May 5, 2009
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
The London International Wine Fair and Distil. 25,000 wines and spirits for tasting. Over 30 seminars, debates and masterclasses for learning. 30,000 wine and spirits trade professionals for meeting. But only 3 days.
Carlsberg is this week expected to become the latest international brewer to report a falling demand for beer, when it reports its first quarter results tomorrow (6 May).
Meanwhile, beer industry figures released in the UK last week set a bleak tone for 2009. Beer sales slumped by 8% in the first quarter of 2009, the worst performance for more than a decade, according to the British Beer & Pub Association.
Yet, despite the over-arching gloom, some smaller brewers continue to do well in mature markets like the UK. Scottish microbrewer BrewDog this week said that sales are up by more than 400% in volume terms in the first quarter of the year, mainly thanks to new listings in bars and retailers.
While the difference in scale between BrewDog and A-B InBev is barely comparable, is there a lesson for brewers and, more widely, the drinks industry in these figures? There is clearly still an appetite for beer in mature markets, but consumers are becoming more sophisticated in their choices and their tastes.
It is up to the global beer giants to satisfy this need.
Elsewhere last week, we reported on Kirin Holdings' agreement to buy up the last of the shares in Lion Nathan, the departure of an industry veteran from Cobra Beer and the completion of A-B InBev's divestment of a 20% stake in Tsingtao.
This week, we're gearing up for the London International Wine Fair and Distil, which starts a week today. We've already started a daily round-up of who's doing what, and our diaries are fast filling up. If you'd like us to come by and say hello to you at the fair, drop us an email. Quick.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
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