Pernod Ricard “working to find the best way” to cease Russia exports
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Pernod Ricard has indicated it wants to end the export of brands including Beefeater gin and Jameson whiskey to Russia.
The company, which late last year resumed shipments of some international brands to ensure the “economic viability” of its business in the country, has faced criticism over the move.
Earlier in April, the company announced it would cease shipments of Absolut vodka to Russia, following opposition in the brand’s home market of Sweden.
The Paris-headquartered company has also faced protests in London and Dublin over the resumption of Beefeater and Jameson exports.
In a statement, Pernod Ricard said it was seeking to find a solution that could enable it to stop selling its “international brands” in Russia while supporting its 300 staff in the country.
AB InBev plays down impact of US Bud Light row
The CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev has sought to play down the impact of falling sales volumes arising from the controversy that has engulfed the Bud Light brand in the US.
CEO Michel Doukeris said Bud Light’s US sales declines in the first three weeks of April represented 1% of the company’s global volumes during the same period.
However, Doukeris said it was too early for AB InBev to understand the full impact of the backlash that resulted from the company sending a custom can to transgender influencer Dylan Mulvaney.
Despite the can not being available for sale, many conservatives in the US objected to the brand partnering with Mulvaney, with US singer Kid Rock posting a video of himself shooting at Bud Light cans.
Doukeris admitted, however, there had been “some spill over” that was impacting the sales of other AB InBev brands in the US.
EU antitrust watchdog inspects Red Bull premises in dawn raids
EU antitrust investigators have conducted unannounced inspections at a number of premises belonging to Red Bull.
“The Commission has concerns that the inspected company may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices,” the European Commission said in a statement.
While not naming Red Bull, Brussels added investigators had visited a number of sites belonging to an energy drinks company.
The Austrian Federal Competition Authority confirmed to Just Drinks it had taken part and assisted investigators from the European Commission in a “dawn raid”. Investigators from the EU were joined by their counterparts in the member states where the inspections took place.
A spokesperson for Red Bull said Commission officials had “visited our premises” adding: “We will cooperate with them in any matters that may concern them.”
Diageo to shut down Guinness facility in US
Diageo is to close its Guinness factory in the US state of Maryland.
The UK-headquartered drinks giant revealed via a statutory employment notice that its Guinness manufacturing facility in Relay is set to close by 9 June.
In a statement to Just Drinks, Diageo said it expects around 97 roles to be affected.
“After careful consideration and analysis of our supply footprint, we have made the difficult decision to permanently close our manufacturing facility in Relay, Maryland,” Diageo said.
“In order to ensure long-term sustainable growth for Diageo, we are optimising our existing operations across North America to meet evolving consumer preferences.”
The moves comes as the company prepares to open a Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Chicago.
Campari eyes “transformational” M&A to bolster US growth
Campari Group has set its sights on further M&A deals in the US, according to the MD of the spirits group’s US and Canada units.
Speaking to Just Drinks, Ugo Fiorenzo teased the possibility of deals of a similar scope and scale to its $760m acquisition of Grand Marnier in 2016 and did not rule out the possibility of Campari swallowing up or merging with another large beverage brand owner.
Asked to expand on comments made by CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz, who said Campari was prepared to strike the kind of M&A deal that would make it a “much larger business”, Fiorenzo added: “First of all, let’s hope it happens. Second of all, I think ‘transformational’ answers the question; [it would need to be] something relevant for the US business.“
After Grand Marnier, the company’s next largest deal was the $420m it paid for 70% of Kentucky Bourbon producer Wilderness Trail last year.