13 January | Deal

Monster Beverage Corp has ventured into alcoholic drinks, purchasing US craft brewer and seltzer producer Canarchy. 

The US$330m transaction sees Monster bring Colorado-based Canarchy’s Cigar City, Oskar Blues, Deep Ellum, Perrin Brewing, Squatters and Wasatch beer brands into its portfolio. The transaction does not comprise the brewer’s US restaurant business. 

According to a statement from Monster, Canarchy, ranked as the US’s 15th largest brewer in volume terms for 2020, will continue to operate independently under existing leadership after the acquisition closes in the coming weeks. 

The news came two months after reports surfaced indicating that the energy drinks operator was weighing a potential merger with Constellation Brands. According to GlobalData, Monster, which is around 17%-owned by The Coca-Cola Co, has a market capitalisation of just over $50bn. 

3 February | Deal

Teremana Tequila divests stake to Mast-Jagermeister

Mast-Jagermeister has strengthened its year-old distribution tie-up with Teremana Tequila by purchasing an unspecified holding in the brand. 

Framed as taking an “investor role”, the German group has bought into Teremana, which only launched in March 2020. Neither the size of the stake nor its value were disclosed in the announcement. 

The move comes almost 13 months after the Jagermeister brand owner assumed global distribution for Teremana, which is owned by Siete Buck Spirits. The company was co-founded by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. 

2 February | Deal

Heaven Hill makes high-end spirits play with Samson & Surrey buy

Heaven Hill Brands has lined up the acquisition of “super-premium” spirits brand owner Samson & Surrey in the US. 

The transaction, for an undisclosed fee, will see six brands enter the Heaven Hill portfolio. Florida-based Samson & Surrey will continue as a standalone unit, headed up by co-founders Juan Rovira and former Bacardi North America president Robert Furniss-Roe. 

According to Heaven Hill, Samson & Surrey has been growing at around 60% per year and boasts annual sales in the region of US$40m. The company takes its name from Rovira and Furniss-Roe’s original homes of Samson in Spain and the English county of Surrey. 

25 January | Beer

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners exits beer with Casella JV offload in Australia

Coca-Cola Europacific Partners has called time on its longstanding beer joint venture with Casella Family Brands in Australia. 

The company confirmed the divestment of its holding in Australian Beer Co, set up with Casella by forebearer Coca-Cola Amatil in 2013. The offload, for an undisclosed sum, is the result of CCEP’s decision to “focus on its spirits, alcohol ready-to-drink and non-alcohol ready-to-drink portfolios”. 

Subsequently, Casella, which owns the Yellow Tail wine brand and launched a beer under the name in the US six years ago, will own ABC outright from 1 July. 

The move out of craft beer by CCEP, which came about after Coca-Cola European Partners’ acquisition of Coca-Cola Amatil a year ago, was announced in the same month that Kirin’s Lion Brewing Co division kicked off a business review for the Fourpure and Magic Rock craft beer businesses in the UK. 

21 January | Wine

Champagne bounceback exceeds expectations in 2021

Champagne shipments staged a strong recovery last year, reaching a total of 322m bottles thanks to a rebound in France and a new record level of exports, according to official figures from trade association Comité Champagne. 

The resurgence followed a difficult 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic sent shipments tumbling by 18% to 245m bottles, with the unexpectedly strong recovery leaving the Champagne trade cautiously optimistic about the prospects for trade in 2022. However, domestic shipments in the French market were up 25% to nearly 142m bottles, returning to 2019 levels, while exports reached a new record of 180m bottles. 

Provisional figures suggest that shipments by value also reached a new record of just over EUR5.5bn (US$6.2bn). 

24 January | Wine

Accolade Wines warns of higher Australian wine prices in UK

A failure to reconsider the UK’s proposed alcohol duty reforms could cancel out progress outlined in a recent trade deal with Australia, Accolade Wines has warned. 

In a statement submitted by the Australian wine producer to the UK Government, the company said that the measures proposed in the Autumn Budget would see an annual duty increase of “at least” GBP81m (US$109.2m) on Australian wine exports to the UK. This would occur as a result of the Budget’s proposal to place higher duty tax on imported wines above 11.5% abv – which many Australian exports are, due to the country’s hotter climates. 

The company contends that UK-based consumers would likely opt for other alcoholic beverages if faced with price hikes on Australian wine, a potentially damaging consequence for the UK market which Accolade ranks as its largest by value. 

Brand owner results 

Carlsberg braced for volatility in 2022 as 2021 sales grow double digits

An end-of-year surge pushed Carlsberg to a 10% sales rise in the 12 months of 2021. Three months after posting an 8.6% top-line increase in the first nine months of last year, the brewer reported a 22% jump in the final quarter. The full-year subsequently came in up 10% year-on-year, with Carlsberg “well above” pre-pandemic 2019. 

Moet Hennessy sees 2021 sales trump pre-COVID era

Moet Hennessy has surpassed its pre-pandemic full-year sales levels, setting a record high in the 12 months to 2021. The wine and spirits division of high-end consumer goods group LVMH saw its top-line rise by 26% last year. Sales against the full-year for 2019, meanwhile, increased by almost double digits, at 9%. 

Fever-Tree toasts bumper US performance in 2021

A combination of continued off-premise strength and a returning on-premise have boosted Fever-Tree’s sales for 2021, led by the US. The mixers company said that sales in the 12 months to the end of December, reached GBP311m (US$416.7m), a 26% increase on 2020. US sales for the year were up 41%, thanks to the growth in popularity of at-home cocktail making and the continued shift towards premium drinks options. 

Britvic upbeat on 2022 as Omicron fails to dent pre-Christmas growth

Strong at-home consumption bolstered Britvic’s performance in the closing three months of last year, despite the emergence of the Omicron coronavirus variant. Two months after reporting a near-7% rise in 12-month sales to the end of September, the UK-based soft drinks group posted sales from fiscal-Q1 – to the end of December – of GBP373.9m (US$504.8m), a 16.5% year-on-year increase. The company’s home market, Britvic’s biggest, delivered a 17.1% sales leap, driven by at-home consumption. 

High spirits for Diageo as premiumisation shines in H1 fiscal-2022

Diageo retained the double-digit sales growth rate from its previous fiscal year in the first half of its current one, with six-month sales climbing 20%. The group, which was up 16% in fiscal-2021, reported sales of just under US$11bn from the six months to the end of December, a year-on-year increase of 20%. The performance was backed by a 27% uplift in marketing spend over the period. 

Remy Cointreau readies marketing investment as nine-month sales approach +40%

Remy Cointreau posted a sales increase of just over 20% in its fiscal third quarter, with the group noting a surge in its ‘Americas’ region. The 21% top-line rise in the three months to the end of December built on the +52% showing in the first half, resulting in a year-to-date increase of just over 38%. Remy reiterated its forecast, originally made three months ago, of “a year of two halves”, with the second six months expected to lag H1 in sales growth terms. 

Constellation Brands hails “explosive” Corona Extra showing but third-quarter drags on Fiscal-2022

Constellation Brands reported a mid-single-digit sales decrease from its fiscal third quarter on challenging comparatives a year earlier. A year on from Q3 2021’s 22% sales leap, the multi-category group posted a 5% dip in the three months to the end of November. For the first nine months of the company’s current financial year, however, the top-line remained steady, increasing 1% year-on-year. 

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.