Constellation shares dropped 10% after the company fell well short of predicted earnings for the three months to the end of November 2022, dragging down the shares of other American beer, wine and spirits producers as investors worry that alcohol beverage producers may have a hard time maintaining margins in 2023.
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News coverage of the global and large domestic brewing companies
The NBWA’s Beer Purchasers’ Index (BPI) had its lowest index reading ever in the month of December 2022. The December BPI shows a reading of 30, and the “at-risk” inventory index of 51 marks a very pessimistic outlook for January 2023.
Molson Coors will exit the US portion of its CBD joint venture with Canadian cannabis grower Hexo, ending the brewers CBD beverage business in the US.
On the heels of the announcement that Keurig Dr. Pepper has invested $50 million into non-alcoholic brewer Athletic Brewing, the global brewer Asahi just announced the international launch of its alcohol-free beer, Asahi Super Dry 0.0%.
The brewer’s press release said that Asahi’s master brewers take the base recipe of Asahi Super Dry through a process of de-alcoholisation to create the finished beer at 0.0% ABV.
The beer will be available across eight markets worldwide in 2023, beginning with its launch in the UK and Ireland in January.
Craft beer prices haven’t risen as quickly as other alcohol beverages, including beer overall. But that may change as inflation persists and margins continue to decrease for smaller brewers.
A survey conducted by Sightlines analyzing data from market research company IRI comparing Q1 2021 vs Q2 2022 showed that base prices for packaged craft beer rose +3.4% while overall beer base prices increased +5.6% during that same time.
But reluctance to hike pricing may change as inflation persists and margins decrease for small brewers, who may be forced to raise prices over the coming months to protect the bottom-line.
Carlsberg Group has revealed the trial of a new non-glass “bottle,” made from wood fiber and a plant-based lining.
The bottle is 100% bio-based apart from the cap, which is currently needed to ensure the quality of the product, and together the bottle and cap are fully recyclable. The company is also exploring alternative fiber-based bottle caps.
The new trail bottle is set to be sampled to 8,000 consumers across eight pilot markets in Western Europe.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent edition, beer prices have increased 4.5 percent over the past 12 months to May.
“That’s way faster than it’s been [rising] over the last decade, which has been like one and a half percent,” Michael Uhrich, the founder and chief economist at Seventh Point Analytic Consulting, and the former chief economist of the Beer Institute told VinePair.
Predictions are that beer prices will continue to increase due to a number of factors. The biggest question facing craft brewers is how will the price hikes impact the craft consumer. And will the global brewers be able (and willing) to artificially keep price down on their own faux craft brands, at the expense of independent craft brewers.
Big news in the brewing industry as it was announced last night that Sapporo USA will acquire Stone Brewing of San Diego, Calif.
Stone Distribution Co. which distributes many craft brands throughout Southern California will not be part of the deal and will remain an intendent company.
Sapporo is the largest selling Asian beer in the U.S. and Stone is the 18th largest brewing company in the country with annual production of 326,281 barrels in 2021. It is the second major acquisition of a U.S. craft brewery for Sapporo with the purchase of Anchor Brewing in 2017.
The new owner of Cincinnati Beverage Co., brewer of heritage brands such as Christian Moerlein, Hudepohl, Burger and Little Kings, plans a $30 million renovation of three historic brewery buildings in Cincinnati, Ohio.
John Richardson acquired Cincinnati Beverage Co. last month.
Cincinnati Beverage discontinued in-house brewing of its brands in late 2020 and began contract brewing with other brewers. It is believed that the new owner may bring at least some of the brewing back in-house once the renovation projects are complete.
The Beer Institute, the trade association representing mostly the larger global brewers and beer importers, today announced the departure of President & CEO Jim McGreevy. He will leave the organization in early May. An announcement of his future is forthcoming.
“I am honored to have been part of a great team that advocates for the interests of all brewers and beer importers. It has been a privilege to represent this iconic industry, its wonderful brands and the people in beer who bring a passion to their work every day,” said McGreevy.
McGreevy joined the Beer Institute in 2014.
Late week a jury awarded Stone Brewing $56 million in damages against MolsonCoors in conclusion of a four-year trademark infringement lawsuit. Although it was most likely the largest settlement for trademark infringement ever in the beer industry, it may not solve Stone Brewing’s financial problems,
In courthouse testimony during the trial, Stone CEO Maria Stipp revealed that the San Diego-based brewery owes investment firm VMG/Hillhouse $434 million. According to an article in Good Beer Hunting Sightlines, Kate Bernot reported that VMG invested $89.5 million in Stone in 2016 to support “undisclosed projects and growth, and it’s unclear how the overall number continued to climb” to the current amount. The investment came during a period of profuse expansion for Stone that was noteworthy even during the rapid growth of the craft brewing industry across the country at the time.
Stone was scheduled to repay the $434 million by June 2023, but Stipp says the firm has given Stone an unspecified amount of additional time to come up with the cash. As a result of this burden, Stipp testified, Stone had considered selling its company according to testimony reported by Court House News.
AB InBev said its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) would rise by between 4% and 8% this year, with revenue expanding by a higher percentage, according to an article in The Drinks Business.
For 2021, EBITDA was reportedly up 11.8%, close to the company’s previous outlook of 10-12%.
Unlike some other global brewers, which have warned that spiraling price hikes could cut into beer consumption, AB InBev’s outlook did not mention global inflation or increased input costs. What is unknow for craft brewers is whether or not rising costs will diminish craft beer sales in the US, as large brewers such as AB InBev may be able to hold pricing lower on their high-end craft brands.
ABInBev has released its first zero- carbohydrate beer, named Bud Light NEXT, alongside the launch of its new Super Bowl commercial this week.
The 4%-ABV lager, which has taken ABInBev 10 years to create, contains zero-carbs and 80 calories and is targeted towards a new, more body-conscious generation of beer drinkers.
Bud Light NEXT follows the rollout of Budweiser Zero (non-alcoholic) and low-calorie Michelob Ultra in the wake of successful new non-alcoholic and low-carb, low-calorie beer brands.
Diageo has invested $98 million into building a Guinness microbrewery and culture hub in London’s Covent Garden.
The new 50,000 sq ft venue named ‘Guinness at Old Brewer’s Yard’ is expected to open in fall of 2023. The brewery will provide space for Diageo’s ‘Learning for Life Bartending and Hospitality Program’ which will train up to 100 bartenders annually.
More on the story from The Drinks Business here.
In another big move in the consolidating beverage industry, Monster Beverage Corporation, maker of Monster Energy drink announced today the acquisition of CANarchy Brewery Collective. CANarchy includes Denver’s Oskar Blues, Cigar City Brewing Co. in Florida, Dallas’ Deep Ellum Brewing Co., Perrin Brewing Co. in Michigan and Utah’s Squatters and Wasatch breweries
The $330 million cash deal does not include the stand-alone restaurants that CANarchy currently owns. The deal is expected to close in the first calendar quarter of this year.
Monster, whose biggest shareholder is Coca-Cola, currently develops and markets energy drinks brands like Monster Energy, Burn Energy Drink and Full Throttle Energy Drink.
Constellation Brands said this week it will now build a new brewery in Veracruz, Mexico after a dispute over water access prompted it to halt construction last year of its largely completed brewery in the arid, northern border city of Mexicali.
Residents of Mexicali said the brewery, which had cost hundreds of millions of dollars, threatened their water supply and rejected it in a referendum promoted by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Constellation said it would now invest $5.0 billion to $5.5 billion in fiscal 2023 to 2026 on the Veracruz brewery and two other plants already in operation in Mexico.
The Drinks Business has reported that the joint project between Keurig Dr Pepper Inc. and Anheuser-Busch InBev, will stop selling its countertop at-home cocktail-making machines, and will refund customers who have already bought the appliance, the company said in a statement in December.
AB InBev had been looking to expand beyond beer following a shift among US consumers from beer to spirits. The cocktail-making machine looked to tap into the trend for at-home cocktails, which took off during the pandemic while bars and restaurants were closed. But the lack of interest from the consumer demonstrates that quality is still important, and either making a real cocktail at home “from scratch” or getting a cocktail to-go from a retailers remains the preferred method.
The cocktail machines first became available in June 2021 and sold for $299. The machine uses cocktail pods similar to coffee machines, with a pod selling for around $4- $5 per pod. Cocktails available include Mai Tai, Long Island Ice Tea, Old Fashioned and Sangria punch.
Molson Coors today announced that it will cease operations of the Saint Archer brewery and remove Saint Archer brands from the retail marketplace. The company plans to sell its San Diego brewery and taproom to Kings & Convicts Brewing Company.
Kings and Convicts Brewing will assume all physical assets of Saint Archer including the 50,000 square foot, 100,000 bbls Saint Archer brewery. The Miramar, San Diego county brewery will become the new operating headquarters for Kings & Convicts Brewing, where the company will begin brewing its own year-round core portfolio and specialty releases, small batch beers for Ballast Point Brewing Co., and brand-new craft beverage products.
MillerCoors bought Saint Archer in 2015 as the acquisition of craft breweries by Big Beer was at a fever pace. The same week that MillerCoors announced the Saint Archer purchase, Heineken announced that they were buying a 50% stake in Lagunitas Brewing Co., sending shock waves through the industry. Anheuser-Busch InBev NV had already bought four craft breweries in four years at that time. Some of those deals worked out for the global brewers and others have not. Kings and Convicts has already pounced on the fire sale of one such deal-gone-bad by buying Ballast Point Brewing in 2019 from Constellation Brands.
The spirit’s industry has mounted an organized lobbying and marketing campaign to take market share from beer by expanding distribution rights and lowering taxes on canned cocktails, according to an article in the Washington Post.
At the core of the issue is an age-old question: Is beer qualitatively different from spirits? Historically, the answer has been yes, resulting in higher federal and state taxes—and stricter distribution rules—on spirits than on beer.
But now, as canned cocktails blur the line, the spirits industry is taking the battle to the state legislatures where they have already won by passing favorable bills in Michigan and Nebraska. The new year will likely see a landslide effort by the spirits industry in multiple states to further their cause.
Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has forecasted 4% to 8% growth in core profit over the next four years, according to a recent investor update.
Speaking at an investor seminar, AB InBev’s new chief executive Michel Doukeris highlighted how the beer market had expanded over the past four years and was also predicted to expand its share of the alcohol market in the next four. The massive global beer and beverage company is well-poised to take advantage of recent trends in the industry. It is now a significant player in the non-traditional beer segment, craft beer, Mexican imports and has begun to dabble in wine, spirits and non-alcohol. Doukeris also made a nod to expanding direct-to-consumer options. In a Fortune article he said, “we have globally $1 billion in sales that we make through direct-to-consumer. Consumers order beer the same way they order from Pizza Hut; in 30 minutes we deliver them cold beer at home, the amount they ordered on the app.”
In the article Doukeris also discussed the importance of developing a 10-year strategic plan. As hard as that may seem, it is a practice that craft brewers should take on as well. “The process of building (a 10-year strategic) plan was incredible because it was the first time that I thought, this is a competitive advantage,” he said. “While everybody is thinking short term, I was really thinking 10 years [ahead] and thinking, What are the small things that consumers want to do today that will be very big 10 years down the road?”