Novedades - CUB Carlton & United Breweries Limited, Asahi Group

Novedades - CUB Carlton & United Breweries Limited, Asahi Group

CUB Carlton & United Breweries Limited, Asahi Group



Novedades - CUB Carlton & United Breweries Limited, Asahi Group

Newsgrafik #36844

Australia: Carlton & United Breweries to boost production of Foster’s Classic beer  (

Foster’s, the beer brand “that helped put Australia on the international map”, is being relaunched by Carlton & United Breweries, the Brews News reported on November 30.

In a media statement over the weekend, CUB said that Australian customers were looking “for a return to trusted iconic brands” and announced it would be boosting production of Foster’s Classic by 300 per cent in the coming months, from 500,000 litres a year to just over 2.5 million litres.

CUB will be offering Foster’s in a 30-can slab, which it called “value-for-money”, saying that it will then be competitive with affordable rivals.

Foster’s, once Australia’s top-selling beer, had declined to the point where it could only be found in ten bars and pubs across the country having been dubbed a ‘gimmick’ by pub owners.

CUB never totally gave up on the brand, and in 2015 attempts were made to revamp it as Foster’s Classic.

Now, CUB has determined that Foster’s is ripe for a renaissance in Australia after years of popularity in other countries, notably the United Kingdom, where rights to the brand are owned by Heineken and it is brewed in Manchester, rather than Melbourne.

Introduced in 1964 in the UK and popularised by actor Paul Hogan in a series of 1980s TV advertisements, Fosters was last year named the second most popular lager brand in the UK after Carlsberg.

CUB appears to be attempting to recreate this success in Foster’s home country, where it has been brewed since 1888.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has led Aussies to embrace nostalgia and yearn for simpler times,’’ said CUB’s head of classic brands Hayden Turner.

“Foster’s is an iconic brand Australians know and trust so it is really no surprise drinkers have told us they want more. We’re confident Foster’s can continue to grow again and develop a strong following like Melbourne Bitter and Reschs have done recently,’’ he said.

The renewed interest in Foster’s follows some hefty investments by the major brewer into what could be considered ailing or smaller portfolio beer brands.

CUB recently announced a multi-million dollar advertising campaigns for Asahi and Peroni, as well as bringing back Reschs Silver Bullets and teaming Melbourne Bitter with minimalist clothing brand Mr Simple.

VB for many years outstripped its nearest competitors in sales – accounting for every one in four beers sold in the early 2000’s – but has in recent times suffered from the cannibalisation of brands such as Great Northern, introduced in 2010. Last week, the brand announced it was teaming up with shoe brand Volley for a VB tie-up as it looks for new audiences.

The rise of Reschs, while no means stratospheric, has however proven that there is demand for the return of older nostalgic brands, which both Lion and CUB have tapped into. However, the resurgence of Reschs can be largely attributed to organic growth through movements like the Reschs Appreciation Society, rather than any increased spend from CUB which had largely ignored the brand until recently.


Australia: Carlton & United Breweries and Asahi Premium Beverages to combine by Q4 2020....  (

...and operate under the CUB name

Carlton & United Breweries and Asahi Premium Beverages will combine by Q4 2020 and will operate under the Carlton & United Breweries name, the Beer & Brewer reported on August 6.

In a statement released by Asahi on August 6, their Chair Peter Margin said: “Asahi Beverages is proud to be investing in Australia for the long-term. We have incredible confidence in the Australian market and the potential for long-term growth.”

The merger brings the likes of Asahi Super Dry, Peroni, Corona, VB, Pirate Life, 4Pines and Balter all under the one CUB banner.

CUB became officially owned by Asahi back in June, placing it as the newest business division of the Asahi Beverages Regional Hub alongside Asahi Premium Beverages, Asahi Lifestyle Beverages and Asahi Beverages NZ.

Robert Iervasi, Group CEO, Asahi Beverages Oceania, said: “The combination of CUB and Asahi Premium Beverages will give our customers access to a leading portfolio which will deliver a superior customer experience and excite our consumers. It will also make it easier for our valued suppliers and partners to do business with us.

“We’re very pleased that Peter Filipovic will continue to lead CUB as CEO of our alcohol Business Division in Australia, joining Stuart Roberts CEO Asahi Lifestyle Beverages and Andrew Campbell CEO Asahi Beverages New Zealand.”

Asahi’s statement said the combination of CUB and Asahi Premium Beverages will reduce the number of Asahi Beverages business divisions from four to three, with their non-alcohol business Asahi Lifestyle Beverages and Asahi Beverages New Zealand unaffected by the announcement.


Australia: Brewers Association calls for beer excise freeze  (

The Brewers Association has called for the Australian government to freeze excise in advance of the next scheduled increase, due in August, Australian Brews News reported on June 9.

The statement calling to ‘put a cap on Australia’s beer tax’ from the peak body representing the interests of CUB, Lion and Coopers, described the price of a beer in Australia as ‘already over-the-top’.

“Now is not the time to be ramping up taxes on consumers,” Brewers Association of Australia CEO Brett Heffernan said yesterday in a media release.

“With more and more Aussies out of work and everyone counting their pennies, jacking up beer tax would be another blow to punters and publicans, alike.

“August 1 is the deadline for averting the next hip-pocket slug to Australians doing it tough.”

“Tax accounts for 42% of the price of a stubby. On a typical A$52.00 carton, A$22.05 goes to the taxman. When it comes to taxing a drink, Aussies pay the fourth highest beer tax in the industrialised world.

“We’re not asking for a tax cut at this time … just don’t increase the tax. That would spare punters further pain, take pressure off hospitality venues and, because it’s revenue neutral, won’t cost Treasury a cent.

“Putting up the tax in August would be another hit to pubs, clubs and the hundreds of thousands of Australians they need to re-employ once they can re-open in full. Higher taxes will only make that challenge harder when so many are on their knees.”

The BA’s calls for an excise freeze were broadly supported by the Independent Brewers Association.

“The financial impost on brewers in this country is certainly not enabling the industry to prosper and grow so in that respect, I agree with Brett’s comments,” Independent Brewers Association General Manager Kylie Lethbridge said.

“Obviously the impact of this current tax regime on independent brewers is somewhat greater as most are small, family-owned businesses where every cent counts.”

The broad agreement over excise appears to be as far as the agreement goes, with Heffernan recently criticising the IBA’s arguments for more targeted support as ‘concocted’.

Heffernan made the comments in a letter to the editor while responding to an article in the Canberra Times in which IBA Chair Peter Phillip set out the challenges facing independent brewers.

“Indie brewers are at a massive competitive disadvantage to the multi-national mega-brewers because our beer is handcrafted, which means we employ 15 times the number of employees per litre of beer,” Phillip said in the article.

In his response, titled All Froth, No Beer, Heffernan dismissed the small brewers employment case as being ‘concocted’.

“It goes some way to explaining why indie beer is so expensive. It also illustrates the lengths you have to go to in order to concoct an economic argument,” he wrote.

“The call for wine-type tax rebates isn’t the answer. This perpetual handout is distortionary, rewards mediocrity and does nothing for punters. Governments of all persuasions have learned that costly lesson. They are loath to repeat it,” he argued.

“The best thing government can do for everyone looking for relief and recovery – consumers, brewers and hospitality – is freeze the next round of beer tax increases for a year.”

The Independent Brewers Association has previously called for the Federal government to introduce excise rebates for small brewers that match the A$350,000 tax relief provided to wine makers.

While the Brewers Association highlighted Australia’s high rate of excise as being the reason for Australia’s ‘over the top’ beer prices, AB InBev last year also noted Australia’s highly concentrated beer market was amongst the most profitable in the world as it looked to sell its local operations.


Australia: Independent craft beer faces challenges as people mostly buy ...  (

... cheaper mass production beer during lockdown

Independent craft beer faces challenges, according to a report from IRI Worldwide which has highlighted the move by consumers to larger packs and lower-priced beer during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Australian Brews News reported on May 7.

According to data from the IRI, panic buying at the end of March, leading to a temporary surge in alcohol sales, highlighted emerging consumer trends as values, motivations and buying habits change.

The IRI said that the beer segment enjoyed the strongest alcohol category uplift during this spike – showing growth of 60 per cent for the last week in March from the lowest base in comparison to wine and spirits.

However independent players are facing “considerable challenges” it said, as the move to value and bulk beer favours bigger brewers such as Lion and Carlton & United Breweries.

The analytics and insights firm said that this shift is likely driven by the perception of volume for value during a period of perceived limited access to stock, and as consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of household budgets.

During the surge in alcohol sales at the end of March following the federal government’s mandatory venue closures, more Australians were buying liquor.

They were buying more often and in greater amounts due to the change in what the IRI called occasion buying and shifting household dynamics.

As these trends emerge, it said, it likely will have implications for category preference, pack size and value choices over the medium and long term too. Unsurprisingly, consumers have favoured bulk buying over the three weeks from 22nd March, it said.

Consumers buying beer by the case grew considerably, taking 91.6% share of the category for packaged beer during the period, it said.

The IRI said it was uncertain if this behavioural shift could inform longer-term buying habits, but it was a trend also revealed in Beer Cartel’s 2019 Australian Craft Beer Survey last year which found that beer drinkers wanted bigger pack sizes, despite independent brewers moving towards 4-packs and cartons of 16.

The IRI suggested that the ‘premiumisation’ trend which led to major breweries investing in craft beer businesses may subside if a wider proliferation of customers remain budget conscious for the foreseeable future.

Demand for independent craft beer may be impacted in the short to medium term as consumers become more budget driven, it said.

This move to bulk and value options was evinced in BWS and Dan Murphy’s owner Endeavour Drinks as well as Coles Liquor’s quarterly results posted last week. With customers moving away from premium brands and towards value-orientated items.

However despite consumer habits favouring big brewers, independent brewers are rising to the challenge and investing in their own consumer-friendly formats.

WA’s Otherside Brewing Co invested in an ‘affordable’ beer called Plan C very early on in the crisis, and Brisbane’s Ballistic Beer followed suit.

According to the IRI there has also been a shift to Australian brands, however this may be driven by price and the perception that international products are more expensive. Australian made beer rose to 82.3 per cent of market share, up from 81 per cent.

“Corporate craft” is outperforming independent craft the IRI found, as mainstream beer is seen to be more affordable and is a “known quantity” which comes with less risk in comparison to independent beer, it said.

Big established brands and value choices have been favoured through the peak of panic buying, which has brands such as XXXX Gold, One Fifty Lashes, Great Northern, Corona and Asahi Dry making the top five beer brands for the last two weeks in March in terms of unit growth.

This moved towards lower alcohol brands in the Heineken 0.0, Carlton Dry, Tooheys Extra Dry, Carlton Zero in addition to Great Northern in the first full week of April.

The IRI said that in comparison to corporate beer, “expensive” independent craft could be considered a luxury that people can live without during uncertain times, in which consumers are less likely to want to experiment.

Many independent brewers are struggling, the report said, and are hurt by the closure of their own on premise facilities in addition to those they supply to. In the short term, it said, cheap kegs are likely to flood the market.

“Without government support we may see a considerable rationalisation of craft brewers,” it said.

“As a result we would see a lot of taps in the on-premise open up for the big brewers to fight over.”

It also said that if there is tax relief for smaller independent liquor businesses, there could be ramifications for the future of the industry.

Figures over alcohol sales and worries over alcohol consumption have been contentious in Australia and across the world.

As has been shown by numerous datasets including from Alcohol Beverages Australia, there was a spike in unit sales at the end of March (week commencing 22nd) before it returned to just above pre-spike levels by mid-April.

However whilst packaged alcohol sales did go up according to the IRI, this spike was still 30-40% lower than the week leading up to Christmas in terms of unit sales, and total alcohol spending has taken a hit, driven by the closure of on-premise.

Wine and beer have both fallen back considerably since 12th April, said the IRI, as customers are likely to be well stocked from the previous strong weeks.


Australia: Independent Brewers Association disappointed by approval of CUB takeover  (

The Independent Brewers Association (IBA) has expressed its disappointment with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) over its decision to allow Asahi’s acquisition of Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) to go ahead, The Shout reported on April 3.

The IBA has consistently opposed the deal, saying that Asahi helped to provide competitive pressure on CUB and Lion and said the competition watchdog has “thrown draught beer drinkers to the wolves” in allowing the deal to happen.

“The move by Asahi to acquire CUB is an admission that this space is already too concentrated and that the only way to break into the draught beer market is to acquire businesses with existing tap contracts,” said Peter Philip, IBA Chair.

“The large brewers know this and use their scale and resources to implement a number of restrictive business practices which have severely constrained the growth of small independent brewers when it comes to on-premise supply of draught beer.

“The loser here will be consumers as these multinational Goliaths use their massive balance sheet and nearly unlimited resources to further dominate beer taps in pubs across the country, effectively shutting out small independent breweries.”

In order for the deal to happen Asahi must divest Stella Artois and Beck’s along with three cider brands, Strongow, Bonamy’s and Little Green, but the IBA dismissed this as a “token undertaking”.

The association says that the two beer brands in particular make up such a small percentage of taps in pubs as to be meaningless in balancing out the anti-competitive nature of the acquisition.

Philip added: “It’s really disappointing to see that the ACCC thinks that the profit of big multinational businesses outweigh the impact that this merger will have on small family-owned Aussie brewers.”

The IBA is now undertaking a consumer campaign which is aimed breaking open tap contracts and allowing more room for small independent breweries.

“This practice has gone on too long and the unwillingness of the ACCC to step in to protect consumer choice means that we need to take this to the highest levels of Government,” Philip said.

“All we’re asking for is a level playing field, surely having an open and competitive beer market is good for consumers. Isn’t the role of the ACCC to ensure Australian’s have the widest choice of beers available at the best price?”

The ACCC said it would not oppose Asahi’s $16bn acquisition of CUB after Asahi agreed to divest the two beer and three cider brands.

ACCC Chair Rod Sims said: “The ACCC was concerned that without the divestments, the proposed acquisition would substantially lessen competition in the cider market and remove a vigorous and effective competitor in the beer market.

“Without the sale of five beer and cider brands including Strongbow and Stella Artois, the combined Asahi-CUB company would have accounted for two thirds of cider sales in Australia, and owned the two largest cider brands, Somersby and Strongbow.

“We determined that Asahi selling the beer and cider brands would be sufficient to address our competition concerns and provide an opportunity for another business to play an important role in a relatively concentrated industry.”


Australia: Balter Brewing Company purchased by Carlton & United Breweries  (

The founders of Balter Brewing Company called it “a massive day” as it announced the craft brewery had been bought by Carlton & United Breweries, the Food & Drink Business reported on December 6.

Balter started on the Gold Coast in 2016. Co-founders include Bede Durbidge, Scott Hargrave, Josh Kerr, Stirling Howland, Mick Fanning, Ant Macdonald, Sean Ronan and Joel Parkinson.

In an open letter to its customers, the founders said it had been “a massive day. We’re rapt to say we’ve just finalised a deal to become a part of the Carlton & United Breweries family”.

They reassured drinkers the beer would stay the same and Scotty (Scott Hargrave) would remain as head brewer.

Balter CEO and co-founder Ant Macdonald said: “We’re proud to have grown the business to this point and we see the benefits this new partnership will bring as Balter enters its next growth phase.

“This deal will help us achieve our sustainability goals, upgrade capacity and hospitality at our Gold Coast brewery and create new jobs.

CUB CEO Peter Filipovic said: “In a few short years Balter has become a craft leader through its commitment to quality and by building a brand that appeals to all beer lovers.

Filipovic said: “We will help manage Balter’s strong growth through our willingness to invest, our world-class beer expertise and our customer relationships. And the terms of the deal mean the Balter team is not changing and management is staying on, which will ensure the business retains its identity and everything else that helped drive its success.

“The deal also means we’re expanding our presence in Queensland, where we already have a significant economic footprint with our Yatala brewery employing more than 250 people.”

Media reports said the deal was worth as much as $200 million but Food & Drink Business could not confirm this by press time.

Macdonald said: “We refused to compromise on our culture or our beer as part of this deal. It’s a testament to CUB that they didn’t want us to. They have an amazing track record of allowing craft brands to thrive while keeping their identity and we’re thrilled to join the CUB stable.”

On its website, the company said the biggest change would be its availability. For the company, it would mean more resources and “therefore less stress at night knowing the lights will stay on”.

CUB bought wine disruptor Riot Wine Co in September and already owns craft breweries 4 Pines and Pirate Life.

Asahi Group Holdings’ proposed acquisition of CUB from Anheuser-Busch InBev for A$16 billion in July is waiting on a decision from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission on whether Asahi will need to make divestments for the buyout to go ahead. It is expected to report next week.


Australia: Australians increase consumption of non-alcoholic, low and mid-strength beers  (

Australian’s taste in beer is changing with non-alcoholic, low and mid-strength beers now accounting for around a quarter of all Carlton & United Breweries’ sales, B&T reported on September 18.

Carlton Zero is playing a role in helping drive the trend towards moderation: since launching a year ago it has sold more than 3.2 million litres in Australia.

Carlton Zero dominates non-alcoholic beer sales in bottle shops, driving up sales in the category by 14 times.

No, low and mid-strength beer now make up almost 25 per cent of the volume of beer sales for CUB – up from just 10 per cent five years ago.

Carlton Zero’s first birthday coincides with the Global Be(er) Responsible initiative, which is a worldwide effort by brewers, including CUB, to promote responsible consumption of beer.

CUB’s Chris Maxwell said the tastes of Australian beer lovers is changing.

“We launched Carlton Zero because beer lovers told us they wanted more opportunities to enjoy beer responsibly,” he said. “The popularity of Zero shows it’s becoming normal to consume non- alcoholic beer on many different occasions.”

“Research shows the most common reason people drink non-alcoholic beer is because they’re the designated driver, and we’re seeing this predominately in people aged 18-34. We think this deserves a pat on the back, and really shows the moderation message is getting through.”

The CUB-commissioned national online survey of 1000 people this month also found no-alcohol beer is most popular with people aged 18-34, with almost half (49 per cent) saying they would consider drinking a no-alcohol beer at a social occasion.


Australia: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission assessing Asahi's purchase of ...  (

... Carlton & United Breweries

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is assessing Asahi’s proposed purchase (A$16 billion) of Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) which, if the deal closes, would affect more than half of Australia’s beer market, the Trailer Magazine reported on August 26.

The proposed acquisition was announced 19 July 2019 and involves Asahi acquiring CUB by way of a share acquisition.

The ACCC said in a request for submissions dated 23 August 2019 that its investigation is focused on the impact on competition, specifically: whether Asahi and CUB compete closely for the supply of beer, cider and spirits products; the likely impact on prices; and the extent to which large customers, such as supermarket chains, hotel groups or distributors, could sponsor entry or expansion by a rival supplier if the proposed acquisition were to result in a price increase.

Submissions are open until 6 September 2019. The provisional date for the announcement of the ACCC’s findings is expected to be 31 October 2019.

The ACCC is testing section 50 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 which prohibits acquisitions that are likely to have the effect of substantially lessening competition in a market.

The Australian Financial Review claims that a combined Asahi-CUB would likely comprise more than 50 per cent of Australia’s beer market which could make divestment for some of the smaller brands a possibility.

Asahi manufactures and sells alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and food products in Japan and internationally. In Australia, Asahi manufactures and supplies a range of international and domestic beer brands, ciders and spirits.

CUB is owned by the Belgium-headquartered, multinational brewing company AB InBev. CUB, based in Victoria, is an Australian brewing company which produces beer, cider and spirit products.

CUB operates six breweries in Yatala (Queensland), Abbotsford (Victoria), Hobart (Tasmania), Brookvale (New South Wales) and Port Adelaide and Hindmarsh (South Australia).

In other news, Linfox’s BevChain partnered with CUB to provide warehousing and metropolitan transport in Brisbane.


Australia: Asahi's takeover of CUB could help revive beer sales in Australia  (

The A$16 billion takeover of Carlton & United Breweries by Japan's Asahi could help revive beer sales in Australia after a multi-year slump, industry executives say, as the competition regulator confirmed it would investigate the blockbuster deal, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), the maker of some of the country's biggest and best-known beers including Carlton Draught, Victoria Bitter, Great Northern and Pure Blonde, was sold by its former multinational parent company Anheuser Busch InBev in a landmark transaction announced on July 19.

In his first public comments since the deal was announced, CUB chief Peter Filipovic on July 21 said his company, which runs the Abbotsford brewery, Hobart's Cascade brewery and Yatala brewery near Brisbane, would benefit from the tie-up. "We look forward to growing the business and the beer category with Asahi," he said.

"Not only will we continue to brew our famous beers such as VB and Carlton Draught in Australia, but we'll join a company that has fantastic beers such as Asahi and Peroni."

The proposed tie-up of Asahi and CUB will trigger a review by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission scrutinising the amount of market share the combined company would control.

The ACCC said it had been notified of the proposed transaction and would begin a public review once it received a submission.

"Because it’s a A$16 billion acquisition, they will give it quite a good look," said McCullough Robertson partner John Kettle, a competition lawyer with experience in international beer industry consolidation. "It’s a lot of money in a market in which beer drinking may have topped out, but people obviously still see enough yield in it."

But Mr Kettle said he believed the proposal was unlikely to face regulatory hurdles due to the market share of Lion and the strength of the country's craft beer market.

Tim Cooper, the managing director of Australia's largest independent family-owned brewery, Coopers, said the Asahi deal would be beneficial to the broader national beer market.

"Japanese companies by and large take a long-term view," he said, "and we believe Asahi will look to invest for the long term."

Mr Cooper said he believed Asahi would invest in its brands through capital expenditure, sales and marketing instead of the "short-term, transactional" operating model he said had been the approach of CUB parent AB InBev, which had included aggressive discounts. He said Coopers' sales dropped 11 per cent last month, as CUB slashed prices.

CUB is Australia's biggest brewer with nearly 50 per cent market share. Its closest competitor, Lion, owned by Japan's Kirin Holdings, has about 40 per cent.

The proposed sale of CUB, was announced by Anheuser Busch InBev to the Belgian stock exchange on July 19. The multinational brewer has previously flagged plans to float its Asian assets. The sale of CUB to Asahi will also require approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board.

It comes as the popularity of mass-produced beer brands continues to plunge in Australia and around the world. The trend has been attributed to consumers' rising health consciousness, preferences for more complex craft beers and take-up of other alcoholic drinks such as cider, wine and spirits.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics' latest figures show that overall alcohol consumption among people over the age of 15 has continued on a downward trend that began in 2010 and, in 2016-17, reached a 55-year low.


Australia: Carlton and United Breweries to add to Great Northern's brewing capacity  (

A continuing increase in sales for Great Northern beer has seen Carlton and United Breweries (CUB) make the decision to add to the beer’s brewing capacity, The Shout reported on July 13.

Originally brewed in Queensland for Queenslanders, the ‘Beer from up Here’ will now also be brewed at CUB’s Abbotsford brewery in Victoria as the brewer looks to meet demand, especially after the decision to make Great Northern Original available nationwide.

“Eight years after the first Great Northern rolled out of our Queensland brewery, and with Great Northern Original now available outside Queensland, we’ve seen massive growth in Great Northern all across Australia,” said Sales Manager, Mick McKeown.

“From 16 July we’ll be brewing Original and Super Crisp at CUB’s Abbotsford brewery in Victoria as well as up here, so we can deliver the freshest possible beer to Australian beer lovers wherever they are.

“All of the Original and Super Crisp for Queensland and the NT will continue to be brewed up here in Queensland, the home of Great Northern.

“But because demand for Great Northern down south is so strong, it makes sense to also brew Great Northern closer to these expanding markets.”

McKeown added that the success of Great Northern was proof positive there was room for innovation in the Australian beer market.

“It’s so exciting that it has developed a following amongst people right around the country. I am incredibly proud of how well it’s doing and I am so pleased we’re able to rise to the challenge of increasing demand down south as well,” he said.

“Great Northern was created as a thirst-quenching lager to suit the sun-drenched climate, outdoor activities and laid-back lifestyle of Queenslanders.

“Great Northern has become a household name right across the country and a favourite beer for all those drinkers who like authentic, easy-drinking brews.”


Australia: AB InBev's Carlton and United Breweries to invest heavily in its Cascade brewery  (

Australia’s Carlton and United Breweries, part of AB InBev, has announced a A$10.3 mln (US$8 mln) capital investment in Cascade to create a ‘craft brewing hub’ for the Asia Pacific region, reported on February 27.

The investment will significantly increase Cascade’s brewing capability at its Tasmania base and ‘launch Cascade as one of Australia’s leading craft breweries’, according to the company. Production will increase by 65%.

“Cascade will expand its craft brewing options, including brewing experimental beers for our Australian and Asia Pacific region operations,” says Carlton and United Breweries.

“It will also brew a number of beers from some of the world’s leading craft brands.”

Established in 1824, Cascade Brewery Co is Australia’s oldest brewery, and uses Tasmanian water from Mount Wellington and Tasmanian grown hops and barley.

Carlton and United Breweries says the investment demonstrates its long-term commitment to the brand and to Tasmania, with the expansion securing existing jobs and creating five full-time positions.

The Tasmanian Government made a A$1 mln contribution to the upgrade.

Beers brewed at Cascade will be distributed across Australia, as well as being exported to Asia Pacific.

Anita Holdsworth has been appointed as Cascade’s brewery manager: the first female to hold the position.


Australia: Leading brewers hit back at calls for ‘radical’ alcohol tax policy changes  (

Australia’s beer barons have hit back at calls for a “radical” policy shift that would hike the tax on draught beer by up to 500 per cent and reduce Australia’s alcohol consumption, the Illawarra Mercury reported on January 4.

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) wants draught beer to be taxed at the same rate as bottles and cans, rather than the discounted tax rate it now enjoys. FARE says this would raise an extra A$2.9 billion while cutting alcohol consumption by more than nine per cent.

But the brewing lobby has blasted the plan as “lazy and flawed”.

Brewers Association of Australia (BAA) CEO Brett Heffernan said tax was already the “single most expensive ingredient in beer”.

“Firstly, when it comes to cheap alcohol products, beer is not one of them,” he said.

“Secondly, price is not a pressure point for those who misuse alcohol. It’s lazy and flawed policy ... it penalises the vast majority who drink responsibly while doing nothing for those few at risk of harm.”

He claimed Australians already pay heavy tax on beer.

“Any Aussie venturing overseas who has slicked their thirst with a cleansing ale knows we pay a premium for beer in Australia.”

BAA represents brewing giants Carlton & United, Cooper and Lion.

FARE’s plan proposes tax on light beer at pubs be increased five-fold, tax on mid-strength beer be doubled and tax on full-strength beer tax be increased by half.


Australia: AB InBev acquiring New South Wales-based craft brewer 4 Pines  (

The world’s biggest brewer AB InBev is acquiring Manly, New South Wales-based craft brewer 4 Pines for an undisclosed amount, The Australian reported on September 22.

Belgium-headquartered AB InBev already owns the Melbourne-based Carlton & United Breweries.

4 Pines said the deal would enable its operations to expand while retaining its people, culture and identity. 4 Pines will continue to operate its Brookvale and Manly breweries.

“Will keep doing what we’ve always done, except now we are able to realise our long-term goals even sooner and immediately roll out some plans that are seriously epic,” said 4-Pines co-founder Jaron Mitchell.

Originally from Western Australia, Mr Mitchell moved to Manly on Sydney’s northern beaches, chasing a career in the accounting and finance sector

AB InBev’s Asia-Pacific south zone president Jan Craps said he was excited to be partnering with 4 Pines. “We will support their ambitious plans for the future, using our expertise and capability to help them get their exceptional beer to more people in Australia and globally,” he said.

The 4 Pines team would be unchanged and management would remain in place to help grow the business, AB InBev said.

AB InBev took charge of CUB last year.


Australia: Carlton & United Breweries to reduce alcohol content in some of its ...  (

... mid- and low-strength beers

Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) has said it is aiming to meet the growing demands of consumers who want to moderate their drinking, by reducing the ABV in some of its mid and low-strength beers, The Shout reported on September 1.

Carlton Mid, Cascade Premium Light and VB Gold, will all see their ABV reduced, although the brewer has said it has no plans to alter the strength of its mid-strength juggernaut Great Northern.

A CUB spokesperson said the decision was made to go ahead with the lower ABV beers when the brewers said they could make the change without impacting flavour.

“We have heard from consumers that for many low and mid-strength beer drinkers the alcohol content is less important than the flavour of the beer and its value. Our brewers are now able to reduce the alcohol by volume of these beers without compromising flavour, while continuing to offer consumers good value for money.”

The reduction of the ABV will mean the brewer can negate the impact of the CPI increase on beer and keep offering these popular products at a value price-point.

The changes will see Carlton Mid go from 3.5 per cent to 3.0 per cent, Cascade Premium Light will reduce from 2.6 per cent to 2.4 per cent and VB Gold will go from 3.5 per cent to 3.0 per cent.

According to the Australian Liquor Stores Association and IRI 2017 State of the Industry Report, mid-strength beer has been a key contributor to the growth of the overall beer category. Mid-strength beer accounted for 16 per cent of dollar growth for the beer category and is also a primary driver of the volume in the category.

The CUB spokesperson added: “Consumer trends have been shifting towards accessing products with lower alcohol by volume, which are provided by the low and mid-strength beer range.”

CUB has previously had some issues with lowering the ABV of its beers, most famously when it reduced the strength of its iconic Victoria Bitter, but with the brewer saying mid-strength consumers are more focused on flavour rather than strength, it will be hopeful of avoiding a similar consumer backlash that it experienced with VB, where it back-tracked and reverted to the old recipe.


World: Craft movement was a huge gift for big brewers – Carlsberg marketing manager  (

The world’s major brewing companies have been falling over themselves to snap up hip craft breweries, and changing consumer tastes do not, on the surface, seem to bode well for mass-market lager brands.

But Rasmus Bendtsen, international marketing manager at Carlsberg, sees the situation differently. "The craft movement that came was a huge gift for big brewers," he tells Campaign.

"It seems like the big international breweries have been competing on who can be the most superficial. Superficial values – Formula One, fast cars, even fast women – rich guys, product in their hand, smiling. It’s a portrait that a rich life is also a happy life.

"And I think when the craft movement came in, it forced the big brewers to justify why the world needs them. The small brewers are so passionate, they talk with pride, they don’t have money to do big sponsorships, so they have to be sincere, they have to make real stories.

"So in a way I think it was a huge gift right, because if you look at the history of Carlsberg, it’s basically been democratising beer."

This isn’t just marketing spiel – it refers to the decision by Carlsberg founder JC Jacobsen in the late 19th century to make the new strain of yeast he had developed available to rival brewers for free.

Jacobsen was last week brought to the stage in Copenhagen as part of the brand’s 170th anniversary celebrations in an event created by Brussels agency Happiness. Geoffrey Hantson, chief creative officer at the agency, described Jacobsen as the first business leader to "open-source" his ideas.

The yeast developed by Jacobsen is still the basis for that used by almost all brewers today "Every single brewer around the world is using Carlsberg-invented brewing technology," Bendtsen says. "What we want is respect, and recognition of our contribution to beer."

The challenge for large brewers, Bendtsen recognises, is that small, local brands have successfully associated themselves with not only authenticity, but quality: there is a perception among many consumers that beer made by big companies is poor quality by definition.

One of the routes to overturning this state of affairs is through marketing such as the campaign starring Mads Mikkelsen, "The Danish way", which was created by Fold7 for the UK market but proved so popular that is has been taken up in a number of other countries.

Mikkelsen has just finished filming a new ad for the brand that will debut in Denmark in September, followed by the UK later this year. In Denmark the ad will promote Carlsberg 1883, a new product made using Jacobsen’s original strain of yeast, which was discovered in bottles in the brewery’s cellars last year.

But making the case that big can be good also means demonstrating the contribution that only a company with Carlsberg’s scale and resources can make.

The brand’s laboratory has recently completed mapping the genome of barley, a process that has allowed it to finely tune the production of the crop. This has sustainability benefits, by potentially reducing water usage, for example.

But it also creates innovation opportunities, such as the creation of an experimental beer using, for example, unripe, unmalted green barley.

"The science they’re doing is also making beer interesting," Bendtsen says. There have been no major innovations in beer production for more than a century, he claims, meaning that craft brewers are "basically just mixing the stuff that’s already available".

"We will never be the most artistic ones – the ones that put the most hops into a beer," he says. "But the way that Carlsberg can play a bigger role is by offering new beers that only can come from science."


Australia: Carlton & United Breweries can officially claim its status as Australia's ...  (

...number one brewer

Carlton & United Breweries can officially claim its status as Australia’s number one brewer, Anheuser-Busch InBev has declared, having taken control of the company on October 10.

AB InBev also sought to clarify that Jan Craps, Zone President Asia Pacific South, will have a dual role as Chief Executive Officer of CUB, its Australian business unit.

CUB’s newly appointed president Peter Filipovic is effectively second-in-command, with responsibility for commercial delivery of the division.

Filipovic is one of 13 business unit presidents comprising the Asia Pacific South Zone Management Committee – abbreviated by AB InBev to ‘Zone ManCom’.

All 13 of these executives report directly to Craps. The zone leadership team also includes ‘functional leaders’, most of whom are responsible for leading business functions across the entire zone.

Among their number is newly appointed VP Marketing Richard Oppy, whose role AB InBev said “will initially be focused on delivery for Australia and sharing best practice across the zone – this will be broadened to include full zone responsibility in time”.

Craps said the zone leadership team is made up almost equally of AB InBev and SABMiller colleagues.

“This diversity of background, nationality and experience from many different regions will deliver a truly ‘best of both’ approach and allow us to capitalise on the best practice implementation in our zone,” he said.

“In Australia our business will continue to be called Carlton & United Breweries and the name of our global company remains AB InBev.

“The decision to retain original company names in the business units speaks to our belief that the equity of the organisation is held in local corporate identities and the people in our local markets.”

Craps confirmed the addition of brands including Corona to CUB’s portfolio “will move the company immediately to the position of number one player in the market”.

“Melbourne is also now uniquely placed as the headquarters for our Asia Pacific South zone, meaning that this will be the location of the zone leadership team, and the heart of decision-making for the zone,” said Craps.

“I’d say to our customers and partners that while to a certain extent on day one things are business as usual, we look forward to using the resources and brands of the combined organisations to accelerate growth in the Australian market.”


Australia: Carlton and United Breweries relaunch heritage Tooth's Pale Ale  (

Carlton and United Breweries (CUB) has brewed a heritage beer under the famous Tooth's banner, relaunching Tooth's Pale Ale, The Shout reported on November 13.

CUB has heavily researched the history of the Tooth's Brewery and that passion and heritage underpins everything the company has done in relaunching Tooth's.

Tim Ovadia, CUB's head of craft and Australian premium brands, said: "This is part of our commitment, we're passionate about beer and passionate about growing the beer category and so part of that commitment is to keep innovating and giving consumers things that keep them interested in beer.

"Right now you only have to look at what is going on in the craft category and see that consumers are looking for beers that have local provenance stories and they are also interested in different styles of beer again. So we thought that what we could do is tap into our rich history as a brewery; we've acquired a number of breweries over the years and one of them was Tooth's and Co.

"Tooth's and Co has a really rich history, particularly in inner-city New South Wales and we're finding that consumers in these areas what to reconnect with brands like this."

Although the initial launch is Tooth's Pale Ale, a style of beer popular among craft breweries, Ovadia added that CUB does not consider this to be a craft beer.

Records indicate that Tooth’s Pale Ale was first produced in around 1850 until 1915 and was then produced as TB Pale Ale from 1918 until 1934. The new beer has been inspired by the original brew, but with a modern twist.

Brewer Scott Vincent said: "When you're resurrecting a brand like this the aim is definitely to make a beer that is approachable and that people really want to drink.

"In looking at people's palate preferences we found that many are looking for a beer that doesn't linger too long on the palate so we brought down the bitterness and we have a more English-style Pale Ale. It’s a classic pale ale which is certainly an on trend beer style; gaining more interest and trial from drinkers."

In its research of the Tooth's brand, CUB realised that the original family had come from Kent in the UK and as a result the new brew is made with East Kent Golding hops sourced from the UK. The beer also features Pride of Ringwood hops, plus dry hopping with Galaxy and Centennial hops. The aroma and taste are described as “sweet malt balanced with soft bitterness and a fruity dry finish”.

Although Ovadia wouldn't rule out the beer going into bottles in the future he emphasised that initially the plan is to engage with the beer's heritage and history and focus on it as a draught-only product. In terms of its draught presentation CUB has gone with a 500ml serving in an old-style glass adorned with a handle and the Tooth's and Co red horse logo.

Tooth’s Pale Ale is 4.2 per cent ABV, with a 12 IBU bitterness rating and it will be available on tap in a limited number of venues across NSW over coming months.
(CUB Carlton & United Breweries Limited)


Australia: Investigation into beer giants’ draught beer market practices ...  (

... elevated to ‘priority matter’ for Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

An investigation into Australia's two big beer giants, Lion and Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), has been elevated to a "priority matter" for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on February 16.

A team is believed to have been assigned to explore allegations that Lion and CUB – which control more than 90 per cent of beer taps through brands such as Tooheys and VB – are using their dominance to edge out rival brewers from the A$2.5 billion draught beer market.

It doesn't get much bigger than beer, and even a whiff of an alleged breach of the law has put the regulator on high alert. In the past year it has been in contact with Lion and CUB.

Lion said it "can confirm it has co-operated fully with the ACCC in relation to its inquiries into the Australian draught beer market. However, it will be inappropriate for us to make further comment at this time."

ACCC chairman Rod Sims confirmed that the investigation into the wholesale supply of beer to pubs was continuing and "that it is a priority matter for us". He said he couldn't go into detail, except that "we are in contact with many hotels and event organisers".

Mr Sims is expected to unveil the commission's top priorities for 2015 at a speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia in Sydney on February 20. The ACCC has 100 active investigations but beer is believed to be one of the regulator's top 10 priorities.

Mr Sims has previously said misuse of market power, including the lessening of competition, "strikes at the heart of companies and business systems".

Last year he took Pfizer Australia to court alleging misuse of market power and exclusive dealing in relation to the supply of a particular product to pharmacies.

He also took aim at supermarket giant Coles and the misuse of its market power in relation to the treatment of 220 suppliers. In this case the ACCC alleged unconscionable conduct, which Coles settled in December, agreeing to pay a A$10 million fine, enter an enforceable undertaking with the ACCC and set up a formal review process for up to 220 suppliers with combined sales of A$660 million.

If the ACCC can build a case that such exclusive dealing in the brewing industry results in a substantial lessening of competition, the legal axe will fall on the big brewers.

But it will be a complex and time-consuming investigation given the size of the ACCC's budget and the multifaceted market.

For starters, there are numerous exclusive contracts across retail and hospitality. The most notable examples are coffee shops, which enter contracts to sell particular brands in return for various inducements including rebates and machines, and fast food chains which enter deals to sell exclusive soft drinks.

The ACCC will need to determine the market. Not all pubs sign contracts and some craft brewers don't have their own breweries, so the issue of supply has been a problem for some of the smaller ones.

It will also need to determine the dominant players and whether competition is being harmed. It must then look at whether these contracts are constraining growth in the craft beer market by stifling competition.

The ACCC has already amassed a pile of information, including emails and contracts, after writing to brewers and publicans last year outlining a listed of very pointed questions.

"Does your company have an exclusive distribution arrangement with any customers for the supply of draught beer? If so identify those customers," it asked, as well as questions such as "Does your business face difficulties in negotiating supply of draught beer?"

On February 11, consumer advocacy group Choice issued a statement saying it had completed its own investigation into Lion and CUB and concluded they are "locking out genuine Aussie craft beers from the taps at your favourite local pub".

Choice based its findings on a contract, still in force, for the supply of tap beer, which demanded exclusive access for Foster's Group (now called CUB). Clauses include the beer giant as the exclusive supplier of all light-strength beer, all low-carbohydrate draught beers, all domestic premium and sub-premium draught beers, all imported draught beers, all specialty and craft draught beers and all draught spirits and cider.

A CUB spokesman said it wasn't unusual for publicans to enter into contracts for the provision of beer, spirits and wine, adding that it was a long-standing practice. In relation to beer, he said many of the contracts included discounts on the keg price and investment in the pub such as cool rooms, tap lines and fridges and so on.

"Drinkers want choice, so while 30 per cent of our venues are under contract, we're increasingly finding they are not just exclusive to CUB," he said.

Interestingly, under the US Federal Alcohol Administration Act it is unlawful to have exclusive contracts in a venue contracted to a brewery. The US act also includes a commercial bribery clause which bans any inducements if the direct effect is to "prevent, deter, hinder or restrict other persons from selling or offering for sale" any distilled spirits, wine, or malt beverages "in interstate or foreign commerce by commercial bribery or by offering or giving any bonus, premium or compensation to any … representative of the trade buyer".

Craft beer represents 2 per cent of the Australian beer market, according to research house IBISWorld, but it is a high-stakes game for the big brewers as consumers turn away from mainstream beer and move towards craft beer.

To put it into perspective, the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that beer consumption is at its lowest level in 67 years, falling more than half its peak of the mid-1970s.

In contrast, craft beer might only represent 2 per cent of the overall beer market, but it is growing at more than 10 per cent a year. The number of craft breweries has more than doubled in the past decade to more than 175.

The heat is most certainly on. Last year the ACCC went in hard on CUB, finding it more than A$20,000 for misleading labelling on its Byron Bay Pale Lager, which suggested the beer was brewed by a small craft brewer in Byron Bay when it was brewed hundreds of kilometres away by CUB.

The company also entered a court-enforceable undertaking with the ACCC, with Mr Sims sending a strong message about his thinking in this area: "Many small brewers cater to consumers who prefer to support small, niche businesses.

"When large companies portray themselves as small businesses, it undermines the unique selling point that such small businesses depend upon, and it misleads consumers."

Lion heard the message and decided to put its name on all its Australian manufactured beers to make it clear for consumers it is the ultimate owner of the brand. It started with its James Squire labels and will roll it out across the portfolio over the next year.

But it is not enough to appease the independent craft brewers who want the ACCC to turn up the heat, before it is too late.

Melbourne craft brewer Thunder Road Brewing Company said in a statement it believed the big brewers were targeting craft brewers to even worse effect in the past year.

"In our view, without regulatory intervention, the big two multinational brewers will keep targeting small brewers and kill off craft brewing in this country. Their approach seems to be 'buy the competition or buy the taps'."

With Coca-Cola Amatil, the supermarkets and others moving into the craft beer space, the issues will only get bigger.


Australia: Beer and spirits companies say wine industry not paying fair share of alcohol taxes  (

Australia’s beer and spirits companies say wine companies aren’t paying their fair share of the A$6 billion in alcohol taxes collected each year by the federal government, The Australian Financial Review reported on February 5.

The wine industry is pleading special circumstances, arguing its 2500 companies shouldn’t be taxed more because it has one production cycle a year, following grape harvest in February and March.

Intense lobbying is happening in Canberra for favourable treatment in the May budget, creating angst between rival parts of the alcohol industry.

The latest increase in excise on beer and spirits, on February 2, has further riled beer and spirits makers. Spirits companies argue that for a bottle of spirits selling for A$75, they pay A$30 in federal tax through excise and GST, which is a big impost and distorts the choices available to shoppers.

Beer consumption in Australia has dropped by more than 8 per cent in the past six years. Tim Cooper, managing director of Cooper’s Brewery, is the new chairman of the Brewers Association of Australia and New Zealand, which includes Carlton & United Breweries, maker of Victoria Bitter, and Lion, maker of Tooheys and XXXX, and he said twice-yearly excise rises are a big factor in the drop in demand.

Winemakers’ Federation of Australia chief executive Paul Evans said the current tax regime shouldn’t be touched, other than a revamp of the wine equalisation tax rebate scheme.

The WET rebate scheme, which started in 2004, was designed to pay a maximum of A$500,000 a year to smaller producers to promote regional employment, needs an overhaul. The savings should be used to promote Australian wine overseas to take advantage of the drop in the dollar, he said. Mr Evans said the WET rebate should no longer apply to unbranded and bulk wine, and be stripped away from New Zealand wine companies that are currently able to access the scheme and have claimed up to A$25 million a year from it.

He said the economics of the wine industry is completely different to beer and spirits. “There are significant differences in the structure of those industries. Beer and spirits is highly consolidated and wine has only one production cycle a year, and is regionally based,” he said. “This mantra that all alcohol is the same is a nonsense.”

Small spirits producers are pushing for some help along similar lines to smaller craft brewers. The Australian Distillers Association, formed last year by about 15 small craft spirits makers, wants a 60 per cent rebate on the first A$100,000 of excise paid to help them grow.

The body that represents big players such as Diageo, Bacardi Lion, Beam and Brown-Forman, said spirits are treated the most harshly because the twice-yearly excise increase always has a bigger impact on the higher-taxed spirits.

Gordon Broderick, the executive director of the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia, which oversees the interests of the bigger players, said the alcohol tax regime is a dog’s breakfast.


Australia: Beer drinkers shunning traditional VB, Carlton Draught and Crown Lager beers  (

Australian beer drinkers are shunning traditional brands like VB, Carlton Draught and Crown Lager due to high-end competition and less demand for tap beer, The Age reported on May 23.
Brewing giant SABMiller said three of its top Australian brands recorded falls in volumes over the past year as "competitive intensity," persisting economic uncertainty and weak consumer sentiment hurt the company's share of lager.
"Victoria Bitter declined by one per cent and Crown Lager declined, reflecting both a strong prior year comparative and price compression from imported brands," London-listed SABMiller said in its March 2014 full year results.
The company also indicated that pub drinkers were turning their backs on popular tap beers.
"Carlton Draught was impacted by its exposure to the more depressed on-premise channel," SABMiller said.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures released in April found Australian drinkers consumed less beer in 2013 than they have in the past 67 years.
Meanwhile, anecdotal evidence suggests craft beers are gaining favour over mainstream brands.
Still, SAB managed to report strong volume growth in its mainstream Carlton Dry and Carlton Mid brands as it looks to promote its premium beers.
Brands such as Peroni Nastro Azzurro and craft brand Fat Yak all did well over the past 12 months.
The brewer said a focus on premium growth platforms had delivered 10 per cent volume growth in the super premium portfolio.
The company said total volumes in Australia were down nine per cent.
SAB also added Kopparberg, an international premium cider, to its portfolio as the nation's thirst for cider continues to gains momentum.
ABS figures showed cider consumption rising to about double what it was four years ago.
Overall national alcohol consumption fell for the sixth straight year in 2013, to a 17-year low despite alcohol being the most affordable in 20 years.


Australia: Carlton & United Breweries admits misleading labelling on one of its beers  (

Carlton & United Breweries has entered into a court enforceable undertaking with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, after the beer giant admitted its labelling of Byron Bay Pale Lager may have been misleading, Smart Company reported on April 29.
The brewer has also copped A$20,000 in infringement fines in relation to the case, which rested on ACCC concerns that CUB was misleading consumers by portraying itself as a small business.
CUB has been supplying Byron Bay Pale Lager nationwide since 2013 through a license from the Byron Bay Brewing Company , which brews and sells the beer at its location in Byron Bay.
The beer sold by CUB featured the name ‘Byron Bay Pale Lager’, an image of a lighthouse and a map of the Byron Bay area, as well as information about the town.
However, CUB brews the beer in Warnervale, 95km north of Sydney and about 630km from Byron Bay. The ACCC was concerned the beer was presented as being brewed by a small brewer in Byron Bay.
The ACCC said in a statement on April 29 that CUB has agreed to stop distributing the products with the labels in question and, more generally, has agreed to not make false or misleading representations concerning the size of the brewery where its products are made or the place of origin of its products.
The company is also required to publish corrective notices on its website and in trade publications, and provide a notice for retailers to display at their points of sale.
A CUB spokesperson said the company has created a new label for the product, which is still available for sale.
"The labelling has been revised to better disclose the third party contracting relationship between the Byron Bay Brewing Company and CUB," said the spokesperson. "CUB treats its commitment to the law seriously and has worked with the ACCC over many months to address their concerns."
The new label no longer features a map of the Byron Bay area or information about the town. In their place is a description of the beer and the words: "Bottled and brewed under contract in Warnervale NSW by Carlton & United Breweries ... for the Byron Bay Brewing Company".
“Many small brewers cater to consumers who prefer to support small, niche businesses,” said ACCC chairman Rod Sims. “When large companies portray themselves as small businesses, it undermines the unique selling point that such small businesses depend upon, and it misleads consumers.”
Sims said the ACCC will write to other companies in the beer market, “putting them on notice of this matter in order to ensure that marketing and labelling in the beer market appropriately reflects where and by whom beer is brewed”.


Australia: Carlton & United Breweries say Cascade Bright Ale is its most successful ...  (

... draught craft release in years

Australia’s Carlton & United Breweries has revealed that Cascade Bright Ale is its most successful draught craft beer release in years, The Shout reported on March 17.

Speaking at the Cascade First Harvest Ale festivities in Tasmania, head brewer Mike Unsworth said the subdued bitterness of Bright Ale - launched six months ago - had won excellent feedback from consumers – particularly women.

“We’ve got three different types of hops in the Bright Ale, but it’s not overly bitter. What you are actually getting is some really good aromas and flavours,” he said.

Craig Maclean, CUB’s general manager of craft beer and cider, added: “Just to let everybody know just how well it’s going sales-wise, six months from launch, Bright Ale’s actually our most successful craft draught launch since Fat Yak.”


Australia: Restrictive supply contracts prevent small brewers from selling beer to pubs and hotels  (

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission is investigating brewing giants CUB and Lion over their use of "tap contracts" to prevent hotel owners from selling rival beers, after a number of small operators complained that they could not sell their beer to pubs, The Australian reported on January 22.

The Commission has written to several small brewers asking for information "to better understand aspects of the supply conditions within the wholesale draught beer market" so it can assess whether "certain conduct" might be prohibited under the Competition and Consumer Act.

It is understood that the letter goes on to question the brewers on whether they have been unable to sell to venues because the publicans had signed restrictive supply contracts with the major brewers preventing them from stocking competitors' beers.

Queensland brewer Wade Curtis, who posted his letter from the ACCC on Facebook and Twitter this week, said he had complained to the regulator three years ago about being unable to sell his Four Hearts beer to pubs because all of their taps were under contract.

"I had just started my own craft brewing business and had a launch at a venue in Brisbane -- we got through two or three kegs, they were really excited and the manager was saying 'we'll have to have it on tap', but then they suddenly went cold on the idea because they said they had a 50-50 tap contract with Lion and CUB," Mr Curtis said.

In return for rebates on beer prices, the tap contracts generally stipulate a minimum proportion of sales that must be sourced from the relevant supplier -- often 60-80 per cent of volume, but sometimes up to 100 per cent.

By operating on a percentage basis, pubs with 100 per cent contracts cannot even stock competitors' beers if they install additional taps -- something several brewers contacted by The Australian said they had offered to pay for, only for publicans to refuse as it would breach their tap contracts.

One brewer in Melbourne said its craft cider was selling well at a Melbourne venue until CUB "bought" the venue's taps for its Bulmers cider brand. "They told us what they were paying and we just couldn't see how it was economic," the brewer said.

Tim Cooper, managing director at privately held South Australian brewer Coopers, said his company generally only took out contracts for event venues and festivals, and in pubs frequently had to fight for space with CUB and Lion.

"Because we're only 4.5 per cent of national beer volumes, we've historically been happy to have those taps that publicans keep aside for guest beers," Dr Cooper said. "But over the last year we've been more worried because we hear of cases where one or the other of the majors is trying to get contracts over 100 per cent of the taps.

"We understand we can't expect 20 per cent of the taps, but when publicans are being offered 100 per cent contracts then consumers will miss out."

But Dr Cooper said even pubs that had contracts allowing some "guest" beers to be sold could be restrictive for smaller operators.

"One of the large publicans in Sydney said to me a few years ago: 'Your Pale Ale is a problem - we've got it on only three taps but it's still infringing my 90 per cent volume contract with Lion.' And I said, 'That's presumably because your customers like drinking Pale Ale', and he looked at me as if that was utterly irrelevant from his point of view."

A CUB spokesman said the "vast majority" of pubs bought beer from several sources, and denied the company sought to lock up pub distribution to prevent smaller brewers from entering the market.

"As far as we are aware, all brewers, including CUB, offer some form of incentive to stock their products, such as volume rebates, maintenance of taps and equipment and so on," the spokesman said.

A spokesman for Australia's largest pubs group, ALH, said the firm did not have tap contracts at any of its 325 hotels.

An ACCC spokeswoman confirmed the regulator was making market inquiries on wholesale beer supply but declined to comment on the probe other than to say it did not involve a merger.


Australia: Australia's most expensive beer hits shelves  (

With a recommended retail price of A$99 for 750ml, Crown Ambassador Reserve Lager 2013, Australia's most expensive beer, has hit retailers' shelves, Food Magazine reported on November 22.
Ten thousand individually boxed bottles of the beer, Carlton and United Breweries' (CUB) sixth vintage, are now available, and were brewed from 100 percent Australian malt and hops, it is reported.
CUB produces the beer once a year to coincide with the Myrtleford, Victoria hop harvest, using Galaxy hops which are hand harvested and added to the kettle within 24 hours.
A portion of the beer is matured in French oak barrels, and the product boasts a 9.6 percent alcohol content. This, combined with its level of hops, means the beer can be cellared.


Australia: Victoria Bitter sales growth offset by decline in demand for ...  (

... Carlton Draught in the last six months - SABMiller

The continued resurgence of Victoria Bitter over the last six months was offset by a decline in Carlton Draught, SABMiller reported on October 17.

SABMiller said VB was up five per cent for the six months to September 30, “although this positive performance was offset by a decline in Carlton Draught”, while Crown Lager volumes grew by 10 per cent.

Peter Filipovic, director of sales at subsidiary Carlton & United Breweries (CUB), said the figures showed the rejigged Victoria Bitter and Crown Lager were resonating with drinkers, and in a tough beer market, the brewer had to keep the momentum going.

“There is no doubt that beer continues to be a very challenging category and we have invested significantly in developing strategies to grow the beer and cider categories for all of us,” he said.

“We’re committed to working with all our partners to keep raising the profile of beer and cider.”

SABMiller said Peroni Nastro Azzurro continued to grow strongly in Australia, up 25 per cent. Total domestic volumes, including discontinued brands, were down by seven per cent.

“We’re talking to our customers now about some great promotions over summer, particularly around cricket, that we reckon will have drinkers looking for Victoria Bitter and Carlton Mid in their fridges,” Filipovic said.


Australia: Carlton & United Breweries to double sales of its relaunched craft beer portfolio  (

Australia’s second largest brewer, Carlton & United Breweries, wants to double sales of its relaunched Cascade craft beer portfolio within four years as it begins an assault on the booming niche market it has failed to leverage for a decade, Financial Review reported on October 3.
After arresting the decade-long decline in the nation’s biggest beer, VB, SABMiller wants to resuscitate earnings in the craft category – a market that has been in double digit growth for years, but a sector in which CUB previous management acknowledged they had under-invested.
SABMiller bought CUB parent Foster’s Group for A$12.3 billion in December 2011.
Cascade was launched a month ago and officially unveiled at its Cascade brewery in Hobart on October 2. Cascade Brewery Co brand manager Louise Thiele said CUB had neglected Cascade, underpinning a sales decline of 10 per cent year-on-year for five years.
The new lower alcohol content Cascade Premium Lager, pale ale and the new bright ale beers feature the brewery, the oldest in Australia, on the label and are sold in brown rather than green bottles.
“We are already seeing some positive [sales] signs,” Ms Thiele said.
Lion’s James Squire beer has a 31 per cent share of the market compared with about 4 per cent for Cascade.
CUB sells about 500,000 cases of Cascade’s craft beers, excluding its premium light. It hopes its vintage rebrand can increase sales to 1 million cases by 2017.
Lion, owned by Japan’s Kirin, also owns Little Creatures and controls about half the nation’s craft beer sales. Ms Thiele said Cascade was taking on Squires.
“CUB focused on brands we didn’t own outright,” Ms Thiele said. “We had lost focus – we absolutely admit that.”
Craft beer sales make up about 2 per cent of all beer sales, but 3.5 per cent of revenue.
The beer market has slipped 1.8 per cent in the past 12 months and beer consumption is at its lowest level in 66 years. Consumers are drinking less, but more expensive, beers.


Australia: CUB shifts Carlton Cold to mid-strength category  (

The shakeup at Carlton & United Breweries continues apace, with the underperforming Carlton Cold brand being shifted from its current form to mid-strength, The Shout reported on September 20.
Currently brewed at four per cent AVB, Cold will be downgraded to 3.5 per cent, as the brewing giant fine-tunes its offering in a beer climate that sees one in five sold in Australia now a mid-strength.
“The new Carlton Cold, along with Carlton Mid and Peroni Leggera now form the three main brews in our mid strength offering,” says CUB’s General Manager of Marketing for Carlton Brands Andrew Meldrum.
The move echoes CUB CEO Ari Mervis’ comments last month that certain brands were due for reworking, and that the CUB beer portfolio needed more clarity in its market targets.
"What we have done is we've identified which brands need to participate in which consumer segments," Mervis said.
CUB last year restored the original 4.9 per cent AVB recipe of its flailing flagship Victoria Bitter product in a successful attempt to reinvigorate the brand, which had lost its crown as the country’s top-selling beer.
Meanwhile, the recent advertising drive that has accompanied Crown Lager’s own reboot has been given another shot in the arm, with a new series of television commercials to go to air.
The ad “celebrates the dedication of the people who have such a major role in producing the ingredients of Australia’s finest beer,” said Richard Oppy, Crown Lager’s general manager, and features farmers Andrew Weidemann and Allan Monshing, who provide hand-picked barley for Crown.
The new Carlton Cold will be available from September 23rd in a new 355mL bottle incorporating ‘thermo chromic ink technology’ that indicates through a change in colour on the label when the beer is at the optimal drinking temperature.
Both the bottle size change and ABV reduction will be reflected in a wholesale price reduction, and the new Carlton Cold will be supported with a significant marketing investment of $5M in the first 12 months.


Australia: Carlton & United Breweries defends its ownership of a number of heritage brands  (

Carlton & United Breweries has defeated an attempt by upstart brewer Thunder Road to poach a swag of heritage brands such as Abbots Lager, Cairns Draught, Tooth's, McCracken's and Brisbane Bitter, The Australian reported on September 11.

The Australian Trade Marks Office denied a request from Melbourne-based Thunder Road to strike out CUB's ownership of 59 brews no longer made by the beer giant, including Ballarat Bitter, Richmond Lager, Kent, NQ Lager and Bulimba Gold Top.

Thunder Road had argued that the company should be forced to relinquish the brands given it hadn't used them for decades, and planned to release its own beers under the same names had it been able to re-register them.

CUB's On Premise Sales Director Paul Donaldson said the company would occasionally produce the old beers in limited quantities, but there wasn't enough demand to make them part of regular production.

"CUB submitted extensive evidence as to the value of the heritage Trade Marks, their residual fame, their importance to CUB and its heritage," he said of the trademark case.

"CUB also submitted evidence of the many releases of heritage brands over the years and those brands we have in the pipeline".

The company released McCracken's and Richmond Lager to a number of Victorian pubs in July, while in Queensland it had released NQ Lager and Cairns Draught and the Steyne Hotel in Sydney's eastern suburb of Manly had Tooth's White Horse Ale on tap.


Australia: CUB head shares plans on overhauling core beer brands  (

Brands including Pure Blonde, Carlton Mid and Cascade are next in line for the SABMiller treatment, Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) CEO Ari Mervis was quoted as saying by TheShout on August, 5.

Mervis, who also commented on CCA's return to beer, said CUB is progressing with the overhaul of its other core brands, following the recent relaunches of Victoria Bitter and Crown Lager.

He said these core brands were in various states of health when they were inherited by SABMiller.

"What we said initially is we want to focus on those initiatives and brands that are the most important in our portfolio, those that generate the most volume and the most value," he said.

"Of the others, Pure Blonde we're still working on, Carlton Mid I think we're getting to a really good position and we're going to be leveraging that through the summer with the one-day cricket series, and then Carlton Draught is in a good place, its positioning is healthy and strong."

Mervis echoed previous comments by former CUB marketing boss Andy Gibson that CUB needed to get its brands to occupy more distinct consumer areas rather than overlapping each other.

"What we have done is we've identified which brands need to participate in which consumer segments and occasions and opportunities," he said.

"It's a journey, we haven't hit the end point yet."

Thereafter, Mervis said CUB will be leveraging the medium term growth opportunities for its premium and international brands, and then refining its approach to the long term growth segments of craft beer and cider.

There will be no further deletions of high profile brands, he said, after Victoria Pale Lager was deemed surplus to requirements last year.

CUB has however rationalised many excess SKUs since SABMiller took the reins.

"There's been a proliferation of not necessarily only brand variants, but also different pack sizes that really haven't had a real role in the portfolio," Mervis said.

"In NSW you might have had a 24-pack of cans, a 24-pack of bottles and a 30-pack of cans that have competed against each other - you just didn't need all three of them."

Mervis rejected the suggestion that CUB is lagging behind Lion in the craft beer segment, commenting that the reinforcement of Matilda Bay beers as a portfolio rather than individual brands will continue in the summer.

"We also think that Cascade, Australia's oldest commercial brewery dating back to 1824, has the same virtues as craft beers," he said.

"I feel we can bring that to life and we certainly intend to over the course of the next six months amplify that as being a really great offering of credible, true and authentic craft."

Commenting on Lion's recent acquisition of Little Creatures, Mervis said CUB today has little need to look for domestic takeover opportunities.

"The need to acquire more Australian craft breweries I'm not sure is necessarily top of the agenda," he said.

"Bear in mind that we have the advantage of having a global portfolio and access to craft beers from around the world, if appropriate."

"But again, we'd rather be more specific and targeted, focusing on specific consumer needs and occasions as opposed to a shotgun-type approach," Mervis said.

He said craft has an important role to play in bringing excitement to the wider beer category.

"But the reality is that craft is less than three per cent of total beer consumed in Australia, so while it makes a lot of noise, it tends to be very small volume," he said.


Australia: Industry welcomes the move away from aggressive discounting of ...  (

... beer - Carlton & United Breweries CEO

The decision by Australia’s retailers to move away from aggressive, deep discounting of beer was welcome news for the entire liquor industry, according to Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) CEO Ari Mervis.

In an interview with TheShout on August 6, Mervis said his previously stated view that consumers were happy to pay more for beer had been borne out in recent months.

"Historically there has been a very fierce, competitive race to the bottom in terms of pricing," he said.

"Different retailers have always tried to ensure that they remain the cheapest retailer when in fact the consumer has been happy and willing to pay slightly more than the price they've offered it at."

"I think there has been a little bit more price discipline across the market and we've seen retailers have been charging slightly more and consumers have been prepared to spend a bit more," Mervis said.

"We need to ensure that there's a sustainable margin for all the participants through the value chain."

In any case, Mervis said it's important for retailers to consider their margins on mainstream beer in context.

"Sometimes they don't look at what is a blended margin," he said.

"They'll take the margin that they make out of selling a 24-pack of stubbies, but when you blend it with how many six-packs they sell or how many single units they sell, the blended margin is a lot higher than the five per cent [for a 24-pack]."

Mervis acknowledged that in some demographic areas the proportion of cases sold is higher than that of single units or six packs.

"But generally you will find always that the equivalent of about three six packs is the same price as a 24-pack," he said.

"So if they are able to sell six-packs, bring them to the front of the store and amplify that, they tend to get a higher blended margin."


Australia: Carlton & United Breweries’ licensing agreement with a boutique beer brand seen as ...  (

... not transparent enough

Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) is unmoved by a social media campaign calling on the brewer to be more transparent about its licensing agreement with boutique beer brand, Byron Bay Brewing Company, The Shout reported on January, 29.

CUB’s public relations agency, Liquid Ideas, last week issued a press release announcing that Byron Bay Brewing Co, a small northern NSW brewery that is independently owned by Barry Schadel, had released its Pale Lager in packaged format.

The bottled beer was in fact produced by CUB at its brewery in Warnervale under a new licensing agreement with Byron Bay Brewing Company.

But as with the packaging of the beer itself, the press release did not disclose that CUB had any involvement in the production or rollout of the new beer.

In an open letter to Carlton & United Breweries CEO Ari Mervis, beer writer Matt Kirkegaard called for the brewer to be more transparent in its marketing of the beer.

“When I read the media release, it seemed to be strongly suggesting that the beer was being brewed and bottled solely by the Byron Bay Brewing Company,” Kirkegaard says.

“Without an intimate knowledge of the Australian beer market, anyone reading the media release or seeing the beer’s packaging would be very surprised to learn that the beer is actually being made, marketed and distributed by Carlton and United Breweries, albeit under licence,” he says.

“The way that your company is marketing this beer, at the very least, lacks transparency. At its worst, it could appear that your company is actively seeking to hide your involvement from the consumer.”

But Byron Bay Brewing Company owner Barry Schadel said he didn’t understand why he should have to declare CUB’s involvement in expanding the distribution of a brand that he created and continues to own outright.

“It’s not their product, it’s my product. It’s ridiculous,” he said.

CUB spokesman Jeremy Griffith said he would understand the reaction if Byron Bay Brewing Company was owned by CUB, but it’s still Barry Schadel’s brand.

“We are providing the opportunity for a small craft brewery to expand its distribution and bring its beer to a national market,” he said.

“We think this a positive step. The beer and brewery remain independently owned by Barry Schadel.”

The incident continues an international debate over transparency in labelling of beers.

The Brewers Association – which represents small and independent American craft brewers – recently said large, multinational brewers “appear to be deliberately attempting to blur the lines between their crafty, craft-like beers and true craft beers from today’s small and independent brewers”.


Australia: Lion’s XXXX Gold wins the title of Australia’s most popular beer  (

Australia's most popular beer for decades, VB, has lost its crown, with interloper XXXX Gold from Queensland now officially the nation's biggest-selling brew, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on May, 30.

The latest figures from Nielsen show that XXXX's mid-strength beer now commands 12.4 per cent of all beer consumed in Australia, just beating VB, with 12.3 per cent.

Sales of VB, owned by global brewer SABMiller, have been waning for years, dragged lower by increased competition from a slew of international beers such as Corona and Heineken, and a switch by drinkers to craft beers, wine and other alcoholic drinks.

VB's popularity has also not been helped by a recent reduction in its alcohol content, which turned off some traditional drinkers. A shift in its marketing campaigns also failed to win back drinkers.

According to Nielsen VB, the beer's market share was 13.7 per cent of the market in April last year against 11.7 per cent for Queensland rival XXXX Gold.

But in March this year the beers were neck and neck, both with a stake of 12.4 per cent, with just released April 2012 figures showing the Queensland beer had finally hit the lead.

XXXX Gold is owned by Lion, which is in turn part of Japanese conglomerate Kirin. Foster's formerly owned VB before it was itself swallowed by London-based SABMiller,

In third place in terms of market share is Carlton Draught with 9.3 per cent, followed by Tooheys New 7.1 per cent, Tooheys Extra Dry with 4.4 per cent and Carlton Mid 3.8 per cent.

Last week SABMiller revealed Foster's domestic beer brands recorded a sales decline of 4 per cent in volume on an annualised basis which SABMiller blamed on continued subdued consumer sentiment.


Australia: Foster’s keeps replacing top managers in beer division   (

John Pollaers, the nominated chief executive of the Foster's stand-alone beer business, will lead a fresh team of sales executives to revive the flagging fortunes of its beer brands in the eastern states following the resignation of a veteran Carlton & United Breweries sales manager, The Sydney Morning Herald reported on January, 13.
Robert Priest has resigned as general manager of sales for the company's beer division in New South Wales. The Foster's executive of 11 years left the group last week. It is believed a replacement will be announced soon.
Mr Priest's departure completes a clean sweep of sales managers for the eastern states, allowing Mr Pollaers to appoint his own candidates to drum up sales for CUB beers in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. The eastern states make up roughly 75 per cent of CUB's beer business.
Since the appointment of Mr Pollaers to the CUB beer division last April, he has appointed Cameron Levick to oversee sales in Queensland and Craig Cooper to run the division in Victoria - the most important market for the Foster's VB brand - and Tasmania.
Mr Priest's unexpected departure now allows Mr Pollaers to hire a general manager of sales for NSW, accelerating the cultural shift at Foster's as it prepares for its historic demerger this year.
More details of the split of the company's beer and wine operations may be revealed at the announcement of the half-year results next month, its last financial results as a diverse beverages company.
Mr Pollaers has made it clear that CUB needs to break with the past, embrace the reality of brewing in a competitive national landscape and be able to adapt quickly to changes in consumer tastes.
Foster's last month confirmed the chief executives and directors who will lead its demerged companies if shareholders approve the spin-off of its wine assets from its beer operations. Mr Pollaers will be CEO of the pure-beer Foster's company, and David Dearie, the Australian and New Zealand wine manager, will run the new sector, Treasury Wine Estates.


Australia: SABMiller still declining to comment on interest in Foster’s beer division   (

SABMiller Plc, the maker of Miller, Grolsch and Peroni beers, has confirmed interest in making acquisitions but has again declined to comment if Australian brewer Foster's is on its shopping list, The Sydney Morning Herald communicated on November, 19.
London-based SABMiller released on November, 18 its first-half profit results which beat estimates on growth in all regions outside Europe, and said it was looking for new deals.
Chief financial officer Malcolm Wyman made the comments during an interview with Bloomberg Television. He declined to comment on Foster's amid growing speculation that SABMiller might bid for its beer division, Carlton & United Breweries.
SABMiller, the world's second-biggest brewer by volume after AB InBev, already has exposure to the Australian market through a joint venture with Coca-Cola Amatil. The joint venture partners have a brewery in New South Wales and produce Peroni and Bluetongue beer. The pair are estimated to have a 10 per cent market share of the local premium beer sector.
SABMiller's adjusted earnings rose 19 per cent to $US1.47 billion in the six months ended September from $US1.24 billion a year earlier.
Profit increased in four out of five continents, driven by volume growth in Africa and China, higher prices and the strength of the company's major operating currencies against the dollar.
The Foster's board announced earlier this year its intention to pursue a demerger of its beer and wine operations, with the corporate split to be struck next year. The demerger process may attract buyers for either division. SABMiller is considered a leading candidate to purchase CUB.


Australia: Foster's and Asahi extend Australian partnership   (

Carlton & United Breweries and Asahi Breweries Ltd, brewer of Japan’s leading exported beer, Asahi Super Dry, today extended a long term exclusive license to sell and market Asahi Super Dry in Australia, Foster's Group announced on August 16.
“We have a longstanding relationship with Carlton & United Breweries and we’re delighted it is set to continue,” Mr Naoki Izumiya, Asahi Breweries Ltd President & Chief Operating Officer, said. “We are extremely pleased with Asahi Super Dry’s performance in Australia and are confident Carlton & United Breweries will continue to position the brand for future growth.”
Since 1992, Asahi has been one of Australia’s favourite premium imported beers. Under this new agreement, the brand is positioned for rapid growth in coming years.
“Asahi continues to be a leading brand in the Carlton & United Breweries portfolio and we’re delighted to cement our partnership with Asahi,” said John Pollaers, Carlton & United Breweries Managing Director. “We value this extended long term agreement and are proud to have built the Asahi brand into Australia’s favourite Japanese beer.”

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