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    17.05.2017   GEBO CERMEX HELPS CAROLA ACHIEVE MAJOR PET LINE UPGRADE IN ONLY THREE WEEKS    ( Company news )

    Company news Carola, one of the largest producers of mineral water in France, is producing a new, lighter PET bottle and, in doing so, has also increased output speed by 3,000 containers per hour. It follows a line upgrade by Gebo Cermex, with installation and ramp-up to full speed production achieved in less than three weeks. The world leader in packaging line engineering and material handling, part of the Sidel Group, answered Carola’s need for an extensive upgrade to meet the company’s industrial, commercial and economic objectives.

    Following the buy-out of the company by Spadel, the international group focused on the bottling and marketing of natural mineral waters and a varied range of refreshing drinks, a new investment strategy called for a complete overhaul of the Ribeauvillé PET line facility, in Alsace (France). The ageing line was causing problems because of its limited flexibility, restricted accumulation capacity, reduced speed due to the limitations of certain machines within the line and poor working conditions. More importantly, the performance of the line was preventing Carola from keeping pace with the fast-changing beverage market and the fluctuations in consumer demand. The company was also eager to minimise the weight of the bottles it was producing and to switch to more modern packaging formats. The new owners’ investment strategy included a plan for the reduction of production costs.

    Renewed partnership built on proven experience
    Gebo Cermex was selected to undertake the modernisation work following the success of a project previously executed at Carola. Thierry Klein, Director of Production Maintenance at Carola-Ribeauvillé, explains: “We have tested Gebo Cermex capabilities around a returnable glass line and we have been especially impressed by their expertise in line automation and project management. That positive experience convinced us to trust the company again for this upgrade, because we knew their skills would be priceless for our new PET line.”

    Within this type of installation, which covers everything from bottle conveyors right through to the palletiser, the connection between the line’s various pieces of equipment is vitally important. Output performance is largely determined by the efficiency with which the line handles increases in speed as well as stoppages. The project at the Carola-Ribeauvillé factory presented the team in Gebo Cermex with several other challenges. On one hand, the company had to change everything within a complete production line without creating a supply problem for the water producer. This meant that Gebo Cermex had to replace all the equipment and get the entire line back in operation at full speed in all formats in no more than 21 days. On the other hand, the customer had to upgrade the line, taking up no more room in a facility where floorspace was already at a premium.

    Meeting targets and surpassing expectations
    José Lefort, Industrial Manager at Carola-Ribeauvillé comments: “It’s clear that this project has been a success. It’s more than lived up to our expectations. The line productivity target has been met - and speed and line regulation have been optimised for all packaging formats.”

    The new line has increased output rates by 3,000 bottles per hour for all packs’ formats. This increased productivity means that Carola can now produce greater volumes to tighter deadlines, enabling the company to respond to spikes in demand while reducing the stock managed for this purpose by an external storage provider. Lefort continues: “Increasing output speeds by around 3,000 bottles per hour for all formats has allowed us to switch to two, eight-hour shifts - with barely any production now taking place at night.”

    Challenging schedule proves no interruption to customer supply
    The most crucial stage of the project, the dismantling of the existing line and the assembly of the new equipment, took place well within schedule and the restart proved successful for all formats, which now includes packs of 6, 8 and 24 bottles. Production speed was quickly ramped up and within a month the whole line was running at 75% line efficiency. All the machines and conveyors were reinstalled as close as possible to the ground so that they were directly accessible with no need to climb up on walkways - unlike the previous line. Line control is one of the major strengths of the new system, not least the advanced management of stoppages and restarts on the conveyors and the accumulation tables between the machines. Format changeovers on the new line are also much more efficient than they used to be.

    Lefort concludes: “We’ve had no problems at all. Thanks to this project, we’ve been able to introduce a new and lighter bottle design. All the new bottles are perfectly stable on the conveyors. That meant that we were able to deliver our clients’ orders without interruption - while offering them new packaging options.”
    (Gebo Cermex)
     
    16.05.2017   Belgium: AB InBev's alcohol-free Jupiler 0.0% beer surpasses sales of its predecessor    ( E-malt.com )

    AB InBev’s alcohol-free beer, Jupiler 0.0%, is a resounding success, surpassing its predecessor’s annual volume by the end of the month, Retail Detail Europe reported on May 12.

    “Our Jupiler 0.0% sales in the January – April period are already 2.5 times higher than our Jupiler NA’s sales in the same period of last year,” AB InBev’s spokesperson Korneel Warlop said.

    With 75% of sales from stores, the beer easily outperforms other beer brands in that area. Jupiler 0.0% is currently available in about 5,500 catering businesses as well.

    AB InBev’s Belgian market share for non-alcoholic beers is up to 83.5%, although it only represents 2.2% of the overall beer market. Germany and Spain do much better in that regard, with 10.4 and 17.7% respectively. The company’s goal is to bring its non-alcoholic (or light alcoholic) drink volume up to 20% of its overall beer volume.
     
    16.05.2017   Brazil: Brazil's antitrust authorities approve Heineken's purchase of Brasil Kirin    ( E-malt.com )

    Brazil’s Administrative Council of Economic Defense (CADE) has approved the purchase of Brasil Kirin by Heineken, ESM reported on May 8.

    The Brazilian antitrust authority ruled that the operation, announced in February, does not generate competitive concerns, reported daily O Estado de Sao Paulo.

    In its ruling, CADE stated that the acquisition does not cause concentration greater than 20% in the national market nor more than 50% in regional markets.

    Brazilian brewery and beverage company Brasil Kirin owns the Devassa, Schin, Baden Baden, Cintra and Glacial beer brands and is also active in the sector of soft drinks and mineral water.

    Heineken, which has five breweries in Brazil, paid R$ 2.2 billion (€32.9 million) for Brasil Kirin’s network of 12 factories.

    With Kirin, Heineken now becomes the second largest brewer in the country (behind Ambev) with 19% of the national market, according to figures from research company Canadean.
     
    16.05.2017   Romania: United Romanian Breweries Bereprod to invest EUR1.2 mln in making unpasteurized beer    ( E-malt.com )

    Romanian beer producer United Romanian Breweries Bereprod (URBB) will invest EUR 1.2 million in making unpasteurized beer under the Skol brand, local Wall-street.ro reported on May 11.

    This is its first major investment this year. The company started working on this project at the end of 2015. The investment will generate a 6% increase in the production capacity or 150,000 hectolitres.

    The company has hired 50 people since the beginning of this year for this project. URBB current team includes more than 750 employees.

    “We will produce annually between 50,000 and 100,000 hectolitres of unpasteurized Skol beer,” said Shachar Shaine, URBB president.

    He gave the example of the Carlsberg beer brand, which in Poland managed to have great results on the unpasteurized beer segment. “In five years, they’ve managed to increase the sales five times for that brand. The unfiltered beer sales account there for 20% of the market of 40 million hectolitres. I see the same potential for the Romanian market,” Shachar Shaine told Wall-street.ro.

    URBB is the second local producer that starts making unpasteurized beer, after Ursus launched unpasteurized beer under the Timisoreana brand earlier this year. The unpasteurized Skol will be officially launched on the market in the next two weeks.

    URBB, which produces the Tuborg and Carlsberg brands, aims to double its investments this year and exceed the EUR 120-130 million sales threshold.
     
    16.05.2017   Tetra Pak Pioneers New Generation of Digital Technologies to Boost Efficiency for Customers    ( Company news )

    Company news Tetra Pak is transforming its Services by pioneering the use of latest digital technologies. The company has launched a suite of new services for its customers, focusing on improving the ability to predict machine errors, accelerating response times, and giving the customer faster, direct access to Tetra Pak’s global expertise.

    Powered by Microsoft technology, these breakthrough digital solutions will boost manufacturers’ efficiency, cut costs, ensure food safety, and ultimately drive their business forward. Tetra Pak showcased the technologies at the 2017 Hannover Messe in collaboration with Microsoft.

    Dennis Jönsson, President and CEO, Tetra Pak said: “Digital technologies are revolutionising every industry, and it’s exciting to make the latest innovations work for our customers. We are pleased to be the first to launch digitalised services, offering customers reduced costs, enhanced efficiency, and peace-of-mind. This is just the beginning of what promises to be a very exciting journey for us and our customers.”

    Tetra Pak’s new service solutions for maintenance, issues monitoring and resolution centre around:
    -​Connected workforce – Empowered with wearable technology, local Tetra Pak service engineers at customer sites are now able to connect directly with global Tetra Pak specialists wherever they are, providing real-time, expert support to customers;
    -Advanced analytics – Data from filling lines around the world is collected into a central database from where it can be accessed and analysed by a team of Tetra Pak’s global experts. The robust database means that advanced analysis can be used to predict issues and optimise machine performance;
    -Connected solutions – All equipment at the customer plant can be connected to the Microsoft Azure cloud system managed by Tetra Pak, enabling machines at different production stages such as processing, filling and distribution to communicate with each other and synchronize. This gives the customer an overview of the plant and offers performance optimisation opportunities for the whole production.
    (Tetra Pak Schweiz AG)
     
    16.05.2017   UK: Heineken announces launch of Heineken 0.0    ( E-malt.com )

    Heineken on May 12 announced the launch of new drink Heineken 0.0, an alcohol-free version of its flagship lager, in the UK, the Business Insider reported.

    The launch comes as consumers increasingly shun boozy drinks in favour of healthier options. Market research company Euromonitor International said on May 11 that the global alcoholic drinks market declined for the second year in a row in 2016. The volume of alcohol sold last year declined 0.2%, following a 0.8% fall in 2015.

    The trend for "clean living" in the US and European markets has led to slowdown in alcohol sales. Figures from the UK Office for National Statistics released earlier this month show drinking rates in Britain are declining. 56.9% of people aged 16 and over had a drink in the week before being interviewed, down from 64.2% in 2005.

    Heineken says in the release announcing 0.0 that the drink taps into the "growing cultural trend around the importance of responsible alcohol consumption and living a balanced, healthy lifestyle."

    Gianluca Di Tondo, Heineken's senior director of global brand, says in a release on May 12: "The zero alcohol segment in Europe and Russia grew with a 5% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) between 2010 to 2015. We expect this strong growth to continue, driven by good innovation on taste, as it already has in Spain, Germany and Austria.

    "Our ambition is to lead the category development in the markets where non-alcoholic beer is still small, but has growth potential, with a premium proposition."

    Heineken is rolling out the new beer in 17 markets this year including the UK.
     
    15.05.2017   Leinenkugel's Celebrates 150th Anniversary by Brewing Collaboration Beer with Hofbrau Munchen     ( Company news )

    Company news Leinenkugel's Celebrates 150th Anniversary by Brewing Collaboration Beer with Hofbrau Munchen

    The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company is announcing a partnership with Munich-based Hofbräu München to create a limited-edition Leinenkugel’s Anniversary Lager (photo). The collaboration brew is one part of a year-long celebration that includes new packaging, a slate of summer programs and a party in Chippewa Falls for the Wisconsin-based brewery’s 150th anniversary.

    Set to arrive on draft at select bars in April and available in six-packs in June, Leinenkugel’s Anniversary Lager incorporates American hops and some German malt. Further, the Mӓrzen-style lager is brewed in the spirit of Reinheitsgebot, the German Beer Purity Law dating back to the 1500s that regulated what was allowed to go into beer, to commemorate Leinenkugel’s brewing heritage while looking toward its future. Leinenkugel’s Anniversary Lager will be brewed in Chippewa Falls, with a limited amount of draft being brewed in Germany.

    “As we discussed how to celebrate this incredible milestone for our brewery, we wanted to ensure whatever we did was truly genuine and in the spirit of what we’ve been doing for a century and a half,” said Dick Leinenkugel, president of the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company. “Partnering with Hofbräu München was a natural fit because of the similarities between our two breweries - German brewing history, innovation and a commitment to providing fans with the best beer possible.”

    Drinkers able to get ahold of the collaboration brew will notice a subtle, toasty sweetness upfront as a result of the malt character with tropical notes from added Mosaic hops. Leinenkugel’s Anniversary Lager comes in at 5.4 percent ABV and 25 IBUs.

    “Leinenkugel’s envisioned a beer that honored its storied history, so that is exactly what we’ve helped create with the Leinenkugel’s Anniversary Lager,” said Dr. Michael Möller, director of Hofbräu München. “The beer has more than 550 years of combined experience behind it, is brewed in the spirit of Reinheitsgebot and has equal influence from their innovative flavors and our tried-and-trued traditions. We like to think of this as a ‘cheers’ that crosses the Atlantic.”

    Before the collaboration brew is officially available nationwide, Leinenkugel’s will also be introducing new packaging for its entire portfolio for the first time in 10 years. The new look highlights Leinenkugel’s proud family name and brings the signature outdoorsy feel and an eye-catching color to the forefront. The new packaging will be seen as the brewery’s flagship Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy hits shelves in March and will ramp up as more beers arrive throughout the year.

    Along with several initiatives currently being planned across the country, the celebration will culminate with an official anniversary party at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds in Chippewa Falls taking place the weekend of August 11. Leinenkugel’s fans of legal drinking age from all over are invited to join the family as they cheers their milestone moment.

    “The celebration will begin with our biggest collaboration brew in history and a complete packaging refresh across our entire portfolio, but we have a lot more on the way and recognize a proper cheers with our fans is the only way to cap it off,” said Leinenkugel. “For those unable to make it to the official celebration in August, thank you for your continued support of our family’s beer.”
    (MillerCoors LLC)
     
    12.05.2017   Britvic low and no sugar portfolio of drinks helps SUBWAY® to meet NHS sugar targets    ( Company news )

    Company news The SUBWAY® brand meets 2016/ 2017 CQUIN PHE NHS targets: Brand announces its first low/no sugar beverage store trialsi across 12 hospital sites

    The SUBWAY® brand is proud to announce its 12 NHS franchised stores at hospital sites have met the relevant criteria relating to food and drink sold on NHS premises for the 2016/2017 CQUIN (Commissioning for Quality and Innovation) targets.

    At the same time, the brand has exceeded the forthcoming CQUIN target announcement, by only serving no sugar and reduced sugar beverages in these stores. This roll-out exceeds the deadline for voluntary implementation detailed in the 2017/2018 CQUIN targets, as set-out by NHS England.

    This was made possible by the brand changing over to a new beverage partner alongside putting in place a comprehensive programme that provided its corporate and individual franchisees with the necessary tools and information to comply.

    After partnering with Britvic and PepsiCo beverages, SUBWAY® stores removed high sugar drinks, in favour of no sugar and reduced sugar dispensed or bottled options only. This is part of an inaugural trial that will help determine the shift in customer behaviour and sales impact as a result of the no sugar and reduced sugar roll-out.

    All NHS England CQUIN required changes have been implemented by their individual or corporate (Compass Group and Sodexo) franchises as of 1st March 2017 across all hospital sites in England, Wales and Scotland.

    In summary:

    - Only no sugar and reduced sugar dispensed drinks and bottled variants or water stocked in fridges
    - No bundle offers available for cookies or crisps
    - ‘Help yourself impulse buy’ cookies and crisps removed from the till area
    - Healthier ‘crisp’ options available which include lower fat Baked, Sunbites and Popcorn varieties
    - Apples provided as an alternative snack option alongside the current BEAR Pure Fruit Yoyos

    Peter Dowding, Country Director for the UK and Ireland said: “This action builds upon the strong healthier-for-you food-on-the-go credentials the brand already has in place. It further demonstrates our commitment to providing a better food environment in hospitals to patients, staff and visitors.”

    All SUBWAY® stores in the UK feature the following information:
    - Calorie labelling on menu panels
    - Nutritional posters displayed in-store highlighting calories, fat, saturates, sugars and salt
    - Low Fat logo next to Low Fat Subs
    - Heart Research UK ‘heart’ logo, which supports a customer’s choice of a Low Fat Sub
    - 2 of your 5 a day logo
    - Messaging that all Subs can be made into a salad

    These help to prompt customers to make healthier decisions in choosing those items not high in Fat, Saturates, Sugar and Salt.
    (Britvic Plc)
     
    11.05.2017   New IZZE FUSIONS Will Not Be Defined    ( Company news )

    Company news Fizzy bubbles, sparkling water and a fusion of natural fruit juices come together in PepsiCo's new beverage IZZE FUSIONS. The "sorta juice, sorta soda, sorta sparkling water" is now available from coast to coast in three delicious flavors - Orange Mango, Lemon Lime and Strawberry Melon. IZZE FUSIONS is 60 calories per 12-ounce can and has no artificial sweeteners or artificial flavors.

    "With IZZE FUSIONS – it was important we captured the essence of the new generation of teens blazing their own paths and living in the 'undefined,'" said Rosemarie Iannucci, Marketing Director, PepsiCo. "Their passion is what inspired every step of the launch – from the beverage itself to the creative, mobile and digital-focused marketing campaign. And it's a product parents can feel good about buying for their teens."
    (PepsiCo Inc.)
     
    10.05.2017   NHS UK: Reported link between diet drinks and dementia and stroke is weak    ( Company news )

    Company news "Diet drinks triple your risk of stroke and dementia," the Daily Mail reports, as US research found a link between daily intake and increased risk. However, the chain of evidence is not as strong as reported.

    The researchers analysed data from an ongoing US cohort study to see if consumption of sugar or artificially sweetened drinks was linked with risk of stroke or dementia 10 years later. Several thousand people were included in the study, and during follow-up 3% had a stroke and 5% developed dementia.

    Overall, when taking account of all health and lifestyle factors that could have an influence (confounders), the researchers actually found no link between artificially sweetened drinks and risk of dementia.

    The figures reported in the media came from a model that wasn't adjusted for all confounders, such as diabetes, that could explain part of the link.

    For stroke the links with artificially sweetened drinks were inconsistent. There were no overall links when looking at longer term patterns.

    The study does not give definitive "cause and effect" proof that drinking artificially sweetened drinks will lead to stroke or dementia. Still, the lead author's reported statement that it is healthier (not to mention cheaper) to just drink water is sound advice.

    Where did the story come from?
    The study was carried out by researchers from Boston University School of Medicine and Tufts University, Boston. The long-term cohort study is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

    Individual researchers of this particular analysis received funding from additional sources including the National Health and Medical Research Council. The researchers declare no conflict of interest.

    The study was published in Stroke, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Heart Association, on an open-access basis so you can read it for free online.

    The Guardian gave a good overview of the research while making clear that no cause and effect had been proven.

    The Daily Mail's headline – "Diet drinks TRIPLE your risk of stroke and dementia" – is somewhat misleading as it is based on unadjusted data. Though the authors themselves included this information in the abstract of the study.

    Several independent experts in the field have also advised caution in taking the results of this research as being conclusive, until further research is conducted.

    What kind of research was this?
    This was a prospective cohort study, using data collected from the ongoing Framingham Heart Study Offspring, to see whether drinking sugar or artificially sweetened drinks was linked with risk of stroke or dementia.

    The researchers say how previous research has linked both types of soft drink with cardiovascular disease, like stroke, but dementia had yet to be examined.

    This type of large cohort can find links, but it's very difficult to prove that any individual factor, such as drinks, is directly responsible for a health outcome. Food questionnaires can be subject to inaccurate recall and it's hard to account for all other health and lifestyle factors that can have an influence.
    What did the research involve?

    The Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort started in 1971, enrolling 5,124 people living in the community of Framingham, Massachusetts. They had assessments every four years up to 2014.

    The assessments at waves five (1991–95), six (1995–98), and seven (1998–2001) included food frequency questionnaires that assessed dietary intake over the previous 12 months. This included questions on sugar-sweetened and artificially-sweetened drinks, among many other food and drink items. Responses for intake ranged from "never or less than once per month" to "six or more per day".

    The researchers pooled the most common response categories for each drink to come up with ranges that weren't directly comparable:
    total sugary drinks: <1 per day, 1 to 2 per day, and >2 per day
    sugar-sweetened drinks: 0 per week, ≤3 per week, and >3 per week
    artificially sweetened drinks: 0 per week, ≤6 per week, and ≥1 per day

    The 10 year risk of new-onset stroke or dementia started from the last food and drink assessment wave (1998–2001) onwards.

    Stroke cases were identified by monitoring hospital admissions, medical records, and asking about stroke at each assessment cycle. Diagnoses of stroke were confirmed by doctors using valid criteria.

    Dementia was detected by routine Mini-Mental State Examination at each study assessment. Those with cognitive impairment were flagged for a full review by doctors, and diagnoses of dementia were again made using valid diagnostic criteria.

    Links between drinks and stroke or dementia were adjusted for the following confounders:
    age
    gender
    educational level
    total calorie intake and diet quality
    physical activity
    smoking history
    waist-hip ratio
    blood cholesterol levels
    history of high blood pressure
    history of diabetes

    What were the basic results?
    The researchers analysed 2,888 people aged above 45 years (average 62) for the stroke assessment, and 1,484 adults aged above 60 years (average 69) for the dementia assessment.

    During follow-up there were 97 cases of stroke (3% of the cohort), 82 of which were caused by a clot (ischaemic). There were 81 new diagnoses of dementia (5%), 63 of which were consistent with Alzheimer's.

    Stroke
    When adjusted for all confounders, there was no link between any consumption of either total sugary drinks or sugar-sweetened drinks and risk of stroke.

    They did find significant links for artificially sweetened drinks when looking at recent history. Recent consumption of artificially-sweetened drinks (at the 1998–2001 assessment) was linked with risk of stroke: compared with none:
    -83% increased risk for 0-6 drinks week (hazard rati0 [HR] 1.83, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.14 to 2.93)
    -97% increased risk for one or more drink per day (HR 1.97, 95% CI 1.10 to 3.55)

    The risk was slightly higher when restricting the analysis to ischaemic stroke cases only.

    For overall intake across all assessment periods, however, there was no significant link between artificially-sweetened drinks and strokes – this was only found again when restricting to the smaller number with ischaemic stroke.

    The reported figure of a tripled increase with artificially-sweetened drinks comes from an HR of 2.67 (95% 1.26 to 6.97) for one or more drinks per day – but this was in the model that was not fully adjusted for all health factors – and for ischaemic stroke only.

    Dementia
    In the fully adjusted model there were no significant links for risk of dementia (or Alzheimer's specifically) from total sugary drinks, sugar-sweetened drinks or artificially-sweetened drinks.

    Again, the reported figure of a tripled risk increase with artificially-sweetened drinks comes from an HR of 2.89 (95% 1.18 to 7.07) for one or more drinks per day – but this was again in the model that was not fully adjusted – and for Alzheimer's only.

    How did the researchers interpret the results?
    The researchers conclude: "Artificially sweetened soft drink consumption was associated with a higher risk of stroke and dementia."

    Conclusion
    The researchers used data from a large ongoing cohort study to look for links between consumption of sugary and artificially sweetened drinks and risk of stroke or dementia.

    This cohort study benefits from the large overall sample size, long period of data collection, careful and valid diagnostic assessments, and adjustments for a number of confounders. However, care must be taken when interpreting these results – particularly if latching on to the maximal tripled risk figures reported in the media.

    There are several points to consider:
    Small numbers
    The new number of strokes and dementia in this study was small, just 3% and 5% of the cohort, respectively. The most common category for consumption of artificially sweetened drinks in the full cohort was actually zero.

    The paper doesn't report how many of the 97 people with stroke or 81 with dementia were in the highest consumption categories, but it's likely to be few. The numbers will get even smaller when restricting to the 82 with ischaemic stroke and 63 with Alzheimer's.

    Analyses with smaller numbers can be less accurate, as indicated by the rather wide confidence intervals on the tripled associations.

    Variable consumption measures
    As said above, the researchers grouped consumption categories according to the most common response. The categories for the three different drinks aren't consistent, which makes it quite difficult to compare them with one another.

    Overall this makes it very difficult to conclude with any certainty that artificially sweetened drinks carry more risk than sugary drinks.

    Inconsistent links
    In the fully adjusted model, links between artificially sweetened drinks and stroke were only found for the last food and drink assessment taken at wave seven.

    There was no statistically significant link for stroke when looking at cumulative intake over all assessments – only when restricting to ischaemic strokes only.

    Overall this makes it difficult to give any conclusive answer about the strength of the links with artificially-sweetened drinks. Arguably the cumulative, overall pattern, should give the most reliable indication – and this found no link.

    Recall in food frequency questionnaires
    Food frequency questionnaires are a validated measure for assessing food and drink consumption. However, people may not be able to accurately recall how much and how often they have consumed a particular drink over the past year.

    Potential influence of confounders
    As highlighted, the triple figures came from models that hadn't adjusted for health related factors. Full adjustment for all health and lifestyle factors gave more tentative links. Even then this analysis may not have been able to adjust for all factors that could be having an effect.

    If there is a link it may not have been directly caused by artificially sweetened drinks. For example people with diabetes or obesity may be more likely to consume artificially sweetened drinks and are also more likely to develop stroke and some forms of dementia.

    Generalisability
    Lastly, this is a sample from one region of the US only. Lifestyle habits – including drink consumption – may differ and the findings may not have been the same if studying other samples.

    Overall the various limitations mean that this study does not give definitive proof that drinking artificially sweetened drinks will increase risk of stroke or dementia.

    When it comes to the healthiest drink to have on a day to day basis you can't go wrong with plain old tap water.
    (National Health Service)
     
    10.05.2017   You can’t be more passionate than this: Andrea Kalrait, Director Exhibitions BrauBeviale ...    ( BrauBeviale 2018 )

    BrauBeviale 2018 ... is now also a qualified beer sommelière

    She is firmly established in the beverages sector, on first-name terms with many brewers and does her job with the greatest passion. Because when it comes to the subject of beer, she is committed to it heart and soul – both professionally as well as privately. Andrea Kalrait has been at NürnbergMesse GmbH for 25 years and since 2013 Director of Exhibitions at BrauBeviale, one of the most important equipment shows for the beverages sector.

    With immediate effect she is also in charge of the strategy for international trade fairs in key growth markets, which are grouped together under the Beviale Family. In spring 2017, she went one step further and trained to become a beer sommelière on a two-week crash-course.
    (NürnbergMesse GmbH)
     
    09.05.2017   Canada: ‘Ground shifting’ under beer consumption as Canadians age and ...    ( E-Malt.com )

    ... women increasingly prefer cider

    As Canadians age, they are drinking less beer with baby boomer women leading the decline in consumption. But cider and local craft beer can help soften some of the downturn, a recent Mintel report found.

    “While beer remains far and away the most popular alcoholic beverage in Canada (accounting for 80% of alcoholic beverage consumption), the ground is shifting,” Joel Gregoire, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel, said.

    “Canada’s population is aging and one of the key distinctions is that the drop off in beer consumption among seniors primarily occurs among women.”

    The declining pace of beer consumption has slowed down over the past two years and Canadians reported drinking an average of six and a half fewer litres in 2016 compared to five years ago; and 35% of Canadians over the age of 55 say they do not drink beer at all, according to Mintel.

    The drop-off in beer consumption does not appear to be based on any one type of beer with declines evident across lager, ales, malts, and stouts, Mintel noted.

    Consumer feedback revealed that women are less likely to drink beer than men – 58% of women over the age of 65 said they did not drink beer in 2016.

    However, there is still an opportunity to re-engage older female consumers through lighter alcoholic beverages such as cider and fruit-flavored beer, as 26% of women said they would be open to exploring more unique flavors compared to just 10% of men.

    Women are more likely to agree that they “often find beer’s flavor to be too bitter for (them)” (21% vs 12% of men) and they are also more likely to agree that they “prefer the taste of cider over beer” (27% vs 16%), Mintel said.

    “Developing tactics that support a strategy of providing more palatable beer options, such as socialization with hints at flavour exploration, for women in this advanced age range can support a larger goal of stemming potential declines,” Gregoire said.

    Despite declines in overall beer consumption, craft beer and cider volumes have grown – 57% of Canadians said they typically drink craft beers and 53% of Canadians said they drink cider.

    Some of the reasons Mintel cited for this continued interest in craft beer are that it is perceived as higher-quality compared to mainstream beer, and consumers are willing to pay more for such products.

    Cider has also proved to be a growth opportunity in Canada as consumers are more likely to associate cider with being “flavorful, refreshing and natural,” providing some guidance in how to effectively position cider to Canadians.

    While the share of Canadians who drink beer by age drops, the same declines are not apparent when examining consumer feedback related to wine, according to Mintel’s Wine – Canada, October 2016 report.

    It’s also notable that wine’s share of total market volume has also increased by two percentage points from 14% to 16% between 2011 and 2016.
     
    09.05.2017   India: United Breweries betting on its new Kingfisher Storm to wean away consumers from Carlsberg    ( E-Malt.com )

    India’s largest beermaker United Breweries (UB) is betting on its latest strong brew, Kingfisher Storm, to wean away customers from rival Carlsberg that has steadily gained 15% market share over the past five years, the Economic Times reported on April 27.

    Storm will directly compete with Carlsberg Elephant, Tuborg Strong, and the recently introduced Tuborg Classic. The product will be rolled out across India in the next 18 months. This is the most aggressive launch by UB in over eight years, said acompany official, requesting anonymity.

    “There is a movement toward a smoother drinking experience — typically falling between 5% and 7% alcohol content," he said.

    To ride out a prolonged slump in the beer industry that fell 2% in FY17, UB is banking on youngsters to spend more on a strong beer with a smooth taste.

    According to experts, India’s beer market has traditionally been driven by strong beer, which accounts for about 80% of the country’s overall sales volume of 300 million cases. This year, the beer industry is expected to expand 5-7%, paced by premium product launches and expansions, according to the country’s top breweries.

    UB, which has a market share of about 52%, will introduce a portfolio of imported beers and another strong beer brand by the end of the year. AB InBev’s imported labels such as Corona, Hoegaarden and Stella, which are limited to Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore, will now be taken to more than a dozen markets across India.
     
    09.05.2017   Ireland: Guinness removes isinglass from filtration process    ( E-Malt.com )

    Guinness has removed fish guts from its filtration process after announcing the move in 2015, The Irish Sun reported on May 1.

    For over 200 years, the stout was filtered using isinglass, a protein which comes from dried fish bladders.

    The change to the brewing process means that vegans can now enjoy a pint of the black stuff, guilt free.

    Guinness shared the following statement with PETA, who praised that news:

    “The first stage of the roll out of the new filtration system concentrated on Guinness Draught in kegs.

    “The brewery is delighted to confirm that this phase of the project is complete and all Guinness Draught produced in keg format at St. James’s Gate Brewery and served in pubs, bars and restaurants around the world, is brewed without using isinglass to filter the beer.”
     
    09.05.2017   Mtn Dew® Label Series Brings Two New Unique Premium Beverages - Mtn Dew White Label™ And ...    ( Company news )

    Company news ...Mtn Dew Green Label™ - To The DEW Nation

    Following the success of Mtn Dew® Black Label® last year, DEW® is creating the Mtn Dew® Label Series – a line of premium sodas from DEW with crafted unique flavors and herbal and citrus bitters. The new line of bold yet refined beverages now includes the citrus-flavored Mtn Dew White Label™ and the apple-kiwi flavored Mtn Dew Green Label™ giving the DEW Nation two new ways to enjoy the flavor of DEW for those more sophisticated moments.

    In 2016, DEW introduced Mtn Dew Black Label, a carbonated soda with crafted dark berry flavor and herbal bitters, as the first product under the Mtn Dew Label Series umbrella. It was one of the most successful individual product launches in DEW history, elevating the DEW Nation's drinking experience with new and unique flavors and premium ingredients.

    "DEW Nation has shown us its love for Mtn Dew Black Label by making it one of our most popular beverages," said Chauncey Hamlett, senior director of marketing, Mountain Dew. "Through the Mtn Dew Label Series, we're looking to give our fans more choices for when they want to let loose but are craving something a little more sophisticated."

    Mtn Dew Label Series Launches with a Complete Motel Transformation in Palm Springs, Calif.
    The Mtn Dew Label Series was launched in a big way with Label Motel, transforming the everyday into a bold and refined experience as DEW takes over and completely converts the Musicland Hotel in Palm Springs, Calif., on April 15 – 16 during one of the hottest music festivals of the year. The two-day Label Motel event will be free, open to the public (with RSVP to mountaindew@golin.com) and a damn good time for all. Attendees can sip Mtn Dew Label Series beverages while immersing themselves in a series of unique moments centered around music, art, style, technology and mixology.

    Beyond Label Motel
    The 360-degree 'Boldly Refined' marketing campaign will include other immersive consumer experiences such as grassroots sampling across select college and university campuses nationwide starting in March. The campaign will also be rounded out with digital and social efforts along with an appearance at the MTV Movie and TV Awards.

    Mtn Dew Green Label, Mtn Dew White Label and Mtn Dew Black Label are available at retailers nationwide for a suggested retail price of $1.99 in signature 16-ounce matte cans, with 140 calories per can for the two new products.
    (PepsiCo Inc.)
     
    09.05.2017   South Africa: AB InBev to launch Budweiser in South Africa    ( E-Malt.com )

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Despite the drop in combined beer volumes, Anheuser-Busch InBev said the "SAB integration continues at a fast pace, with $252 mln of synergies captured in the quarter".
     
    09.05.2017   The Netherlands & USA: Heineken buys remaining 50% of Lagunitas Brewing    ( E-Malt.com )

    Lagunitas Brewing is selling its remaining 50 percent stake to Heineken International, which will place the California and Chicago-based brewery under full control of the world’s second-largest beer company. Heineken first bought half of Lagunitas in September 2015, the Chicago Tribune reported on May 4.

    As a result of the deal, Lagunitas will become Heineken’s lead global craft brand, while its founder and executive chairman, Tony Magee, will take on a newly created role as global craft director for the Dutch company. Heineken owns more than 160 breweries worldwide.

    “We’ll look to develop meaningful craft strategies and work with Heineken’s companies around the world to develop and deploy craft — good craft brands in the Lagunitas model,” Magee said.

    Magee announced the deal to employees in Petaluma, Calif., on May 4 and to customers in a 1,948-word post on Tumblr, which is how he also announced the first sale.

    “Some who don’t fully understand it all may say it is selling out,” Magee wrote. “Truth is that we did then, and are now ‘buying in.’ Money has value and equity has value too. I am using Lagunitas’ equity to buy deeper into an organization that will help us go farther more quickly than we could have on our own. You have to imagine Jonah standing on the gunnel of the storm-tossed ship and intentionally leaping into the mouth of the whale to embrace the transformation and emerge to become his own destiny.”
     
    09.05.2017   Ukraine: Persha Pryvatna Brovarnia to start brewing Czech beer Krušovice under license in early June    ( E-Malt.com )

    Persha Pryvatna Brovarnia, an independent brewery based in Lviv, Ukraine, has received a license form Heineken Concern to produce Czech beer Krušovice and will start its production in early June, Interfax-Ukraine reported on April 27.

    "This year we received a license from Heineken Concern to produce Krušovice and in a month will start producing this famous Czech beer," the co-owner of Persha Pryvatna Brovarnia Andriy Matsola said in an interview with Interfax-Ukraine.

    He said that usually it takes three or five years to receive the beer production license from Heineken. Persha Pryvatna Brovarnia started negotiations with Heineken in 2012 and at the end of 2015 and early 2016 the brewery launched Heineken beer production in Ukraine under the license.

    "The vice president of Heineken personally flew [to Ukraine] to inspect. The whole structure was inspected: from the head office, retail staff, atmosphere and policy of the company to tests of production facilities. In 2015, Persha Pryvatna Brovarnia was the fourth company in the world that received this license from Heineken, not being in ownership of the concern," Matsola said.

    He said that Heineken does not plant to enter the Ukrainian market.

    Persha Pryvatna Brovarnia was created in 2004. It manages two breweries with a total capacity of 2.4 million hectolitres of beer per year in Lviv and Radomyshl (Zhytomyr region).
     
    09.05.2017   USA: Molson Coors’ beer sales forecast to suffer due to increasing marijuana use    ( E-Malt.com )

    Wall Street came out on April 20 with comprehensive research about the negative ramifications of rising cannabis use on alcohol consumption.

    Cowen lowered its rating for Molson Coors on April 20 to market perform from outperform, saying the beer company's sales will suffer due to increasing marijuana use.

    "We believe alcohol could be under pressure for the next decade, based on our data analysis covering 80 years of alcohol and 35 years of cannabis incidence in the US," analyst Vivien Azer wrote in a note to clients. "Since 1980, we have seen 3 distinct substitution cycles between alcohol and cannabis; we are entering another cycle."

    The analyst noted during the three most recent cycles of alcohol consumption there was a "notable inverse correlation with cannabis use." She cited how during the 1980s and 1990s alcohol consumption fell 22 percent while marijuana use rose 18 percent.

    In addition, alcohol drinking in the 18 to 25-year-old demographic has declined for five straight years through 2015 as marijuana use increased, according to Azer.

    "For TAP, the emerging cannabis category could prove more problematic, given the company's exposure to mainstream beer in both the US and Canada," she wrote. "While we are confident in TAP's ability to generate their targeted cost savings, we are lowering our volume outlook to reflect our expectations for persistent volume headwinds for the beer industries in these two markets."

    As a result Azer decreased her Molson Coors price target to $105 from $120, representing 9 percent upside from Wednesday's close.

    "Coming out of the recession, alcohol's recovery has been uneven, while cannabis incidence (and legal sales) have both risen markedly. We believe this sets up the alcoholic beverage category for another cycle of falling per capita consumption," she wrote. "With cannabis adoption accelerating, alcohol volumes will remain under pressure."
     
    09.05.2017   USA: Per capita beer consumption decline would have been more if it weren’t for craft beer    ( E-Malt.com )

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “We’ve kind of brought everybody into the category so we can’t expand by bringing in new drinkers; we have to expand occasions.”
     
    08.05.2017   ENGEL AUSTRIA honoured for its loyalty to Upper Austria    ( Company news )

    Company news ENGEL AUSTRIA has been given the gold Corona 2017 award. Conferred by the Federation of Austrian Industries in Upper Austria, the award is an acknowledgement of ENGEL's strong commitment to people at its headquarters in Upper Austria.

    Photo: “We are delighted about the award and particularly pleased that our commitment is not only recognised and appreciated by our staff and customers, but also by the whole region,” says Joachim Metzmacher.

    The Corona 2017 award was bestowed in two categories. ENGEL won first prize in the category Location. Explaining its decision, the jury says: “ENGEL has increased its workforce in Upper Austria by 16 per cent in two years and has invested a particularly large amount of money in the expansion and modernisation of its headquarters. It has therefore made a lasting contribution to strengthening Upper Austria as a business location."

    "We are delighted about the award and particularly pleased that our commitment is not only recognised and appreciated by our staff and customers, but also by the whole region," says Joachim Metzmacher, Chief Production Officer at ENGEL, in accepting the prize on the company's behalf. "ENGEL's continuous growth is based on our innovative capacity and this is largely dependent on the general conditions in the region. Here in Upper Austria we benefit from a very good climate for innovation."

    Headquarters in Schwertberg expanded significantly
    ENGEL has invested 55 million euros in Upper Austria in the last three years. A new building offering a total of 10,000 square metres of additional space has been erected in the southern part of the headquarters in Schwertberg. Of these, more than 6,000 square metres are being used for new offices to strengthen the sales and service teams. The apprentice workshop have moved into the new building on about 1,300 square metres and equipped with new machines, while 300 square metres have been allocated to the day nursery. By having its own childcare centre, ENGEL is making it even easier for its staff to balance family and professional obligations.

    Further building measures for the Schwertberg site are already being planned. The main priority here is to increase the assembly capacity. Among other things, the North Hall, which was built in 2013, will be expanded. A new customer technology centre is also being built at the headquarters.

    “We are delighted about the award and particularly pleased that our commitment is not only recognised and appreciated by our staff and customers, but also by the whole region,” says Joachim Metzmacher.
    (Engel Austria GmbH)
     
    05.05.2017   Outotec: New digital tool makes equipment inspections faster and provides same-day reports     ( Company news )

    Company news Customers can now get immediate feedback from their equipment inspections thanks to a new mobile app being rolled out for Outotec equipment. The app guides our service technicians through the inspection process, allowing them to capture all relevant technical data and images to support improved decision-making. As soon as the inspection is complete, the technician can email a preliminary report to the customer straight from the app.

    Regular, systematic inspections provide you with a clear understanding of the current condition and maintenance needs of your equipment, including future spare parts requirements. Our new mobile app for smartphones and tablets makes the inspection process faster and easier, meaning the information is available to you more quickly. The preliminary report is easy to share with colleagues, and it is followed up by a full report after our experts have performed in-depth analysis of the data gathered during the inspection.

    The inspection app is currently available for selected technologies, but will be expanded to include all Outotec technologies in the near future.
    (Outotec Oyj)
     
    04.05.2017   1893 From The Makers of Pepsi-Cola Expands Portfolio with Two Bold New Flavors, Citrus Cola and ...     ( Company news )

    Company news ... Black Currant Cola

    1893 from the Makers of Pepsi-Cola satisfies an elevated palate, bringing top shelf flavor to moments that are a cut above – and recently, the brand introduced two new exciting flavors to the portfolio – Citrus Cola and Black Currant Cola.

    "With bold, unique flavors and premium ingredients we are delivering the next generation of colas with 1893," said Stacy Taffet, Senior Director of Marketing, Pepsi. "We are thrilled to introduce Citrus and Black Currant to the portfolio, offering a modern take for consumers while honoring the original cola recipes created over a century ago by our founder."

    Following the successful 2016 introduction of 1893 Original Cola and Ginger Cola, the launch of the new flavors demonstrate the brand's passion for discovery and commitment to providing a unique array of blended top shelf cola choices to meet individual tastes and needs.

    1893 brings together premium ingredients and more than 100 years of cola-making expertise to present a great-tasting fusion of the past and present. Inspired by the original recipes created in 1893 by Pepsi founder Caleb Bradham,1893 is a blend of kola nut extract, real sugar and sparkling water.

    The new Citrus Cola is the perfect balance of 1893's Original Cola and the refreshing essence of grapefruit. Black Currant Cola also begins with the Original Cola recipe, and is infused with the essence of black currants for a bold berry finish. 1893 can be enjoyed as a delicious standalone beverage or as the perfect enhancement for top shelf cocktails.

    The message of top shelf colas will inform all 1893 brand activity for 2017, including cocktail strategy, consumer events and bar community engagement. The 1893 Top Shelf bartender program serves as an extension of the new flavors campaign, demonstrating that a premium spirit is best enjoyed with a premium cola. The program will enlist some of the nation's top award-winning bartenders and explore how today's mixologists are incorporating past and present flavors surrounding the kola nut into clever, refined modern cocktails.

    The launch of 1893 Citrus and Black Currant Colas will be supported through an integrated marketing mix including, television and online advertising. A new 1893 TV spot will air nationally on both television and social media platforms in Spring 2017.

    Packaged in sleek and premium 12 oz. cans, 1893 Citrus and Black Currant Colas will be sold in stores where Pepsi products are available for a suggested retail price of $1.79.
    (PepsiCo Inc.)
     
    03.05.2017   BERICAP presents innovative products at Interpack 2017    ( Company news )

    Company news BERICAP (Hall 10, Stand E-67) will be one of the exhibitors at this year's Interpack trade fair in Düsseldorf, where it will be presenting ground-breaking technologies, integrated solutions and innovations tailored to individual packaging requirements.

    Photo: Greater grip height for easier handling - HexaLite 26/13 SFB 3T

    Over the more than 180 m² of its stand E 67 in hall 10, BERICAP, the global manufacturer of plastic closures, will be showcasing new packaging solutions, such as the e-smoCapTM for e-liquids, alongside advances in its tried-and-tested closure solutions for canisters, metal packages, pesticides, lubricants, sauces & dressings, edible oil, food and beverages.
    Innovative ideas are born of the increasingly high requirements made of packaging and, more particularly, the closure. Depending on the area of use, the latter must not only ensure that the container is closed and tightly sealed, but also protect its contents against product piracy whilst complying with high official technical safety standards.
    Product safety
    In order to guarantee product safety and quality, the assembly of all BERICAP closures is fully automated and process-controlled on state-of-the-art machines.

    BERICAP closure for e-cigarette refill sets
    BERICAP has developed the e-smoCap™, a childproof closure that makes it easier for millions of people throughout Europe to refill their e-cigarettes.
    The closure has ISO 8317 CRC certification from the Laboratoire National d'Essais, which is supervised by the French government. A sealing strip ensures that it is tamper-proof, thus providing protection and security for end consumers. There is a long, narrow drip nozzle inside the closure for easy refills.
    Of course, it is also possible to conceive of other applications for this product in which precision dosing is of paramount importance.

    Protection against product piracy
    Product piracy and the accompanying product counterfeiting are sensitive problems with serious consequences when it comes to chemicals of high value, especially in the agricultural sector.
    In order to protect refills from being adulterated or tampered, all closures have a folded and slit tamper evidence band (TE) which is extremely difficult to manipulate and provides visual evidence in the form of broken bridges if the closure has been opened.
    Other safety options are customer-specific closure designs, possibly complemented by an additional security label fixed across the closure body and TE band, or the use of laser technology enabling, for example, the company name to be lasered across the TE band and closure, even on uneven surfaces.

    Laser Printing
    BERICAP has developed a special counterfeit protection system using a Laser Print where e.g. a logo can be printed on the side of the closure including the closure body and the TE band. Printing on uneven surfaces is no problem. As soon as the closure is opened, the security strip breaks and the logo is "destroyed", making it obvious that the bottle has already been opened.

    Closures for Beverages
    Conserving resources by lighter and more economical packaging and innovative closures
    At Interpack, BERICAP will be introducing types of closure that surpass the usual standards. Examples include closures that combine the desire for consumer satisfaction – such as good grip – with optimised material usage.
    This is particularly true for closures not only for still water, but also for beverages for aseptic fill and hot fill applications. BERICAP will be presenting new closures for the carbonated beverage market as well.
    BERICAP has also optimised its product portfolio in the area of sports caps and valves and will be presenting new ideas and applications.

    Here is a small preview:
    Lightweight yet user-friendly closure solutions for still water
    BERICAP HexaLite® 26 and 29 mm
    The emphasis in the past has been on reducing the weight of closures, particularly in the food and beverage sector. Cost savings and an improved carbon footprint were a priority, whilst consumer convenience was not taken into account.
    BERICAP initially developed lightweight closures in response to market demand.
    Developing new closures for a new light 29/25 or 26/22 PET neck resulted in weight savings for closure and neck of 33% compared to their predecessors.
    However, the new closures were low in (grip)height – only 11 and 10.5mm – making it awkward for the consumer to open the closures.
    As a consequence BERICAP developed closures for the 26mm and 29mm PET neck which are higher and allow convenient opening due to a good grip height. In addition, the lightweight necks were maintained and the little added weight to achieve a higher closure was insignificant.
    The new caps are virtually the same weight but look more substantial and are now easier for customers to handle.
    All HexaLite® closures have a cut and folded TE band rip that breaks easily the first time the bottle is opened. N2 dosing is feasible.
    The 29/25 and 26/22 neck types are approved by CETIE.
    (Bericap GmbH & Co. KG)
     
    02.05.2017   SMALLER PACKS TO CAPTURE GROWTH    ( Company news )

    Company news Tetra Pak Launches Two New On-the-Go Packages

    Tetra Pak has extended its leadership in the fast growing on-the-go beverage market with two new portion size packages, the Tetra Prisma® Aseptic 200 and 250 Edge with DreamCap™ 26.

    Photo: Man training, on-the-go consumption Tetra Prisma® Aseptic 200 ml

    Building on the success of the stylish Tetra Prisma® Aseptic 330 ml with DreamCap™, the new packages offer consumers smaller size options with the same re-sealable one-step closure for an optimised drinking experience.

    More than 40% of global consumers are snacking while on-the-go at least once a week1, with fortified milk, drinking yogurt and energy drinks among their favourite choices. Yet for some, a portion size of 330 ml or more may simply make them feel too full. This means huge market potential for portion packages under 250 ml, worldwide demand for which is anticipated to grow to 72 billion litres by 2019, up 10% from current volumes, according to Tetra Pak studies.

    “Our customers need packaging solutions that can help them capture opportunities and maximise growth. Bringing two new packages to join the highly successful Tetra Prisma Aseptic 330 ml DreamCap is our latest answer to help them exploit the huge potential of the on-the-go market. We are very pleased to have already seen success with the early adopter customers,” Charles Brand, Executive Vice President Product Management and Commercial Operations at Tetra Pak said.

    Ken Haubein, President of Jasper Products said, “We are a co-packing solution provider for many brands. In recent years, we have seen a growing interest among our customers for Tetra Prisma Aseptic DreamCap portion packages, and having more size options offers them even greater opportunities to differentiate within the highly competitive flavored milk and beverage market in the U.S.”

    The Tetra Prisma Aseptic 200 and 250 Edge with DreamCap 26 aim to mirror the success of the multi-award-winning Tetra Prisma Aseptic 330 ml DreamCap which, since its launch, has become the portion pack of choice for more than 100 customers and more than 340 brands.
    (Tetra Pak Schweiz AG)
     
    02.05.2017   SWA responds to European Commission's report on labelling rules for alcoholic beverages    ( Company news )

    Company news The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) says it will study the European Commission's proposals on the labelling of alcoholic beverages and consult with its members.

    The SWA welcomes the Commission's invitation to the alcoholic beverages' industry to develop, within a year, a self-regulatory proposal aiming to provide information on ingredients and nutrition information of all alcoholic beverages. The Commission has recognised the industry's commitment to voluntary initiatives in this area.

    The Scotch Whisky industry supports providing consumers with relevant and useful information. There is a commitment to providing calorie information to consumers, but this must be done in a meaningful way.

    Julie Hesketh-Laird, Scotch Whisky Association acting chief executive, said: "The SWA welcomes the Commission's invitation for the alcoholic drinks industry to set out a self-regulatory way forward. We believe that Scotch Whisky should be consumed in a responsible manner, as part of a balanced diet. It is right that consumers have the information they need to make choices that fit with a healthy lifestyle, including calorie intake. The Scotch Whisky industry is therefore happy to provide meaningful information in a format that is simple to understand and linked with actual serving sizes, supporting consumer choice."
    (SWA The Scotch Whisky Association)
     
    28.04.2017   The Adestor Gloss Holographic Label    ( Company news )

    Company news An eye-catching attribute to not only promote but also safe-guard authenticity

    The pressure-sensitive label manufacturer Adco has launched a new security label hologram for the drinks industry printed on Lecta’s Adestor Gloss 80g.

    Adestor Gloss, a bright white standard gloss, used extensively for labels within the drinks industry, together with A251 standard adhesive and glassine white 80, has been selected to label the Ron Barceló Dominican rum image with a hologram.

    The hologram is applied though stamping to provide brand security and protect against imitations and manipulation.

    Holograms make for eye-catching labels that enhance your brand image and
    make your product standout.
    (LECTA)

     
    28.04.2017   UNITED CAPS at Interpack 2017: New closure solutions for food and drink    ( Company news )

    Company news UNITED CAPS will debut new techniques for bi- injection moulding and in-mould labelling for caps and closures

    UNITED CAPS, an international manufacturer of caps and closures, is making a significant contribution to sales-promoting packaging with its latest developments. The company will present its latest solutions for bi-injection moulding and in-mould labelling at Interpack 2017 in Düsseldorf, the world's largest packaging trade fair, from 04 to 10 May in Hall 10, Stand D67. Also available will be information on the company’s imminent international expansion plans.

    Innovative caps and closures for the food and drink industry are the core business of the Luxembourg-based family company UNITED CAPS. There is a reason why the company's custom-designed caps and closure solutions have been one of the most sought-after solutions in the packaging industry for years. Its latest sales figures reflect the growing interest in the marketplace in UNITED CAPS’ unique and highly functional solutions for caps and closures: Following its strategic reorientation in 2015, the company significantly expanded its portfolio of standard products under the UNITED CAPS brand and acquired a number of important major customers to boost its historically strong business in providing individual customer solutions. In 2016, the company increased its net sales by more than seven percent to EUR 131 million.

    "In 2017 and specifically for Interpack, we want to write a whole new chapter in our success story. To this end, we are not only continually improving our product lines, but we are constantly reviewing and optimising production processes for highly efficient, innovative and sustainable production," reflects Benoît Henckes, CEO of UNITED CAPS.

    New: Bi-Injection and In-Mould-Labelling
    At its Interpack stand, UNITED CAPS will be exhibiting new in-mould labelling solutions for labelling and decorative plastic closures. As a second new innovation being debuted at the trade fair, the company will be presenting prototypes manufactured with an improved bi-injection process. With both methods, UNITED CAPS helps brands achieve the powerful shelf impact they desire.

    Also at Interpack, UNITED CAPS will be presenting its new DOUBLEFLOW precision pouring solution for use with edible oils and vinegars. This innovative two-part closure, with a weight of just three grams, is turning heads in the industry. In another innovation that will be on display at Interpack, UNITED CAPS successfully developed a customer-specific solution for the French bottling firm Wattwiller: A cap in the shape of a flower that makes it easier for older people to open drink bottles while also adding to the shelf appeal of the products.

    New production site in Asia
    In addition to the product presentations at Interpack, UNITED CAPS will also be announcing a planned investment in new production capacities in Malaysia. "We are excited to be able to bring this information to our Southeast Asian customers. This investment is due to the high demand for high-quality caps and closures we are seeing in that region and aligns with our ‘Close to You’ strategy ", says Benoît Henckes.
    (United Caps)
     
    27.04.2017   ENGEL Group appoints new chief financial officer    ( Company news )

    Company news The ENGEL Group, headquartered in Schwertberg, Austria, has appointed Markus Richter (photo) as chief financial officer with effect from May 1st, 2017. He succeeds Klaus Siegmund, who left ENGEL in March.

    Markus Richter has more than 25 years of experience in commercial management roles in globally successful companies in the industrial, energy, transportation and personnel services sectors. As chief financial officer (CFO) at ENGEL, Markus Richter, who holds a master degree in commerce, will be responsible for the fields of finance, human resources and IT and will head the operational business of the group together with Dr. Stefan Engleder (CEO), Dr. Christoph Steger (CSO) and Joachim Metzmacher (CPO).

    “We are pleased to have found in Mr. Richter an acknowledged expert in international finance who also has experience in human resources and global IT projects,” says Dr. Birgitte Engleder, Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board of the ENGEL Group.

    The previous CFO Klaus Siegmund left the company in March in agreement with the supervisory board of the ENGEL Group. He was a member of the Board of Directors for two years, during which extensive investments were made in the expansion of sites and the workforce increased considerably worldwide. “Mr. Siegmund helped drive the expansion in our business with great dedication. We would like to thank him warmly for this,” says Dr. Engleder. “We wish Mr. Siegmund all the best for his professional and personal future.”
    (Engel Austria GmbH)
     
    26.04.2017   Redd's Wicked Introduces Strawberry Kiwi    ( Company news )

    Company news It's about to get Wicked: Redd's Wicked Limited Release Series returns with new flavor, Redd's Wicked Strawberry Kiwi (photo)

    The Wicked Hour is back and better than ever with the return of the Redd’s Wicked Limited Release series. Kicking off the return of the series is Redd’s Wicked Strawberry Kiwi, a new daring flavor that allows revelers to start their night the right way. The second flavor in the series, Redd’s Wicked Strawberry Kiwi, hits shelves nationwide March 1 and will be available for a limited time only.

    The unapologetically wicked flavor is eight percent alcohol by volume, offering juicy strawberry and kiwi punches that deliver perfectly balanced sweet and tart flavors. Its fruit-forward aroma is complemented by its smooth, moderate body with mild carbonation. Redd’s Wicked Strawberry Kiwi is the perfect drink for the rebel within.

    “Redd’s Wicked was created for guys who want to kick off their night with a bang. With bold new flavors like Strawberry Kiwi, Redd’s Wicked is the perfect drink to satisfy their craving,” said Lisa Rudman, Redd’s Family of Brands senior marketing manager. “We’re excited to welcome Redd’s Wicked Strawberry Kiwi to the family and to help our fans ramp up for whatever their night might bring.”

    In addition to the release of Redd’s Wicked Strawberry Kiwi, fan-favorite Redd’s Wicked Blood Orange is set to be re-released later in 2017.

    Redd’s Wicked Strawberry Kiwi will be available nationwide at most grocery and convenience stores in 24-ounce cans, 16-ounce cans and 12-packs of 10-ounce cans.
    (MillerCoors LLC)
     
    25.04.2017   GEBO CERMEX TO SHOW ITS VISION OF THE “SMART MACHINE” AT INTERPACK     ( Company news )

    Company news Gebo Cermex, part of the Sidel Group and world leader in packaging line engineering solutions, is introducing its latest advanced performance systems and innovative packaging line solutions at Interpack 2017 (4-10 May). On booth C47 (Hall 13), the company is demonstrating its portfolio for the beverage and food, home and personal care (FHPC) customers based on its Agility 4.0™ program. ‘Smart’ equipment is the focus at this year’s exhibition, with a comprehensive packing solution at the company’s booth.

    Marc Aury, President & Managing Director of Gebo Cermex, explains: “As a key player in the Factory of the Future movement with our Agility 4.0™ program, at Interpack this year we are excited to give visitors a preview of our vision of the 'Smart Machine', with a comprehensive robotic/cobotic case packing solution embedding advanced and connected systems.” A ‘Smart Machine’ is so much more than a piece of machinery. Featuring the latest motion technology, robotics and cobotics, auto adjustment and auto feeding, as well as being a connected machine, it establishes itself as a forward looking comprehensive solution. Aury continues: “It is no longer a case packer simply putting products in a case. It’s a 360° integrated approach using the latest technologies to deliver all functionalities.”

    The ‘smart packing machine’ on the Gebo Cermex booth at Interpack 2017 will feature four main innovative modules.

    CareSelect - new shaped bottle infeed system to preserve product integrity
    As a global launch at Interpack 2017 will be CareSelect™ - Gebo Cermex’s patented universal and modular shaped-bottle infeed and collating system for robotic or traditional case packers. Utilizing Rockwell Automation’s iTRAK® technology and capable of achieving speeds of up to 400 products per minute depending on package size, shape and weight, the CareSelect system easily surpasses traditional ‘endless screw’ collation systems in terms of bottle integrity and protection. It delivers shaped bottles to the packing machine with precision and care in the correct orientation and pitch, turning each bottle 90°. Even unstable shaped products are smoothly and individually handled via independent movers. To eliminate contact between products, flow is managed without accumulation at the infeed and ‘friction time’ between the bottle and the system - when the bottles come into contact with machine parts - is dramatically reduced (by at least 20 times) compared to an endless screw infeed system.

    In response to the demand of customers for flexibility and reduced downtime when managing production of different batches, CareSelect™ offers fully automatic changeovers in less than one minute, with no need for mechanical adjustments. Additionally, adaptation of movers and product guides is carried out automatically, without involving any manual intervention. Unlike the previous screw infeed which required the manipulation of heavy parts, CareSelect™ needs no tools or parts to implement the changes. As a result, storage space for cranes and other kinds of equipment is also saved.

    Fenceless cobotic FlexiLoad for automatic magazine loading
    Featured on booth C47 (Hall 13) too, will be FlexiLoad™, the reliable robotic solution for magazine loading, suitable for any case packing system regardless of type and speed. This eliminates the need for time-consuming, manual corrugated board magazine feeding and, importantly, the potential for operators’ musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Exhibited for the very first time on this year's booth will be the latest version, enabling a completely fenceless unit as it embeds the world’s strongest collaborative robot, the Fanuc CR35 with a 35 kg payload. This represents a further testament to the leading role played by Gebo Cermex with the implementation of cobots in packaging applications, helping make previous manual ancillary tasks fully automatic while enabling complete interactive human/machine relationships. Comprising also a universal gripping tooling and PC based software, this latest version delivers a compact solution fitting in the same space as when the task is carried out manually. Yet, having no fence, the system ensures easy circulation around the magazine loading equipment and leaves operators free to carry out more skilled work.

    WB46 Wrap-Around packing technology
    With a large installed base worldwide, the WB46 offers excellent performance in terms of flexibility, hygiene and ergonomics. This is due mainly to a new automation platform, thermoplastic polyurethane timing belts and quick-release systems for format changeovers.

    Now, and exclusively for Interpack, Gebo Cermex will be revealing a new on-the-fly robotic product loading station, which reduces the overall footprint of the machine by eliminating the need for a pre-collating system. This latest version of the WB46 will feature the company’s brand-new, user-friendly human machine interface (HMI), which is based on an intuitive, tablet-approach navigation and offers rich media tools for preventive maintenance procedures. On the booth, visitors will also have a hands-on experience of a format changeover on the WB46, via virtual reality, demonstrating a new approach to operators’ training.

    State-of-the-art digital connectivity and simulation
    Also available as part of the smart packing solution, is the company’s Equipment Smart Monitoring (ESM) system which connects to the machine in order to read, transmit and organize performance data into a coherent dashboard. This system helps customers maximize the efficiency of component machines within their packaging lines (OEE): by operating at individual machine level and collecting a continuous stream of data via a connected measuring device, ESM gathers and analyses data to generate a number of key indicators. Based on these, engineers at Gebo Cermex are able to come up with recommendations tailored to clients’ exact requirements, to maintain and improve the efficiency of their installed base.

    Marc Aury concludes: “With Agility 4.0™ Gebo Cermex is proposing a unique integration business model, offering enhanced performance, cost-effectiveness, high productivity and greater agility for today and tomorrow. This programme brings Smart Factories to life in order to create a world of greater choice and unique consumer experience driven by packaging mass customization and product diversity. At Interpack, visitors to our booth will see an end-to-end approach on an intelligent, efficient, integrated packing solution, giving its full potential at all levels.”
    (Gebo Cermex)
     
    24.04.2017   Water Category to be Refresh’d with Robinsons    ( Company news )

    Company news With innovation a continued focus, Britvic Soft Drinks has announced a new product that will offer consumers a tasty way to keep their thirst quenched on-the-go from the No. 1 GB Squash brand1, Robinsons. Launching at the end of March, Robinsons Refresh’d is made using 100% naturally sourced ingredients, containing spring water mixed with real fruit, and will be aimed at busy consumers looking for something different to drink immediately.

    Available in three tasty flavour combinations - Raspberry & Apple, Orange & Lime and Apple & Kiwi – Robinsons Refresh’d will appeal to consumers looking for more interesting and lower sugar fruit drink options, with real fruit and no added sugar. The variants have been developed to pair perfectly with water, delivering a refreshing burst of flavour. At just 55kcal per 500 ml serving and with no artificial colours, flavourings, sweeteners or preservatives, this low sugar product offers a new solution to health-conscious consumers looking to stay refreshed throughout the day.

    Kevin McNair, GB Marketing Director at Britvic, commented on the launch: “We know that Healthy Hydration is the fastest growing segment in soft drinks2, so the opportunity for retailers to stock new innovative options in this area is clear. Found in at least 4 out of 10 British households3, we’re bringing the trusted Robinsons brand name to an on-the-go audience with this exciting launch that is set to shake up the category. From our research, we know that Robinsons Refresh’d is the tastiest way for busy consumers to stay refreshed on-the-go4, so retailers should stock up now to boost their soft drink sales with the latest innovation from this leading brand.”

    The launch will be supported by a dedicated marketing investment including TV, OOH, digital and sampling activity. In-store activation materials and POS will also be available to customers to help drive visibility of the new launch and inspire purchase.

    As part of the soft drinks company’s longstanding history of healthy innovation, full sugar Robinsons variants were removed from the market in 2015. This bold step forms part of Britvic’s ongoing commitment to leading the industry in helping consumers make healthier choices.

    Robinsons Refresh’d will be available in single 500ml PET bottles from the end of March in cases of 12 and 24, including PMP formats. The suggested retail price is £1.29.
    (Britvic Plc)
     
    21.04.2017   Asia: Kirin Holdings to export its 'craft' beers around Asia    ( E-malt.com )

    Kirin Holdings Co. plans to export its premium “craft” beers around Asia, starting with Taiwan in mid-May, and have regional demand account for 10 percent of overall sales of the series this fiscal year, Asahi Shimbun reported on April 11.

    The beverage giant, citing the products’ high reputation among foreign visitors to Japan, intends to further tap into the overseas market with three products that are part of Grand Kirin series launched in 2012.

    One of the beers, Japan Pale Lager (JPL), which went on sale in Japan in March this year, boasts a gorgeous flavor through the use of domestically produced malt and hops, Kirin said.

    The JPL’s bottle is covered with cherry blossom designs to give it a Japanese appearance.

    A 330-milliliter bottle of JPL will be priced at about 320 yen ($2.90) in Taiwan, twice the cost of Kirin’s mainstay Ichiban Shibori draft beer that is already available on the island.

    Despite the higher price, Kirin expects to expand its market around Asia, where rich people, younger customers and others have shifted to alcoholic beverages that boast distinctive tastes and consist of well-selected ingredients.

    Kirin plans to start exporting the beers to South Korea and China by around summer. Southeast Asian countries, such as Singapore and Vietnam, could also be export destinations.

    The brewer plans to use convenience stores in those countries as the main marketing channel and eventually attract bars and Japanese-style restaurants as clients.
     
    21.04.2017   South Korea: Government recognizes necessity of efforts to support local craft breweries    ( E-malt.com )

    As the soaring popularity for imported beer among South Korean consumers is seeing the shelves of supermarkets filled with the likes of Heineken, Asahi and Stella Artois, the government is ramping up its efforts to support South Korean beer makers in the hope of winning back the hearts of beer drinkers in the country, The Korea Bizwire reported on April 14.

    South Korea’s latest move to cultivate its own brand of craft beer will see the government introduce reforms that will loosen current restrictions on beer production and distribution to boost the competitiveness of homegrown craft beers, Vice Minister of Strategy and Finance Choi Sang-mok said on April 13.

    Speaking to staff members during a visit to the Playground microbrewery in Gyeonggi Province, Choi said, “Over the last five years, sales of imported beers have increased 250 percent and continue to grow. As consumers desire superior quality and taste, more microbreweries need to open and grow.”

    Choi’s visit, which included a meeting with officials from a craft beer association to discuss ideas, follows in the footsteps of government plans to ease the restrictions on beer production and encourage investment in brewing that were announced at a trade investment promotion meeting last February.

    Last year, around $1.8 billion worth of beer was imported into South Korea, up from $72 million in 2012. The market share of imported beers in South Korea also swelled from 3.4 to 10.5 percent over the same period.

    The government’s latest reforms, which will redesign the landscape of the beer industry in both production and distribution, are thought to be in response to the growing threat from international brewing companies facing homegrown beer makers.

    When the new reforms take place, beers from small brewing companies will be permitted to be sold through supermarkets and other retail stores, with more ingredients authorized for use in beer production.

    As the government pledges to create a business environment where South Korean microbreweries can grow, Choi pled with enterprises in the industry to invest more to invigorate the market.
     
    21.04.2017   Thailand's largest Beverage company banks on Netstal's PET-LINE    ( Company news )

    Company news - The Thai Beverage brewery group invests in the PET-LINE from Netstal
    - The leading beverage corporation in the ASEAN region
    - PET-LINE offers maximum added value for the PET beverage industry

    The Thai Beverage Public Company Limited (“Thai Beverage”) is one of the largest beverage companies in Thailand and the ASEAN region. Thai Beverage has decided to set up its own PET-preform production and, as a result, its subsidiary BevTech Co., Ltd. invested in state-of-the-art and highly efficient PET-LINE machine technology from Netstal. The contract signing ceremony took place in Bangkok.

    Investment in modern machine technology for the production of preforms
    Thai Beverage Public Company Limited has decided to set up its own PET-preform production lines and, as a result, its subsidiary BevTech Co., Ltd. invested in state-of-the-art and highly efficient machine technology from Netstal. After a call for bids, Thailand's largest beverage company made a decision in favor of the high-performance PET-LINE injection molding systems of the Swiss premium manufacturer. "After careful examination of all options, we decided to set up our own preform production with the Netstal systems," explained Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, President and CEO of Thaibev.

    The largest beverage bottler in Thailand and ASEAN
    Sirivadhanabhakdi welcomed Netstal CEO Renzo Davatz to Bangkok for the contract signing ceremony. "It's a great honor to be invited to the ceremony and to represent Netstal as a reliable machine partner of Thai Beverage and Bev Tech," Davatz said after he signed the contract. "We are happy that we were able to beat off the competition with our technology that is superior with regard to performance and energy efficiency," Davatz added. Thai Beverage is not just one of the largest beverage bottlers in Thailand but also in the entire ASEAN region. It sells many beer, liquor, soft drink and water brands that are popular in the region.

    Added value for the PET beverage industry
    Netstal's PET-LINE is a state-of-the-art production system for PET preforms and stands for maximum profitability and efficient production. The systems have many industry-leading features that offer users the best cost/performance ratio on the market. Preform manufacturers worldwide benefit from low unit costs and excellent, continuously high quality. The PET-LINE also impresses with an outstanding system stability and high value retention. Netstal is known for its excellent application and system competence and supports its customers not just when developing applications, but also during the planning and installation process of a product line.
    (Netstal-Maschinen AG)
     
    21.04.2017   UK: BrewDog sells 22% stake to private equity house    ( E-malt.com )

    Early investors in “punk” beer firm BrewDog will be able to bank a hefty profit this week. An injection of cash from a private equity house valued the company at £1 bln, 10 years after it began life in its co-founder’s mother’s garage, The Guardian reported on April 9.

    San Francisco-based TSG Consumer Partners agreed to buy 22% of BrewDog, whose idiosyncratic beers and international network of bars have won it a cult following, in a deal worth £213 mln.

    Some £100 mln will be invested in the business while TSG, which also owns US brewer Pabst, also spent £113 mln buying shares from existing investors, according to the Sunday Times.

    Founders James Watt and Martin Dickie are understood to have made £100 mln between them as a result of the deal, a decade after they used a £20,000 bank loan to start brewing in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire.

    BrewDog’s army of nearly 50,000 “Equity Punks”, its name for investors in four previous rounds of crowdfunding, will be able to sell up to 15% of their shares from this week, the company said.

    Watt told investors that they stand make a return of 2,800% if they were among those who bought in at the first opportunity in 2010.

    That fundraising effort valued the company at just £26 mln, but the brewer has grown rapidly since then by capitalising on the growing popularity of so-called “craft” beers, tending towards strong hop flavours and higher alcohol content.

    It now employs 800 staff, is opening BrewDog bars across the world and has begun building a brewery in Columbus, Ohio, as a launchpad for a bid to conquer America.

    TSG’s investment values the company, which posted a £7 mln pre-tax profit on £71 mln of revenues last year, at £1 bln. The valuation means that even late-stage investors who bought equity last year could make a 177% return if they choose to sell.

    Shareholders cleared the way for the investment by approving changes to BrewDog’s capital structure at a meeting on 29 March, the company said, with 95% voting in favour. The changes include the award of preference shares to TSG, which confer the right to an annual return of 18% if the company is bought or lists on the stock market, according to reports.

    “Ever since we first started this journey in Martin’s mum’s garage, BrewDog has existed to make other people as passionate about great craft beer as we are,” said Watt, adding: “We remain more laser focused on that goal than ever before.

    “We’re not going to let the deal go to our heads, but Martin did buy himself a new jumper.”

    The company also told its annual meeting that turnover rose 60% last year and predicted even better growth for 2017.

    BrewDog’s decision to accept investment from a private equity group drew some comment in the light of its repeated efforts to cast itself in the role of a “punk” upstart skeptical of major corporations.

    The brewer has also recently battled allegations of behaving just like the big businesses it claims to scorn, after the Guardian revealed that it threatened legal action against two small businesses it said were infringing its trademarks.

    Dozens of punk rock bands recently signed an open letter questioning the firm’s right to use the term.

    James Watt and Martin Dickie have said that they started brewing because “basically, we couldn’t find anything we really wanted to drink”. The pair, who were at school together in Aberdeenshire, started Brewdog in 2007 with the help of a bank loan, savings and a grant from the Prince’s Trust. Ten years later they are a household name, thanks to tie-ups with major retailers and a series of headline-making controversies.

    It was Dickie who had the technical beer-making nous at the outset – he is a graduate of the International Centre for Brewing and Distilling at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and spent two years working at a brewery in Derbyshire called Thornbridge. Meanwhile, Watt studied law and economics at the same university before a stint as a fisherman.

    In their spare time they brewed and in 2006 they were advised to give up the day jobs by beer writer Michael Jackson. The next year, at the age of 24, they took on the lease of a building in Fraserburgh and invested in some equipment to launch their brand.

    Dickie has told how in the beginning all they did was work: “Seven days a week and in the brewery – probably 18 to 20 hours a day. It was nothing but a lot of hard work and belief.”

    After realising the power of publicity they responded to criticism of their stronger beers with the 1.1% ABV Nanny State, and produced another, The End of History, at a staggering 55% ABV, which was presented inside dead animals. In 2016 the Queen’s birthday honours list included MBEs for the pair.
     
    21.04.2017   UK: Heineken to invest £20 mln to transform pubs across the UK    ( E-malt.com )

    Heineken has announced a £20 mln investment to transform pubs across the UK, the Development Finance Today reported.

    The funds will be used to upgrade Heineken’s Star Pubs & Bars estate, with around half the money earmarked for rural and suburban pubs.

    Among the changes will be new kitchens, comfortable outdoor spaces and areas for events.

    Lawson Mountstevens, managing director of Star Pubs & Bars, said: “Vibrant pubs are an affordable, fun place where people of all ages and backgrounds can come together.

    “But as consumer demands have changed, pubs that struggled to keep pace have closed.

    “We believe pubs run by skilled operators and backed by transformational investment can thrive in their role at the heart of communities.”

    Some 70% of the funding will be spent on transformational projects over £100,000.

    Star will also spend nearly £3 mln on maintenance and repairs this year.

    Heineken’s decision follows research which found that 62% of pub goers want their local to offer good food, 37% look for a nice pub garden and 20% want to watch live sport on TV.

    Over the past five years, the company has invested around £100 mln in transforming pubs across the country.

    John Longden, chief executive of licensee advice organisation Pub Is the Hub, added: “Pubs are increasingly being recognised as important social hubs for communities, driving local economies and supporting local employment.

    “Many communities are lacking investment so Heineken’s ongoing commitment to revive and refurbish their pubs in order to deliver the services and activities communities need, is very good news for everyone.”
     
    21.04.2017   USA: Boston Beer's Jim Koch laments the effect of acquisitions by big brewers on the ...    ( E-malt.com )

    ...craft beer industry

    A beer battle is brewing between Sam Adams and Miller Lite, Fortune reported on April 10.

    The companies that make those beers, Boston Beer and Molson Coors respectively, have found themselves in a war of words after The New York Times published an op-ed by Boston Beer founder Jim Koch in which the brewer lamented the effect Big Beer mergers have had on the craft beer industry. According to Koch, mergers and acquisitions led by Molson Coors' subsidiary MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch InBev have led to $2 billion in higher prices annually, thousands of lost jobs, and a more restrictive wholesaler channel that favors Big Beer over craft upstarts.

    "I worry that yet another major shift in the beer landscape is upon us — and this time, American consumers will be the losers," writes Koch in a Times op-ed entitled "Is It Last Call For Craft Beer?" That piece comes shortly after the trade organization Brewers Association—which advocates for the craft industry—reported 2016's volume increased a fairly modest 6%, partly due to Big Beer binging on craft rivals at a rapid pace. When large-scale beer concerns buy craft brewers like Ballast Point and Lagunitas, sales of their ales are no longer deemed "craft"—though they are often still marketed and stocked as a craft brewer. The craft industry had previously reported double-digit annual volume growth, but those heady days appear to be over.

    Koch is particularly upset that the Justice Department allowed Big Beer to bulk up, first by approving the merger of Anheuser Busch and InBev and then by allowing Molson Coors to take full control of the MillerCoors joint venture when SABMiller got acquired by AB InBev. And since then, both of those big brewers have been on a buying spree in the craft world, further muddling the industry as consumers aren't always aware that their beloved Ballast Point, Goose Island and Elysian beer are owned by "Big Beer."

    MillerCoors, however, is disputing much of what Koch has claimed. In a blog posted on April 10, the big brewer says craft continues to grow—becoming an industry of more than 5,300 players versus just over 1,500 in 2008. Craft also has 26.9% of shelf space as of 2016, up from 23.2% two years early, MillerCoors alleges.

    "It's true craft has changed," said MillerCoors' content writer James Arndorfer. "It's become more fragmented, more local and the proliferation of brewpubs is giving people a new way to enjoy and experience beer." MillerCoors also strongly alludes that Koch's sour feelings about the state of craft may have to do with the fact that Sam Adams' franchise is suffering from a sales slowdown. As Fortune has reported, larger national craft brands like Sam Adams have found themselves squeezed by local, craft upstarts and Big Beer, resulting in sales softness.

    AB InBev also responded to the piece, saying in a prepared statement, "We understand Boston Beer sales are hurting right now and it is easy to blame the bigger brewers. But with 5,300 breweries out there, the numbers don't stack up, and we only see positive, exciting things ahead for our industry and for craft in particular, certainly not its demise!"

    Both Molson Coors and AB InBev took issue with the accuracy of Koch's piece. One major sticking point for Molson: Koch described the brewer as "foreign-owned" but Molson files financials jointly from Denver and Montreal.
     
    20.04.2017   Jägermeister appoints new Executive Board Member     ( Company news )

    Company news Mast-Jägermeister SE has appointed a third member to complete its Executive Board. From 1 May 2017, Christopher Ratsch (40) will join the Executive Board and assume responsibility for finance, production and administration. Michael Volke (CEO), Denis Schrey and Christopher Ratsch will then constitute the three-man Executive Board of the spirits manufacturer.

    Ratsch, a Business Administration graduate, is joining the company after ten years in senior roles at LSG Group (a Lufthansa subsidiary) in Frankfurt. At LSG group he was most recently Managing Director Finance Germany and Vice President Finance, Procurement & Admin Europe. In this international role, he was also responsible for finance, procurement, legal affairs and IT. Before that, he worked at KPMG, one of the world’s leading accountancy firms, for four years.

    "We are delighted, Christopher will join Jägermeister. His considerable international experience and expertise will make a major contribution to the continued dynamic growth of our global business," said the Chairman of the Mast-Jägermeister SE Supervisory Board, Florian Rehm.

    The Wolfenbüttel-based, family owned company produces the world's best-selling liqueur, Jägermeister. For many years the brand has been ranked the top 10 global premium spirits in the leading Impact International ranking. Jägermeister, which consists of 56 herbs, flowers, roots and fruits, is the only German spirit to feature in the top 90 of the industry ranking. Jägermeister is sold today in over 120 countries. Exports account for approximately 80 per cent of total sales.
    (Mast-Jägermeister SE)
     
    19.04.2017   Britvic innovators develop a bottle made of wood fibre in R&D challenge to champion ...    ( Company news )

    Company news ... sustainability goals

    Britvic’s annual sustainability report highlights packaging innovation, alongside waste and water reduction achievements as part of the FTSE 250’s £240m supply chain investment programme

    Britvic, the owner of major soft drinks brands including Robinsons squash, J20 and Fruit Shoot, and the PepsiCo bottler in the UK, has taken significant steps towards exploring wood fibre bottles as a viable packaging option for multiple sectors.

    In partnership with Innovate UK and Natural Resources (2000) Ltd, the soft drinks manufacturer has been working to revolutionise packaging across multiple sectors with sustainably sourced, renewable wood fibre materials which are fully recyclable.

    Investigating the new wood fibre packaging technology formed part of Britvic’s broader R&D work stream within the sustainability strategy in 2016. It is early days and the bottle forms one of a number of potential solutions at this point. More importantly, the research process into fibre and pulp has provided essential information for Britvic’s R&D team to explore further alternative packaging solutions going forward.

    Clive Hooper, Chief Supply Chain Officer at Britvic commented: “At Britvic, we know that to be a successful business in the long term we must be a sustainable business and this means listening to the needs of our consumers, our customers, our communities, and our employees.

    “We understand that packaging and the environmental impact of waste is a major concern and we’re committed to working collaboratively with others to explore innovative solutions. The wood fibre bottle is a great example of what potentially can be done and its development has provided great insight into what will and won’t work in terms of quality standards and mass production in the future. We’re now working hard to take our learnings from the fibre bottle to investigate fibre-based sustainable packaging materials further.”

    As well as investment in R&D, Britvic’s sustainability strategy places environmental initiatives at the heart of the business. Britvic is currently half way through a £240m supply chain investment programme to maximise efficiency across its manufacturing sites, reduce waste and improve its environmental footprint.

    As part of this programme, £25m was invested at the Leeds plant, which employs over 200 people, to create a new high-speed bottling line, resulting in a 22% reduction in water use and a 45% reduction in energy consumption relative to production volumes. The upgrades have also allowed the Pepsi bottler to access the latest in packaging technology, allowing Britvic to blow and fill lighter bottles, thereby reducing the amount of plastic packaging needed per year by 155 tonnes, the equivalent weight of over ten double decker buses.

    Meanwhile, Britvic has invested in upgrading equipment and processing techniques to deliver greater water efficiency, resulting in a reduction in total water consumption of 0.4% despite a 0.7% increase in production volumes. This saving is equivalent to the volume of water needed to fill five Olympic swimming pools.

    Finally, as part of Britvic’s commitment to reducing waste, Britvic sent zero waste to landfill in GB, and maintained a recycling rate of nearly 92%. As part of its community outreach, the company also partnered with RECOUP - member based plastics recycling organisation - to encourage 25,000 festival goers at Liverpool’s Fusion Festival to recycle their plastic bottles, which resulted in the collection and recycling of over 10,000 plastic bottles, saving the equivalent of nearly half a tonne of carbon.
    (Britvic Plc)
     
    19.04.2017   With Yards Brewing Company, Ziemann Holvrieka is able to win a great craft brewer as a new customer     ( Company news )

    Company news Tom Kehoe, founder and brewmaster of Yards Brewing Company, has decided to execute his new brewery project together with ZIEMANN HOLVRIEKA GmbH. With the largest craft brewery in Philadelphia, the brewing technology specialist from Ludwigsburg, Germany, was able to win an important new customer.

    Two LOTUS lauter tuns for ultimate flexibility
    The order placed with ZIEMANN HOLVRIEKA includes one complete brewing line including the raw material handling. The brewhouse is designed for twelve brews per day. The planned cast out wort volume with an original wort content of 15.5° Plato amounts to 120 hectoliters per brew. The brewhouse will be equipped with the innovative mash agitator COLIBRI as well as with two LOTUS lauter tuns with diameters of 2.3 and 4.8 meters. This dual solution allows Yards Brewing Company to effectively process even brews with a volume of less than 25 hectoliters or lauter a very strong brew simultaneously with two lauter tuns. For this purpose, ZIEMANN HOLVRIEKA will also install an external wort boiler, which is ideally suited for small batches. Another special feature of the brewhouse is a fully automatic dosing system for cone hops. In addition, ZIEMANN HOLVRIEKA will supply six cylindro-conical 1,000-hl tanks including dome covers and a catwalk system. A special feature of the tanks is that they will be installed at such a height that below the tanks there is space for a beer garden. ZIEMANN HOLVRIEKA will also be responsible for the planning and supervision of the installation.

    Tom Kehoe explains the decision in favor of ZIEMANN HOLVRIEKA: “For the solution chosen by us, it was very important to visit reference breweries and during a test brew in their pilot brewery in Ludwigsburg, we could assess for ourselves the performance of their equipment and technology”. The shipment of the components is scheduled for the beginning of July and the installation for August / September 2017. The first brew in the new brewhouse of the Yards Brewing Company shall be produced at the end of September 2017.
    (Ziemann Holvrieka GmbH)
     
    18.04.2017   Pepsi MAX® announces new flavour: Pepsi MAX ginger now available in the UK    ( Company news )

    Company news Pepsi MAX®,the beverage known for its great cola taste with no sugar, announces the addition of an exciting new flavour: Pepsi MAX Ginger; the first cola and ginger combination to hit the UK market.

    Pepsi Max, always on the hunt for new trends, taps into cola fans’ desire for big, bold and interesting flavours. Pepsi MAX Ginger is a distinct new flavour that provides a genius combination of refreshing no sugar cola paired with an invigorating and warming ginger taste.

    Packaged in a distinct black and golden bronze design, the Pepsi MAX Ginger line-up will include 330ml cans, 500ml, 600ml, 1.5L, 2L, 6x330ml cans and 8x330ml cans to be sold in Grocery, discounters and convenience from 6th March.

    The launch of Pepsi MAX Ginger will be supported by a high-investment marketing campaign, focusing on the brand’s New Taste strapline. Throughout June and July, Pepsi MAX Ginger will be part of a Pepsi MAX Taste Campaign featured on TV, Outdoor and Digital. A nationwide sampling campaign will also deliver close to £1million perfect serves of Pepsi Max Ginger, raising awareness and driving further trial. Within Grocery accounts, Pepsi MAX Ginger will be promoted with full in-store path to purchase, driving trial with standout creative linked to the TV advert.

    Kevin McNair, Marketing Director at Britvic GB, which distributes PepsiCo-owned Pepsi in the UK, says: “Of the 16million people buying cola in the UK, 16% of them also buy ginger-flavoured drinks, so the opportunity Pepsi MAX Ginger provides for our trade customers in the UK is huge. Great taste is integral to the brand so it was vital to get the flavour right with this innovative new product and we’re delighted with the end-result. Not only does it taste great on its own and in mixed drinks, it also contains no sugar just like the other drinks in the Pepsi MAX range, giving added appeal to consumers looking for great tasting refreshment without a high sugar or calorie content. We’re confident Pepsi MAX Ginger is going to bring some real excitement to the cola category and we’re looking forward to seeing how Pepsi MAX Ginger helps our customers in the Grocery channel to boost their sales in the coming months.”
    (Britvic Plc)
     
    13.04.2017   Vetropack Group 2016: net sales up 8%    ( Company news )

    Company news Vetropack Group generated net sales from goods and services of CHF 601.7 million in the 2016 fiscal year, 8% more than in 2015. Unit sales rose by 4.9% to 4.87 billion units of glass packaging. These increases are attributable to the Group's newest subsidiary Vetropack Italia S.r.l., which was consolidated for a full year for the first time in 2016.

    Financial key figures for 2016:
    • Net sales: CHF 601.7 million (2015: CHF 557.0 million)
    • EBIT: CHF 49.3 million (2015: CHF 50.3 million)
    • EBIT margin: 8.2% (2015: 9.0%)
    • Consolidated profit: CHF 42.6 million (2015: CHF 42.1 million)
    • Net liquidity: CHF 16.9 million (2015: CHF 11.2 million)
    • Cash flow: CHF 105.1 million (2015: CHF 103.7 million)
    • Cash flow margin: 17.5% (2015: 18.6%)
    • Equity ratio: 72.0% (2015: 74.4%)

    In the 2016 fiscal year, Vetropack Group generated net sales from goods and services of CHF 601.7 million (2015: CHF 557.0 million), selling a total of 4.87 billion units of glass packaging, up 4.9% year on year (2015: 4.64 billion units). On the whole, the domestic markets – which now include Italy – accounted for 56.5% of unit sales, with the export markets making up 43.5%.

    Consolidated EBIT came to CHF 49.3 million (2015: CHF 50.3 million). This slight fall was due to scheduled furnace repairs in Switzerland, Austria and Ukraine. The EBIT margin stood at 8.2% (2015: 9.0%).

    The consolidated profit increased slightly to CHF 42.6 million (2015: CHF 42.1 million), while cash flow remained largely stable at CHF 105.1 million (2015: CHF 103.7 million). The cash flow margin amounted to 17.5% (2015: 18.6%). Net liquidity was CHF 16.9 million (2015: CHF 11.2 million).

    Vetropack Group invested a total of CHF 95.8 million (2015: CHF 65.0 million) in 2016. This was focused on modernising the furnaces and production facilities in Austria and Ukraine, repairing the roof of the furnace in Switzerland, expanding the cullet processing plant in the Czech Republic and the new Group-wide training centre for production ¬specialists at the Pöchlarn site in Austria.

    At the end of the reporting year, Vetropack Group employed 3,243 members of staff (31 December 2015: 3,228).

    Outlook for the 2017 fiscal year
    Moderate economic growth is on the horizon in the countries where Vetropack Group operates. In Ukraine, some indicators are suggesting that the long-awaited stabilisation of the economy is not far off. Whether this positive trend leads to an increase in demand as early as 2017 remains to be seen. One thing is certain, however – prices will continue to be squeezed.

    However, Vetropack Group has no extensive modernisation work planned for 2017, which should have a positive effect on business performance. Therefore, a slight increase in net sales and performance is expected.
    (Vetropack AG)
     
    12.04.2017   Bright end to 2016 lifts aluminium foil deliveries to new record level    ( Company news )

    Company news A strong performance from European aluminium foil rollers in the last half of the year has lifted deliveries above pre-economic crisis levels for the first time in a decade. Domestic deliveries showed a marked improvement (+1.5%) compared with a year earlier, and exports performed better than expected, according to figures released by the European Aluminium Foil Association (EAFA).

    While Q3 saw flat demand, generally the October- December period returned to solid growth, enabling overall production to reach 874,480 tonnes, an increase of 1.5% on the previous twelve months. This is an all-time high, as the last time it approached this level was ten years earlier when production hit 865,870t in 2006.

    Thinner gauges, used mainly for flexible packaging and household foils, ended the full year 0.5% higher, thanks to a very strong result (+4.0%) in European markets for Q4. Thicker gauges, used typically for semi-rigid containers and technical applications, have been performing better for most of the year and ended 3.4% ahead, returning to a 1.4% increase in the final three months, after a dip the previous quarter.

    Exports, were less impacted by overseas competition, recording an increase of 1.3% compared to 2015. Although the final quarter saw a decline, it was not enough to push deliveries into negative territory following strong growth in Q1 and Q3. In particular, thicker gauges were up by more than 20%.

    EAFA’s Executive Director, Guido Aufdemkamp, said he was pleased with the figures but warned that it was too early to say the upward trend was established. “To have exceeded the previous all-time high is very encouraging. But we have seen volatile swings in demand patterns quarter on quarter for both thinner and thicker gauges through the last years. While the overall performance is very robust we will remain alert to continuing changes in market circumstances.”
    (EAFA - European Aluminium Foil Association e.V.)
     
    11.04.2017   Craft beverage labels: tell your story and stand out from the crowd    ( Company news )

    Company news UPM Raflatac has launched a range of label materials for the fast-growing and highly competitive craft beverage market. The European range includes textured, colored, and metalized papers, as well as ultra-clear and white film materials, all designed to increase the shelf appeal of craft beverages and offer even greater branding flexibility. When decorated with embossing for papers or foiling for films, these new products offer a host of new design possibilities. UPM Raflatac also offers specially formulated adhesives that resist whitening during the pasteurization process.

    This new portfolio of high quality self-adhesive labels is ideal for all types of craft beverages –beers, ciders, high-end soft drinks, and spirits. The range of material and texture options will help producers to create a label that attracts and intrigues.

    Self-adhesive labeling from UPM Raflatac offers a number of advantages over wet-glue labeling, including faster changeovers, less waste, and a cleaner packaging process. Self-adhesive labels are also flexible, allowing varying label sizes, shapes, and designs, especially on short labeling runs.

    “We want to help brands tell their story and reflect their craft roots with high performance labels that give a natural, authentic, and distinctive look. Our label materials give producers a graphic canvas that shows their company’s commitment to artisanship,” says Jay Betton, Business Segment Manager, Wine, Spirits, and Craft Beverages, EMEIA.
    (UPM Raflatac Oy)
     
    11.04.2017   Mexico & USA: Mexican farmers asking US President to stop Constellation Brands ...    ( E-Malt.com )

    ... building brewery in Mexicali

    Brewery news
    Mexican farmers are asking President Trump for help stopping a local brewery's new plant, News 10NBC reported on March 31.

    Victor-based Constellation Brands is planning a $1.4 billion plant in Mexicali, Mexico. But, according to the Wall Street Journal, local farmers are afraid the plant would use too much water in an area with an already naturally low water table.

    Dry conditions there have already forced farmers to stop using thousands of acres of farmland.

    "We haven't been able to do a second planting in years, but we're inviting in a company that's going to consume a ton of water," farmer Pablo Rangel tells the journal. "It doesn't make sense."

    The farmers have protested the company, hoping President Trump will bring it back to the states.
     
    11.04.2017   Romania & Hungary: Heineken settles row with small Romanian brewer out of court    ( E-Malt.com )

    A row between Heineken and a small Romanian brewer backed by the Hungarian government looked to be over on March 27, just days after Budapest threatened to ban the Dutch giant's famous red star logo, Bizcommunity.com reported.

    Heineken and Lixid Project, based in Transylvania, a region in Romania with a large ethnic Hungarian population, said in a joint statement that their dispute had been settled out of court. "Both companies now look forward to (focusing) on what they do best and enjoy most: brewing beer," said the statement seen by AFP.

    The deal appears to have ended a bitter dispute framed by the Hungarian government as a "David and Goliath" battle against a multinational firm "abusing its power" over a small company run by ethnic Hungarians.

    The dispute escalated after the Dutch firm's Romanian subsidiary won a brand-name dispute against Lixid Project in January. A court ruled that their Hungarian-language "Csiki" beer was too similar to Heineken's Romanian-language "Ciuc" range and infringed trademark rights.

    Budapest slammed the decision as "undignified, unjust and anti-Hungarian" and supported calls to boycott Heineken products. Then draft legislation brought to parliament by senior government officials this month proposed a ban on the commercial use of "symbols of totalitarian dictatorships" like the red star.

    Heineken insisted its logo had "no political meaning whatsoever" and that it dated back to medieval European brewers. When the symbol became associated with communism after World War II, the brewer swapped it for a white star before reverting back to the original following the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

    In a separate statement sent to AFP, Heineken said it "recognises the importance and emotional value of the Csiki brand-name to its brewers and consumers," as well as to its "stakeholders in both Romania and Hungary".

    "Rest assured that similarly Heineken will always, everywhere and with all means defend what is at its own core since the early days of the company: the Heineken trademark, including its iconic red star," it said.

    Nandor Csepreghy, a senior Hungarian government official, said that the case shows "that where there is a will, then David can defeat Goliath".

    Lixid Project thanked its supporters, consumers, the local community "and last but not least, the Hungarian government".
     
    11.04.2017   Russia: Russians developing new taste for alcohol-free beer    ( E-Malt.com )

    Russians are among the biggest drinkers of alcohol in the world, yet are developing a new taste for alcohol-free beer, which could help save a brewing industry that has stalled under government initiatives to discourage drinking, Reuters reported on March 30.

    Sales of zero-alcohol beer jumped 12 percent last year even as the broader Russian market shrank by 2 percent, according to research firm Nielsen, extending a 40 percent slide in beer sales since the government tightened regulations in 2008.

    Anheuser Busch InBev plans to promote the alcohol-free version of its Bud brand as a sponsor of soccer's FIFA World Cup when Russia hosts it next year. Carlsberg's Russian unit Baltika, which has the largest share of Russia's alcohol-free beer market, said this month it was making new investments in zero-strength beer.

    The trend, say people in the industry, is being driven by a move towards healthier lifestyles among Russian consumers, nudged by government measures that include restrictions on alcohol sales and tougher penalties for drunk-driving.

    "This market is absolutely undeveloped in Russia. We plan to expand our range, we want more," said Dmitry Shpakov, head of AB InBev's Russian business, which markets alcohol-free versions of its international Bud, Stella Artois and Hoegaarden brands as well of some of its Russian brands.

    Last year AB InBev saw double-digit growth in Russian sales of its alcohol-free beers, and it expects to achieve a similar pace this year.

    The segment is growing from a low base. Alcohol-free beer accounts for around 1.2 percent of Russia's beer market, according to Nielsen. That, said Shpakov, compares to 5 percent of the German beer market and 13 percent in Spain.

    AB InBev has a global aim for weak and alcohol-free beer to account for 20 percent of its total sales by 2025.

    "I'm not saying it can't be 20 percent in Russia. It certainly can. We are thinking about a number of very strong initiatives, which can drive this process," Shpakov told Reuters in an interview. "It's a very important focus."

    Philip Gorham, analyst at Morningstar, said the Russian government's push to curb drinking would help the segment: "Per capita (alcohol) consumption has been declining. If that continues, I do think there is room for non- and low-alcohol alternatives to act as a substitute."

    Brewers pioneered non-alcoholic beer in the 1980s and 1990s, but with only limited success, partly because consumers did not like the taste. Since then, changes to the production process have made it taste more like regular beer.

    "I think the stigma attached to drinking non-alcoholic beer is less today than it used to be. Ten years ago, non-alcoholic beer was rare whereas today there is greater consumer acceptance, partly helped by the much-improved taste profile," said Ed Mundy, analyst at Jefferies.

    "Do I think that the 1 percent beer share of Russian beer can that grow? Yes I think so. As consumers come to accept that the product offering is much improved."

    Alcohol-free beer is a rare bright spot for a Russian brewing industry which Euromonitor estimates was worth an estimated $15 billion in 2016, but which shrank as the government has sought to reduce drinking.

    The average Russian over the age of 15 consumed the equivalent of 15.1 liters of pure alcohol per year in 2008-2010, according to the most recent figures from the World Health Organization. That was a liter less than five years earlier, but still among the highest in the world: only the citizens of two other ex-Soviet republics, Belarus and Lithuania, consumed more.

    While spirits still account for 51 percent of the alcohol consumed in the birthplace of vodka, beer's share rose rapidly after 2000 as international brewers invested heavily.

    But beer sales tumbled after 2008 when Russia started to increase the excise tax on it, tightened rules on its advertising and banned its sale in street kiosks. Brewers have since shut 12 plants.

    AB InBev has closed five plants, and Shpakov said the firm's remaining five were running at between 40 and 90 percent of capacity last year depending on season and regions they serve.

    The industry had hoped to halt the slide this year, but a new ban on beer in popular plastic bottles larger than 1.5 liters has again hurt sales. Shpakov said he expects the market to fall a further 5 percent in 2017.

    None of the new regulations affect beer without alcohol, and increasingly Russians see it as a safer way to enjoy their traditional drinking culture. Alexander Bumagin, a 40-year-old self employed Muscovite, said he has not drunk alcohol for more than 10 years, but likes an alcohol-free beer to wash down prawns, a typical Russian "zakuska", or drinking snack.

    He drinks it "for the sake of the process," he said.
     
    11.04.2017   UK & Ireland: Cans of Guinness could be an unexpected casualty of Brexit    ( E-Malt.com )

    Cans of Guinness could be an unexpected casualty of Brexit if a new customs border or tariffs are introduced between the Republic and Northern Ireland when the UK leaves the European Union, it has emerged.

    Guinness is one of Ireland’s most famous exports but Brexit will have a direct impact on its production as the black stuff crosses the Irish border twice before being shipped from Dublin to Britain and beyond, The Guardian reported on April 7.

    The stout is made at the St James’s Gate brewery in Dublin. The drink is then pumped into tankers, known as “silver bullets”, and driven 90 miles to east Belfast where it is canned and then sent back to Dublin Port for onward distribution.

    Diageo, the Guinness owner, confirmed in a Bloomberg report on April 7 that it had estimated a so-called “hard border” could cause delays of between 30 minutes and an hour, costing an extra €100 (£85) for each lorry-load of Guinness.

    Each year the company makes 13,000 beer-related border crossings in Ireland and Guinness contingency plans estimate the delays could amount to €1.3 mln in additional costs a year.

    Diageo would either be forced to absorb that cost or pass it on to the consumer by raising the cost of a pint.

    All Guinness consumed in Britain has been produced in Dublin since Diageo closed the Park Royal operation in north-west London 12 years ago.

    Another brand owned by Diageo, Baileys liqueur, is also of concern in Ireland as some of its ingredients cross the border with Northern Ireland three times before its journey to Britain.

    The majority of cream from dairy milk in Baileys is produced in the Republic but Diageo confirmed that some comes from farms in Northern Ireland. The finished product is then sent to Belfast for bottling before returning to Dublin for export.

    There is political backing for maintaining a relatively open border between the Republic and Northern Ireland, with Irish, British and European leaders supporting the unique status of Ireland in the Brexit process.

    However, the European Union has admitted there is no firm plan for how to achieve this, saying “flexible and imaginative solutions will be required” to square the legal circle, which requires the Republic to operate customs of what will become an external border between the UK and the EU when Britain leaves the union.

    All-island Irish businesses that have flourished since the disappearance of the border when the single market came into being in 1993 are now facing up to the cost of Brexit.

    The Northern Ireland director for Dairy UK told the Northern Ireland affairs committee this year that farms would “go out of business” if barriers to trade on the island were introduced.

    About 25% of Northern Irish milk goes south of the border to be processed, with cheese from the Republic going north to be packaged and exported again through Dublin Port. If tariffs are introduced those journeys may no longer be viable with margins so tight in the food sector.

    The Freight Transport Association in Belfast says nearly all food exports in Northern Ireland will impacted because so much of the produce from the six counties is exported through Dublin Port to Holyhead, the gateway for Britain and beyond.

    It is favoured by fresh food producers across Northern Ireland because it offers the quickest route to food processors in Wales and the midlands or supermarket shelves in Manchester, Birmingham and London.

    “We have suppliers here who have meat which leaves here at 6.30pm and is in south east England at 6.30am the next day,” said Seamus Leheny, head of policy for Northern Ireland for the FTA.

    “Some of these suppliers are now having to consider whether they can continue withe meat processing here or whether they move it to the UK.”

    Kegs of draft Guinness being exported to the UK will also be impacted with customs expected to be reintroduced at Holyhead.

    Like all big name exporters, however, they are expected to continue with “trusted trader” status which will rule out random customs checks.
     
    11.04.2017   UK: Britain's largest supermarket scraps more than half of Heineken range in ...    ( E-Malt.com )

    ... response to brewer’s plan to hike prices

    Brewery news
    Tesco has scrapped more than half of its Heineken beer and cider range, after the brewing giant unveiled plans to hike prices in response to the pound's decline following the Brexit vote, the International Business Times reported on March 22.

    According to the Times, Britain's largest supermarket has reduced the number of Heineken products on its shelves from 53 at the start of the year to 22. Tiger, Amstel, Sol and Kingfisher are among the beers to have disappeared from Tesco's stores.

    A spokesman for the company was quoted as saying the decision was motivated by the intent to better match the range of beers and ciders to customers' needs.

    In January, Heineken said it would raise prices by an average of 6p per pint, blaming its decision on "prevailing economic conditions", chief among them being sterling's 16% drop in the months following Britain's vote in favour of leaving the European Union.

    A weaker pound makes imports more expensive and even though the majority of beers brewed in Britain are made with home-grown ingredients, brewers have been hit by higher transport and energy costs.

    It is not the first time Tesco and one of its major suppliers has become embroiled in a price row.

    In October last year, a squabble blew up between the retailer and Unilever, when the Anglo-Dutch firm raised wholesale prices by 10% forcing the supermarket to cover the rising costs of goods made abroad since June's Brexit vote.

    However, Tesco, which has a 28% share of the UK grocery market, refused to pay, pulling popular Unilever products such as Marmite, Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Persil detergents off its online shopping platforms.

    The corporate row, dubbed Marmitegate at the time, was soon resolved and Unilever products returned to all Tesco stores but only after the government was forced to intervene.
     


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