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SIG signs CEO call for governments to align COVID-19 recovery with latest climate science

SIG signs CEO call for governments to align COVID-19 recovery with latest climate science  (Company news)


SIG and other leading companies committed to science-based climate action have released a joint Recover Better statement, which calls on governments around the world to match their ambition to achieve a zero-carbon economy by aligning COVID-19 economic aid and recovery efforts with the latest climate science.

“The impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt around the world and it’s encouraging to see people uniting to weather this crisis, but we must not lose sight of the urgent need for collective action to tackle the climate emergency,” said Rolf Stangl, CEO at SIG. “At SIG, we’re committed to delivering low-carbon solutions for our customers and reducing our own emissions in line with the latest science. We’re joi”ing other leading corporates to call on governments to ensure efforts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic support the transition to a zero-carbon economy and deliver on the climate commitments of the Paris Agreement.”

Recover Better
Signed by 155 major multinationals, the Recover Better statement is the largest ever UN-backed CEO-led climate advocacy effort. It calls for policies that will build resilience against future shocks by supporting efforts to hold global temperature rise to within 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, in line with reaching net-zero emissions well before 2050.

The Recover Better campaign is being convened by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), together with the UN Global Compact and the We Mean Business coalition.

“Governments have a critical role to play by aligning policies and recovery plans with the latest climate science, but they cannot drive a systemic socio-economic transformation alone,” said Lila Karbassi, Chief of Programmes at the UN Global Compact, and Science Based Targets Initiative Board Member. “To address the interconnected crises we face, we must work together as an international community to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. As the largest ever UN-backed CEO-led climate advocacy effort, these companies are leading the way in driving ambitious science-based action and advocacy to help reduce vulnerability to future shocks and disasters.”

SIG and the other Recover Better signatories are all members of the SBTi. Today, they are reaffirming their own science-based carbon commitments and urging world leaders to target a zero-carbon recovery from COVID-19.

SIG’s commitment
SIG has taken decisive action to protect its employees, serve its communities and support its customers and supply chains during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a leading systems and solutions provider for aseptic packaging, SIG has a critical role in the global food supply system. Many SIG plants have been running day and night through the COVID-19 crisis to help customers provide a continuous supply of food and beverages to consumers.

While fighting COVID-19 is an immediate priority, SIG is equally committed to fighting climate change and delivering sustainable solutions in the long term.

SIG’s climate goals – to reduce Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 60% and value chain greenhouse gas emissions by 25% per litre of food packed by 2030 – have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative as in line with the latest science to keep global warming below 1.5°C.

These goals are part of SIG’s roadmap to deliver on its ambition to go Way Beyond Good for society and the environment.
(SIG Combibloc Group AG)

Batch 19 breaks out with cans in return to retail

Batch 19 breaks out with cans in return to retail  (Company news)

Batch 19 is back.

After a 5-year absence on retail shelves, the beloved pre-Prohibition lager brewed by AC Golden Brewing Co. is marking its return to retail outlets with the debut of striking black cans.

The beer, in rotation from 2010 to 2015, was reintroduced to draft lines in Colorado and Wisconsin last year. Six- and 12-packs of the 12-ounce cans are now available statewide in Colorado and will launch this summer in southeastern Wisconsin.

“The number one question we get on the (Coors) Golden brewery tour is, ‘What happened to Batch 19, and how can we get it back?’” says Meagan Nelson, marketing manager for AC Golden. “Seeing the success of its return to draft, and still hearing the off-premise demand for Batch 19, we decided to bring it back.”

Well balanced with just the right amount of hops bitterness to malt sweetness, Batch 19 pours a dark copper color with a full white head. Noble hops give it a spicy, herbal nose, along with a biscuity aroma from two malts that balance its hoppiness with subtle caramel flavors. The 5.5 percent alcohol-by-volume beer is naturally filtered and unpasteurized. At 26 IBUs, it’s more bitter than most modern American lagers, while retaining a smooth, medium body with a crisp finish.

Batch 19 was originally sold in bottles, true to its pre-Prohibition roots. But Nelson says the time was right to bring the brand back to market in cans.

“Cans are what consumers are looking for when they go shopping, and what they’ll find on the shelf. If we really want Batch 19 to be successful, that’s the way we want to go,” Nelson says. “We felt like it’s an everyday great beer, and I think the versatility of a can in terms of being able to take it to a backyard barbecue, or camping or hiking, makes it fit our drinkers’ lifestyles as well.”

As for the timing? Strong consumer demand answered the question of whether to launch during a pandemic, Nelson says.

“We actually had several conversations about pushing back the launch, just given the state of the world right now,” Nelson says. “But we went to our distributors, as well as our key retailers, and they said, ‘We’ll take it and we want it.’ They’ve been so excited for this to come to packaging.”

Batch 19 is brewed by AC Golden, a craft brewery inside Molson Coors Beverage Co.’s brewery in Golden, Colo. AC Golden, which sits under Molson Coors’ U.S. craft unit Tenth & Blake, also makes beers including Colorado Native’s array of ales, lagers and sours, and serves as a small-batch testing ground for craft innovations.

Batch 19 exploded onto the market in 2010 with a viral origin story: the recipe, once lost to time, had been discovered in one of Adolph Coors’ logbooks. AC Golden brewers made the beer for themselves and loved the bold, hoppy taste. It was introduced to the public with subtle packaging that called to mind grainy black-and-white photographs of the pre-Prohibition era.

However, as company priorities shifted, in 2015 Batch 19 was again returned to the brewery archives. But it remained popular, in memory, at least, and AC Golden brought it back in 2019, the 100th anniversary of Prohibition’s enactment.

Now the beer that has its roots in a time before radio is showing up on video happy hours, Nelson says.
(AC Golden Brewing Company LLC)

GEMÜ is expanding production capacities in Shanghai

GEMÜ is expanding production capacities in Shanghai  (Company news)

Picture: Most modern robot technology in the production process of the GEMÜ R480 butterfly valve

In-house machining and coating of valve bodies and washers is expanding the manufacturing capabilities and is a further important step towards a global production concept.

The production of butterfly valves at GEMÜ Valves China is part of GEMÜ's global production concept. As part of this global production concept, GEMÜ has set the course for further expanding the capability for the production of butterfly valves in their factory in Shanghai.

To achieve this, the manufacturing capabilities have been significantly expanded in order to further increase the effect on production steps that are decisive for quality. In concrete terms, this means that GEMÜ has specifically invested in the mechanical machining and coating of the valve bodies and butterfly discs, and now carries out these production steps themselves in their own Butterfly Valve Production Center with the assistance of state-of-the-art technology.

In recent months, a new fully automated coating system was fitted and commissioned for this purpose. In addition, GEMÜ has developed a special manufacturing and clamping concept that can be used to achieve narrow shape and positional tolerances.

Furthermore, in recent months, an interdisciplinary project team made up of German and Chinese specialists at GEMÜ Valves China was working intensively on the fine adjustment of the individual parameters in order to optimize the production processes. Now that this work is complete, the expanded GEMÜ production centre has started up its activities.

This has laid the foundations for the latest generation of the GEMÜ R480 Victoria soft-seated, butterfly valve to be produced in accordance with the most stringent quality requirements at the new butterfly valve competence centre in Shanghai, China with immediate effect.

"The expansion of the manufacturing capabilities in our Butterfly Valve Production Center in China is a key step on the path to implementing a global production concept," says Gert Müller, Managing Partner at GEMÜ, commenting on the expansion of production capacities in China. "With the expansion of our factory in Shanghai, we are offering our customers, thanks to the significant production depth, significant improvements in safety and flexibility, and are implementing our "Made by GEMÜ" strategy at yet another location."

GEMÜ Valves China was founded back in the year 2000 and is one of the largest subsidiaries of the GEMÜ Group. Even before expanding production capacities, the company in Shanghai was one of GEMÜ's most state-of-the-art factories. Thanks to the continued investment in employees, design, production and logistics, GEMÜ Valves China is an important site in GEMÜ's global production concept.
(GEMÜ Gebr. Müller Apparatebau GmbH & Co. KG)

Feldmuehle – VivaKraft successfully transferred to PM1

Feldmuehle – VivaKraft successfully transferred to PM1  (Company news)

Feldmuehle GmbH, leading manufacturer of label and flexible packaging papers, is proud to announce that the mill successfully transferred its paper grade „VivaKraft“ to the PM1.

VivaKraft is combining an excellent surface with highest strength properties. Therefore, VivaKraft is unique in the market of coated Kraft-papers. VivaKraft, available in 80 and 90 gsm, is designed to be the perfect medium for all kinds of single- and multi-layer packaging-solutions.

With this step, Feldmuehle continues to strengthen its position in a market with growing demand.
(Feldmuehle GmbH)

Digital twin: KHS lowers fault-related costs with virtual machine commissioning

Digital twin: KHS lowers fault-related costs with virtual machine commissioning  (Company news)

-Digital twin creates fully detailed virtual system image
-Virtual system commissioning to be increased
-Lead times reduced and fault-related costs lowered

In the future the digital twin will become a key component of industrial production. KHS already uses models to virtually map the machine and conveyor system commissioning process.

Photo: With the digital twin the mechanical components, electrical equipment and software programming must be able to access the exact same data.

With the help of smart, digital technologies KHS is networking and automating production processes step by step so that machines, products and complete lines can efficiently communicate and work with one another. “In particular what's known as the digital twin enables procedures to be transferred to a virtual environment by tracking and imaging all phases in a machine’s life cycle. All production processes and products can then be simulated virtually,” says Stefan Diesner, head of the Palletizing Product Center. Alternative, optimized production processes are displayed on the computer.

One of the major prerequisites for this is that engineering is consistent throughout the entire value chain in order to prevent what is known as data discontinuity at the interfaces between the various engineering disciplines, namely mechanical components, electrical equipment and software. Unlike the way a lot of work is done today, projects are not processed sequentially, i.e. separately and consecutively. Instead, in an ideal scenario all departments work in parallel across their respective disciplines on the implementation of a project and share a common data model – the basis for the digital twin that depicts every last detail of a system virtually and permits precise simulation.

The shared data challenge
For an engineering company like KHS, which not only manufactures a huge number of different machines but whose research and development departments also have a colossal geographical spread, this is a major challenge. The KHS engineers at the Palletizing Product Center in Worms have been working on the virtual depiction and simulation of machines and system parts for 13 years now. Simulation or virtual commissioning especially lend themselves to use with logistics systems such as palletizers or conveyors.

“Our aim is to continue to shorten lead times and lower fault-related costs by expanding our virtual commissioning setup,” explains Diesner. In order to estimate just how high these savings can be, it helps to take a look at the rule of ten. This states that the cost of fault correction increases by a factor of ten the later in the process an error is discovered. If a fault is only found and eliminated during factory commissioning, for example, the financial burden is ten times higher than if the correction had already been made to the software engineering during virtual commissioning.

Reduced time and effort
A further objective of the current project is to reduce the amount of time and effort required for virtual commissioning. One basic condition here is that the data is consistent. “With virtual commissioning we have control over data consistency,” Diesner explains. “All data is generated and stored at our production site, albeit still in a number of different systems. Further steps must be taken here before efficient and bidirectional access to this data is provided by a virtual engineering tool that includes simulation. Once this has been done, we can configure the system according to customer specifications or quickly and efficiently commission adapted machine designs on screen.”

In the meantime Worms is looking ahead: virtual commissioning is the first step towards digitalized systems for the beverage industry and the real digital twin. This will be able to do much more in the future, To this end, the digital twin has to be plied with more information, however, such as data on conversions for KHS customers or operational data from production – a challenging undertaking indeed.
(KHS GmbH)

AriZona Hard Green Tea off to fast start in Canada

AriZona Hard Green Tea off to fast start in Canada  (Company news)

The hard version of one of the best-selling ready-to-drink green teas in North America is generating buzz in Canada.

AriZona Hard Green Tea, a 5% alcohol-by-volume hard tea made with premium vodka, rolled out across Ontario and Western Canada last month.

AriZona Hard, dubbed the “perfect backyard beverage” by Narcity, launched with plenty of built-in buzz because of AriZona’s reputation and ubiquity in Canada, says Saleem Deane, marketing manager for the brand. “AriZona has a huge, existing fanbase, so this is a drink that’s extremely familiar to Canadians, and they’re obviously very excited to try it.”

The brand is off to a hot start in Western Canada, Deane says, with multiple retail customers placing re-orders within days of receiving the product and consumers flooding social media with pictures. In an Instagram post that has generated nearly 300,000 likes, Barstool Sports called AriZona Hard’s introduction a game changer, while Curiocity wrote they’ve “gotta get our hands on some of these bad boys.”

The beverage, part of a collaboration between Molson Coors Beverage Co. and AriZona Beverages, is made with real brewed green tea, ginseng flavor and a touch of honey.

Sold in 473-mililiter single cans or six-packs of 355-mililiter cans, AriZona Hard is line priced with Twisted Tea, its largest competitor.

“The reception has just been tremendous, and that’s no surprise, because from a consumer trends standpoint, AriZona Hard ticks a lot of boxes,” says Deane. “It’s made with 100% real brewed green tea. On top of that, brand awareness is high out of the gate."

The drink is an extension of the partnership between Molson Coors and AriZona parent Hornell Brewing, which also collaborate on Arnold Palmer Spiked, a brand of hard tea and lemonade sold in the United States.
(Molson Coors Brewing Company (Canada))

KHS promotes closed plastics loop with sustainable systems and solutions

KHS promotes closed plastics loop with sustainable systems and solutions  (Company news)

The debate on plastic is presenting the beverage and food industries with a number of big challenges. The KHS Group is clear that the increased use of recycled PET provides a significant partial solution to this problem. The Dortmund systems supplier is thus focusing on sustainable products and services which help to close the recycling loop.

Photo: Every aspect of the Beyond Juice container concept from KHS has been optimized to ensure the best possible recyclability.

According to business magazine Forbes, around 140 PET bottles per head are circulated in Europe each year, with this figure more than twice that in the USA at 290. Despite all the criticism the plastic container is actually growing in popularity, with the number used increasing globally by around 4% per annum. Awareness of the need to recycle is also on the rise, however; according to Forbes, an estimated 57% of all used PET bottles were collected worldwide in 2019. For 2029 the magazine forecasts that this rate will increase to 68% – albeit with major differences from region to region. While 57% of all bottles could be collected in Europe, in the USA this would only amount to 30%. China, on the other hand, could become something of a model student and in ten years achieve an impressive collection rate of 82%. Collecting does not necessarily mean recycling, however: in the USA 70% of all collected plastics end up at waste disposal sites – and in Europe 30%.

Practically made for recycling: plastic
Yet plastic can be very easily recycled, especially PET. It is the only plastic that, when recycled, satisfies the legal requirements governing food grade materials. Whereas with other materials, such as polypropylene, polyethylene and polystyrene, the loss of quality which occurs on application of the usual recycling methods is irreversible, recycled PET can always be brought up to the standard of new material.

It is thus no surprise to learn that of the approximately 477,000 metric tons of PET used each year to make bottles in Germany alone, about 93% of this material is recovered and reused. Only roughly a third of this is used to make new bottles, however; the rest goes into the manufacturing of films and especially textile fibers. This means that the bottle-to-bottle recycling loop is deprived of a large percentage of this raw material.

There is also the development in price to be considered: while the cost of what is known as virgin PET is based on that of crude oil and benefits from the current low market price thereof, the charge for recycled PET has continuously risen over the last three years. Companies now have to pay about 20% more for rPET than for the original material – also because the supply cannot meet the growing demand.

High standards of quality
Not only do hurdles have to be overcome at the raw materials end; some beverage producers also have reservations. They often fear that the rPET material may discolor or that the level of intrinsic viscosity may drop. Another issue are safety standards and thus the harmlessness of the material. Time and again the question is raised as to whether multiple recycling can affect the quality. Although this has not yet been fully researched in practice, one thing is clear: as the polymer chains reform, no compromises must be made as regards the material quality as long as the additives can be completely separated off. The European PET Bottle Platform (EPBP) is just one of the institutions that helps to assure high standards of quality with its clear specifications and certifications. Whereas just a few years ago experimentation was rife and the beverage and food industries gained their experience with recycled PET through sheer trial and error, from a technical standpoint there is now nothing preventing the global use of high percentages of recycled PET. More and more beverage producers and brands are even opting to use bottles made of 100% recyclate. Where this is not yet the case, voluntary commitments are being publicized; Poland Spring, one of the biggest water brands in the USA, and Evian want to use recycled PET only by 2025. The other brands by Danone Waters, Pepsi and Coca-Cola plan to introduce a worldwide quota of 50% by this date. Their objective? They would like the consumer to interpret the slight graying that can occur when PET bottles are recycled several times over as a hallmark of quality for sustainable packaging.

Sound expertise: KHS specialists have been studying rPET since 2012
The KHS Group has also been examining the use of recyclate for some time now – in fact since 2012. KHS’ Bottles and Shapes™ service program focuses on the practical application thereof on the stretch blow molders and indeed all of the filling and packaging lines engineered by the Dortmund systems supplier. “We run tests to qualify recycled PET so that we can tell our customers in advance which impact the material will have on the blow molder and bottle quality,” says Arne Wiese, product manager for Bottles & Shapes™ at KHS Corpoplast. The aim to be able to quantify the various different qualities.

In doing so, KHS must work closely with preform manufacturers. They are ultimately often the companies which subject the washed PET flakes or rPET granulate to further thermomechanical processing and prepare them for injection molding. “We’re consulting with all of the major plastics processors in Europe on this topic,” Wiese emphasizes. And that is not all; KHS is also liaising with various engineering companies on preform manufacture. Thanks to this close cooperation, data from the injection molding process can be used just in time to adapt the stretch blow molding process. This makes bottle production faster and more efficient and improves the quality of the finished containers.

Adaptations needed: KHS has the right systems
“With recyclate the color can vary from batch to batch, for instance,” is how Wiese outlines one of the challenges faced. “Darker material absorbs heat better. The lower heating capacity requires less energy. This makes production more efficient yet means that adaptations must be made to the blow molding program on the stretch blow molder.” It is therefore essential that the effects are quantified, he continues. Another challenge is the intrinsic viscosity. “The longer the recyclate is boiled under vacuum, the longer the polymer chains become. This means that the intrinsic viscosity increases and the quality improves. However, this results in additional costs which not everyone is prepared to invest,” Wiese adds. “Here, we have to come up with ways of redistributing the material from uncritical areas – the bottle base in the case of still water – to more critical zones.” Experience shows that manufacturers of premium brands – whose containers have thicker walls – have less cause for adjustment than discounters, where all of the lightweighting options have often been exhausted. This is where recyclate can reach its limits.

In this context a technology developed by KHS in cooperation with inspection technology manufacturer Agr International scores points: Unit Mold Control, a digital, automated control system which regulates the blow stations on the InnoPET Blomax individually. It helps to control material distribution more precisely, reduces variations in the wall thickness by up to 30% and lessens any fluctuations in quality during stretch blow molding. “This is especially relevant when using recycled PET,” explains Frank Haesendonckx, head of Technology at KHS Corpoplast. “Here, the quality of the material can vary, meaning that the lower the preform weight, the greater the fluctuations in material in the bottle and the more unstable it becomes.” During continuous wall thickness inspection the new system identifies any unwanted material displacement and automatically counteracts this, states Haesendonckx. “Unit Mold Control combines weight reduction with bottle stability and is thus one of the many sustainable and effective answers KHS has to the challenges thrown up by the current packaging debate.”

According to Bottles & Shapes™ expert Arne Wiese there are no convincing arguments against the use of recycled PET in beverage bottles. The only relevant difference he sees between virgin PET and recycled material is the slightly darker color. This is a question of sorting, however – and only really visible in water bottles. With other beverages, such as the Beyond Juice bottle developed by KHS which is made entirely of recyclate, the consumer would not even notice the difference once the bottle is filled. As far as the mechanics are concerned, there is nothing to stop companies converting to rPET, providing ideal conditions for the creation of a functioning circular economy.
(KHS GmbH)

Verallia: 2020 First Quarter Results

Verallia: 2020 First Quarter Results  (Company news)

Good start of the year with limited impact from the COVID-19 epidemic:
-1.9% growth in reported revenue
-Organic revenue growth of 4.0%
-23.5% adjusted EBITDA margin, up 103 basis points

-1.9% growth in reported revenue amounting to €645m compared to Q1 2019
-Sustained organicrevenuegrowth of 4.0% compared to Q1 2019
-Adjusted EBITDA growth reaching €151m, up 6.5% compared to Q1 2019 (+9.6% at constant exchange rates and scope)
-Improvement in adjusted EBITDA margin at 23.5%, up 103 basis points compared to Q1 2019
-Reduction in net debt leverage to 2.5x adjusted EBITDA for the last 12 months, compared to 2.6xas of December 31, 2019
-Withdrawal of the 2020 guidance due to the limited visibility linked to the COVID-19 epidemic
-Proposal to pay a dividend per share of €0.85, with payment in cash or in new shares

Verallia reports good results for the first quarter of 2020 with an increase in sales and an improvement in profitability, despite the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on March sales. From the onset of the current health crisis, we were very prompt in our response to ensure the safety of our employees and guarantee business continuity for our customers by keeping all our production sites up and running. I wish to acknowledge and warmly thank all of our employees for their commitment and their spontaneous acts of solidarity. Even though it is now inevitable that this crisis will have a significant impact on the results for the next quarter and the year 2020, our financial strength and our resilient profile will enable us to address the situation with equanimity," commented Michel Giannuzzi, Chairman and CEO Verallia.

Adaptation plans to address the COVID-19 epidemic
Verallia reiterates that, from the outset of the COVID-19 crisis, all necessary measures have been undertaken to guarantee the safety and health of its employees worldwide and to ensure business continuity. Adaptation plans have been implemented at Group and country level to ensure the following priorities are met:
-Employee safety
-Verallia immediately put in place all required health precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus at its production sites. In addition, remote work has been swiftly rolled out in all possible cases.
-Business continuity and production
-As a key supplier to the food industry, the Group has managed to maintain all of its production sites running, adapting its production volumes, and thus to serve its customers to the fullest extent possible. In Northern Europe, Italy and Iberia, the plants continued to operate at a sustained level. France and Latin America have been more affected.

2020 first quarter results
In the first quarter of the year, Verallia recordeda revenue of €645m,compared to €633m in the first quarter of 2019, an increase of 1.9% on a reported basis

The impact of the exchange rates variation was -2.1% over the first quarter (-€13m), primarily linked to the currency depreciation in Latin America, which was considerably more pronounced during the month of March.

At constant exchange rates and scope, revenue increased by 4.0% duringthe first quarter of the year (and by 2.0% excluding Argentina), with a deceleration in March: organic growth at the end of February amounted to +5.9% while it decreased to +0.4% in March, the initial impacts of the COVID-19 crisis only being felt at the end of the quarter. The activity evolution has been slightly negative (-€2.7m) on the quarter despite volumes sold showing a small increase. This can be explained by the higher decline in French sales, where the selling prices and the sales mix are higher than the Group's average.

The Group estimates that close to two-thirds of its consolidated sales are exposed to the off-trade channel, while one-third to the on-trade channel. This percentage varies quite significantly depending on the country and product family.

By segment:
-In Southern and Western Europe, demand levels remained dynamic, particularly for food jars and beer bottles. Italy and Iberia posted positive growth over the quarter. At the beginning of the quarter, activities in France were affected by the national strikes related to the pension reform and by a decline in demand from customers exporting to China. This decline became more pronounced from mid-March onwards due to COVID-19 impact.
-The Northern and Eastern Europe region was driven by the food jars and mineral water markets. Germany, Ukraine and Russia showed positive organic growth in Q1.
-In Latin America, all countries reported positive growth for the quarter. The situation took a downturn from mid-March onwards, particularly in Brazil which is going through a challenging political and health context.

In terms of pricing policy at Group level, sales price increases were more moderate at the start of the year than the previous year and in line with expectations. The weight of Argentina, that is in hyperinflation, is noticeable as the price mix impact amounted to €11m over the quarter.

Adjusted EBITDA grew by 6.5% (+9.6% at constant exchange rates and scope) in the first quarter amounting to €151m. Despite a slightly negative activity impact, the adjusted EBITDA improved thanks to a positive spread1 and a net reduction in cash production costs (Performance Action Plan, PAP) of €8m in the first quarter of 2020. The first operational impacts related to COVID-19 remain insignificant at the end of March. The adjusted EBITDA margin increased by 103 basis points to 23.5%

During the first quarter of the year, Verallia continued its deleveraging. Net debt thus reached €1,574m at the end of March 2020, i.e. 2.5x adjusted EBITDA for the last 12 months, compared to 2.6xas of December 31, 2019. This leverage ratio remains well below the maximum leverage ratio set out in Verallia's Group financing documentation, which is at 5.0x adjusted EBITDA. On March 20, 2020, the Group drew €200m from its €500m Revolving Credit Facility ahead of the upcoming maturities of its "Neu Commercial Papers", the market of which is currently closed for non-investment grade companies in France. In addition, Verallia continues to benefit from strong liquidity2 of €528m as of March 31, 2020.

In order to reinforce its liquidity, Verallia successfully set up an additional €250m Revolving Credit line with a one-year maturity, extendable by six months at the Group's discretion, on April 24, 2020. The syndicate of banks that participated to this new source of financing includes Banco Santander, BNP Paribas, CACIB, CIC, Commerzbank, La Banque Postale, Rabobank and Société Générale.

Verallia: united and responsible
Given its financial strength and its resilience, Verallia does not intend to apply for the financial support offered by the French government (public loans or guarantees, deferrals of tax or social charges payments,…) in order to allow businesses that need them the most to benefit from those financial measures. Only after having used employees' holidays, banked hours or RTT (reduction of working hours) to the highest extent possible did Verallia implement partial unemployment measures, in the most responsible and restricted manner possible.

The management recognizes the remarkable commitment and responsiveness of all the Group's employees, as well as the teams' spontaneous movements of solidarity towards the local communities where the production sites are located, such as donations of hospital equipment, hydroalcoholic gels, protective clothing or masks.

In addition, Michel Giannuzzi, Verallia's CEO, has decided to contribute to the Group's collective effort by foregoing his 2020 variable compensation, which represents 50% of his total annual compensation. All other Executive Committee members also participate in this joint effort by renouncing 15% of their total annual compensation. This amount will be dedicated to additional donations at local level.

In this critical context associated with the COVID-19 epidemic, and as announced in the press release of April 7, the Group considers that its financial guidance for 2020 is no longer valid, given the uncertainty resulting from the depth of the crisis.

Verallia expects a significant impact of the COVID-19 crisis on its activities in the second quarter of 2020, resulting in a significant drop in sales volumes. However, the scale and complexity of this unprecedented health crisis together with the uncertainties concerning the end of such crisis do not, to date, enable the Group to precisely quantify the impact on customers and its activities for the year 2020.

In order to address this situation, Verallia is implementing measures to variabilize costs, to follow very accurately cash and supply chain, and proactively manage all investments. Recurring investments will be maintained at around 8% of annual consolidated revenue, which will be lower than expected, thus leading to an absolute amount of recurring investments lower than forecast. The building of the two strategic investments (construction of a new furnace with two production lines at the Villa Poma site in Italy and at the Azuqueca site in Spain) will be completed by the end of the year and their start-up will take place depending on market needs.


UK: Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I launches Budweiser Zero and Stella Artois Alcohol Free ...  (

... within its no- and low-alcohol portfolio

The AB InBev-owned Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I has announced the addition of two new beers to its no- and low-alcohol portfolio – Budweiser Zero and Stella Artois Alcohol Free.

The company highlighted that the new lines will enable retailers to tap into an alcohol-free beer and cider market that has grown 147% since 2015 and is now worth £77.4 mln a year for the off-trade (Nielsen, year to 28 December 2019).

Stella Artois Alcohol Free has zero alcohol and 60 calories. It follows the launch of Stella Artois Gluten Free in 2018, certified by Coeliac UK.

Meanwhile, the brewer claims that Budweiser Zero, at zero alcohol, zero sugar and 46 calories, offers the same iconic taste of standard Budweiser. Bud Zero will take over the listings formerly held by Bud Prohibition, although it is a different recipe.

The Budweiser Brewing Group already brews alcohol-free beers such as Beck’s Blue – the biggest non-alcoholic brand in the Off-Trade, accounting for 21.4% of all sales, and low alcohol options including Bud Light and Michelob ULTRA, both brewed to 3.5% ABV.

The expansion of its no and low portfolio is part of the company’s ‘Global Smart Drinking Goals’. These include a pledge that 20% of the brewer’s global beer volumes will be low-to-no alcohol by 2025 – alongside deeper investments in programmes that measurably shift social norms and behaviours to decrease the harmful use of alcohol.

Stella Artois Alcohol Free launched in the on-trade earlier this year, with Budweiser Zero set to launch once pubs are re-opened.

Ali Humphrey, Director Stella Artois Europe said: “We’re excited to launch Stella Artois Alcohol Free to the market, the most recent addition to our expanding La Famille Artois. Our Brewmasters have taken 600 years of Belgian brewing heritage and combined it with our best, all-natural ingredients, to create an alcohol-free lager that is bursting with flavour. The result is a pronounced hoppy bitterness and a crisp, clean and refreshing finish – but without a drop of alcohol and 60 calories.”

Elise Dickinson, Marketing Manager at Budweiser added: “At Budweiser we pride ourselves on being the ‘King of Beers’ – and we know that while consumers are increasingly looking to enjoy low and no versions of their favourite products, they won’t compromise on taste. That’s why Budweiser Zero was created using the latest developments in no-alcohol brewing, and following years of taste testing. We are thrilled to add a smooth alcohol-free beer with all the taste but with zero alcohol or sugar, and a low-calorie content, to the Budweiser Family. Now, more people than ever can enjoy a Budweiser beer in any occasion”.


Mexico: Beer supply shortage drives black market prices through the roof  (

With beer production having been deemed a nonessential activity during the coronavirus pandemic, breweries have been shut down since early April. Now Mexico is running out of beer, the Mexico News Daily reported on May 4.

The short supply has driven prices through the roof on the black market, where a six-pack of cold ones can cost up to 300% more than pre-coronavirus prices.

Smugglers on the northern border are bringing in clandestine shipments of beer from the U.S., where production continues.

In southern Mexico, illegal beer runners in Tabasco, where alcohol sales have been prohibited for the past month, recently saw 85 cases of beer meant for resale seized by authorities. The shipment was destroyed by a bulldozer.

Last weekend at least 25 states across Mexico reported beer shortages both in large supermarket chains and corner stores.

As of May 1, the Oxxo chain of convenience stores had inventory for 10 days.

Some areas of the country are under government-mandated dry laws either banning outright the sale of alcohol or limiting the hours during which it can be purchased, but the shortage has imposed de facto dry laws on other regions simply because supplies do not exist.

And in areas where beer is still in supply, prices are soaring. In Tamaulipas, the price of a six-pack has doubled and a case of beer that used to sell for 280 pesos is now going for up to 600 pesos. In Coahuila, prices are up by 40%. In Chihuahua, panic buying and hoarding have exhausted shelves.

In Monterrey and Tijuana, stores are posting signs saying they have no beer.

Beer runners are taking to social media to sell their clandestine wares, which are being trafficked similarly to cocaine and marijuana. Sellers will bring beer to a customer’s door to lower the risk of being caught by police, but purchasers will often pay a 300% premium for the service.

Not only do regular beer drinkers miss out, so too do the government’s coffers as they are no longer collecting beer tax money. In 2019 those revenues amounted to around 1 billion pesos, almost US $41 million.

According to Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography, there were about 65 million regular beer drinkers in 2018, about half the population.


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.

Diageo Board and Executive announcement

Diageo Board and Executive announcement  (Company news)

-Deirdre Mahlan, President Diageo North America, to retire on 30 June 2020
-Debra Crew (photo), non-executive director, to step down from Diageo board and appointed President Diageo North America, effective 1 July 2020

Diageo announces that Deirdre Mahlan, President Diageo North America, will retire on 30 June 2020. Deirdre has had a long and successful career in the industry, firstly at Seagram and then on to Diageo in 2001, where she joined the North America finance team, rising to become Chief Financial Officer of Diageo in 2010, then taking on the role of President Diageo North America in 2015.

Deirdre’s successor will be Debra Crew, who will take up the role of President Diageo North America effective from 1 July 2020. Debra has served as a non-executive director on the Diageo board since April 2019 and is stepping down from her non-executive director position, and from the audit, nomination and remuneration committees of the board, with immediate effect.

Debra is the former president and CEO of Reynolds American, Inc., having previously served as president and chief operating officer and president and chief commercial officer of RJ Reynolds. Before joining Reynolds, Debra spent five years at PepsiCo, where she served as president, North America Nutrition; president, PepsiCo Americas Beverages; and president, Western Europe Region. Prior to PepsiCo, she held positions, from 1997 to 2010, with Kraft Foods, Nestlé S.A., and Mars, Inc. Debra is a graduate of the University of Denver, earned an MBA from the University of Chicago, and previously served as an officer in the United States Army.

Deirdre Mahlan, President Diageo North America, commented: “I am proud and privileged to have enjoyed a long and exciting career in Diageo and its predecessor companies. I have particularly enjoyed my last five years leading the North America business, seeing it grow and prosper, working with my colleagues, in partnership with our key distributors who support and drive our business in this market. It has been an honour to work alongside Ivan and all my colleagues in Diageo over these past 19 years."

Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive, Diageo commented: "Diageo North America is a strong business that has been very ably led by Deirdre since 2015. While we are sad to be losing Deirdre, I know that she leaves a great legacy in the North America business and across Diageo. I am very grateful for her exceptional contribution over many years at Diageo and wish her the very best for her retirement.

I am delighted that Debra has agreed to join us in an executive position to lead the next stage of growth in North America. Debra’s extensive experience in consumer businesses will serve Diageo and North America well as we continue to progress on our ambition to become one of the most trusted and respected consumer products companies in the world.”

Debra Crew commented: "I am excited to join the Diageo executive team. I have thoroughly enjoyed my year as a non-executive director of Diageo. This is a unique opportunity to work for a purpose led company with iconic consumer brands, unparalleled global reach and exciting growth prospects. I am looking forward to leading the Diageo North America team to help drive the achievement of our ambition."
(Diageo Beer Company USA)


The Czech Republic: State to refund excises on unsold beer  (

The Czech Republic parliament passed a bill on April 29 that would refund breweries their excise duties on beer that goes unsold because of the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg Tax reported.

The tax administration will judge refund requests case by case, and the beer will have to be either liquidated or reprocessed.

“We are glad that the finance ministry reacted quickly, and that this measure has been approved,” said Martina Ferencova, executive director of the Czech Association of Breweries and Malthouses.

The legislation is now heading to the president for signature.

With annual per-capita consumption in excess of 140 litres, the Czech Republic boasts the highest beer consumption in the world by volume, according to Ferencova, who spoke with Bloomberg Tax during a phone interview on April 29.

Sales of draft beer cratered after the Czech Republic closed March 14 bars and restaurants as part of emergency measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.

“Breweries are not only impacted by the drop in sales, but the situation is critical for us also in terms of current stocks of draught beer which we cannot sell,” Tomas Mraz, sales director at Asahi-owned Plzensky Prazdroj, the largest brewing group in the Czech Republic, said in an email.

“Liquidation is difficult and expensive, and if we also had to pay excise duty on unsold, liquidated beer, it would be a significant expense for us,” he said.

Plzensky Prazdroj owns four breweries in the Czech Republic: Pilsner Urquell, Gambrinus, Radegast and Velkopopovicky Kozel. Last year, it sold 7.23 million hectolitres of beer on the Czech market.

Denisa Mylbachrova, spokesperson for Molson Coors-owned Pivovary Staropramen, the republic’s second-largest beer producer, welcomed the vote.

“If we had to pay excise duty on beer after expiration, it would mean an additional financial burden for us at a time when we are losing a substantial part of sales,” she said in an email.

According to Mylbachrova, the company’s beer sales have dropped by about a third in connection with the virus crisis.

The standard rate of excise duty on regular draft beer is 320 Czech koruna ($12.81) per hectolitre, or 100 litres.

The amount of beer to be liquidated will reach “hundreds of thousands of hectolitres,” Ferencova said. “For breweries, it is a huge amount of money.”

The concern is how forthcoming the tax administration will be in granting the refund requests, Ferencova said. “We now need the tax administrators to take a realistic approach and to work with us,” she said.


USA: Anheuser-Busch wins latest round of beer wars against Molson  (

A federal appeals court on May 1 struck down a lower court's ruling in favor of brewing giant Molson Coors, determining that Anheuser-Busch can advertise and use packaging implying that its rival beers contain corn syrup, KATU reported.

The order from a three-judge panel on the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals overturns a federal judge's ruling from September in Wisconsin. The judge had ordered Anheuser-Busch, which makes Bud Light, to stop making the corn syrup claims about Miller Lite and other Molson Coors products.

“If Molson Coors does not like the sneering tone of Anheuser-Busch’s ads, it can mock Bud Light in return,” the appeals court ruled. “Litigation should not be a substitute for competition in the market.”

Molson Coors sued its rival in March 2019, saying Anheuser-Busch had spent as much as $30 million on a “false and misleading” campaign, including Super Bowl ads that showed Bud Light knights delivering a barrel of corn syrup to a Miller Lite castle. Cardboard packaging on Bud Light six-packs, 12-packs and 24-packs said “No Corn Syrup” in bold letters and invited customers to visit a web site where it lists its ingredients. Bud Light is brewed with water, barley, rice and hops.

Molson Coors uses corn syrup in the fermentation process for Miller Lite and Coors Lite, but the final product doesn’t contain corn syrup. It argued Anheuser-Busch’s campaign is false, illegal and bad for the industry.

The appeals court said it was up to consumers to decide what is best.

“By choosing a word such as ‘ingredients’ with multiple potential meanings, Molson Coors brought this problem on itself,” the appeals court said. “It is enough for us to hold that it is not ‘false or misleading’ for a seller to say or imply, of a business rival, something that the rival says about itself.”

Whether that “something” is good or bad “is for consumers rather than the judiciary to decide,” the court said.

Anheuser-Busch said in a statement that it was pleased with the decision.

“We have said since the beginning that this lawsuit brought by Molson Coors is baseless," the company said. "Right now our focus is on supporting our employees, our communities, and our business partners during this unprecedented crisis.”

Molson Coors spokesman Martin Maloney said the brewer was disappointed with the ruling.

“We are exploring our options to continue holding Anheuser-Busch accountable," he said.

Anheuser-Busch did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Ironically, Anheuser-Busch, which is owned by Belgium-based Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV, brews some of its beers — including Natural Light, Busch Light and Rolling Rock — with corn syrup. Molson Coors brews many of its beers without corn syrup, including Blue Moon Belgian White and Pilsner Urquell.


France: 10 mln litres of unsold beer will have to be destroyed in France – ...  (

... Union of French Brewers

The union for French breweries says 10 million litres of beer will have to be destroyed due to the closure of bars and restaurants under the coronavirus lockdown, putting even more pressure on business owners already struggling with the uncertainty of when they will be able to reopen, Yahoo News UK reported on May 6.

"The sudden closing of restaurants, cafés, bars, tourism and the cancellation of festivals and trade fairs means at least 10 million litres of beer, mostly in barrels, is going to waste," the organisation Brasseurs de France said in a statement on May 5.

"At the end of winter, brasseries stocked up on beer for the coming season, which they haven't been able to sell," it added, citing the lockdown that came into force on 17 March.

The reason it needs to be destroyed, is that the beer in fashion at the moment is unpasteurised, which makes it more fragile, contrary to the classic blond beers.

"This type of beer is full of hops, and if you keep it too long, over two or three months, the taste and aroma disappears.

"The destruction of the beer will have a considerable economic impact on business owners," the union said, calling on the government to step in and help out financially.

There has been an outpouring of reaction on social media from French beer enthusiasts.

Although 10 million litres appears a drop in the ocean compared to the 22.5 million hectolitres of beer forecast to be produced this year, it will still cost several million euros to an industry already severely impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.

According to a survey of 300 union members at the end of April, around 25 percent of breweries said they were forced to close, their activity hampered by the lockdown. Seventy percent said they had lost half of their turnover or more since 15 March.

Among their requests, Brasseurs de France is calling for the government to cancel certain taxes linked to the running of their business and production costs in 2020, the extension of partial unemployment benefits already in place, and a reduction of the goods and services tax.

They are also calling for logistical help to destroy the stock, similar to a request made by wine-makers.

"Without government help, hundreds of brasseries risk closing definitively, taking with them thousands of jobs, directly or indirectly, a real loss for what is a rich tradition in France," Mattias Fekl, president of Brasseurs de France union told BFMTV on May 5.


Canada: Molson Coors Canada launches new Coors Slice Lime flavoured lager  (

Molson Coors Canada has announced the addition of a new flavoured lager to its Coors Light brand portfolio, the Canadian Beer News reported on May 8.

Coors Slice Lime (4.2% abv) is described as having “the refreshing taste of Coors we love with just a hint of lime,” and started rolling out last month along with the returning Coors Slice Orange, which was originally released last summer.

Coors Slice Lime and Coors Slice Orange are available now in 355 ml and 473 ml cans at beer retailers across Canada. They are also featured in the Coors Summer Mixer pack which features 4 x 355 ml cans each of both flavours along with Coors Light.


Belgium: Brussels Beer Project to invest EUR6 mln in a new brewery in Brussels  (

The brewers of the Brussels Beer Project (BBP) are investing €6 million in a new brewery in Anderlecht. The company announced this on May 8, The Brussels Times reported.

The new brewery will have an annual capacity of 35,000 hectolitres and will allow BBP to brew all its beers in Brussels. Currently, BBP has a small brewery in Rue Dansaert in Brussels, while two-thirds of its production occurs at a partner brewery in Limburg.

The Dansaert site will remain operational but will shift focus onto experiments on smaller brews, something which has become a characteristic of the brewery.

The brewery aims to be self-sufficient in terms of electricity, through the use of solar energy, while the hot water generated by the production will be used to heat the building. The new project will also feature a garden of almost 1,000 square meters and a taproom to accommodate more than 25,000 people a year, the BBP officials say.

Work on the new brewery will start in September 2020, which is expected to open doors one year later. The company will double its workforce at the same time, aiming to eventually employ 50 people.

The investment fund Invest for Jobs is contributing €2.6 million and a loan has been taken out with BNP Paribas Fortis for the rest, the Brussels company announced on May 8.

Like many of its colleagues, the Brussels brewery has felt the change wake of the coronavirus crisis, which saw them halt production until the end of April. The company has developed channels to increase online sales, which currently account for 15% of the business. “However, this is far from compensating for what we were doing in the hotel and catering industry,” said co-founder Sébastien Morvan.

Currently, restaurants and cafés have been closed since March 14. The National Security Council is due to examine the situation with a view to a possible reopening on 8 June, as part of the phasing out of current lockdown measures.


UK: Adnams could double production of famous low-alcohol beer Ghost Ship  (

Southwold brewer Adnams could double production of its famous Ghost Ship drink by 2022 - meaning low-alcohol beer could make up 15% of its production, the East Anglian Daily Times reported on May 7.

Ghost Ship 0.5% currently makes up 7% of what the firm makes.

But Fergus Fitzgerald, Adnams head brewer, said that after it started making the drink in June 2018: “We knew there was going to be a market but we didn’t anticipate it growing as quickly as it did.”

It has become the firm’s fourth best selling beer and received widespread critical acclaim.

“It’s just kept growing really,” said Mr Fitzgerald. “We expanded the kit that we put in 2019 because the sales had just gone way ahead of where we thought we’d be at that stage.

“On the current projections, we’ll still need to expand the kit again next year.

“It might well get to 15% in 2022.”

Mr Fitzgerald added: “There are a lot of reasons why this type of beer is popular. Some people are more concerned with their lifestyle and they’re trying to cut down on their alcohol content.

“People found that it just tastes like a normal beer. So you can get the enjoyment of the flavour and the experience of having a beer without having the after effects.

“It’s won a couple of gold medals and a few silvers here and there but the sales are really what drives it at the moment.

“It’s obviously changed in the past few weeks but up until two months ago, the beer we got emailed about most often was the Ghost Ship 0.5% because people were just delighted to be able to find a low-alcohol beer that still tasted like beer.

The beer is brewed as normal, but then a de-alcoholiser is used to strip most of the alcohol out.

Under high pressure, the beer is pushed through a filter that only allows alcohol and water particles to pass through - leaving the original beer but without such a high alcohol content.

The entire process is done at a low temperature to keep the beer’s flavour.

Mr Fitzgerald said this way of producing low-alcohol beer was uncommon: “I think it’s the only large scale kit in the UK.

“For me it was key to let the beer ferment as normal and get all of those flavours before taking the alcohol away, to get it to taste like normal Ghost Ship.”

The company also sells low-alcohol wines and works with a brewery in Birmingham to produce a low-alcohol cider.


Belgium: Trappist monks restart production of Westvleteren beer  (

Belgium is only cautiously beginning to emerge from its coronavirus lockdown and its bars and restaurants won't open until next month at least. But the prayers of a lucky few drinkers have nevertheless been answered, with the release of a new batch of perhaps the world's best and most exclusive beer, AFP reports.

The monks of the Trappist Abbey of Saint Sixtus only sell their holy brew by appointment, to individual consumers, and until Thursday, May 14 their outlet was closed.

Belgium has had one of the highest per capita death tolls from the global coronavirus pandemic in the world, and rules for social distancing have been strict.

St Benedict's rules, however, say the monks must work to support themselves, and the Trappist Westvleteren beer is regularly voted among the world's best by fans.

On May 14, aficionados who reserved a slot online - and were willing to observe safety rules - were able to pull up to the monastery and pick up their quota.

Brother Godfried, of the order, explained the rules.

"At the red light they have to stop, so that there are only two or three people active here where the transaction takes place," he told AFP.

"We also work without cash and there's plexiglass."

Flavor trends: Winning with Words and Triggering Taste Buds

Flavor trends: Winning with Words and Triggering Taste Buds  (Company news)

Innova Market Insights’ latest report on global flavor trends in the food and beverage industry highlights how it is no longer just about tantalizing the taste buds with a range of adventurous, innovative and reimagined flavors, but increasingly about how flavor use can complement and develop the storytelling behind products and brands. In fact, 56% of consumers in a global survey agreed that stories around a brand influenced their purchasing decisions.

Consumers are increasingly captivated by the stories behind products and brands, and flavors have a key role to play in this, making Storytelling the first of Innova Market Insights’ Top Ten Flavor Trends for 2020. Other important trends include the rise in plant-based alternatives, wellness associations, macronutrient influences and flavors supporting textural developments.

Innova Market Insights Top Five Flavor Trends for 2020 are:
1. Storytelling
Increased consumer interest in the origin of their food and beverage products is resulting in ingredient provenance proving its worth as a key element of brand storytelling. Over 40% of global consumers wanted to know the story around a brand because they wanted to learn where the ingredients were from, according to an Innova Market Insights survey. Storytelling strategies include a focus on authentic tastes, flavors and recipes, as well as uniqueness through ingredient provenance and artisan/small batch processing.

2. The Power of Plants
The use of plant ingredients and plant-based recipes is soaring across a range of food and drinks categories, with an Innova Consumer Survey finding that 3 in 5 global consumers are increasingly incorporating plant ingredients into their diets. Plant ingredients can provide a healthy and colorful touch, with the use of a multitude of vegetable flavors for a healthy halo, including on-trend purple potato as part of the purple vegetables trend.

3. Wellness Flavors
Pursuit of healthier lifestyles is not only driving the plant-based trend, but also the demand for flavors targeting more general wellness, both mental and physical. Botanical flavors are increasingly popular for relaxation, stress reduction and sleep enhancement, featuring ingredients such as lavender, CBD/cannabis and turmeric. Floral flavored drinks increasingly have mood associations, being seen as potentially relaxing or energizing.

4. Macronutrient Challenge
Consumer perceptions of macronutrients in relation to health are also evolving. There is a need to maintain taste profiles while reducing sugar, calorie and/or fat content, with sugar seen as a particular priority. Active ingredients are also impacting product flavors, with high protein options, such as cheese, seeds and nuts, as well as the association of ‘source of vitamins’ claims with fruity flavors.

5. Tapping into Texture
Consumers are increasingly recognizing the influence of texture on eating and drinking experiences, with 7 out of 10 global consumers agreeing that texture makes food and beverages a more interesting experience. Meanwhile, 6 out of 10 said that texture claims influenced their purchasing decisions. As part of this, there is growing interest in flavors that create a richer texture experience, such as honeycomb and toffee, while the industry continues to experiment with nuts in a wide variety of applications, including crunchy flavors and smooth bases.

The other top trends identified by Innova Market Insights are:
6. Hello Hybrids
7. All Time Favorites
8. Triggering the Taste Buds
9. Brown Flavors
10. Flavors Unlimited
(Innova Market Insights)

Coca-Cola CEO: 'We've never been better positioned than we are today

Coca-Cola CEO: 'We've never been better positioned than we are today  (Company news)

The Coca-Cola Company is taking swift actions both to adapt to near-term challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic and to position the business for long-term success, Chairman and CEO James Quincey told analysts recently.

The company, in reporting first quarter 2020 earnings, said it is “recalibrating” its business strategy in real time and working with bottlers and customers to address “seismic” shifts in consumer behavior across all channels.

“A culture of agility is key,” Quincey said. “We’ve never been better positioned than we are today to manage through this situation and come out even stronger.”

Quincey shared several actions the Coca-Cola system is taking to weather the coronavirus crisis, including partnering with grocery customers to simplify supply chains and prioritize delivery and promotion of core brands and SKUs like multipacks as consumers adjust to stay-at-home lifestyles and make fewer stock-up trips.

“With shoppers spending less time browsing, it’s crucial we work to minimize out of stocks and maximize share of visible inventory,” Quincey said, adding that the company is reshaping its innovation pipeline to focus on scalable products and packaging that meet evolving consumer needs.

To support the recent upsurge in the e-commerce channel – which has doubled in some countries as more people order necessities for home delivery – the Coca-Cola system is concentrating on package sizes that are fit-for-purpose for online sales, boosting investment in digital promotions, increasing in-app visibility with e-delivery grocers and piloting digitally-enabled fulfillment methods.

The company also is supporting independent, mom-and-pop retailers through efforts like the Small Trade Activity Recovery (STAR) coalition in Brazil, and helping foodservice customers adapt to a drive-through/carry-out model by offering bottle/can availability as a temporary alternative to fountain drinks and supporting the National Restaurant Association’s Great American Takeout movement.

The health and safety of Coca-Cola system employees remains the company’s top priority in the current phase of the COVID-19 crisis, Quincey said. Nearly all office-based employees – about 14,000 of them – are working remotely, and associates in manufacturing and distribution facilities are using enhanced hygiene and sanitation practices.

“Through these practices, we’re ensuring our system associates are well and our products are safe, and that they’re delivered safely to our customers and consumers,” Quincey said.

Together, the Coca-Cola system and The Coca-Cola Foundation are committed to contributing more than $100 million to support COVID-19 relief efforts around the world, with an initial focus on community programs and providing critical medical supplies and equipment to front-line healthcare workers. Read about specific actions Coca-Cola teams around the world are taking to support communities.

“We are working collaboratively with governments at all levels – federal, state and local – to help steer the nation, and the world, toward a full recovery,” Quincey said. “We are all confident that we, and the communities we proudly call home, can rebound if we all work together for a better future.”

‘Temporary But Significant Impact’
The Coca-Cola Company was off to a solid start in the first quarter, Quincey noted, with volume up 3% through February, excluding China. As shelter-at-home orders and social distancing began to take effect around the world, the business took a hit.

The company expects a “temporary but significant impact” on its second quarter results, Quincey said, noting that volume is down approximately 25% globally so far in April, driven by sharp declines in away-from-home channels, which account for about half of the company’s revenue.

China is providing early learnings about what Coca-Cola can expect in markets as they graduate from the outbreak phase to a time of gradual re-opening and ultimately a return to a “new normal.” All Coca-Cola plants are back in operation, employees have returned to the company’s Shanghai offices, and the business is showing encouraging signs as outlets reopen.

“Undoubtedly, there will ups and down in the coming months,” Quincey said. “But, with our bottling partners, we are clear on what needs to be done – both now and in the future. I have never been more proud to be part of the Coca-Cola system...nor indeed more optimistic. Coca-Cola has a history of leadership, of resilience, and of doing the right thing… and this time is no different.”
(The Coca-Cola Company)

SIG wins major contract in Germany

SIG wins major contract in Germany   (Company news)

SIG has been chosen by Hochwald, one of the largest German dairy cooperatives, as its preferred partner for a new dairy production site.

Photo: SIG will play a vital role in one of the largest European greenfield projects in the field of UHT milk, spearheaded by Hochwald, one of the largest German dairy cooperatives. As part of the mega project, Hochwald will build a new plant with a capacity of more than 800 million litres of milk per annum.

Hochwald's project includes the construction of a new plant with capacity to process more than 800 million litres of milk per annum. Milk will be processed and sold as UHT milk, cream, condensed milk and flavoured milk for the European market and for export to China, the Middle East and Africa, starting in 2022.
SIG will supply 15 new aseptic filling machines for the new plant, which will be based in Mechernich, Germany. SIG's flexible filling technology will enable Hochwald to offer a variety of aseptic packaging solutions in five different carton formats, with a wide range of volumes, closures and straw solutions.

Thorsten Oberschmidt, COO at Hochwald, commented: "Our close cooperation with SIG will make a significant contribution to our major European greenfield UHT project, providing the most flexible and innovative packaging solutions of their kind. In a competitive market environment, efficiency and flexibility in our production is as crucial as it's ever been."

Martin Herrenbrück, President & General Manager Europe at SIG, commented: "We are honoured to be selected as a preferred supplier by one of the leading dairies in Europe. Our strong partnership with Hochwald started back in 1994 and to this day we continue to adapt and change together, creating a benchmark for the optimised filling of UHT milk."
(SIG Combibloc GmbH)

Tecnocap: Gateway to Future

Tecnocap: Gateway to Future  (Company news)

Tecnocap, a global player of metal packaging, announces its entry into India and Far East and signs the joint venture with the Indian producer of metal and plastic packaging, Oricon Enterprise. According to the agreement, the two partner companies have set up the Newco “Tecnocap Oriental Pvt.” based in Mumbai, controlled at 75% of the share capital by the Tecnocap Group through the acquisition of the Metal Lug business of the Indian partner Oricon, which will hold the remaining 25% of the Company.

“This joint venture marks our full entry into the Indian and Far Eastern markets and represents a key stage in our international growth strategy, achieved through business diversification and expansion towards high growth markets”, commented Michelangelo Morlicchio chief executive, shareholder and founder of Tecnocap who added: “Beyond seizing the great opportunities for market growth, this alliance gives us the chance to exploit mutual synergies to operate successfully thanks to the highest quality products, services and logistics.”

Founded in Italy in 1993, Tecnocap is a Global Metal Packaging company operating in the industrial production of metal closures for glass and plastic containers, aluminum aerosol cans and bottles as well as capping machines with over 75% of its sales volume generated abroad between Europe and North America.

The Group expects to achieve a turnover of around 180 million Euro in the current year. through eight production sites (Italy, Spain, Czech Republic, Ukraine and the United States), three R&D centers and over 900 employees. Moreover, a significant increase in operating margins is expected as an effect of ongoing investments and the launch of several industrial projects for the recovery of production efficiency.

Tecnocap is absolutely focused on Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Digital Transformation and in 2019 the company published its first Integrated Report for the year 2018. The joint venture in India is part of the Group’s international growth strategy through a consolidated M&A policy. The company management is also evaluating further opportunities in innovative businesses and emerging market areas.
(Tecnocap S.p.A.)

82% drop in beer sales as Covid-19 lockdown hits craft breweries hardest

82% drop in beer sales as Covid-19 lockdown hits craft breweries hardest   (Company news)

Results released recently from a survey of small independent breweries across the UK show on average beer sales are down by 82% since the outbreak of Covid-19, with many businesses struggling to survive.

8 out of 10 brewers do not believe the Government is doing enough to support them with more than half (54%) of the UK’s independent breweries being unable to access any Government support. Nearly a third (29%) are now considering redundancies.

Despite beer production being part of the food supply chain – meaning brewers are designated key workers – with pubs, bars and restaurants closed the main route to market for independent breweries has been entirely cut-off, leading to 65% of breweries stopping production altogether.

The survey of 282 UK breweries by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) reveals the devastating impact of the Covid-19 lockdown measures on one of the UK’s most successful manufacturing industries.

“Unlike the Global beer brands who can supply supermarkets in great volume, small independent breweries sell the majority of their beer through pubs, bars and restaurants, meaning the lockdown measures have hit them much harder. While many have launched local delivery services or online shops to try to stay afloat, the increase in online sales is a drop in the ocean compared to the overall decrease their beer sales have seen” said James Calder, SIBA’s Chief Executive.

“Pubs, bars and restaurants have been receiving help from the Government, but none of the same schemes apply to our small breweries who saw their sales fall off a cliff almost overnight. They urgently need a package of measures to keep them going otherwise many won’t be able to reopen.”

The survey shows that 70% of breweries are offering new delivery or takeaway services in order to help supply their local communities with quality independent craft beer, with around 61% of those breweries now offering free delivery to local beer lovers.

SIBA are calling on Government to relax licensing laws to allow the 1 in 4 breweries who don’t have the relevant licenses in place to deliver beer direct to consumers in a variety of ways. The trade association say this should come as part of a targeted package of support for breweries and the brewery supply chain to match the level received by pubs, including making the grants and exemptions from business rates offered to pubs applicable to breweries.

In addition beer duty payments, which are often a brewers single biggest cost which account for 35% of turnover should be deferred by Government to help weather this storm.

The trade association is also working with beer consumer group CAMRA on the ‘Pulling Together’ initiative, which links independent breweries and pubs offering beer delivery and takeaway services with beer lovers across the UK.

The survey of 282 UK small independent brewers by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) was conducted from 9-14 April 2020 and shows:

Negative impact on the industry
-82% drop in beer sales amongst independent breweries
-65% of breweries have stopped brewing altogether, a further 31% saying it has slowed, 3% saying it has stayed the same, and just 1% saying it has increased
-81% of breweries believe the Government is not doing enough to support independent breweries
-54% breweries have not been able to access any of the existing Government assistance
-29% of breweries considering redundancies

Independent breweries adapting to survive
-70% of breweries offering new delivery or takeaway services
-61% of breweries now offering free local delivery to their communities
-55% increase in online beer sales
(SIBA Society of Independent Brewers)

Symrise continues to grow in challenging market environment

Symrise continues to grow in challenging market environment  (Company news)

— Sales up 8.0 % to € 917.1 million
— Excellent contribution to growth by ADF/IDF Group following acquisition in 2019
— Organic growth at 2.3 %, adjusted for portfolio and exchange rate effects
Symrise confident for the fiscal year, targets through to the end of 2025 confirmed

The Symrise Group remains on track for growth in the fiscal year 2020. In the first quarter, sales were up by 8.0 % to € 917.1 million (Q1 2019: € 848.8 million). All segments contributed to this positive development and posted gains despite the challenging global economic conditions under Covid-19. In organic terms, sales were up 2.3 % after strong comparative figures in the prior-year quarter.

"The Covid-19 pandemic is proving a tough test for the global economy. Symrise has put measures in place at all of its locations to provide employees and partners with optimal protection against the virus. We continue to be fully operational and are making every effort to supply our customers with the reliability they are used to. In this context, our employees' flexibility and enormous commitment play a decisive role," said Dr Heinz-Jürgen Bertram, CEO of Symrise AG. "This crisis again underscores the resilience and balance of our business model. With our broad range of product solutions for foods and beverages, personal care and hygiene, we serve especially in these times the needs of everyday life. In addition, we are demonstrating social responsibility by using our technological skills and resources to produce disinfectants by the ton and deliver them free of charge to municipalities for use in public institutions."

Scent & Care with strong demand for fragrance products and menthol
The Scent & Care segment, specializing in fragrances and personal care, achieved total sales of € 368.4 million. In reporting currency, this represents a slight increase as compared to the strong prior-year quarter (Q1 2019: € 367.3 million). On an organic basis, the segment increased sales by 1.2 %.

The Fragrance division reported a significant increase in sales, with particularly strong demand in the EAME and Latin America regions. The application areas Fine Fragrances, Consumer Fragrances and Oral Care continued to achieve good sustainable growth.

In the Aroma Molecules division, sales came in slightly below the high level of the prior year, mainly as a result of weaker demand for fragrances. In the previous year, the application area benefited from soaring raw material prices fueled by raw material shortages. Sales in the first three months of the fiscal year 2020 received a boost from menthol applications, especially in the regions North America and Latin America.

Sales in the Cosmetic Ingredients division developed moderately as compared to the previous year, especially in the North America and Asia/Pacific regions. This reflected both the high comparative figures as well as a momentarily reduced demand for UV protection products. In addition, sales in China temporarily lagged behind the forecast levels. At the same time, Cosmetic Ingredients posted in the EAME and Latin America regions high single- and double-digit growth rates.

Flavor grows with savory products and beverage applications
In the Flavor segment, which supplies flavor ingredients for foods and beverages, sales increased by 2.2 % to € 322.6 million (Q1 2019: € 315.6 million). Adjusted for exchange rate effects and after a strong prior-year quarter, organic growth in the segment amounted to 1.6 %.

In EAME, the highest growth rates were recorded in applications for beverages and savory products, especially in the national markets in Germany, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and South Africa. Sales in applications for sweets were slightly below the prior-year quarter.

In the Asia/Pacific region, sales growth in the beverages application area was in the high single-digit percentage range and reached even double-digit growth rates in savory applications. The national markets of Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam and Bangladesh developed particularly pleasing. By contrast, the currently weaker demand in China had a negative impact on the overall positive regional development.

In North America, the application areas for beverages and sweet products were slightly below the strong prior-year level. The savory business achieved solid growth with regional and global customers.

Business in Latin America developed very dynamically and achieved high single-digit percentage growth for sweet products. At the same time, sales for beverage and savory products grew in the double-digit percentage range. Demand for beverage application products was particularly strong in the national markets of Brazil and Uruguay.

Nutrition with strong growth in pet food
In the Nutrition segment, which includes Diana (food, pet food and probiotics applications) and the activities of ADF/IDF, sales increased by 36.2 % to € 226.1 million (Q1 2019: € 165.9 million). ADF/IDF contributed € 52.5 million to total segment sales in the period under review. Acquired in 2019, ADF/IDF continues to meet all expectations. The integration is well on track and the Group will continue opening up new opportunities to drive future growth in the segment. Adjusted for portfolio and exchange rate effects, organic growth amounted to a very good 6.1 % in the period under review.

Demand in the pet food business again showed a very pleasing double-digit percentage gain in organic terms, with dynamic growth continuing especially in the Latin America and Asia/Pacific regions.

Sales in the application area food developed moderately in the first quarter. The Latin America region delivered strong results, above all in the national markets in Chile and Brazil.

The probiotic business achieved organic growth in the double-digit percentage range. The North America and Asia/Pacific regions developed particularly dynamically.

Confident for the current fiscal year
Symrise continues to be fully operational worldwide and has sustained supply capability. Due to its global presence, its expanded portfolio and broad customer base, the Group considers itself to be robust and reliably positioned even in this demanding market environment. Symrise expects that the Covid-19 crisis will temporarily change consumer behavior in parts and lead to a shift in the portfolio. A large number of the products that are currently in greater demand address essential daily needs in connection with nutrition, personal care and hygiene.

After a solid start into the year, Symrise remains confident for the current fiscal year. While the development and impact of Covid-19 is difficult to assess at present, the Group continues to expect to grow faster than the relevant market, supported by the very diversified competencies, in the course of the year.

The longer term goals until the end of 2025 remain in effect. Symrise aims to increase its sales to € 5.5 – € 6 billion. The Company intends to achieve this increase through annual organic growth of 5–7 % (CAGR) and additional targeted acquisitions.
(Symrise AG)

Proactive discontinuation management: KHS ensures long-term line operation

Proactive discontinuation management: KHS ensures long-term line operation  (Company news)

-Holistic data management for fast reaction times
-New systems and solutions and compatible components shorten downtimes
-Users profit from increased machine efficiency thanks to new technological parts

Supplier component discontinuation offensive: with this proactive service the KHS Group prevents costly machine downtimes at beverage plants and safeguards the long service lives of its filling and packaging machinery. With the availability of significant components becoming ever shorter, KHS’ discontinuation management scheme makes sure plant equipment stays up and running. This topic is gaining in importance in our digital age, where electronic components have shorter product life cycles. KHS not only brings its systems into line with the state of the art; operators also benefit from increased machine efficiency thanks to the use of new technologies.

Photo: The KR C2 controller for KUKA palletizing robots will only be available until 2024. KHS is already preparing itself and its customers for the necessary machine conversion.

A supplier’s component has undergone extensive further development; modified legislation calls for technical changes to be made: KHS Service is proactively tackling the problem of supplier components no longer being available and having to be replaced by new solutions. “We support our partners with our knowledge of any technical changes required to make sure that machinery continues to function and production runs smoothly at beverage bottling plant,” states Klaus Thatenhorst, head of the Standards Department at KHS. “By replacing the necessary components in good time, we ensure that our machines have long service lives and are thus sustainable.”

1,700 discontinuations in 2019 alone
KHS is able to react fast to any changes thanks to its holistic system of data management. Through this the systems supplier always knows which part on which machine belonging to which customer is likely to be affected by a discontinuation. This shortens response times should new components be needed. This is especially relevant when modifications have to be made to the machine’s engineering. In 2019 1,700 discontinuation solutions had to be found. Half of these required much more than a simple replacement, with intensive technical work necessary.

So that it is better prepared for the possible discontinuation of system parts, KHS is in regular close contact with its suppliers. It is already common knowledge, for instance, that robot manufacturer KUKA will only be supplying its current KR C2 controller until 2024; this has an impact on two series of KHS palletizers, among other machinery. The Dortmund engineering company is thus preparing itself and its customers for the pending conversion well in advance. The KHS Group is also able to offer fast and flexible systems and solutions for short-term discontinuations. Its parts management system stocks replacements for as long as possible for precisely this purpose.

Replacements for greater line efficiency
This may all initially sound like an expensive and time-consuming undertaking for the bottler yet it yields great benefits on several counts. By changing components quickly, the systems provider avoids unplanned downtimes over a longer period of time caused by the failure of a part no longer available. Furthermore, beverage producers can sometimes even improve line efficiency by installing new replacement components and at the same time carry out other useful upgrades. When converting a machine KHS Service not only removes and replaces discontinued components but also takes them back and reworks them.

In our digital day and age discontinuation management is an issue which is becoming increasingly important. While mechanical parts such as gear motors are usually available for up to ten years, according to the German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) some electronic components last just two years. Accordingly, the number of replacements for comparable parts required as a result of discontinuation is already currently increasing at shorter and shorter intervals.
(KHS GmbH)



The KATZ Group and Germany's doodling king Walter Hanel cooperate for more creativity

In times of Corona everyone is looking for ways to avoid boredom in the first place. An excellent employment opportunity is the doodle coaster - a game as varied and variable as creativity itself.

Doodling is better than you think - and makes you smarter than you thought. Science has given a name to the incidental drawings that are created in schools, lecture halls or meetings: Doodles. Psychologists from the University of Sydney equipped young people in psychotherapy with pen and paper. The result: scribbling reduces stress, promotes concentration and even brings out the unconscious.

Germany's doodling king is Walter Hanel. Since he found the German "Beer Coaster Queen" - The KATZ Group - nothing stands in the way of the triumphant procession of the doodle coaster as a game and also as an employment opportunity (if it is not to be the smartphone). The doodle coaster not only allows you to enjoy the benefits of doo-dling. According to Walter Hanel, it is also an ideal tool and toy for more creativity, com-munication and cooperation between young and old. It is a reminiscence of the old slate tablet - and therefore really nice and retro.

The beverage coaster, a quasi "gastronomic cultural asset", meets the impression of a blackboard, chalk and a sponge as a doodle coaster. Everything is practically packed in a small slipcase. The chalk can be used to write, paint or simply doodle on the twelve black-painted doodle coasters. If you like, you can draw your own tic-tac-toe and play alone. Walter Hanel, successful book and game author had the idea for the doodle coaster in a restaurant: "I saw how a family with two children fell completely silent be-cause everyone sat at the restaurant table bent over their smartphones. It was a sad scene that I wanted to resolve," he recalls. The beverage coasters in front of him on the table inspired him – the Internet research led him to The KATZ Group. There he found the right product, a 300-year-old company history that impressed him, and a team that inspired him: "The materials for the beverage coasters are pure spruce wood and water, and KATZ is also a role model in terms of sustainability in production."

With Olaf Müller, Walter Hanel had a contact person at The KATZ Group who immediate-ly set product development in motion: "We quickly developed a solution for coating our groundwood board to meet the demands on the doodle coasters. Black paint and a special varnish result in a finish that allows scribbling with chalk and cleaning with a dry sponge," explains the KATZ Sales Manager. According to Müller, the raw material of the doodle lid does not differ from that of the beverage coaster: "Groundwood pulp board from KATZ has been produced in the middle of the Black Forest for more than 100 years. It consists of thinning wood, which the company obtains from a maximum distance of 200 km, natural starch and water." A closed-loop recycling system, a sophisticated heat recovery system and a closed water cycle show that the subsidiary of the Koehler Paper Group from Oberkirch not only has an idea of, but also a strategy for sustainability.

For Walter Hanel, who has already placed a successful game on the market with "Im Kritzeln eine 1" (engl.: Number one in doodling), the doodle coaster is the slate tablet of the 21st century - but with more charm, creative potential and in a new guise: "On the back of the card, impulses can be written which are then converted into doodles – a wonderfully playful combination of natural material, learned format and an invitation to become creative. Scribbling as such defies any evaluation from the outset and is particu-larly fun for the children, as we have found in tests in schools and kindergartens." And: The doodle coaster is so much fun that even the smartphone can be left alone for a while.
(Katz GmbH & Co. KG)

Tethered caps: firmly attached to the bottle

Tethered caps: firmly attached to the bottle  (Company news)

Tethered caps – caps which remain firmly attached to the bottle once it is opened and also during use – will become part of day-to-day life for consumers in the EU in approximately four years. This is due to an EU directive the aim of which is to reduce the number of caps which are discarded, littering nature. This may sound straightforward on paper, but it is presenting manufacturers with new challenges. ALPLA now presents its innovative solutions in the area of tethered caps.

Photo: The Soul model - With this version, the cap can be bent back to an angle of approximately 160 degrees when opened and attached to the thread with a small pin. This fixing in place prevents the cap from springing back, allow the consumer to enjoy their drink undisturbed. This cap is available for bottle mouth type 1810.

In June 2019, the European Union published Directive 2019/904 on the reduction of the impact of certain plastic products on the environment. Among other things, this calls for a circular approach to be taken to dealing with single-use beverage packaging made of plastic and in particular the packaging caps, as these often end up in the environment as separate waste. The directive requires the lids and caps of bottles and composite packaging with a capacity of up to three litres to remain firmly tethered to the containers for as long as they are used. The EU member states are required to implement corresponding regulations by July 2024 at the latest.

New solutions needed
The statutory requirements mean the manufacturers are having to have a rethink, as the new caps have to be compatible with the existing types of bottle mouth on the one hand, while meeting the consumers’ need for a practical, convenient and high-quality solution on the other. Until now, though, cap design has both literally and figuratively been ‘detached’ from the actual packaging itself. It has been guided by the standards applicable for off-the-shelf screw caps and pressure caps. But now individual packaging designs have to be taken into account too, in order to keep the solution user-friendly. This means entirely new cap models need to be developed.

Cap solutions from ALPLA
The Relax and Soul designs now being offered by ALPLA meet the requirements made in terms of sustainable and functional cap solutions. The following applies in both cases:
1. No additional material is needed for their manufacture compared with conventional caps.
2. The caps remain firmly tethered to the beverage packaging for the entire life cycle from manufacture to disposal and do not therefore generate any separate waste.
3. There is no need for technical modifications to or additional investments in the existing bottling lines.
4. They can be used on various packaging sizes.
(Alpla-Werke Alwin Lehner GmbH & Co. KG)

SIG Combibloc: Strong revenue growth and cash generation

SIG Combibloc: Strong revenue growth and cash generation  (Company news)

First quarter 2020 highlights
-Core revenue up 8.4% at constant currency; up 8.3% as reported
-Adjusted EBITDA margin 21.3% (Q1 2019: 23.6%): underlying improvement more than offset by negative currency impact
-Adjusted net income €12.9 million (Q1 2019: €29.1 million)
-Free cash flow significantly higher
-Full year guidance maintained at present in an uncertain environment

Rolf Stangl (photo), CEO of SIG Combibloc, said: “Like all companies, we have faced unprecedented challenges due to the Covid-19 crisis. The health and safety of all employees has been – as ever – our priority throughout this period. We implemented a pandemic preparedness plan early on to protect our employees and prevent infections, with a coordinated network of global and regional task forces. Rigorous precautionary measures included enhanced hygiene standards, social distancing, strict travel restrictions and a ban on visitors at our sites. To ensure supply continuity, we built up safety inventories at all levels, from raw materials through to finished goods. As a result of the measures taken, all our factories continued production in the quarter without interruption. This enabled us to continue supporting our customers in delivering essential food and beverages to consumers. I should like to express my gratitude to all our employees - and particularly those working in our production plants - who have made this possible. “

All regions contributed to growth in the first quarter. In EMEA, core revenue growth at constant currency of 3.1% reflected the ongoing benefit of new customer wins and filler placements in Europe. March saw an increase in orders as our customers responded to hoarding by consumers. In addition, Covid-19 lockdowns in European countries have resulted in higher at-home consumption.

In APAC, sales in China were stable compared with a very strong Q1 2019. The prohibition on movement during the Chinese New Year resulted in a significant loss of the traditional gifting business. However, many customers stocked up during the quarter in view of uncertainties around future measures against the spread of Covid-19. In South East Asia sales were affected by reduced economic activity in markets where lockdowns occurred. In addition, some customers entered the year with relatively high stocks. Growth in the APAC region was augmented by the consolidation of Visy Cartons, acquired in November 2019.

The Americas registered a strong performance with a continuation of the positive trends from last year, including buoyant sales to dairy customers in Mexico and the deployment and ramping up of new fillers in Brazil.

EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA
Adjusted EBITDA was slightly lower at €83.7 million reflecting the impact of the depreciation of key currencies, notably the Brazilian Real and the Thai Baht, against the Euro. The adjusted EBITDA margin was 21.3% (Q1 2019: 23.6%). Excluding the impact of currency, the adjusted EBITDA margin was 26.2%, reflecting a strong top line contribution and lower raw material costs. The first quarter has historically been the smallest quarter in terms of adjusted EBITDA and margin.

EBITDA was €67.2 million compared with €88.3 million in the first quarter of 2019. The decrease includes an unrealised loss on commodity derivatives which is not included in adjusted EBITDA.

Net income and adjusted net income
Adjusted net income was €12.9 million compared with €29.1 million in the first quarter of 2019. The decline reflects the impact of currencies on EBITDA and on intra-group financing costs.

Net income moved from a profit of €4.7 million in the first quarter of 2019 to a loss of €25.5 million in the first quarter of 2020.

A dividend of CHF 0.38 per share was paid out of capital contribution reserves on 16 April 2020, equating to a total distribution of €115 million.

Free cash flow
Free cash flow has historically been negative in the first quarter due to the seasonality of the business which is weighted towards the second half of the year. In the first quarter of 2020, free cash flow was positive at €16.2 million due to a significant improvement in net working capital, which more than offset an increase in net capex due to the construction of a new plant in China to serve the Asia Pacific region.

Full year outlook
At present it is not possible to reliably predict the effects of the Covid 19 crisis or currency movements for the remainder of the year. However, the Company remains confident in its ability to grow and to generate substantial free cash flow. Following a very strong first quarter, the second quarter is likely to be weak. This is primarily due to the consumption of stocks in Asia and to continuing lockdowns in many countries affecting on the go consumption. However, on the assumption that consumption will revert to more normal levels in the second half of the year, the Company regards its full year guidance of constant currency growth at the lower end of a 6 to 8% range as achievable. Assuming more normal consumption in the second half and subject to currency movements, guidance of an adjusted EBITDA margin at the lower end of the 27-28% range is also maintained.
(SIG Combibloc Group AG)

GEMÜ diaphragm globe valves can be integrated into multi-port valve blocks made from ...

GEMÜ diaphragm globe valves can be integrated into multi-port valve blocks made from ...  (Company news)

... stainless steel

With immediate effect, the valve specialist GEMÜ offers solutions for manufacturing diaphragm globe valves with PD design (Plug Diaphragm) as multi-port valve blocks made from stainless steel in a reliable process.

Photo: Multi-port valve block made from stainless steel with the control valve GEMÜ 567 BioStar control and diaphragm valves GEMÜ 650 BioStar for dosing from a sterile loop and distribution across several outlets.

The focus is on the requirements for "hygienic design" and cost effective process-optimized manufacture. It is possible with immediate effect to configure multi-port valves with diaphragm globe valves on a case by case basis according to customer requirements. For instance, multi-port valve blocks with the control valve GEMÜ 567 BioStar control have already been designed for aseptic dosing from an ultra-pure water loop. Another example are filling blocks with the GEMÜ F40 and GEMÜ F60 filling valves, developed in combination with auxiliary valves as a complete solution for gas control.
The integration of diaphragm globe valves in multi-port valve blocks combines the advantages of a valve block with those of PD design. This opens the door to new opportunities for plant operators, which GEMÜ can implement according to custom requirements.
(GEMÜ Gebr. Müller Apparatebau GmbH & Co. KG)

Brewers Clarex® - Brewing enzyme for simplifying stabilization

Brewers Clarex® - Brewing enzyme for simplifying stabilization  (Company news)

Brewers Clarex® is easy to use and streamlines beer stabilization

Today’s brewer is under increasing pressure to maximize brewing capacity, speed up the brewing process, reduce waste and beer losses, improve consistency and do all of this whilst delivering the same high quality, stable, clear beer. An enzyme called Brewers Clarex® is helping brew masters all over the world to meet these targets and stay true to the craft.

Brewers Clarex® is easy to use and streamlines stabilization by eliminating the deep cooling and rinsing step in the process, helping breweries save money, enhance efficiencies and remain at the forefront of innovation.

8 out of global top 10 brewers currently use Brewers Clarex® in their beer production. Brewers Clarex® is also a proven and widely used solution for gluten-free beer production.

Lean brewing solution
Brewers Clarex® is a unique, patented enzyme that streamlines stabilization by avoiding the formation of haze and thus allowing you to skip the deep cooling step, shortening your stabilization time from days to minutes and reducing water and energy usage. Because Brewers Clarex® is applied easily as a liquid, there is no need for powder filtration aids (PVPP or Silica Gels), reducing the risk of oxygen introduction and supporting first time right results. Furthermore, it’s easy to apply to any brewing process, it needs no big investment and has no impact on beer (taste or foam) quality.

Brew gluten-free beer
Gluten-free beer was initially developed for people with celiac disease who want to enjoy beer. But with gluten-free one of the strongest growth drivers in the food and beverage industry today, beer producers are offering more gluten-free options for their consumers. One approach to make gluten-free beer is to make beer from cereals such as sorghum, rice or corn which don’t contain gluten. Alternatively, adding Brewers Clarex® at the start of the regular beer fermentation process breaks down the specific gluten protein that causes allergic reactions or adverse health affects. Brewers Clarex® allows brewers to easily create gluten-free beers using gluten-containing (barley) malt with no impact on taste or quality.
(DSM Food Specialties B.V.)

Leadership Transition at IFCO Group

Leadership Transition at IFCO Group  (Company news)

The Advisory Committee of IFCO Group announced that as part of a long-planned succession process, Wolfgang Orgeldinger (photo) will retire as CEO of IFCO Group and Michael Pooley has been appointed as new CEO of IFCO Group. Mr. Pooley will take over the responsibilities as Chief Executive Officer effective 1st July 2020.

Having joined in 2000, Wolfgang Orgeldinger has successfully shaped IFCO over the last 20 years, first as COO and since 2013 as CEO. He will remain committed and continue to support IFCO Group as he transitions to the Advisory Committee. This transition has been planned well ahead of time in close cooperation between Wolfgang Orgeldinger and the Advisory Committee and is designed to ensure a smooth transition and handover over the next several weeks.

Michael Pooley is a strategic thinker who has led large scale successful growth and change programs in Brambles and Exova Group. He comes with very relevant experience in our industry within pooling and retail whilst having worked over 25 years in business management, sales and operations. Michael is well-known for his digital knowledge with a focus on track & trace and big data analytics. He graduated in 1990 from the University of Bath with a B. Eng. (Hons) Mechanical Engineering and earned an MBA at the Henley Management College.

Stephan Förschle commented on behalf of the Advisory Committee:
"We would like to thank Wolfgang for his outstanding commitment and contribution to IFCO’s success and for his great support over the last 12 months following the ownership transition. Wolfgang has led the development of IFCO over the last 20 years into the leading global Reusable Plastic Crates (RPC) solution provider. We are very grateful that he will continue to support IFCO and our customers as a member of the advisory committee going forward." Mr. Förschle continued: "In close collaboration with Wolfgang, we have identified Michael through an extensive search process. We are confident that Michael will successfully continue IFCO’s strategy and foster the company’s profitable growth with innovative products, digital solutions and best-in-class services with an obsession to meet and exceed our customers’ expectations. Michael knows IFCO and a number of our customers very well from his time at Brambles. He combines operational, technical and digital skills with commercial thinking and has a strong go-to-market drive."

Wolfgang Orgeldinger added:
"Since I have joined IFCO in December 2000, we have grown the company from a small niche player generating c. €200m revenues to a global leader in the RPC pooling industry with revenues of more than €1.0bn.

The IFCO team has successfully entered new markets, steadily grown our client base, built-out our product and service offering, and improved our operations. This has led to strong, consistent growth even throughout challenging economic cycles.

Within the last year, we have successfully managed the ownership transition and with knowing the IFCO Group is in good hands, it is the right moment for me to retire as CEO. I am excited to further support the company in my new role as board member and am looking forward to seeing Michael Pooley and the whole team shaping the next chapter in IFCO’s long-lasting success story."
(Ifco Systems GmbH)

Chicago, IL to Host US Food & Beverage Plastic Packaging Summit

Chicago, IL to Host US Food & Beverage Plastic Packaging Summit  (Company news)

Nowadays, the packaging industry is facing a number of major challenges including: keeping up with technological changes, protecting pack contents from external environment, the rising cost of raw materials that has affect companies' ability to stay competitive but also sustainability challenges and much more.

With the aim of addressing these challenges we are delighted to announce that Active Communications International’s US Food & Beverage Plastic Packaging Summit will take place on 12th & 13th August 2020 in Chicago, Illinois.

The US edition of the event will focus on the industry’s increasing demand for innovation toward a sustainable future, looking at the best strategies for sustainable packaging including recyclability and packaging performance. Brands and retailers will share their thoughts and information on consumer experience and demands for the next generation of packaging and its place in the circular economy.

Key Topics:
• Analyzing Trends in the U.S Food & Beverage Market and its Plastic Packaging industry
• Global Brand Owners moving towards Sustainability
• The Benefits of Using Re-usable Plastic Packaging rather than Single Use Plastics
• Researching the Latest Developments in Bio-Based & Bio-Degradable Plastics
• Innovation & Technology Culture- The Future of the Consumer
• Determining the Role of Technology and Innovation in Improving the image in other Alternative Packaging
• Gaining an Insight into the Role of Plastics within the Circular Economy
• Exploring the Future of Plastic Packaging

Who Will Attend?
Heads of packaging, sustainability, waste, quality, environmental affairs & innovation representing food & beverage brand owners, retailers, packaging manufacturers, converters, recycling plant owners, retailers & packaging manufacturers.
(ACI Chicago)

Molson Coors' new hard seltzer Vizzy launches nationwide

Molson Coors' new hard seltzer Vizzy launches nationwide  (Company news)

Vizzy Hard Seltzer, the newest hard seltzer from Molson Coors Beverage Co., is now on shelves nationwide.

Vizzy is hitting the market at a time when hard seltzers continue unprecedented growth, despite widespread disruption in consumer spending habits.

Hard seltzer sales are up nearly 300% so far in 2020, according to Nielsen all-outlet and convenience data through March 28. And while overall beer category sales have climbed – up 17% in the most-recent week – consumers continue to turn to hard seltzers, which have seen sales skyrocket some 327% in the same time period, per Nielsen.

Vizzy is launching as the first hard seltzer made with antioxidant vitamin C from acerola superfruit and comes in four flavors: Pineapple Mango, Black Cherry Lime, Blueberry Pomegranate and Strawberry Kiwi. Each 12-ounce serving contains 100 calories, 1 gram of sugar and 5% alcohol by volume.

While the hard seltzer category has established itself as mission critical for beverage companies, Vizzy draws inspiration from growing trends in consumer preference and non-alcoholic beverages.

“The thing we have seen consistently with this category is that all of the big hard seltzers are following the same playbook: same flavors, low calorie count, low sugar,” says Elizabeth Hitch, director of hard seltzers for Molson Coors. “When we created Vizzy, we knew we needed to come to the segment with a distinct point of difference that consumers actually care about, and antioxidant vitamin C consistently rose to the top.”

Direct feedback from consumers helped Molson Coors zero in on Vizzy’s key differentiator, Hitch says. Research conducted by Molson Coors found that Vizzy’s target customer base of 25-to 35-year-olds are mindful about their choices, and they’re increasingly looking beyond the absence of things like sugar and calories and instead valuing the “presence of positives.”

With bright orange packaging designed to stand out on retail shelves, Vizzy is sold in 12-ounce variety 12-packs or single-flavor six-packs of Pineapple Mango. Each can features colorful mosaics highlighting their respective fruit flavors and the claim “with antioxidant vitamin C from acerola superfruit.”

“The packaging showcases Vizzy as a brand that stands out in the category,” Hitch says. “We’re taking on a really playful tone that already feels natural for this brand.”

Molson Coors also plans to release Coors Hard Seltzer later this year. Coors Hard Seltzer will come in four flavors: Black Cherry, Lemon Lime, Mango and Grapefruit. It will be available in variety 12-packs of 12-ounce slim cans, as well as 16-ounce and 24-ounce singles of Black Cherry.
(Molson Coors Brewing Company)



The climate emergency has become a critical issue, thanks to the mobilization of young people and the demands of public figures who are calling for joint action to improve the planet's health.

Being aware of this situation, getting involved and being consistent with our responsibility encourages us to continue working for sustainability, always supporting innovative designs that lead the way for new trends. Inspired by this movement that places recycling at the centre, and adding exclusive innovation and design as ESTAL's hallmarks, we offer an on-trend value for the images of the most prestigious brands.

Wild Glass is the new concept based on the colour we add to our bottles, in which we work with 100% PCR (Post-Consumer Recycled Glass), and which doesn't discard bottles with cosmetic imperfections either.

The Wild Glass colours have been created for different types of spirit bottles, wine bottles, and cosmetic and perfume packaging, etc. All these bottles and containers are designed with a type of 100% PCR glass and offer different, subtle or contrasting colours that reinforce the natural and distinctive beauty of our recycled glass bottles.

Innovation, colour and cutting-edge design in recycled glass.
This innovative contribution to brand image and sustainability is initially intended for liquor or spirit bottles and for wines. However, Wild Glass can also be included in any type of food or beauty packaging, etc. It is a design line that enhances anything organic and authentic, and it also has a cross-cutting application for any design.

Combining the beauty of our designs with the need for an environmental response in the production process, something that both the end user and the brands will increasingly demand, is an idea that fits in perfectly with the natural image of Wild Glass. Our innovation once again aims at providing extra beauty and added value to the Premium brands.

At ESTAL we continue to focus on cutting-edge design, this time in recycled glass. This step inspires us in our path towards innovation, design, beauty and social responsibility, all of which are understood to be valuable elements for any prestigious brand.
(Estal SL)

SIG publishes Corporate Responsibility Performance Update 2019

SIG publishes Corporate Responsibility Performance Update 2019  (Company news)

Highlighting progress on SIG’s journey Way Beyond Good

Published recently, SIG’s Corporate Responsibility (CR) Performance Update for 2019 explores key aspects of the company’s Way Beyond Good ambition, highlights its sustainability stories of the year, and reports progress towards its targets for 2020 and beyond.

Picture: SIG’s Corporate Responsibility (CR) Performance Update for 2019 explores key aspects of the company’s Way Beyond Good ambition, highlights its sustainability stories of the year, and reports progress towards its targets for 2020 and beyond. Photo: SIG

„Our packaging has delivered food safely to billions of people all over the world. We want to help shape a sustainable food system that gets the most from what it uses and gives more than it takes,” said Rolf Stangl, CEO of SIG. “To do this, we need to go further than we’ve ever gone before. We took some more big steps forward this year and the increased uptake of our most sustainable packaging solutions shows we’re using growth as a driver for good.”

Highlights in 2019
SIG continues to build on its track record of sustainable innovation and industry firsts. Highlights this year include:

• Launching the world’s first Aluminium Stewardship Initiative (ASI) labelled packs and the first aseptic carton packs with all three key materials from certified sources – paperboard, plant-based polymers and aluminium foil
• Increasing uptake of SIG’s most sustainable products, such as SIGNATURE PACK and combibloc EcoPlus
• Introducing the first paper straws for carton packs – first straight and then U-shaped
• Accelerating the timeline to cut greenhouse gas emissions from SIG’s business – by 60% by 2030 – with a new 1.5°C target approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative
• Engaging in new recycling partnerships around the world, including the innovative so+ma programme that is rewarding consumers in Brazil for recycling
• Turning food loss into over 9,200 school meals for underprivileged children in Bangladesh in the first year of the Cartons for Good programme run by the SIG Way Beyond Good Foundation
• Achieving a Platinum rating from EcoVadis that puts SIG in the top 1% of businesses for sustainability.

Going further
The CR Performance Update includes a series of stories from the year, which bring to life some of the ways that SIG is realising its ambition to go Way Beyond Good for society and the environment.

The company is focusing on driving progress in the areas where it can make the biggest difference: helping forests thrive, tackling climate change, driving sustainable product innovation, contributing to a circular economy and delivering safe nutrition.

To pursue these opportunities, SIG is building on strong foundations. It is committed to doing business ethically, buying responsibly, supporting its people and keeping them safe, and partnering with communities to help them thrive.

Transparent reporting
SIG’s CR Performance Update is transparent about progress against targets and includes an update on key performance indicators related to the company’s most material social and environmental issues. It also includes direct feedback from SIG’s external Responsibility Advisory Group, together with the company’s response.

The interim CR Performance Update complements SIG’s full CR reports, which are published every other year. It covers the same focus areas and most material social and environmental issues as SIG’s award-winning full CR Report for 2018, which includes more detail on the way we manage these issues. The 2018 CR Report was produced in accordance with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards.
(SIG Combibloc Group AG)

New date: drinktec 2021 set for October

New date: drinktec 2021 set for October  (drinktec)

- Postponement necessary due to newly acquired International Motor Show
- drinktec to be held from October 4–8, 2021 in Munich

Messe München will organize the International Motor Show (IAA) for the first time in September 2021. As a result, drinktec is changing its event calendar: the world’s leading trade fair for the beverage and liquid food industry will be held three weeks later from October 4–8, 2021, at the Munich exhibition grounds.

Messe München newly acquired International Motor Show organized by the German Association of the Automotive Industry. This decision will mean that the world’s largest automotive trade show will be held every other year in Munich starting in September 2021. “During the final round of negotiations, the engineering association insisted that the motor show be held in September,” said Dr. Reinhard Pfeiffer, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of Messe München. “We were forced to adjust our event calendar as a result.” “We are really happy that we were able to work out a new date for drinktec in close cooperation with the trade fair’s Advisory Board.”

Volker Kronseder, the head of the drinktec Advisory Board, said: “Of course, at first we were not thrilled about having to reschedule. We then got together in the advisory board, which represents a cross-section of all areas of the industry, and discussed various optional dates. We eventually found an alternative date that was supported by a broad consensus.”

Richard Clemens, Managing Director of the Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association of the German Engineering Federation, said: “Following this intense and constructive discussion with all market experts, we were able to find a new date for drinktec that really underscores its importance as the world’s leading trade fair for the beverage and liquid food industry.”

Preparations for drinktec 2021 are moving forward on schedule. Interested companies may continue to register online at

New date—important information for exhibitors
All companies that have already completed the online registration process (for exhibitors) for the old date (September 13–17, 2021) do not have to do anything.

The drinktec team will send individual stand proposals to them by the end of June 2020–along with a reminder about the new trade fair date. A registration for the new date (October 4–8, 2021) will become binding when a company accepts the stand proposals.

The project team will be happy to answer exhibitors’ questions. Its members can be reached at +49 89 949-11318 or at
(Messe München GmbH)


Belgium: Small Brussels breweries offering home delivery service  (

With beer sales hit by the coronavirus lockdown, small Brussels breweries are offering a delivery service to the homes of thirsty customers and, for some business, is booming, the New York Post reported on April 14.

All bars in Belgium have been shut since the start of the lockdown a month ago, dealing a blow to smaller brewers such as Brasserie de la Senne, en Stoemelings or La Source Beer, whose products are hard to find in supermarkets, which remain open.

To keep business alive, half a dozen of the microbreweries are encouraging their fans to buy online, charging around 50 euros for a case of 24 bottles, bicycle delivery included.

Some even offer to donate up to 30 euros or a percentage of such direct beer sales to Brussels hospitals to help fight the pandemic. More than 5,500 people are currently in Belgium’s hospitals with COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Jeroen Verhoeven, 42, who runs the Bicy KLET beer delivery service for Brasserie de la Senne, said he has been in business since 2013, but that during the lockdown, volumes have soared and he sometimes has to ask friends to help, to meet all the demand.

Before the lockdown he would deliver about 40 cases a month but now he is delivering that number in just one day, he said.

“It is now really taking off. I sometimes deliver 40 cases a day,” he told Reuters. As soon as he gets money in his account, he hops on the bike and delivers the beer, depositing the crate on the doorstep to avoid direct contact with the buyer.

“It is nicer now in the lockdown because there is far less traffic in the streets,” Verhoeven said.


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.”


Mexico: Mexican city residents reject Constellation Brands brewery in referendum  (

Residents in the border city of Mexicali voted against the completion of a $1.4 billion brewery owned by Constellations Brands Inc. on grounds that its intensive water consumption was detrimental for the community, a move that risks undermining foreign investment in Mexico as the country faces a deep economic contraction, reported on March 23.

The administration of nationalist President Andrés Manuel López Obrador organized the public consultation on March 21 and 22. Farmers had complained that Constellation's water-intensive plant threatened to intensify irrigation shortages in the agriculture sector.

Around 76% of those who voted rejected the project developed by Constellation, the third-largest U.S. beer producer and brewer of Mexico's Corona and Modelo brands for U.S. consumers. Turnout was less than 5% of eligible voters.

As a result of the vote, the government won't grant a water supply permit to Constellation Brands, Deputy Interior Minister Diana Alvarez said on March 23. The federal government will soon begin talks with Constellation to look for compensation for incurred losses, Ms. Alvarez said, after disclosing the results of the referendum.

The cancellation of such a large-scale project sends a negative signal to foreign investors, business groups say. This is the first time Mexico's government has put a big foreign investment project to a public referendum, even as foreign direct investment shrank last year and the country's economy is expected to nosedive as the world is engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Fixed investment in Mexico fell 4.9% last year from 2018, contributing to a mild contraction in economic activity. Economists polled Friday by local bank Citibanamex expect gross domestic product to contract 3% in 2020, compared with an estimate of 0.7% growth just two weeks before.

How Coca-Cola is rethinking disruptive innovation to anticipate tomorrows taste

How Coca-Cola is rethinking disruptive innovation to anticipate tomorrows taste  (Company news)

A team of technical experts is helping Coca-Cola North America launch breakthrough beverages in emerging categories – from kombuchas, to cultured ciders, to keto-friendly smoothies, to cold-brew coffees – in record time.

Photo: Simon Yeung, SVP, Innovation and Stewardship, Coca-Cola North America, and Susan Zaripheh, Transformational Innovation Team lead, with several of the brands their team has helped develop and commercialize.

The Transformational Innovation Team partners with brands and business units to take new drinks in unfamiliar spaces to commercialization in a handful of months. A rotating group of specialists from Research and Development (R&D), Quality, Safety & Environmental Sustainability, Technical Commercialization and Scientific and Regulatory Affairs (SRA) is helping the company navigate uncharted territory by challenging existing approaches to innovation – from sourcing and seeking approval on new ingredients, to producing beverages in emerging categories, to bringing new brands to market – through an agile, test-and-learn launch model.

“We combine the best of what entrepreneurs do and the best of what Coca-Cola does,” explains team lead Susan Zaripheh. “Entrepreneurs dream of having the power of our brands and scale of our distribution network, and large global companies like Coke want to be able to innovate quickly, iteratively and stay competitive in emerging spaces.”
Inspiring a Mindset Shift

This means challenging organizational processes and breaking down boundaries. “Capability isn’t an issue at Coca-Cola,” Zaripheh says. “Our talent and people are top notch. What we’re trying to do is inspire a mindset shift and push the company into new or emerging segments consumers want us to explore.”

The Transformational Innovation Team has partnered with the Minute Maid Business Unit – which manages Coca-Cola North America’s juice and plant-based beverage portfolio – to develop several breakthrough products in 2019, including Cidewinder, which boasts similar digestive health benefits as kombucha but with less sugar. The cultured juice brand, which leveraged a novel ingredient and process from a third-party company, is being tested in select grocery and convenience store outlets.

“Cidewinder is an example of how we’re moving quickly, but deliberately, by running small market tests before investing significant time or resources,” Zaripheh said. “Some of the brands we’re helping to launch will not reach scale, but that’s the point of what we’re doing. We’re pushing the company to move faster than ever and to use real-time market data to make informed decisions and gain important learnings for the future.”
Following the Consumer

Odwalla, meanwhile, tapped Zaripheh’s team to help develop a zero-sugar, keto-friendly smoothie using trending ingredients like MCT oil and coconut cream – bringing the first-of-its-kind offering in the Coca-Cola portfolio to life in less than six months.

“Our partnership with the Transformational Innovation Team has added tremendous value to our decision making,” said John Hackett, president, Minute Maid Business Unit. “With their support, we’ve been able to test emerging spaces quickly and gain real-world learnings. Direct guidance from the market enables us to focus our investments on ideas and innovations that strongly resonate with consumers.”

The team also partnered with Honest to launch two category-crossing innovations – Honest Kombucha and Honest Cold Brew Coffee. Honest is building a master brand beyond its core tea business and, as part of that strategy, decided in 2019 to enter the fast-growing – and complex – kombucha segment. “Part of the Honest brand’s strategy is to ‘own the fridge’ of the Millennial family by offering lower- sugar, organic beverages for all occasions,” said Rafael Acevedo, vice president, Tea Portfolio, Coca-Cola North America. “Given the rising popularity of kombucha, it made sense for a brand known for making tea to enter this space.”

The Transformational Innovation Team helped Honest enter this space by end of the year in a limited test, then quickly aligned on a brand proposition and execution strategy.

‘Being Nimble Doesn’t Mean Cutting Corners’
The teams also partnered to secure all required approvals in time to produce and ship samples of Honest Cold Brew Coffee to the Natural Products Expo East tradeshow in only 10 weeks. The brand received great feedback from attendees.

Acevedo called the collaboration “a great example of how the company is approaching innovation differently and prioritizing agility to achieve efficient results.”

However, Zaripheh insists, the team takes steps to move quickly without compromising safety or quality, or taking due-diligence shortcuts. “Being nimble doesn’t mean cutting corners... it means approaching challenges from different angles and finding ways to parallel-path and operate with flexibility,” she added. “We hear a lot about speed to market these days. But speed by itself isn’t a competitive advantage – anyone can go fast. The key is identifying potential big bets, starting small and learning before making significant investments and launching at scale. That’s what we do.”

This group of “intrapreneurs” is on a mission to create a ripple effect by sharing learnings with Coca-Cola North America teams leading innovation projects across the system.

“Power is not having one team dedicated to transformational innovation, but seamlessly implementing learnings and frameworks across the organization and fueling new capability to drive growth,” said Simon Yeung, SVP, Innovation and Stewardship, Coca-Cola North America, noting that the team consulted and shared learnings with the sparkling water team spearheading the AHA brand launch. “Our goal is to get the system to move faster and deliver more disruptive innovation… to take on meatier projects and platform-able ideas and bring them to life.”
(The Coca-Cola Company)

Beviale Mexico postponed to new date in March 2021

Beviale Mexico postponed to new date in March 2021  (Company news)

Given the conditions we are experiencing due to the global health emergency, for you, for Mexico, for the whole world, NürnbergMesse and B&N Exposiciones have decided to postpone this year’s Beviale Mexico and launch the event on March 2, 3 and 4, 2021.

The date is due to two important reasons: Firstly, we have closely examined the worldwide calendar of events in the industry. At the same time, it was important to us to retain the venue where – due to the rotational mode – Beviale Mexico was originally planned to take place in 2021: Centro Citibanamex, Mexico City. Secondly, the date in the first quarter of 2021 allows the beverage industry to prepare to face the challenges and opportunities in 2021.

Beviale Mexico 2021 will be the important development platform of the beverage industry. Beviale Mexico is the meeting point where suppliers of the entire value chain of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and their producers can interact, establish ties and do productive and lasting business in a healthy and fraternal environment. During the weeks and months until its opening, Beviale Mexico will continue to strengthen and we will reinforce all the activities of our exhibition for your benefit, for Mexico and for the whole world.
(NürnbergMesse GmbH)

From pharmaceutical niche product to established coating technology for the ...

From pharmaceutical niche product to established coating technology for the ...  (Company news)

...beverage industry

With its Plasmax coating technology and the FreshSafe PET® packaging system which has evolved from it, KHS offers the food and beverage industries a sustainable, environmentally-friendly system with the best possible product protection. Today’s coating system for PET bottles dates back to the 1990s when it was used in the pharmaceutical industry. How has this extraordinary story of success come about?

Photo: Bernd-Thomas Kempa (right), head of Plasmax Barrier Technology Global Account Management, and Dr. Joachim Konrad (left), former director of Plasmax Barrier Technology and now head of the Large Machine Product Division at KHS, are the trailblazers behind the development of Plasmax technology as a market-proven system for the beverage industry.

When Bernd-Thomas Kempa, who has been in charge of Sales & Service since 2012 and is now head of Plasmax Barrier Technology Global Account Management, and Dr. Joachim Konrad, who has been responsible for engineering as director of Plasmax Barrier Technology since 2014 and is now head of the Large Machine Product Division at KHS, talk about the history of FreshSafe PET®, frequent mention is made of the words “persistence”, “conviction” and “trust”. Together with their team, in a manner of speaking the two are the trailblazers behind the transformation of KHS Plasmax barrier coating technology from a niche product to a market-proven, tried-and-tested packaging system for the food and beverage industries.

The story of FreshSafe PET®, also known as Plasmax, began in the 2000s. This was when Schott AG and SIG Corpoplast launched a joint venture for the plasma coating of PET bottles to cater for changing packaging preferences in the industry. In doing so they pooled the expertise of an international manufacturer of glass and glass ceramics with that of a packaging producer and engineering company for the processing of plastics. Schott AG’s portfolio also included a glass coating which was applied to the insides of glass containers as a supplemental layer. “This protected highly sensitive pharmaceutical products from substance migration,” explains Kempa.

Challenges for customers and KHS
During the course of the joint venture a prototype of the first generation of Plasmax machines was developed and in 2002 the first Plasmax machine was tested in Switzerland with an output of 10,000 bottles per hour. Plasmax was also granted regulatory approval for use in the food industry in Europe, the USA and Japan. Two Plasmax 12D machines were then shipped to Japan for the protective packaging of sensitive, top-quality products. In 2006 Eckes-Granini was the first European fruit juice company to go to market using this technology. “The constant aim of development was and still is to integrate just one machine which satisfies bottling plant conditions and meets customer expectations,” says Kempa. System availability in particular had to be at an established level typical of the industry from the very start. “Looking at our success now and at the growing demand for this machine, we can say that it was worth it. We still nurture a certain start-up mentality in the team, though,” adds Konrad.

“With the dissolution of the joint venture and the takeover of Plasmax technology by KHS in 2008 we were given plenty of backing. However, as part of a global enterprise our small team was also required to prove that this technology could be just as sustainable in the beverage industry environment,” Kempa states. “Without the support of KHS and our parent company Salzgitter AG it wouldn’t have been possible to successfully transform this technology and break even. Success would have been equally lacking had we not had the special way of working together we still foster, with plenty of team spirit and great willingness shown by all members of the team,” he adds.

This support and sense of trust also increased among the company’s customers: alongside other machine sales in 2010 the prototype of the larger second generation of Plasmax coating machines went to Eckes with a capacity of up to 27,500 1.0-liter bottles an hour. In 2014 the company procured the world’s first FreshSafe block for its plant in Fallingbostel, a system blocked with a KHS stretch blow molder which produces a maximum of 32,000 0.75-liter bottles every 60 minutes. “KHS enjoys a trusting partnership with Eckes-Granini which goes back several decades where systems can be implemented to the benefit of both parties. This enabled Eckes to recognize the potential offered by a more sophisticated style of PET packaging very early on, for example, giving them optimum protection for their sensitive beverages,” says Kempa.

Plasmax portfolio continuously expanded
“Eckes-Granini saw the opportunities rather than the possible snags and was open to new developments and processes. We mustn’t forget that to start with this was new territory for all involved,” Konrad explains. Both parties profited from what was learned during the intensive partnership, helping to optimize innovative processes with regard to practical use and come up with totally new solutions. In this way Plasmax has steadily expanded its range of products over the years. The machine manufacturer now supplies not just its standard coating machine and the InnoPET FreshSafe block but also a Plasmax 2Q/4Q for the low-performance range and an InnoPET FreshSafe TriBlock with a stretch blow molder and filler/capper combination which can produce up to 48,000 bottles an hour. “FreshSafe PET® combines perfect product protection with sustainable recyclability. At the same time costs can be cut by saving on PET material. This gives us unbeatable arguments for this style of food and beverage packaging,” smiles Kempa.

The company’s success corroborates this: the interest shown by the beverage industry in FreshSafe PET® and other KHS PET technologies is on the increase because they are sustainable, believes Konrad. In order to perfectly meet the growing demand from the market, in 2016 production capacities at the Hamburg production site were increased. One major global soft drinks producer, among other clients, is now relying on FreshSafe PET® for its bottling operations at its plants in Asia and North America. “Together with this beverage bottler we’ve managed to apply all of the advantages of our Plasmax system. We’ve been able to achieve this positive result because all of the main issues – from preform and bottle design to the customer’s production options – were integrated into our search for the optimum solution. This was the breakthrough for us in the beverage sector,” Konrad exclaims.

Key factor for environmental protection
Several factors play a role when a customer makes his or her decision to buy. With FreshSafe PET® no unwanted substances enter the product from the outside, for instance – and valuable ingredients such as vitamins cannot escape. Thanks to Plasmax barrier technology sensitive and carbonated beverages also keep up to ten times longer than in the conventional PET bottle. This is a key factor, especially for bottlers whose products have to travel long distances. Furthermore, the wafer-thin layer of glass reliably protects sensitive products against loss of freshness and quality, thus making a considerable contribution to the protection of the environment. “The more reliable the product protection, the lower the amount of food wasted,” says Konrad. This barrier technology is also suitable for coating PET bottles made of recyclate (rPET) and for biodegradable containers.

Kempa and Konrad believe that the key factor for environmental protection is not just weight reduction but also the full recyclability of FreshSafe PET®. By avoiding the use of different material components this coating technology enables the PET material to be collected by type and thus containers to be fully recycled. This has been confirmed by a number of independent international experts and trade associations such as the APR1 and EBPB2, among others. In the face of the growing demand across the globe for clean recycling systems this is a crucial aspect, claims Kempa. “Customers and the public are increasingly calling for environmentally-friendly packaging systems; a product is only successful when it solves a relevant problem. With FreshSafe PET® we’ve created an environmentally-friendly and cost-efficient system which combines sustainability with the best possible product protection.”

Less use of materials cuts costs
In addition to environmental aspects and the protection of the product economy is also important. By using KHS technology bottles weigh less than those which contain additives, in turn cutting down on the amount of material required and thus saving on costs. Moreover, bottlers can also switch to using less expensive standard PET preforms, again reducing the cost per bottle.

“All of these factors have helped FreshSafe PET® evolve from a mere vision to a popular and sustainable form of packaging,” enthuses Kempa. “And we’re convinced that the success of this product is set to continue for some time yet. We expect that in the future environmentally-friendly packaging will be inextricably linked to our responsibility to further reduce our carbon footprint. KHS is contributing by having less food go to waste as it’s packaged in an optimized type of container.”
(KHS GmbH)

Understanding and Ensuring CO2 Supply Quality for Brewery Use

Understanding and Ensuring CO2 Supply Quality for Brewery Use  (Company news)

As with any other beer ingredient, carbon dioxide (CO2) quality is essential to finished beer quality, contributing to sensory outcomes, beer foam, mouthfeel, and shelf stability. The quality of CO2 is generally managed by the supplier. Brewers have a role in ensuring their CO2 supply is free from contaminants, and appropriately handled in the brewery.

Gases like nitrogen, oxygen, and argon are typically sourced from “air,” but commercial CO2 is generally collected as a by-product from various chemical industries, such as ethanol production, fuel combustion, natural gas production, and chemical synthesis. Over time, a supply shortage in one industry may result in new feed gas sources for carbon dioxide; contaminants and quality can vary based on those sources. Because freight costs can be high, CO2 supplies are customarily relatively local to their customers, and diverse sources are constantly being evaluated for sustainable supply reasons. CO2 manufacturers should routinely test feed gas sources for compositional changes, as well as monitor the quality throughout the production process. Storage and trans-fill depots should also have purity monitoring systems to screen incoming lots for quality.

Standards of purity are controlled by various regulatory bodies such as the Compressed Gas Association (CGA), International Society of Beverage Technologists (ISBT), European Industrial Gases Association (EIGA), and the FDA in the U.S. For instance, the EIGA states that Food Grade CO2 should be at least 99.9% pure and that “each facility producing carbon dioxide for the food and beverage industry should have a documented system for quality management” and “a formal assessment of food safety risk, including the raw gas process and feedstock, using the HACCP methodology is a legal requirement and shall be implemented at all plants producing carbon dioxide for use in foods.”

Brewers may first become aware of a CO2 supply or quality shift through sensory panel results, or in extreme cases, based on customer feedback. In the U.S., beverage grade CO2 will be at least 99.90% pure; many other molecules can comprise the other 0.10%, including water, oxyge,n and hydrocarbons such as benzene, acetaldehyde, and other sensory active molecules. To put that into perspective, 0.10% equates to 1,000 parts per million, which is 1-4 orders of magnitude higher concentration than many flavor-active hop components. So understanding your CO2 supply, source, and purity is important for ensuring the quality of your beer brands.

Managing CO2 Quality
Working with Suppliers:
-For carbonated beverages, use either ISBT Purity Grade (“Beverage grade”) CO2 -Suppliers should provide a certificate of analysis (COA) upon delivery of CO2 to document that the actual lot meets the required purity specifications.
-Periodically audit the quality management practices of your CO2 supplier and request that they verify their quality through an independent ISO-certified lab.
-Inquire about specific supplier steps to ensure beverage grade CO2 purity in the event of supplier feedstock source changes.

Managing Deliveries:
Brewers receiving high pressure cylinders can request an actual COA (rather than a typical COA) to document purity of the CO2 being delivered. Brewers receiving bulk CO2 to refill large receivers may face additional and different issues, and can engage their suppliers in dialogue to understand supplier efforts to ensure beverage grade purity is retained at the time of delivery:
-Inquire about routine delivery truck tank maintenance.
-Inquire about supplier steps to guard against cross contamination of beverage grade CO2 across different customer types.

Preventative Maintenance:
-Liquid CO2 transfer lines and compressor oils should be compatible with liquid CO2 and food grade; hoses from feed storage tanks must be carefully chosen to avoid leaching of plasticizers which could come in contact with beer.
-Users of mini or large bulk storage tanks should periodically test their liquid CO2 for buildup of non-volatile residues: Maintaining CO Quality in Bulk CO Storage Vessels.
-Consider in-line filtration of your CO2 to scrub unwanted chemicals, aromas, and moisture: Brewery Case Study: CO2 Gas Purity and Filtration.
-CO2 gas supply lines in breweries and cellars should never have condensation or standing liquid in them.

Sensory and Quality Testing:
-Sensory testing (easy, inexpensive): slowly bubble CO2 through sanitary brewing liquor for a short time, then assess against untreated liquor for attribute and/or difference testing via sensory panel. Never inhale CO2 directly.
-GC-MS CO2 Analysis: Contaminants found in CO2 that can impact quality are typically found in the parts per million (ppm) or parts per billion (ppb) range and require highly sensitive instruments for detection. Third party labs can perform gas trace contaminant analysis, in the absence of a GC-MS in a brewery lab.
(Brewers Association (BA))

Free From Functional & Health Ingredients postponed until 24-25 November 2020

Free From Functional & Health Ingredients postponed until 24-25 November 2020  (Company news)

In light of all the fast and sudden developments regarding the Coronavirus, COVID-19, the organization of Free From Functional & Health Ingredients has decided to postpone the exhibition to the 24th and 25th of November, 2020 in The RAI, Amsterdam.

The health and safety of our Free From community is our top priority. Therefore we have decided to postpone the expo to the 24th and 25th of November, 2020 at the RAI, Amsterdam. This is not a decision we made lightly, but with careful consideration of the wants and needs of all people involved to put together a successful event.

We understand that Free From Functional & Health Ingredients is an important event in the Free From community and the time that goes into preparing your participation and visit. In these difficult times, we would like to express our gratitude towards our Free From community for their understanding.

We look forward to welcoming you the 24th and 25th of November and creating another great edition together.
(Expo Business Communications BV)


South Korea: Hite Jinro's new low-malt beer FiLite enjoying soaring popularity  (

Hite Jinro is enjoying soaring popularity with its low-malt beer FiLite from consumers who prefer to drink at home, the company said on April 2.

Ever since the company launched FiLite in 2017 the company has continued to release new variations of the sparkling liquor such as FiLite Fresh in 2018 and FiLite WEIZEN in 2019 in order to offer various flavors to beer lovers.

"FiLite is sold in a 355 millilitre can, 500 milliner can and a 1.6 litre plastic bottle at retail stores and convenience stores nationwide. It has been drawing popularity among people who prefer to drink at home or are solo drinkers," the company said.

FiLite is made with 100 percent aroma hops and local malted barley. Offering carbonated flavors, FiLite has been expanding the country's low-malt beer market.

The accumulated sales of FiLite surpassed 700 million cans in October 2019, about two years and six months after its release. "As of February 2019, the sales mark surpassed 500 million total cans and we have sold 200 million cans in only seven months," it said.

Data shows FiLite has been consistently popular this year as well. According to information from the Seven Eleven convenience store chain, sales of the 500 millilitre FiLite can from March 10 to 22 increased by 18.9 percent from the same period in 2019.

To boost the sales of the beer product, Hite Jinro launched a new television commercial in January. With its slogan "unbelievably surprising freshness," the brewer is intensifying marketing activities featuring the cute and colorful elephant chacter, FiLi.

"In the diversified alcohol market here, we have been implementing a 'character-centered' marketing strategy to improve brand preference for our products," Oh Sung-taek, Hite Jinro's senior marketing executive, said.


Japan: Kirin Brewery to launch no-alcohol beer Kirin Greens Free nationwide  (

Japan’s Kirin Brewery will launch its latest no-alcohol beer, Kirin Greens Free, nationwide this month, the latest in a long line of booze-free innovations in the country, reported on April 7.

It is a non-alcoholic beverage (0.00% ABV) and made from only three ingredients, wheat, hop and water.

Ataka Takashima from the corporate communication department at Kirin Holdings told FoodNavigator-Asia that Kirin Greens Free is marketed as a ‘natural beer-tasting carbonated beverage’.

The company said the beer is the first in Japan which did not use additives such as flavours and artificial sweeteners to create a taste similar to beer.

According to Kirin, increasing health awareness of consumers have driven the growth of non-alcoholic beverages and beer-tasting beverages in Japan.

Takashima told us non-alcoholic beers constitute about 5% of all liquor in Japanese market. Liquor includes wine, sake, spirits, as well as beer.

While it may not seem much, “It (non-alcoholic beer market) has grown 3% CAGR over the last three years, and we expect the trend to continue,” she added.

The company said the conventional perception of non-alcoholic beer used to only be that of a substitute for beer. However, Takashima said the non-alcoholic beers are suitable for all adults who enjoy the taste of beer and carbonation without the intoxicating effects.

“Combining sugar-free carbonated water with non-alcoholic beer-tasting beverages, it offers a fresh and pleasant taste for both the mind and the body. You can feel refreshed, anytime and anywhere, in a variety of situations, in a delicious, healthy manner,” the company said.

Kirin hopes Greens Free can add value to the non-alcoholic beverage market. Last year, it launched a non-alcoholic beer (Kirin Karada Free) which also obtained a Food with Function Claim (FFC) label for its fat-reducing properties.

In Japan, brewery giants such as Asahi, Suntory and Sapporo are also in the non-alcoholic beer business with products including Asahi Dry Zero, All-Free All-Time, and Mugi no Kutsurogi beer respectively.

Heineken launched its zero-alcohol beer last year in Malaysia while Budweiser and Hoegaarden under its parent company, AB InBev also released its non-alcoholic beers in India last year.

With the upcoming Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics Games, Takashima said the company predicts sales of its non-alcoholic beers to increase. “We expected that non-alcoholic beer will also increase in consumption due to the high affinity between sports and alcoholic beverages.”

She added that the Japanese liquor tax will be reformed in October this year, “It is expected that some present beer consumers will move to non-alcoholic beers.”

Kirin Green Free will be available on April 3, 2020 nationwide, and will come in 350mL and 500mL cans.

The company estimates to sell approximately 1.58 million cases or 20,000 kilolitres. It will be manufactured in Kirin’s Toride, Shiga, and Okayama plants.


Malaysia: Federal government cancels operating permits of Heineken and Carlsberg  (

Malaysia’s federal government has cancelled the operating permit of Heineken Malaysia Berhad and Carlsberg Malaysia's factories during the ongoing movement control order (MCO) following public backlash, the Malay Mail reported on April 6.

Senior Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob confirmed the news during his daily briefings on Covid-19 at Putrajaya on April 6.

“The whole of yesterday, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp groups and many more were questioning why the Heineken and Carlsberg factories were still allowed to be open.

“Today after a special Cabinet meeting headed by the prime minister, we decided to revoke their permits,” said Ismail.

“Miti (Ministry of International Trade and Industry) will release a letter of termination immediately and so there should be no more issues regarding why these factories are still open.”

Heineken Malaysia had obtained approval from the government to resume limited operations with a minimal number of essential workers during the MCO.

Heineken on March 24 said it had suspended the operations of its brewery in Petaling Jaya in line with the MCO and that its employees were working from home until March 31.

In a statement, Heineken said it will ensure full compliance with the government’s requirements and guidelines during the MCO period.

The brewer said only very essential staff (less than 10 per cent of its workforce) will be involved in ensuring the continuous and uninterrupted supply of our products in the market. All its other non-essential workers will continue to operate from home.

Citizens, as well as leaders from Islamist party PAS and the Youth wing of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, had criticised Perikatan Nasional for the decision to keep the factories open, a decision made by Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry.

This comes as a letter by the ministry to Heineken went viral online, in which it agreed that the alcoholic drinks manufacturer is a food supply operator, therefore allowing it to operate during the MCO.

The letter was signed by the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Hasnol Zam Zam Ahmad.

Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi from Gabungan Parti Sarawak is the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister. He has yet to comment on the matter.


UK: Molson Coors significantly scaling down UK operations  (

Molson Coors is significantly scaling down its UK operations to help stave off damage from the coronavirus crisis, The Grocer reported on April 15.

The Carling and Coors owner has rationalised its range of SKUs – it is understood just six are currently available – “to focus on a smaller group of its core products”.

This would help ensure the safety of its staff and “reduce supply chain complexity for its customers”, it claimed.

The brewer said it was prioritising “its most in-demand and popular lines, including Carling, Coors Light, Doom Bar, Aspall, Rekorderlig and Cobra, while ensuring that pack formats and SKUs available are suitable for all of its customers”.

However, industry sources have expressed frustration at no longer being able to access popular SKUs. One major buying group member said: “In our channel they have ditched profitable lines like pint cans in favour of 18-packs, which they have told us for years makes little to no money for them.”

It was “by far the worst situation of any of the brewers”, they added.

Molson Coors off-trade sales director Kevin Farwell stressed the “absolute priority” of the business was protecting the health and wellbeing of its staff, having instructed staff who can work from home to do so from 16 March, and asked those in vulnerable groups to isolate themselves at home.

“We recognise that consumers may miss some of our brands for what we hope will be a short period of time, but believe they will understand that protecting our employees by asking vulnerable groups to remain at home is our priority at the moment,” he added.

“With a simplified range, we’re working hard to make sure all of our customers can stock our most in-demand brands in a variety of formats.

“We remain fully committed to all of the brands and pack formats across our portfolio in the long term, and look forward to bringing back a full suite of beverages for consumers to enjoy in due course.”

Brewers, whose businesses straddle both the on and off-trade, have had to cope with the loss of an entire channel over recent weeks.

Carlsberg, for instance, has furloughed numerous on-trade roles across its business. A Carlsberg spokesman said: “These are challenging times for most businesses in the UK, including our own, which has been significantly impacted by the temporary closure of the on-trade.”

However, he stressed the beer brand had seen “increased demand in the off-trade” and was “especially thankful to all of our production teams who are working with such dedication” to meet that demand.


USA: Craft beer volume growth steady at nearly 4% in 2019  (

Volume growth for the US small and independent craft breweries held steady at nearly 4% in 2019, as the overall beer industry’s volume declined 2%, according to trade group the Brewers Association’s annual craft beer growth report.

In 2019, craft brewers — those who produce fewer than 6 million barrels annually and less than 25% owned by a non-craft brewer — produced 26.3 million barrels, up from 25.5 million barrels produced in 2018. Total beer volume in the U.S. reached 191.2 million barrels in 2019, down from 194.3 million barrels the previous year (which does not include FMBs/FSBs).

Those numbers are likely to decline, as Nielsen CGA estimated that around 1.3 million barrels of BA-defined craft beer could be lost if the shutdown of all U.S. on-premise outlets forced by COVID-19 lasts through April, which it most likely will and could extend much longer.

Independent craft’s share of the total beer market by volume increased to 13.6% in 2019, up from 13% in 2018 and 12.5% in 2017.

Craft brewers also over-index in dollar share, accounting for more than a quarter (25.2%) of all dollars spent on beer, a 6% increase compared to 2018. U.S. consumers spent an estimated $29.3 billion on craft beer in 2019.

“Although craft brewers entered 2020 on a solid foundation, the beer landscape is dramatically different today than it was just a few months ago,” BA chief economist Bart Watson said in a press release. “Breweries will be facing new realities due to the pandemic with extended closures, tight cash flow, societal shifts, and other economic variables in play. These 2019 figures will allow us to see how much COVID-19 affects small brewer production and jobs.”

In 2019, 8,275 craft breweries operated at some point during the year, which breaks down to:

• 2,058 microbreweries, which produce fewer than 15,000 barrels annually and produce packaged beer for distribution;
• 3,011 brewpubs, which produce beer primarily for consumption on their own premises and operate on-site restaurants;
• 2,966 taproom breweries, which produce beer for consumption on their own premises and package beer for to-go sales, but don’t have restaurants, and;
• 240 regional craft breweries, those producing between 15,000 and 6 million barrels of beer annually.

Since 2015, when 4,670 craft breweries were in operation in the U.S, 3,605 companies have opened for business.

In 2019, 942 breweries opened their doors, while 294 closed. The number of closures was an expected uptick as Watson had projected around 300 breweries would close their doors in 2019. As the majority of states have shutdown on-premise sales in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19, there is concern that thousands of craft breweries may shutter.

A survey conducted by the BA in early April found that 46.4% of respondents said their businesses would likely only last between one and three months, while 12.7% said they could stay afloat for just another one to four weeks.

A quarter of respondents said their businesses could survive between three and six months, while 8.3% said they could hang on between six months and a year. Just 5.1% said they would be able to stay in business a year.

The survey found that 2.5% of respondents said they were planning to close their doors.

Craft breweries provided 161,007 direct jobs in 2019, an increase of 7% over2018. However, as concerns about the spread of COVID-19 have forced taprooms, tasting rooms and on-premise retailers nationwide to temporarily shut down, many companies have laid off or furloughed workers. According to the BA’s survey, 66% of respondents said they have laid off or furloughed staff.

Banco dati aggiornato per l'ultima volta: 25.05.2020 16:04 © 2004-2020, Birkner GmbH & Co. KG