PepsiCo cedes North American Tropicana control with $3.3bn juice JV

3 August | Deal

PepsiCo is to sell North American control of juice brands including Tropicana and Naked to a private-equity group for $3.3bn.

The soft drinks & snacks maker will retain a 39% interest in a new joint venture with the buyer, PAI Partners, as well as exclusive US distribution rights to the brands. The JV will operate the juice portfolio with PAI taking majority control.

The deal, announced today, also includes an option to sell “certain” juice businesses in Europe, PepsiCo said. A spokesperson told Just Drinks the brands include Tropicana, Naked, Copella and Punica.

According PepsiCo, the agreement with PAI will allow more of a focus on better-for-you products including zero-calorie beverages and SodaStream. PepsiCo did not give a full list of the juice brands but the spokesperson said it also includes the kombucha-style KeVita, sparkling fruit water Izze and the no-added sugar juice drink Frutly, which was only launched in February.

The transaction is expected to close in late 2021 or early 2022.

Main image credit: calimedia /

4 August | Deal

Refresco lines up US factory buy from The Coca-Cola Co

Refresco has bought three hot-fill beverage production plants in the US from The Coca-Cola Co.

The Dutch soft drinks contract manufacturer announced yesterday it will take control of Coca-Cola facilities in Truesdale, Missouri, Waco, Texas and Paw Paw, Michigan. The deal, for an undisclosed fee, aims to ramp up Refresco’s production capabilities.

Refresco CEO Hans Roelofs said: “The ongoing trend of A-brands outsourcing their production capabilities continues to provide opportunities for us as an independent beverage solutions provider. The acquisition of three Coca-Cola facilities in the US is another step forward in our growth strategy.”

4 August | DEAL

Roust Group to handle Baron Philippe de Rothschild in Russia

Roust Group has signed a partnership deal with Baron Philippe de Rothschild wines for the latter’s portfolio in Russia.

The agreement sees Roust take distribution control of de Rothschild’s Mouton Cadet, Bordeaux and Pays D’Oc brands for the country. The move marks a return to Russia for the wine after what a Roust Group spokesperson described as a “several year absence”.

The spokesperson also confirmed that the de Rothschild range will be available in selected retailers across Russia from this Autumn. The Moscow-headquartered Roust will support Russian marketing activations for the brand.

3 August | Wine

Australian trade group warns premium wine has lost its way

A new trade group for commercial wine producers in Australia has criticised the country’s premiumisation efforts and called for new thinking in the wake of the China market loss.

The Australian Commercial Wine Producers (ACWP), which represents Australia’s three largest winegrowing regions, said yesterday the premium strategy “has not been as effective as was hoped” and that the country is exporting “significantly less” premium wine than it did 12 years ago. The group added that because of China’s decline new export markets must be found, with commercial producers leading the way.

“More than ever, we are now dependent on our commercial export sales, and we need

policy settings to protect this reliance,” said ACWP chief executive Chris Byrne.

In November, China announced substantial trade tariffs on Australian bottled wine. The tariffs, which range from 107% to 212%, almost immediately priced Australian wine out of the market in the country, resulting in imports dropping to near zero in December. Chinese consumers predominantly purchase higher-value bottled wine from Australian wineries.

4 August | Deal

Skrewball Spirits secures Peanut Butter Whiskey deal with Buffalo Bills

Skrewball Spirits has signed a partnership deal for its namesake Peanut Butter Whiskey with the Buffalo Bills NFL franchise.

Skrewball-branded bars will open inside the Pepsi Club and Toyota Club areas at the Bills’ Highmark Stadium this season. Financial details and length of the terms were not disclosed.

The flavoured whiskey will also be promoted through signage around the ground when the NFL season starts on 10 September.

Skrewball, launched in 2018, has a North American distribution deal with Infinium Spirits and has seen an increase in media exposure in recent months including an advertising partnership with sports and entertainment digital media company Barstool Sports.

4 August | DEAL

Diageo eyes solar farm add-on for Scottish packaging plant

Diageo has outlined plans for a solar energy farm at a Scottish bottling plant. The proposal, which is awaiting planning permission, would see 12,000 solar panels power the 150-acre facility in Leven, Fife. The site bottles 40 million nine-litre cases of spirits a year.

The upgrade, in collaboration with energy providers E.ON and Emtec Energy, is part of Diageo’s Society 2030: Spirit of Progress strategy, which aims to achieve 100% renewable energy for all its operations by the end of the decade.

Following the re-opening of the company’s renewable energy-powered Brora Scotch whisky distillery in May, Diageo’s chief sustainability officer Ewan Andrew told Just Drinks that more technological innovation was needed if it wanted to hit its sustainability goals.

H1 results

Heineken warns full-year performance will lag 2019

Heineken expects full-year sales to come in below pre-pandemic levels despite a double-digit jump in first-half results. The Dutch brewer said sales in the first six months of the year were up 14.1% on the back of increases in Europe and the Americas. However, the €11.97bn in total revenue for the period was 12% down on the same figure from 2019, before the coronavirus disruption.

Anheuser-Busch InBev hails rebound as six-month sales take off

Anheuser-Busch InBev has added further evidence of a recovery in global alcohol with a 22.4% jump in first-half sales. The figures for H1 helped wipe out memories of 12 months ago when on-premise closures worldwide saw A-B InBev’s H1 sales drop 12%. In a sign of the strength of the rebound, Q2 sales were 3.2% up on to the same period two years ago in 2019.

A ‘return to form’ for Diageo in fiscal-2021

Tequila success and a selection of strong regional showings has helped Diageo post double-digit sales growth to close its fiscal-2021. The group posted sales and volume growths across all regions, despite extended on-premise and Global Travel Retail closures through the 12 months to the end of June. The results mark a return to form after a fiscal-2020 that saw Diageo enforce $1.3bn in write-downs.

Campari Group flexes muscles as global on-premise re-awakens

The re-opening of on-premise channels has heralded a marked leap in sales for Campari Group in the first half of this year. The group said a jump of almost 55% in sales from the three months to the end of June was primarily due to a “consumption bounceback” in the on-premise. Following on from the 18% top-line rise in Q1, the Q2 jump resulted in six-month sales climbing by just over 37%.

Half-year sales rise approaches 20% for Coca-Cola FEMSA

Coca-Cola FEMSA has built on its mid-single-digit sales lift in the first quarter with a healthy showing in Q2. The Mexico-headquartered franchise bottler said sales in the six months to the end of June came in almost 20% up on the corresponding period last year. The quarterly performance was credited to “pricing initiatives” and price-mix in the bottler’s ten Latin American markets.

Moet Hennessy sales rise breaks 50% in Q2 as thirst for luxury returns

Luxury goods group LVMH reporting a stellar lift in alcohol sales in H1. The company’s Moet Hennessy division, which owns the Moet & Chandon and Hennessy brands, has seen H1 sales increase by 44% on the corresponding period in 2020. Q2 performance was up 55% for the unit.
The numbers were also up 12% on 2019, before the coronavirus disrupted performance for all premium distillers. 

Cuervo stays in the black but pandemic gains may be waning

Cuervo’s barnstorming rate of growth has slowed through the second quarter, with sales coming in almost 10% up in the three months to the end of June. The Jose Cuervo brand owner, which enjoyed a 37.7% top-line leap in first three months of this year, returned sales of MXN9.53bn in Q2 - resulting in a 20% lift in the half-year, compared to the corresponding period in 2020. 

In brief

Honest Tea launches new caffeinated RTD Honest Yerba Mate

Honest Tea, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company, has expanded its bottled beverage portfolio with the launch of Honest Yerba Mate.

Cocktail brand buzzbox opens new production facility in California, US

Buzzbox, a ready to drink (RTD) cocktail brand, has opened its newly redesigned production facility in Coachella Valley, US. The new 65,000ft² facility will feature packaging equipment for spirit-based RTD cocktails.

Guinness adds new Baltimore-brewed beer to portfolio

Diageo’s brand Guinness has expanded its portfolio with the release of Baltimore-brewed Salt & Lime Ale beer across select cities in the mid-Atlantic region of the US.

KKR invests in Chinese dairy company Adopt A Cow

Investment firm KKR has invested in Chinese direct-to-consumer dairy company Adopt A Cow through a new funding round. The funding round was co-led by KKR and DCP Capital.

Diageo acquires spirits-based RTD brand Loyal 9 Cocktails

British beverage alcohol company Diageo has announced the acquisition of Loyal 9 Cocktails from Sons of Liberty Spirits Company, for an undisclosed sum.