13 july 2020

WSAPPG to probe impact of wine import certification in UK

The Wine and Spirit All Party Parliamentary Group (WSAPPG) is set to launch an inquiry into the impact of wine import certification.

Known as a VI-1 form, the WSAPPG wine import certification will come into effect on 1 January 2021. The EU introduced the VI-1 form for third-country imports and will itself become a subject to the rule.

The investigation will study the wine import certification’s potential impact on the UK wine trade.

It follows after DEFRA Secretary of State Victoria Prentis said the impact of VI-1 would be “nil or negligible”.

55% of wine consumed in the UK is imported from EU countries, and the wine from these countries is not currently subject to VI-1 checks and lab tests.

Once in effect, it's estimated that the certification rules will cost the UK wine trade an extra £70m annually, leading to a rise in wine prices.

The inquiry will be facilitated by the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: “It is extremely important that the UK wine trade take this opportunity to tell Government how their businesses will be impacted by the introduction of VI-1 certification.

“It is entirely within the government’s gift to avoid imposing these complicated, costly and unnecessary checks.

“Politicians need to better understand this issue, which if it isn’t handled properly will see the UK’s world-leading wine industry facing a catastrophic disruption to trade.”

Companies across the wine industry are being invited to participate in the inquiry. They can submit evidence through the WSTA website.


9 july 2020

Coca-Cola India partners with CSC to reach rural markets

Beverage manufacturer Coca-Cola India and Common Services Centers (CSC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to provide rural consumers access to new products.

CSC functions under the aegis of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

The new initiative aims to promote the availability of consumer products through local entrepreneurs and e-Kirana stores in rural India.

The partnership will pilot the listing of Coca-Cola’s portfolio of products on CSC’s Grameen eStore platform.

Speaking of the initiative, CSC SPV CEO Dr Dinesh Tyagi said: “The idea for Grameen e-Store exemplifies the Prime Minister’s call for being vocal for local.

“Through this initiative, VLEs are playing a critical role in connecting producers and companies with rural consumers right at their doorsteps.

“The partnership with Coca-Cola will allow stores to diversify their offerings while providing customers access to new products. It will be a win-win proposition.”

Coca-Cola’s products will be made available in various states across India including Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana via the platform.

Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia president T Krishnakumar said: “We are privileged to partner with CSC in their effort to pave the path for digital and economic empowerment of our rural citizens.

“This initiative will help us with last-mile connectivity to ensure people are hydrated and have their relevant choice of beverages. It underscores our long-term commitment towards creating a sustainable business in India through responsible actions and shared growth.

“We are a ‘total beverage company with local roots’ and we have adopted a hyperlocal strategy focused on strengthening the regional connect, both in terms of choice and reach.”

In another development, Diageo India is said to have promoted chief marketing officer (CMO) Julie Bramham as global brand director for Johnnie Walker and appointed Deepika Warrier, a former PepsiCo executive as the new CMO.


8 july 2020

Nespresso to invest $169m in Swiss Romont production centre expansion

Nestlé’s Nespresso brand is set to expand its Romont production centre in Switzerland with an investment of $169m to meet the increasing demand for its coffee products.

The investment is also expected to support the company’s international development in the near future.

Nespresso CEO Guillaume Le Cunff said:  “Despite the challenging times we have all been living in, this strategic long term investment reconfirms Nespresso’s continuous business success and leadership in the portioned coffee segment, which we pioneered back in 1986.

“It also demonstrates our continued commitment to our Swiss roots and to the long term economic development of the region and the country, with which we share values of quality, innovation and expertise.”

The expansion will see the addition of a second production hall, equipped with ten new production lines engaged in the production of Nespresso coffees for the Vertuo and Professional ranges.

Construction work on the second production hall is expected to begin in June next year. The production lines are expected to be fully operational by June 2022.

Additionally, the construction will create 300 new jobs in the region over the next ten years.

The Romont factory was opened in 2015 for producing Nespresso’s Vertuo coffees. The Vertuo system has been designed to make freshly brewed coffee in five different cup sizes using centrifusion technology.

The technology reads the bar code on the capsule and adjusts the amount of water, speed of extraction and temperature to deliver a cup of coffee.

Over the last two years, Nespresso has added four new production lines.

The Nespresso Romont factory is said to be the first LEED Gold certified production centre in Switzerland.


3 july 2020

ABG acquires Australian distributor Think Spirits

Alcohol manufacturer and distributor Amber Beverage Group (ABG) has purchased a 100% stake in Australian distributor Think Spirits.

Financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed by either company.

Amber Beverage Group CEO Seymour Ferreira said: “This acquisition is important strategically for ABG as part of our ambition to become a truly global beverage company.

“The team at Think Spirits has done an excellent job steering the business through recent challenging times in the region.

“With China and parts of Asia opening up, we see great potential for our business and Australia is a country which is leading the way out of the crisis.

“What we are seeing in China and Australia is an indicator of what will happen in the rest of the world with retail re-opening, wholesalers and the on-premise coming back to business and Think Spirits is well-positioned to help us expand into these exciting markets.”

In 2018, ABG acquired a 90% stake in Think Spirits. The acquisition of the remaining stake gives it full ownership of the company.

According to the agreement, Think Spirits founder and managing director Patrick Borg and his team will continue their association with the business.

Borg said: “Having established the business in 2004, we have built it up to become one of the leading players in the Australian drinks trade and being 100% owned by ABG will give us the opportunity to expand even further.

“Even with the challenging conditions over the last few months, our business is doing extremely well and our figures are way ahead of last year, which is great for all of us.”


2 july 2020

Vie-Del to acquire CBUSO’s concentrate business

US-based grape processor and bulk juices supplier Vie-Del has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Constellation Brands US Operations’ (CBUSO) grape concentrate and high-colour concentrate business.

CBUSO is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Constellation Brands.

Established in 1946, Vie-Del is a family-owned fruit processor, winery and distillery company and supplies bulk juices, concentrate, brandy, wine and spirits.

The company operates two California facilities located in Fresno and Kingsburg.

Vie-Del Company president Dianne Nury said: “This acquisition provides a seamless complement to our existing lines of grape juice concentrates, allowing our operation to further build upon the success we’ve created for more than 70 years.

“We look forward to continuing to serve the needs and help fuel growth for our industry partners with the same personalised business approach our family-owned company has become known for.”

As part of the deal, Vie-Del will acquire CBUSO’s Mega Purple, Mega Red, MegaNatural and Canandaigua concentrate brands used in the latter’s concentrates and high-colour concentrate business.

The company will also acquire intellectual property, inventory, goodwill, interests in certain contracts, assets and liabilities.

Going forward, Vie-Del intends to include MegaNatural high colour concentrate product lines under the corporate Vie-Del Company brand and legacy product lines.

With this acquisition, Vie-Del aims to boost its capabilities and strengthen the company’s position in the high-colour concentrate business.

Financial details of the deal are yet to be divulged by either company.

Completion of the deal is subject to customary closing conditions and requires the Federal Trade Commission's review and clearance.


1 july 2020

ACCC to check dairy code compliance in Australia

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced that it is monitoring the introduction of the new mandatory dairy code of conduct, which requires processors to buy milk from farmers using compliant milk supply agreements.

Implemented on 1 January, the dairy code is applicable to dairy processors and farmers.

ACCC deputy chair Mick Keogh said: “The new code is designed to address a significant imbalance in bargaining power between processors and farmers.

“Milk supply agreements offered by dairy processors must meet certain minimum standards, like including cooling-off periods for farmers while not containing contract terms that were previously used to push risk onto farmers.

“Dairy farmers now have more information than ever to help them make a choice of processor well ahead of the start of the new season.”

ACCC also noted that the agreements must include a minimum milk price, among other conditions.

Through this initiative, ACCC will check dairy processors’ compliance with the code and take enforcement action where appropriate.

Since 1 June, ACCC has accessed more than 100 published milk supply agreements and identified that most of the milk processors published at least one milk supply agreement by the deadline.

The competition authority is undertaking a detailed review of compliance to ensure the terms of milk supply agreements comply with the code.

Keogh added: “We are actively engaging with farmers and processors and closely watching adherence to the code so it can deliver the intended benefits to farmers and the whole industry. We note that some processors have voluntarily changed their approach after being contacted by the ACCC regarding code compliance issues.”


1 july 2020

Constellation Brands purchases Empathy Wines

Alcoholic beverages producer Constellation Brands has purchased Empathy Wines, a digitally-native wine brand and direct-to-consumer (DTC) platform.

Constellation Brands president and CEO Bill Newlands said: “We are committed to transforming our wine and spirits business into a high-performing brand portfolio that consistently delivers growth and shareholder value.

“Key to our strategy is being consumer obsessed – building a direct relationship with our consumers, meeting them where they are shopping and engaging today, and pushing beyond to meet their evolving preferences well into the future.

“We believe Empathy Wines has the right team and approach to help us deliver exceptional brands and experiences to our consumers, and thereby industry-leading growth, by expediting our ability to more deeply connect with consumers and build the strongest direct-to-consumer and digital commerce business in the category.”

Empathy Wines was co-founded by Gary Vaynerchuk, an entrepreneur and media personality along with business partners Jon Troutman and Nate Scherotter.

As part of the deal, Empathy Wines brand will be added to Constellation’s wine and spirits brand portfolio.

Empathy Wines' co-founders, along with the employees, will be part of the Constellation Brands family and work together with its wine and spirits organisation.

Constellation will work with Empathy Wines team to further enhance the brand’s growth while leveraging rich consumer insights and analytics.

Furthermore, Vaynerchuk will assist Constellation Brands and Empathy Wines in a consulting capacity.

Vaynerchuk said: “Our ability to understand and ‘empathise’ with the modern-day wine consumer’s behaviour, wants and needs has been proven through Empathy’s incredible growth.

“We are excited to replicate this modern-day, consumer-centric approach at a larger scale, and with more infrastructure, working with a portfolio of some of the most iconic brands in the world of wine and with leadership that is making investments in a quickly evolving category.”

Financial details of the deal are yet to be divulged by either company.


30 June 2020

Diageo to build carbon-neutral distillery in the US

Global beverage company Diageo is constructing its new Kentucky whiskey distillery, which is expected to be carbon-neutral.

Diageo claimed that once completed, the distillery would be one of the largest in North America and a first for the company.

Initially, the distillery will engage in the production of Bulleit Bourbon whiskey, expected to complement the existing production at the Bulleit Distilling in Shelbyville, Kentucky.

Diageo North America Supply president Perry Jones said: “As a company, we know that our long-term sustainable growth depends on reducing our reliance on fossil fuels that contribute to climate change.

“This groundbreaking undertaking to electrify our operations and then power them with renewable electricity will result in one of the largest carbon-neutral distilleries in North America.

“This is a significant step to strengthen our commitment to minimising our carbon emissions and will result in an important reduction of Diageo’s environmental impact on a global level.”

The initiative is said to strengthen the company’s global commitment to reduce its carbon emissions and address climate change.

Diageo added that the distillery being built in Lebanon, Kentucky would be entirely powered by renewable electricity and will have the capacity to produce up to ten million proof gallons per year.

The 72,000ft² distillery would feature dry house, warehousing facilities and equipped with electrode boilers. Steam generated by the boilers will be used for cooking, distillation and drying processes.

In addition to Bulleit, Diageo’s Lebanon Distillery will have the capacity to distil a variety of bourbon and American whiskey brands.

Recently, Diageo has announced a programme to support the recovery of pubs and bars from the Covid-19 pandemic.