Budweiser is making the moment even more special by helping to change the lives for families of America’s heroes through the “Walk off a Hero” program. Budweiser will donate $5,000 for every walk-off (the equivalent of one scholarship) during baseball’s 2012 regular season to the Folds of Honor Foundation.
-2012 Olympics: Budweiser is the official sponsor of Team USA during the 2012 Summer Olympic Games; in June, the brand will unveil a 16-ounce aluminum bottle with the Team USA logo.
-NASCAR: Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 29 Chevrolet, will spotlight a special Budweiser red, white and blue paint scheme for races at Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 27), Michigan International Speedway (June 17), Kentucky Speedway (June 30), Daytona International Speedway (July 7), Pocono Raceway (Aug. 5) and Watkins Glen International (Aug. 12).
-Flag Day Sampling: Budweiser wholesalers will hold sampling events for the brand in mid-June, including on Flag Day itself, June 14.
The summer program for Budweiser is a major expansion of a patriotic packaging initiative that had great success for the iconic brand last summer.
“Last year Budweiser had its best summer in many years with our special red, white and blue can as the catalyst during June,” McCarthy said. “We have expanded and improved this packaging this year.”
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


Brazil: Senate gives green light to beer sales at stadiums during the 2014 soccer World Cup  (

Brazil’s Senate on May, 9 approved a set of rules needed for the country to host the 2014 soccer World Cup, including the lifting of a federal ban on the sale of alcoholic drinks in stadiums during the tournament.

Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world’s largest brewer, extended in October its beer sponsorship for the FIFA World Cup through 2022. The legislation now needs to be signed by President Dilma Rousseff.

Brazil currently bans consumption of alcoholic beverages at sporting events held in stadiums because of concern it fuels violence. Five of the 12 Brazilian states that will host World Cup games still have local laws that prohibit sales of alcohol in stadiums and may have to suspend them, Senator Ana Amelia de Lemos, a member of the government coalition and one of the sponsors of the bill, told reporters in Brasilia on May, 9.

“This could end in court as some states can still forbid beverages,” Lemos said. “If you don’t allow beverages, an international agreement is broken, creating legal uncertainty that undermines Brazil’s image.”

Brazil’s Sports Minister Aldo Rebelo and the chairman of the country’s soccer confederation Jose Maria Marin met FIFA President Sepp Blatter in Zurich on May 8 to discuss the project. FIFA said Brazil has made “significant progress” on preparing stadiums for the tournament.

Relations between FIFA, which is world soccer’s governing body, and the Brazilian government became strained after the country delayed approving the bill. Brazil committed to enact the legislation when it was awarded the $5 billion event almost five years ago. FIFA also complained earlier this year about slow progress in building stadiums.

“Though analyses are still being carried out, several obstacles have already been identified in some cities,” FIFA said in a May 8 statement on its website. “These points will be discussed with the relevant authorities with a view to identifying solutions. The monitoring process, which is being conducted with the support of an international consultancy firm, will also continue.”

Newsgrafik #25470

Bud Light Platinum Expands Brewery Production to Meet Growing Consumer Demand  (Company news)

Demand for Bud Light Platinum, the newest addition to the Bud Light megabrand, is outpacing expectations. In response, Anheuser-Busch is expanding production of Bud Light Platinum to three breweries. Brewing has already begun in A-B’s St. Louis and Columbus, Ohio, breweries, with its Ft. Collins, Colo., brewery set to follow suit in June.
“We’re optimistic we have a winner on our hands with Bud Light Platinum,” said Luiz Edmond, zone president, North America, Anheuser-Busch. “Trial and repeat purchases have been tremendous since the first ads aired during the Super Bowl, and while supplies were tight in the first few months, having to double the number breweries producing Bud Light Platinum is a great problem to have.”
Bud Light Platinum will continue to be brewed at Anheuser-Busch’s Baldwinsville, N.Y., Cartersville, Ga., and Los Angeles breweries in addition to the three new locations, placing Bud Light Platinum production in half of Anheuser-Busch’s 12 U.S. breweries.
Based on IRI Symphony data, Bud Light Platinum has proven to be the most successful brand launch in the U.S. alcohol industry since 2005. Within two weeks of launch, Bud Light Platinum reached more than 90 percent distribution and through April 1, 2012, claimed a 1.4 percent market share.
Bud Light Platinum is available nationwide in cobalt blue 12-ounce glass bottles in six- and 12-packs.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)

Newsgrafik #25453

Bud Light Lime Introduces a New Take on the Margarita with Bud Light Lime 'Lime-a-Rita'  (Company news)

Margaritas, the classic summer cocktail, are getting a fresh twist this summer with the national launch of Bud Light Lime Lime-a-Rita, the latest addition to the growing Bud Light portfolio. Blending the flavor of an authentic margarita with a refreshing splash of Bud Light Lime, Lime-a-Rita is an 8%* ABV margarita-flavored alcohol beverage that meets a growing demand among adult drinkers seeking sweeter alternatives.
“As warm weather starts to take hold across the country, people want light and refreshing beverages to keep them cool all summer long,” said Mike Sundet, vice president, Bud Light. “This is our take on the traditional margarita. Beer drinkers were already mixing Bud Light Lime into margaritas to create ‘beer ritas’; Lime-a-Rita just adds a new level of convenience by providing a beverage with the perfect balance of flavors.”
Lime-a-Rita can be enjoyed from the can or, like the popular cocktail that inspired it, is best served over ice. The new drink will be available in 12-packs of 8 oz. cans, 24-packs of 12 oz. shrink-wrapped bottles and single-serve 24 oz. cans.
The introduction of Lime-a-Rita follows January’s launch of Bud Light Platinum, the best selling new beer of 2012 according to IRI Symphony data.
As Lime-a-Rita hits the market, Bud Light Lime has also received an updated look with the introduction of new primary and secondary packaging. Designed to reflect the current look and feel of Bud Light, the new Bud Light Lime packaging will feature the brand’s iconic green color more prominently.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


Anheuser-Busch InBev Closing in on Meeting Global Goals on Environmental Sustainability  (Company news)

U.S. Breweries Continue to Increase Recycling Rates, and Reduce Water Use, CO2 Emissions and Energy Consumption

Anheuser-Busch InBev announced its progress toward achieving a set of aggressive three-year global environmental goals set in 2009. Core among these goals is a leading-edge water-usage target of 3.5 hectoliters of water for each hectoliter of production by the end of 2012. In 2011, the global company’s average water use was 3.71 hectoliters per hectoliter of production, which represents an 8.2 percent reduction versus 2010, and a 13.7 percent reduction against its 2009 baseline. The company is on track to reach the savings it committed to achieving by the end of 2012.
In addition to water conservation, AB InBev aims to meet its ambitious global goals to reduce energy use, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and increase its recycling rate. In support of the global initiatives, the U.S. breweries achieved impressive sustainability results in 2011.
The U.S. team reduced water use by 5 percent, CO2 emissions by 4 percent and energy consumption by 4.78 percent, as purchased electricity was reduced by 2.25 percent and purchased fuel by 5.6 percent. The U.S. facilities also recycled more than 99.6 percent of the solid waste used in the brewing and packaging processes.
“Our U.S. breweries are leading the way for both our company and the brewing industry when it comes to reducing, reusing and recycling the resources used to brew and package our beers,” said Pete Kraemer, vice president of Supply at Anheuser-Busch. “The credit goes to our employees, who are passionate about finding innovative ways to recycle and conserve our natural resources inside and outside our breweries”
Budweiser annually joins people around the globe in celebrating World Environment Day (June 5), a day organized by the United Nations to encourage environmental sustainability initiatives. As part of its celebration, the U.S. team promotes water conservation in its facilities and supports the protection and preservation of water through river cleanups and other activities..
On November 15, Bud Light will again recognize America Recycles Day, which encourages individuals and businesses to recycle. The annual event is organized by Anheuser-Busch’s long-time partner, Keep America Beautiful.

Overview of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Global Goals Progress
* AB InBev is well on its way to achieving the ambitious goal of reducing its energy use per hectoliter of production by 10 percent by the end of 2012.
* In 2011, the company achieved a 5.2 percent decrease in energy use on a per hectoliter basis (megajoules per hectoliter), which represents an 8.7 percent overall decrease compared to 2009, its baseline year.
* The company also cut its greenhouse gas emissions per hectoliter of production by 5 percent in 2011, which represents a total reduction of 11.5 percent since 2009. Therefore, not only has AB InBev achieved its goal of reducing CO2 emissions per hectoliter of production by 10 percent, it did it one year ahead of schedule.
* The company is closing in on meeting its goal of a 99 percent recycling rate – it reached 98.2 percent in 2011 by continuing to eliminate material losses, improve packaging efficiencies and determine cost-effective alternative uses for raw materials and byproducts.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


USA: St. Pauli Girl beer to be distributed by Anheuser-Busch as from June, 1  (

Crown Imports is losing its import duties for St. Pauli Girl beer, reported on April, 11.

The German beer brand will go back to Anheuser-Busch InBev's U.S. subsidiary in St. Louis on June 1, according to a report in Beer Business Daily. It cited a memo Anheuser sent to distributors.

Anheuser brews the beer, known for its label that features a buxom woman in traditional German garb, in Europe. St. Pauli Girl had an import contract through the end of the year with Crown, the Chicago-based joint venture of Mexico's Grupo Modelo and Victor, N.Y.-based Constellation Brands Inc.

St. Pauli Girl sales were down 21.4 percent in 2011, Crown told wholesalers at its National Distributor Meeting, said Harry Schuhmacher, editor and publisher of the beer newsletter.

Crown Imports spokesman Bill Ligas said the company has imported St. Pauli Girl for more than 20 years.

It's a small brand compared to Crown's other beers under the Modelo and Tsingtao breweries. Mr. Ligas confirmed that Crown recently signed a new deal with Tsingtao.

In a memo, Crown Imports President Bill Hackett told wholesalers that its importation, sales and marketing arrangements with Anheuser were due to “sunset” end at the end of 2012.

In light of Anheuser not renewing the Crown agreement and Anheuser's “future plans for St. Pauli Girl,” Crown agreed to “transition the business in advance of the expiration of the agreement,” he wrote. The transition goes into effect June 1.

Mr. Hackett went on to say that the company plans to continue building its business through partners at the Grupo Modelo and Tsingtao breweries


Anheuser-Busch InBev Closing in on Meeting Global Goals on Environmental Sustainability  (Company news)

U.S. Breweries Continue to Increase Recycling Rates, and Reduce Water Use, CO2 Emissions and Energy Consumption

Anheuser-Busch InBev announced its progress toward achieving a set of aggressive three-year global environmental goals set in 2009. Core among these goals is a leading-edge water-usage target of 3.5 hectoliters of water for each hectoliter of production by the end of 2012. In 2011, the global company’s average water use was 3.71 hectoliters per hectoliter of production, which represents an 8.2 percent reduction versus 2010, and a 13.7 percent reduction against its 2009 baseline. The company is on track to reach the savings it committed to achieving by the end of 2012.
In addition to water conservation, AB InBev aims to meet its ambitious global goals to reduce energy use, reduce carbon dioxide emissions and increase its recycling rate. In support of the global initiatives, the U.S. breweries achieved impressive sustainability results in 2011.
The U.S. team reduced water use by 5 percent, CO2 emissions by 4 percent and energy consumption by 4.78 percent, as purchased electricity was reduced by 2.25 percent and purchased fuel by 5.6 percent. The U.S. facilities also recycled more than 99.6 percent of the solid waste used in the brewing and packaging processes.
“Our U.S. breweries are leading the way for both our company and the brewing industry when it comes to reducing, reusing and recycling the resources used to brew and package our beers,” said Pete Kraemer, vice president of Supply at Anheuser-Busch. “The credit goes to our employees, who are passionate about finding innovative ways to recycle and conserve our natural resources inside and outside our breweries”.
Budweiser annually joins people around the globe in celebrating World Environment Day (June 5), a day organized by the United Nations to encourage environmental sustainability initiatives. As part of its celebration, the U.S. team promotes water conservation in its facilities and supports the protection and preservation of water through river cleanups and other activities.
On November 15, Bud Light will again recognize America Recycles Day, which encourages individuals and businesses to recycle. The annual event is organized by Anheuser-Busch’s long-time partner, Keep America Beautiful.

Overview of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Global Goals Progress
* AB InBev is well on its way to achieving the ambitious goal of reducing its energy use per hectoliter of production by 10 percent by the end of 2012.
* In 2011, the company achieved a 5.2 percent decrease in energy use on a per hectoliter basis (megajoules per hectoliter), which represents an 8.7 percent overall decrease compared to 2009, its baseline year.
* The company also cut its greenhouse gas emissions per hectoliter of production by 5 percent in 2011, which represents a total reduction of 11.5 percent since 2009. Therefore, not only has AB InBev achieved its goal of reducing CO2 emissions per hectoliter of production by 10 percent, it did it one year ahead of schedule.
* The company is closing in on meeting its goal of a 99 percent recycling rate – it reached 98.2 percent in 2011 by continuing to eliminate material losses, improve packaging efficiencies and determine cost-effective alternative uses for raw materials and byproducts.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


USA: Anheuser-Busch InBev to debut 19 new products this year  (

In an ambitious effort to win back drinkers, Anheuser-Busch InBev has 19 new products on tap to debut this year, reported on March, 30.
Luiz Edmond, president of the company’s North American division, has bet that new smaller craft beers, malt beverages and cider will stem the flow of drinkers to smaller brews or liquor.
Other strategies include increasing the alcohol in light beer, marketing more with Clydesdale draught horses, and revamping distribution. Anheuser’s slice of the U.S. beer market has dropped to 48.9% in 2011.
New products already in stores include Bud Light Platinum. “Platinum, that's a game changer for us,” said Edmond. A wheat IPA under the Shock Top label debuted in February. Next month, Bud Light Lime-a-Rita, a malt beverage, will be in stores along with an alcoholic tea-and-lemonade beverage. May brings a cider drink.
Meanwhile, the Brewers Association released 2011 data on U.S. craft brewing that showed craft brewing volume hopped 13%, with a 15% bump in retail sales from 2010 to 2011. Increased retail sales represented 9.1% of the $95.5 bln dollar U.S. beer market.
“While the overall beer market experienced a 1.32 percent volume decrease in 2011, craft brewing saw significant growth, surpassing five percent total market volume share for the first time,” said Paul Gatza, director of Brewers Association, in a press release. “It’s becoming increasingly clear that with the variety of styles and flavors to choose from, Americans are developing a strong taste for high-quality, small-batch beer from independent brewers.”

Newsgrafik #25328

Refresh Your Summer with Shock Top Lemon Shandy  (Company news)

Natural Lemonade Flavor Perfectly Complements Smooth Wheat Ale

Just in time for the warm weather months, Shock Top Belgian Wheat introduces its latest seasonal beer, Shock Top Lemon Shandy, which will be available March 19 through the end of July.
Shock Top Lemon Shandy is a unique interpretation of a classic style – a refreshing and smooth wheat beer perfectly complemented by spices and natural lemonade flavor. At 4.2% ABV, Lemon Shandy will be available nationwide in six- and 12-packs of bottles and 12-packs of cans, as well as on draught.
“For years, brewers around the world have experimented with fruit-flavored beer mixers, like shandys and radlers, which have been popular concoctions in Britain and Germany,” said Jill Vaughn, brewmaster for Shock Top. “When the temperatures start to warm up, you appreciate the added level of refreshment a lemonade flavor can bring to your beer, and Shock Top’s citrusy base provided the ideal starting point for creating this new recipe. We definitely stayed true to Shock Top’s wheat beer essence, while crafting a new flavor for adults to enjoy this summer.”
The introduction of Lemon Shandy marks the first seasonal rollout for the Shock Top family in 2012. In 2011, Shock Top rolled out its first year-round line extension with Shock Top Raspberry Wheat, and its first seasonal with Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat. Year-round offering Shock Top Wheat IPA was introduced in February 2012. As the Shock Top family expands, it continues to grow in popularity, up more than 142% in 2011.
Shock Top Belgian White is an award-winning Belgian-style unfiltered wheat ale, with a naturally cloudy and light golden color. Shock Top Belgian White is brewed with orange, lemon and lime peels and coriander, giving it a refreshing, smooth taste and a citrusy aroma.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


USA: Anheuser-Busch to launch Shock Top Lemon Shandy  (

Anheuser-Busch InBev is set to launch its latest seasonal beer, Shock Top Lemon Shandy, which will be available through the end of July.

The drink, which has 4.2 percent alcohol, is a wheat beer complemented by spices and natural lemonade flavor.

The introduction of Lemon Shandy marks the first seasonal rollout for the Shock Top brand this year. Last year, Shock Top rolled out its first year-round line extension with Shock Top Raspberry Wheat, and its first seasonal with Shock Top Pumpkin Wheat. Year-round offering Shock Top Wheat IPA was introduced in February. As the Shock Top family expanded, its sales grew more than 142 percent last year.

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer, had revenue of $39.05 bln in 2011.


Anheuser-Busch InBev Reports Full Year and Fourth Quarter 2011 Results  (Company news)

Except where otherwise stated, the comments below are based on organic growth figures and refer to FY11 and 4Q11 versus the same periods of last year.

- Revenue growth: Revenue grew 4.6% in FY11 and 5.7% in 4Q11, with revenue per hl improving 5.0% in FY11 and 6.7% in 4Q11. On a constant geographic basis (i.e. eliminating the impact of faster growth in countries with lower revenue per hl) revenue per hl grew 5.8% in FY11 and 7.2% in 4Q11, reflecting selective price increases taken in 4Q11, in anticipation of higher commodity costs in 2012.
- Volume performance: Total volumes in FY11 decreased 0.2%, with own beer volumes decreasing 0.1% and non-beer volumes growing 1.5%. Third party volumes decreased 29.5% due to the termination of legacy commercial products contracts in Western Europe. In 4Q11, total volumes declined 0.6%, with own beer volumes decreasing 0.3% and non-beer volumes growing 0.7%.
- Focus Brands: In FY11, our three global brands of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s grew by 3.3%. Total Focus Brand volumes grew by 0.8%, led by Quilmes in Argentina, Antarctica in Brazil, Budweiser and Harbin in China and Bud in Russia.
- Market share: In FY11, market share was ahead of last year in Argentina, China, Germany, Belgium and Ukraine, down in the UK and slightly lower in Canada and Russia. In Brazil, share for the year declined but was still the second highest in ten years. In the United States, share contraction was concentrated in our sub-premium brands, while our Focus Brands performed well in line with our brand strategies.
- Cost of Sales: Cost of Sales (CoS) increased 1.6% in FY11, or 1.7% per hl. In 4Q11, CoS increased by 0.1%, or 0.8% per hl. On a constant geographic basis, CoS per hl increased 2.7% in FY11 and 1.7% in 4Q11.
- EBITDA: In FY11, normalized EBITDA grew 10.7% in nominal terms and 7.7% organically to 15 357 million USD, with EBITDA margin expanding by 113 bp to 39.3%. In 4Q11, EBITDA rose 8.8% in nominal terms and 12.2% organically to 4 237 million USD with a margin of 42.9%, an organic improvement of 251 bp.
- Net finance costs of 357 million USD in 4Q11 include net interest expenses of 496 million USD, accretion expenses of 61 million USD, and gains in other financial results of 200 million USD from derivative contracts related to our share-based payment programs.
- Profit: Normalized profit attributable to equity holders of AB InBev grew 28.0% in nominal terms to 6 449 million USD in FY11 from 5 040 million USD in FY10, and by 60.7% in nominal terms to 1 959 million USD in 4Q11 from 1 219 million USD in 4Q10.
- Earnings per share (EPS): Normalized EPS grew 27.4% to 4.04 USD in FY11 from 3.17 USD in FY10. 4Q11 normalized EPS grew 59.7% to 1.23 USD from 0.77 USD in 4Q10.
- Cash flow: Cash flow from operating activities increased 26% on a nominal basis, to 12 486 million USD in FY11 from 9 905 million USD in FY10.
- Net debt: Our net debt as of 31 December 2011 was 34.7 billion USD, a decrease of 5.0 billion USD from 31 December 2010, for a net debt to normalized EBITDA ratio of 2.26x versus 2.86x at the end of 2010.
- Dividend: The AB InBev Board proposes a dividend of 1.20 EUR per share, subject to shareholder approval. If approved, the shares will trade ex-coupon as of 27 April 2012 and dividends will be payable as from 3 May 2012. The record date will be 2 May 2012.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


Brazil: Beer approved for sale at soccer stadiums during the 2014 World Cup  (

Brazil took a step toward relaxing its strict ban on alcohol at soccer stadiums on March, 6, responding to World Cup organizers' concerns. The Federation International de Football Association is pushing for the change so it can make Budweiser the "Official Beer of the FIFA World Cup" when Brazil hosts the event in 2014, NPR reports.

Late on March, 6, a special committee voted 15-9 to approve the sale of alcoholic beverages at Brazil's soccer stadiums during the 2014 World Cup, as well as the 2013 Confederations Cup. The measure now advances in the legislature; it will require a signature from President Dilma Rousseff before it is enacted.

Alcoholic beverages were banned at Brazil's soccer games back in 2003, in a desperate attempt to reduce violence at its stadiums. As a recent report shows, that effort has had only marginal success — the country led the world in soccer-related deaths from 1998 to 2008, with 42 fatalities reported.

But as it prepares for the 2014 tournament, Brazil is under intense pressure to revoke at least part of its federal ban.

As for the beer issue, Valcke has consistently demanded that Brazil change its law.

"Alcoholic drinks are part of the FIFA World Cup, so we're going to have them. Excuse me if I sound a bit arrogant but that's something we won't negotiate," he said in January.

The controversy has complicated things a bit for FIFA, which has promised beer conglomerate Anheuser-Busch InBev that Budweiser will once again be the World Cup's official beer — a role it has played since 1986. The relationship was recently extended to 2022.

But the fact that Brazil's beer ban may be tweaked hasn't calmed the froth that built up between FIFA and the country's leadership.

Even if Brazil softens its stance on alcohol sales, FIFA's beer headaches aren't over. Both Russia, which will host the Cup in 2018, and Qatar have soccer booze-bans on the books.


Canada: Molson Coors to launch Coors Light Iced Tea and other new products soon  (

Molson Coors Brewing Co said on March, 6 it will launch Coors Light Iced Tea and other new products, as the beer company fights to win a greater share of the struggling beer market.

Molson executives said during a meeting with analysts that the new products should help spur sales so the company can put less reliance on cost-cutting to drive its profit. It also seeks to make beer more attractive to people who have moved on to wine or cocktails, Reuters reported.

"Someone else is eating our lunch in the alcohol space," Molson Coors Chief Executive Peter Swinburn said at the meeting, which was broadcast over the Internet.

Coors Light Iced Tea will go on sale first in Canada, where consumers are interested in flavored beers and other refreshing drinks, Molson executives said. They did not, however, rule out an expansion into the United States.

Other new products include Carling Zest, a limited-time-only beer with citrus flavors and an autumn-inspired Leinenkugels beer.

Molson Coors, which is aggressively pursuing the market for craft beers through its Tenth and Blake unit, said its new craft beer Batch 19, is performing better than it expected. With additional roll-outs planned for April, the new beer should be available in over 40 U.S. markets by fall, the company said.

Molson, whose core brands include Molson Canadian, Coors Light and Blue Moon, said it will spend more this year on marketing, given its new products.

Unlike its larger rivals Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller, which have large businesses in developing and emerging markets, Molson's sales are concentrated in the mature markets of Canada, Britain and the United States.

But the company said this week it wants to accelerate growth in developing markets. It will also focus on China, Russia, India and Ukraine, and on the beers Coors Light, Carling and Cobra.

At present, Molson's international division accounts for about 3 percent of its worldwide volume, but the company said its goal is for that unit to become a "significant contributor" to sales volume and profit growth by 2015.

Last month, Molson reported fourth-quarter profit that blew past Wall Street estimates, as price increases, cost savings and an extra selling week helped offset weak sales volume.


USA: AB InBev taste-testing new margarita-flavoured beer for summer  (

Anheuser-Busch has begun taste-testing a new margarita-flavored drink: Bud Light Lime-A-Rita, reported on March, 7.

The brew appears to be another effort to tap growing demand for flavored malt beverages, and will be sold in cans at either 6 percent or 8 percent alcohol, according to labels approved in January by federal alcohol regulators.

An AB InBev spokesman would not comment on the product nor give a firm date for its release. But industry sources expect it will hit shelves in time for summer.


Anheuser-Busch to Invest $70 Million to $80 Million in Arnold, Mo. Metal Container Corp. Facility  (Company news)

Investment will expand capacity and add jobs at can-making facility

Anheuser-Busch announced plans to increase production capacity at its Metal Container Corporation (MCC) facility in Arnold, Mo., an investment estimated between $70 million and $80 million, to increase production and create at least 20 new jobs at the facility. The Arnold facility produces aluminum cans for Anheuser-Busch and soft drink makers. This expansion, planned for completion in 2013, will add approximately 100,000 square feet to the warehouse and production areas, maintaining the more than 100 current jobs.
“The expansion of our Arnold MCC facility is one more example of our company’s dedication to the state, contributing to the economic stability of the region,” said Luiz Edmond,president of Anheuser-Busch InBev North America. “Through our strong partnerships with state and local leaders,we have been able to bring this valuable investment to our hometown.”
The facility expansion is made possible through a property tax abatement program in collaboration with the City of Arnold and Jefferson County. The bond program is designed to encourage business recruitment and expansion and provides incentives for a variety of industrial projects. Missouri Quality Jobs, the state’s Department of Economic Development program that helps create and maintain valuable jobs, also contributed incentives to this project.
“Anheuser-Busch and Metal Container are long-standing contributors to the region through good-paying jobs and taxes, and the City of Arnold is proud to invest in companies that invest in our community,” said the Honorable Ron Counts, Mayor, City of Arnold. “We’re excited that A-B will be adding positions and helping us report to the region that through the Missouri’s Chapter 100 Bonds program, Arnold is ‘Open for Business.’”
The project is part of Anheuser-Busch’s October 2011 announcement to invest $1 billion in its facilities nationwide over the next three years. In 2010 and 2011, more than $5 million was spent to modernize the Arnold can plant, which improved efficiencies and reduced its environmental impact.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


The Czech Republic: Legendary manager of state-owned Budějovický Budvar might be sacked – reports  (

The legendary manager of Czech state-owned brewery Budějovický Budvar, Jiří Boček, is reported to be for the chop in what appears to be an escalating battle with his bosses at the Ministry of Agriculture, reported on February, 3.

Whispers about the brewing battle over the country’s fourth-biggest beer producer — known for its worldwide legal tussle with US beer giant Anheuser-Busch over claims to use the Budweiser name and related trademarks — have been circulating in the Czech press over the past days.

Boček, who has headed Budějovický Budvar for the past 21 years, and overseen the doubling of sales and profits and also the tripling beer production over the period, now appears to be drinking in last chance saloon.

The business daily Hospodářské noviny (HN) said 54-year-old Boček’s dismissal by Minister of Agriculture Petr Bendl (Civic Democrats, ODS) is imminent. “The head of Budvar is ending due to ODS godfathers,” the paper headlined on February, 3. “According to HN’s information from the ministry it is just a question of time, probably in the next days,” it added in its report.

The influence of the so-called godfathers, gray behind-the-scenes managers who pull the political strings, was already said to have been behind recent changes in Budějovický Budvar’s supervisory board reported earlier this week . Lawyer Tomáš Jindra, said to be close to one of the ODS’ prominent string pullers, the powerful Prague lobbyist Ivo Rittig, was appointed to the 12-strong company body.

Budějovický Budvar has also been in ferment this week following the ministry’s launch of a special audit of its accounts and documentation. Brewery boss Boček will, according to HN, be sacked amid alleged, but not yet specified, misgivings about his managerial performance.

Neither Bendl, who was brought back to the Cabinet as agriculture minister in October last year, or Prime Minister Petr Nečas (ODS) have so far confirmed that Boček, who has always taken an uncompromising stand against Anheuser-Busch in the long-running trademark battle, is to go. “I cannot exclude nor confirm it at the moment,” was Bendl’s reply to HN.

The launch of the special audit was selectively reported before it had actually begun, including reported comments from deputy agriculture minister Roman Boček (non-aligned) that he was unhappy with the preliminary results of the checks. These have clearly left a bad taste at the South Bohemian brewer. A news release from Budějovický Budvar on February, 2 suggested that the false reports were “caused by insufficient information that the media had at its disposition,” and that the situation described did not correspond with reality.

Boček [no apparent relation to the brewery boss] is a former businessman brought into the ministry by Bendl’s predecessor, Ivan Fuksa (ODS), after serving in a similar position at the Ministry of Transport.

Budějovický Budvar spokesman Petr Samec added that the reports gave the impression that the brewer, which has the special status of a “national company,” had not been subject to ongoing checks from the ministry since 2003. “Such an interpretation can very seriously damage the good name of the company and its commercial interests at home and abroad,” he said.

Samec added that brewer was subject to continuing checks and reporting, including an annual audit, meetings of the supervisory board every quarter, quarterly reports on economic and other company affairs, and checks by state bodies, such as the finance and customs offices.

A second strand of apparent ministry criticism of brewery management is its slow resolution of the dozens of legal battles with Anheuser-Busch, with Minister Bendl reportedly seeking to seal an out-of-court settlement with the US brewer, now part of the Belgian-based multinational InBev, by the end of the year. Anheuser-Busch appears to be positioning itself better for outstanding legal battles, it had hitherto lost most of the courtroom conflicts, and a possible privatization of the Czech brewer.

An end to the legal battles would instantly clear away the shadow overhanging the Czech brewer and give possible investors, including probably Anheuser-Busch itself, a much clearer picture of Budějovický Budvar’s real worth. It would also end the astronomic bills faced by Budějovický Budvar’s juggling so many legal battles at the same time.

The center-right Civic Democrats, who have dominated the agriculture ministry in recent years, have frequently pledged that the state brewer would be readied for a possible sale after first being transformed into a shareholder company, but those promises have been slow to bear fruit with the whole transformation process apparently at a near standstill.

The brewer hit back on February, 2 at reports of its failures in the legal battles by pointing out that these had been checked recently by a renowned legal practice acting for the Ministry of Agriculture with no faults found regarding Budějovický Budvar’s actions.

Budějovický Budvar reported at the start of the year a 5.5 percent increase in beer sales for 2011 to a record 1.32 million hectolitres in the face of flat domestic demand. Exports increased year-on-year by 7.8 percent to a record 650,000 hectolitres, or just under half of the brewery’s total sales volume.


USA: Bud Light Platinum available in Texas  (

Bud Light Platinum, a higher alcohol version of the world’s best-selling beer, went on sale in Texas at the beginning of this week, a week earlier than the rest of the country, reported on January, 20.
In announcing the new brew last November, parent company AB InBev described Bud Light Platinum as a “slightly sweeter” product positioned as “an upscale light beer option”. It is the first brand extension since Bud Light Golden Wheat in 2009.
The Platinum version is 6 percent alcohol by volume, a percentage point higher than regular Budweiser.
The rollout follows another stagnant year in domestic brewing.
Industry observer Beer Marketer’s Insights reported in December that U.S. beer shipments for 2011 were expected to decline by 3 mln barrels, despite continued rapid growth among the smaller craft breweries.
Advertising Age earlier this month described the release of Bud Light Platinum as part of an effort “to win over younger drinkers who have been gravitating to spirits”. The magazine said AB InBev would spend heavily on advertising and is expected to buy at least one spot for Platinum during the Feb. 5 Super Bowl.

Newsgrafik #25031

Anheuser-Busch Names Blaise D’Sylva Vice President, Media, Sports & Entertainment Marketing  (Company news)

Anheuser-Busch named Blaise D’Sylva to lead its U.S. media, sports and entertainment marketing division, responsible for directing the company’s category-leading investments in growing its brands through media, sports and entertainment marketing properties at both the national and local levels. D’Sylva will report to Paul Chibe, Vice President of U.S. Marketing and joined the company on January 16.
“Blaise brings a combination of strategic, analytical and entrepreneurial qualities needed to expand the capabilities of Anheuser-Busch in today’s media landscape,” said Chibe. “We’re excited about Blaise’s potential as a leader to move our company forward quickly.”
D’Sylva brings more than 20 years of media and marketing experience, spent working on behalf of some of the world’s biggest and most successful brands. D’Sylva inherits a deep bench of talent that oversees the planning, negotiating and activation of Anheuser-Busch’s major investments in national, local and digital media, as well as premier sports marketing properties such as the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), Major League Soccer (MLS), and in NASCAR.
D’Sylva most recently was Senior Director, Sales Manager at ESPN, based in Chicago. There he was responsible for generating advertising sales revenue across multiple ESPN platforms, including television, digital, print and audio. His team was tasked with maximizing multi-media sales opportunities across the Midwest, developing compelling and highly strategic branded content and programming.
Before joining ESPN, D’Sylva served as Director of Media Integration for Allstate Insurance Company. There he was responsible for the company’s strategic media planning and buying across multiple media channels, geographies, targets and product lines.
Prior to that, he spent nine years at Starcom MediaVest Group, where he held various positions ranging from Vice President, Media Director in the company’s Chicago office and culminating in his appointment as Senior Vice President and Chief Executive, Northeast Asia.
D’Sylva started his career at Leo Burnett Worldwide, where he began as a media planner and buyer before accepting assignments as the agency’s international media director in Poland and Japan.
D’Sylva holds a bachelor’s degree in communications and advertising from Washington State University, and a master’s degree in communications and advertising from the University of Illinois.
(Anheuser Busch InBev)


USA: Yuengling becomes largest U.S. - owned brewery  (

D.G. Yuengling and Son, which proudly bills itself as America's oldest brewery, has something new to brag about. The Pottsville company, whose sales surged last year when it entered Ohio, has become the largest American beer-maker by surpassing Boston Beer in 2011 sales, The Morning Call reported on January, 12.
It's a surprising story about how an underdog prevailed while much larger American brewers fell under foreign ownership. Even beer market experts could not have foreseen such rapid changes.
And Dick Yuengling, the company's fifth-generation owner who engineered a slow-and-steady growth campaign, is in disbelief. The company used to compete with other small regional brewers. Now it's banging elbows with huge, multinational conglomerates for cooler space and beer-drinker loyalty.
"It just floors me that so much of our beer industry is owned by foreign concerns," he said. "We were not in any race to be the largest domestically owned brewer, but it's a tremendous honor for us."
Beer industry changes came suddenly in 2008, when global consolidation stripped the United States of domestic ownership of its best-selling brands. Anheuser-Busch, whose neon Budweiser signs emblazon taverns throughout the country, used to be based in St. Louis. But its headquarters have been in Belgium since 2008 when InBev bought it in a $52 bln deal to create Anheuser-Busch InBev.
With Anheuser-Busch bumped out of domestic ownership, you had to look far down the list of the country's best-selling beers to find a domestic company that made its own beer. Not Coors Light, despite its claim to the Rocky Mountains. It's made by Miller Coors, which also makes Miller Lite and has ownership interests in London and Canada.
Pabst Brewing Co sells a lot of beer and is owned by a U.S. investment firm. But it doesn't make its own beer. Its production is outsourced to a British-owned brewing company.
That left small craft brewer Boston Beer, which makes Samuel Adams and has a plant in Fogelsville, as the country's largest domestic-owned brewery in 2008. And Yuengling was a close second.
The two companies have since been neck-and-neck in sales until the end of 2011, when Yuengling started selling beer in its 14th state, Ohio.
Yuengling sold 2.5 mln barrels of beer in 2011, up 17 percent from the previous year, according to Beer Marketer's Insights in Suffern, N.Y., a magazine that tracks the beer industry. Boston Beer sold 2.4 mln barrels in 2011, the magazine estimated.
Boston Beer, a public company, has yet to release final sales for 2011. Beer Marketer's Insights based its estimate on Boston Beer sales in the first three quarters and the company's own sales forecast for the fourth quarter.
Even if Boston Beer had a surprisingly good fourth quarter, it wouldn't close the gap with Yuengling, said Eric Shepard, editor of Beer Marketer's Insights.
"It would take a weird December miracle," he said.
Yuengling is expected to retain the distinction for the foreseeable future. Its 2012 sales will likely increase since this will be its first full year in Ohio.
Yuengling attributed the success in Ohio to a good network of distributors and retailers who helped establish the brand in supermarkets. Brewers are at the mercy of distributors and retailers for access to customers, he said, and Yuengling doesn't enter new markets unless it knows those middlemen are committed to its success.
"The distributors got our brands in all of the grocery chains and the grocery chains gave us big displays," Yuengling said. "They gave us a chance and they gave consumers a choice."
Beer drinkers have reacted to global consolidation. AB InBev remains the dominant U.S. sales leader, moving 98.8 mln barrels in 2011. But its sales dropped 7.7 percent from 2008 to 2011, according to Beer Marketer's Insights. Sales of Yuengling, meanwhile, jumped nearly 40 percent over the same period.
Yuengling's chief operating officer David Casinelli said the company was inundated with letters from customers after the AB InBev deal was announced.
"We received letters imploring us not to sell out and do what they did," Casinelli said. "There are obviously a lot of people who pay attention to that stuff and take it seriously."
Yuengling could continue to expand its market. The company has been fielding interest from distributors in Louisiana and Texas and New England beer drinkers have been clamoring for the company to expand farther north. But the company has no immediate plans for that and for now is focused on meeting increased demand in its existing market, Yuengling said.
"Our game is longevity," Yuengling said. "Being the biggest doesn't matter. We want to see how long we can survive. My daughters Jennifer and Wendy are in the business now and we want their kids to be able to run it some day. That's what's satisfying to us."


USA: Anheuser-Busch InBev announces release date for Bud Light Platinum  (

Bud Light Platinum, a long-germinating beer concept from Anheuser-Busch InBev that's not quite Bud Light and not really Budweiser, will finally hit stores in January, Los Angeles Times reported on November, 10.
Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch, the world's largest brewer, said on November, 9 that the new beverage "appeals to a key group of beer drinkers and expands consumer occasions" to drink beer.
Platinum will have 6% alcohol by volume and 137 calories. Top-selling Bud Light, by comparison, has 4.2% alcohol and 110 calories, while Budweiser has 5% alcohol and 145 calories.
Some beer enthusiasts online suggested that Platinum is Anheuser-Busch's attempt to take advantage of growing interest in craft beers, whose popularity has also sparked a recent boom in American-style beer gardens.
Overall U.S. beer sales by volume slipped 1% last year, but the craft beer industry grew 11%, according to the Brewers Assn. trade group.
The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has already approved a proposed blue and gray label that evokes the existing Bud Light label.
Anheuser-Busch also said that its North American beer sales slipped 3.2% in the third quarter and that it had increased its prices an average of 3%.


USA: Budweiser beer gets new design  (

AB InBev
is giving the Budweiser can a makeover as it tries to reignite growth in the key U.S. beer market, and the new can will have a lot more red than its predecessor.
AB InBev, the world's largest brewer with other beer brands such as Stella Artois and Beck's, said on August, 3 that it was changing the design to give it an "updated look".
The new design keeps the same logos, including a red bowtie and gold-colored crown. It will roll out in the United States this summer and in other markets later this year, the Belgium-based company said.
While the previous red-and-white can leaned more toward white, the new model is markedly more red.
The new can design is the brand's 12th since Anheuser-Busch started selling Budweiser in cans in 1936.
The company, which has leading market share in the United States, suffered its first drop in worldwide beer sales in a year and a half during this year's first quarter, as price increases, rain in Brazil and high U.S. unemployment deterred drinkers.


US: AB InBev to raise US beer prices in October  (

Belgium based leading global brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev SA's U.S. unit plans to raise prices by 3 percent to 5 percent across its beer portfolio in October as it seeks to offset higher commodity costs, Reuters cited the company on July, 19.

The maker of Budweiser and Bud Light said the increases, which will vary by brand, package and market, will go through on October 3.

The company last raised prices in September 2010.

AB InBev is the leading global brewer and one of the world's top five consumer products companies. A true consumer-centric, sales driven organization, Anheuser-Busch InBev manages a portfolio of well over 200 beer brands that includes global flagship brands: Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s, fast growing multi-country brands like Leffe and Hoegaarden, and strong "local champions" such as Bud Light, Skol, Brahma, Quilmes, Michelob, Harbin, Sedrin, Klinskoye, Sibirskaya Korona, Chernigivske, and Jupiler, among others.


US: Alcoholic beverages not losing popularity in recession, mass-produced beers getting ...  (

... squeezed by craft beer

Liquor store owners and operators of c-stores sell alcohol can rest easier: sales of alcoholic beverages continued to climb throughout the recession and have further expand in recent months, according to a CNNMoney report.
In 2008, alcohol sales grew by more than 9 percent. They slowed down a great deal in 2009, but still expanded by 1 percent. Now business is booming once more, according to financial information company Sageworks, which reported that sales grew nearly 10 percent during the 12 months that ended May 31.
So, do people drink in spite of the recession or because of it? Either way, it's good news for the industry. "I wouldn't say it's recession proof," said Esther Kwon, an alcohol industry analyst for Standard & Poor's. "People will buy less and they will move to different venues, meaning moving to home instead of a bar. But people will continue to drink, regardless."
"These numbers grew almost in spite of the recession," added Sageworks analyst Sam Zippin. "Other than going to the doctor, [alcohol] is another need to have." Zippin also noted that healthcare was the only other industry that continued to expand throughout the recession.
Sageworks found that retailers, wholesalers and bars maintained growth, along with the manufacturers. Wine and spirits and craft beers expanded without difficulty, but legacy beers had more trouble.
"It appears that some of the mass-produced beers, Coors and Budweiser, are getting squeezed," said Zippin. "[Consumers] are either going to really low-cost beers, like PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon) or they're going to the craft beers."
Coors Light grew 1.1 percent in 2010, according to the report, while Miller High Life sales fell more 4 percent; Budweiser, 7.3 percent; Busch, more than 6 percent; Bud Light nearly 2 percent; and Natural Light, 3 percent.
"The economy has been a major driver of declines within the industry," said Dave Peacock, president of Anheuser-Busch. "The unemployment rate among core blue-collar beer drinkers remains three times that of more affluent, white-collar consumers."
Craft beer had a good year, with sales at market share leader Boston Beer Co. growing 1.7 percent, the report stated. Other brewers saw huge expansions in sales, with Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. growing 7.8 percent; Magic Hat Brewing Co., 14.8 percent; and New Belgium Brewing Co., a whopping 18.3 percent.
"The craft beer costs more, but the consumers are saying, 'We're getting something different here and we're willing to pay for it,’" said Kwon.


US: Organic beer gaining ground even faster than just craft beer  (

America’s craft beer market has grown rapidly in recent years, seemingly outpaced only by its niche organic segment, thanks in part to growing consumer fears about genetically modified foods, reports.

While a few of the largest regional breweries currently enjoy widespread distribution, craft brewing remains fundamentally an industry devoted to its local followers, and the results are undeniable.

After growing 7.2% in 2009, the craft brewing industry expanded by 11% in 2010, bringing its share of the U.S. beer market to 4.9%. However, given craft brewers’ generally higher price points than those of macro brewers like AB InBev and MillerCoors, this accounted for 7.6% of all sales in dollars. This reflects a growth in retail value of $600 million over the previous year, despite a 1% drop in volume of the entire industry. The number of breweries in the U.S. jumped concurrently to 1,759, the highest such total since the late 1800s. Of these, 1,716 were identified as craft brewers by the Brewers Association.

This dramatic increase in craft beer sales during the recession indicates that consumers’ tastes are evolving so much that they have become willing to accept the higher costs of a premium good like craft beer over cheaper, macro-brewed substitutes, even when their wallets are pinched, leading some analysts to project that craft beer’s share of the domestic market could even climb from 5% to 20% over the next ten years.

While organic beer still makes up only a fraction of the craft beer market, it is gaining ground very quickly. Between 2003 and 2009, U.S. organic beer sales spiked from $9 million to $41 million. However, with the correspondingly low supply of organic ingredients currently available on the market, organic brewers are subject to higher costs for their inputs than ordinary craft brewers. Suppliers are aware that organic brewers are willing to absorb these higher costs in order to make their beer organic, but these costs are subject to a low ceiling because organic brewers generally refuse to offset their variable costs with higher price points. Instead, they sell their products at prices comparable to the craft beer industry average. While these practices serve to minimize organic brewers’ bottom lines, it simultaneously limits suppliers’ ability to further manipulate prices.

In accordance with the industry’s reputation for innovation, many craft brewers have discovered unique ways to overcome these hurdles. For instance, Bison Brewing Company, a contract brewer located in Berkeley, California, sources all of its ingredients from the American northwest. As their business has grown, they have enacted vertical impacts on their supply chain by driving the conversion from conventional to organic farming practices in that region. Additionally, companies like Sierra Nevada have begun brewing small batches of organic beer using ingredients exclusively grown on their properties.

Because organic farmlands require 50% less energy to maintain than conventional farms, it is likely that if demand for organic beers continues to increase at a similar rate, or even one comparable to the craft beer industry as a whole, then organic brewers will soon benefit from increased profit margins as their average variable costs decline.


US: The Brewers Association announces the top 50 brewing companies in the country   (

The Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade group that tabulates production statistics for U.S. breweries, has released its annual lists reporting the top 50 brewing companies in the country, based on 2010 beer sales volume. Thirty-six of the top 50 brewing companies are small and independent craft brewing companies, The Brewers Association said.
"At more than 1,700, the number of breweries in the U.S. is higher than any time since the late 1800s," said Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association. "Beer lovers' appreciation for American craft brewers and their craft beers continue to grow."
The top 5 craft brewing companies are:
1 Boston Beer Co. (Boston, MA)
2 Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (Chico, CA)
3 New Belgium Brewing Co. (Fort Collins, CO)
4 Spoetzl Brewery (part of Gambrinus Company) (Shiner, TX)
5 Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR).

The top 5 overall brewing companies are:
1 Anheuser-Busch Inc. (St. Louis, MO)
2 MillerCoors Brewing Co. (Chicago, IL)
3 Pabst (Woodbridge, IL)
4 D. G. Yuengling and Son Inc. (Pottsville, PA)
5 Boston Beer Co. (Boston, MA)
California is ranked first with a total of 11 craft breweries working on the state's territory, Colorado and Oregon are ranked second with 5 craft brewers each.


United States: AB InBev to give free Budweisers in an effort to attract more drinkers   (

Anheuser-Busch, the US division of the world’s largest beer maker AB InBev, is embarking on a massive promotional campaign including a nationwide giveaway of 500,000 free samples of Budweiser in US bars, pubs and restaurants, The Guardian communicated on September, 26.
Budweiser is struggling to attract younger drinkers who prefer low-calorie light beers or more exotically flavoured craft beers. Sales were down 9.5% last year, according to the trade publisher Beer Marketer's Insights, the brand's steepest decline on record.
Anxious to reinvigorate demand, Anheuser has declared a "Budweiser National Happy Hour" for September 29 and is planning to give away half a million servings by mid-October.
"That's an issue for us, especially among younger consumers," Anheuser-Busch President Dave Peacock said. "It's a brand that in some respects that's taken for granted by some, and we need to make sure that it doesn't get taken for granted."
"When we blind taste-test this product, it often wins," he said, illustrating his hope that once more people taste Budweiser, more people will drink it.
"This is just the beginning," said Benj Steinman, president of Beer Marketer's Insights. "Anheuser-Busch InBev is very, very serious – it's determined to get this brand back on track because of its international importance. But it's going to be a tough battle."
While Budweiser is doing well outside the US, its home market appears to have tired of the red bottle, sharp fizzy taste and sports-focused advertising with slogans such as "Whassup?".
In its half-year results last month, the Belgium-based AB InBev said Budweiser had fared well in Britain, aided by World Cup tie-ins, and was entering promising new markets including Russia. But the company admitted that it was "not pleased" with its overall market share performance, revealing that global volumes were "essentially flat" and that it was "taking steps to stabilise Budweiser sales in the United States home market".
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Budweiser’s popularity slid from a peak US market share of 26% in 1988 to 9.3% last year.
Worries about the brand's long-term decline come two years after Anheuser was taken over by InBev, the brewer of Stella Artois, in a $52 bln deal that sparked anxiety and opposition in the American Midwest.
Budweiser dates from 1876, when a German immigrant, Adolphus Busch, decided to try a Bavarian-style lager on American palates. The beer was brewed alcohol-free in the Prohibition and for years has been a default option in US bars alongside brands such as Coors and Miller.
However, Tom Pirko, founder of the industry consultancy Bevmark, believes Budweiser is struggling against a broader variety of competitors: "They can't hold up to the craft beers sector. Americans are pretty tired of what they find to be a 'boiled down' beverage taste."
He said Anheuser may need to radically revamp the beer's image to attract a younger generation: "I think we could see a resurgence and rebirth of the Bud brand and the magic could be put back in the bottle but it's going to be hard, expensive and risky."


World: World’s most valued beer brand Budweiser is also the only one to increase value in 2010   (

Budweiser has been named the world’s most valuable beer brand in 2010 by the latest Interbrand ranking.
The value of AB InBev’s renowned brand is estimated at USD12.252 bln and it grew by 4% versus last year, Interbrand said.
Within the world’s top 100 best global brands, Budweiser is ranked 30th.
World’s second most valuable beer brand is Grupo Modelo’s Corona Extra, valued at USD3.847 bln (the same as in 2009).
The only other beer brand included in the world’s top 100 is the Dutch Heineken (value – USD3.516 bln, unchanged from last year).


United States: AB InBev wants the rights of small brewers in Illinois   (

Brewing giant AB InBev has filed against the Illinois liquor control commission a suit claiming local brewers have an unfair advantage, WSIL communicated on June, 4.
Small brewers are allowed to distribute product themselves and InBev wants the same right, it is reported.
Chuck Stuhrenberg, the owner Big Muddy Brewing who makes a living delivering a case of beer at a time, says he’s never thought that would catch the attention of a multi-billion dollar beer company.
"Their argument is that we are unfairly competing with them since we are allowed to self distribute," he says. His business produces about 400 barrels of beer a year. So small, by law he can cut out a distributor.
Starview Vineyard owner Kate Sensmeier says most local wineries do the same.
"A distributor is not going to take two or three cases up to Springfield for me," she says.
Local wineries may only deliver a few bottles of wine at a time. It's a practice that wouldn't be profitable to large distributors. So if small wineries or brewers lose the right to distribute their product, it would be bad for business.
"So it's really unfortunate, if it goes away then we will have to cut jobs here," says Sensmeier.
The lawsuit could go another way.
If InBev earns the right to distribute their own product, Stuhrenberg wonders what's stopping Coors, Miller or anyone else from doing the same thing.
"Right away it will affect many jobs in the distribution industry in the state of Illinois," he says.
Both Starview and Big Muddy Brewing only produce a tiny fraction what InBev puts out.
They're concerned changing the rules would change what they do for a living.
"Southern Illinois is becoming known as a tourist destination for both the wineries and craft brewing. To take that away would be really devastating to the area" says Sensmeier.
There's a hearing on the case set for later this month.


Russia: Sun InBev launches Bud beer   (

Sun InBev, the Russian subsidiary of the world’s No. 1 brewer AB InBev, announced on May, 19 the launch of AB InBev’s flagship brand, licensed for the Russian market as Bud.
Sun InBev is proud to be the first in the AB InBev family to start producing Bud locally following the combination of Anheuser-Busch and InBev in 2008.
In order to preserve the original taste and quality, Bud samples are regularly sent to Anheuser-Busch InBev’s brewery in St. Louis, USA, where the beer is checked by the company’s brew masters to ensure its quality and consistency are at the highest level.
The brand will be launched nationally in Russia, with a focus on distribution through key national retail chains in all big cities.


United States: Bud Light to become the official beer of National Football League   (

The US division of the Belgium-based brewing giant AB InBev will make Bud Light the official beer of NFL, the United States’ richest sports league, starting in 2011, The Wall Street Journal communicated on May, 4.
According to a person familiar with the terms of the deal, it is worth nearly $1.2 billion over six years.
Bud Light will replace rival Coors Light, which is brewed by MillerCoors LLC, whose deal with the NFL will expire after the 2011 Super Bowl. A spokesman for Chicago-based MillerCoors said the company tried to reach a deal with the NFL but could not come to terms on the price.
AB InBev’s US arm already sponsors 28 NFL teams and has advertised on 22 consecutive Super Bowls. "This gives Bud Light real ownership of professional football within the beer category," said Dave Peacock, president of the U.S. division.
Bud Light is the best-selling beer in the U.S., but shipments of the beer declined last year for the first time since it was introduced in 1982.


United States: Beer volume down at food, drug and convenience stores   (

US beer volume is down 2.6% year-to-date through March 21 at food, drug and convenience stores (not including Wal-Mart), Beer Marketer’s Insights reports.
According to analysts’ estimates, AB InBev has really been hit hard with volume down 4.6% over the reporting period in this area. MillerCoors saw volume fall 3.3%.
Consumers are continuing to move away from the mega-brands. Only one of the Top 10 gained volume - Natural Light was up 4.3%, it is reported.
Bud/Bud Light was off 5.8% in volume and together lost 1.4 share.
US beer consumer price index is lagging inflation so far in 2010, Beer Marketer’s Insights said.


South Africa: SABMiller expected to sell up to 10 mln beers during the World Cup   (

SABMiller will provide beer at fan parks during the 2010 Fifa soccer World Cup, after reaching an agreement with the organisers of the month long tournament in South Africa, Reuters communicated on March, 24.
The decision will enable SABMiller's South Africa unit to sell between 8-10 million beers, which will account for 40,000-50,000 hectolitres of beer.
"We will be supplying Castle Lager and Castle Lite in the fan zones and there will be some level of product identification on the packaging," SABMiller's spokesperson Nigel Fairbrass said.
The decision follows soccer World Cup sponsor Anheuser-Busch InBev's Budweiser to give up some of its rights at fan parks as part of a strategic decision to focus its beer presence in stadiums at this year's finals.
Budweiser is one of the main sponsors of the soccer spectacular, giving it exclusive rights to sell beer at FIFA venues, while rival SABMiller is the biggest supplier to the local market.
Organisers expect more than 400,000 foreign fans in South Africa for the tournament which starts on June 11, while tens of thousands of local supporters are expected to watch games at fan parks across the country.
SABMiller is putting in place measures to ensure that there is enough capacity to supply beer to the country during the tournament.
The company said it would increase its brewing in April and May ahead of the event to ensure there was reserve stock.

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