Big Brewers’ news

The Vietnam government approved the merger between AB InBev and SAB Beer opening the way for the merged company to operate with higher productivity, be more competitive and offer higher quality beer. Vietnam is Asia’s biggest beer consumer per capita, with beer sales growing ~10% per year on average between 2010 and 2020.

AB InBev India launched Beck’s Ice Premium, the industry first-ever super mild beer, containing 3.5% abv. This initiative is part of the company’s four Global Smart Drinking Goals, being Goal #3, where drinkers integrate no-alcohol beers and beers with 3.5% abv or lower into their current drink choices. The other goals include reducing the harmful use of alcohol, investing US$1bn globally to influence social norms and promoting behaviours to reduce harmful use of alcohol, as well as placing guidance labels on products and increasing alcohol health literacy.      

Heineken Hungary received a HUF270million grant to upgrade its Sopron brewery. The company is to invest HUF 540million in the brewery and preserve 465 workplaces. The company also intends to buy 85% of its raw materials from local producers.

Heineken bought 1.9M ordinary shares in the Champion Brewery Plc (Nigeria), which increases its stake in the company to 84.7%, with the direct intention to expands its control of the Nigerian brewing industry. Heineken owns 37.94% (equivalent of 3.03M shares) in Nigerian Breweries Plc.

Heineken South Africa is planning to cut 70 jobs and cease new investment due to the impact of the 3rd alcohol ban in the country related to the pandemic. Approximately 30% of local breweries (craft) are reported to have permanently closed their doors or abandoned any planned future investment in their businesses. This is clear example of the impact resulting from the pandemic and the associated lockdowns – in this the severe action to ban alcohol sales outright.

MolsonCoors plans to sell its Indian business, which includes the beer brand Thunderbolt. The company intends to leave the Indian market, due to decrease in sales triggered by Covid-19 situation and alcohol policy inconsistency in states such as Bihar.

MolsonCoors launched its first cannabis-based drink in the US, via its JV with Hexo Canada. The JV, called Truss CBD USA, launched a range of CBD-infused sparkling waters under the name of Verywell. The waters are made in three flavours – grapefruit tarragon (Focus), strawberry hibiscus (Mind & Body), blueberry lavender (Unwind). Each product contains 20mg of hemp-derived, non-psychoactive CBD and adaptagens. This is futher evidence of MolsonCoors’ transformation to a beverage company focused on much more than beer alone.

Carlsberg is investing in communities with Carlsberg Malaysia pledging RM2million in food and education, via its ‘Celebrate Prosperity, Cheer for Tomorrow’ food-aid Organization. In addition, an allocation of RM1million in bursaries for 333 Malaysian tertiary students, via the Carlsberg Huaong Chinese Education Fund, is being made.

Suntory launched a sparkling malt and hops beverage containing 0.0% alcohol, no sugar, no artificial flavour, and no artificial sweeteners which is called ‘All-Free’. The company created in this product a craftmanship crisp beer aroma, from quality ingredients, including two-row barley malt and aroma hops, along with the application of a production method that removes the fermentation process with a detrimental taste impact.

Kirin Holdings is to invest $30M in an Indian craft beer producer, B9 Beverages. Even though the craft beer company is one of the smallest players in the Indian beer market, it does have 5-10% of beer market share in densely populated cities such as New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru.