IBC 2010 is this years KEY event for all those working within the Brewing supply chain. The FIRST CLASS programme featuring industry leading speakers will consider the KEY STRATEGIC PRIORITIES for the sector. With global delegates providing unrivalled networking opportunities and a comprehensive exhibition from industry suppliers, this is an UNMISSABLE Convention.
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Last week, just-drinks reported that SABMiller has succeeded in persuading Mexico's competition authority, Cofeco, to reopen an investigation into "monopolistic practices" in the country's beer market. Meanwhile, SABMiller itself was hauled before a tribunal last week to refute allegations of monopolistic practices in South Africa.
These two cases highlight the pitfalls faced by brewers who overwhelmingly dominate their sectors in any one country. SAB has close to 90% of South Africa's beer market by volume, while, in Mexico, Heineken's FEMSA Cerveza and domestic rival Grupo Modelo control around 95% of market volume between them.
As the global beer market becomes more competitive, brewers are increasingly looking to open up opportunities in what was once considered the unassailable stronghold of a rival. SABMiller would love a piece of Mexico, one of the most profitable beer markets in the world. And, in South Africa, while it has nothing directly to do with SAB's Competition Commission tribunal, Diageo and Heineken are ramping up the pressure on SAB.
This trend is likely to put more pressure on national competition authorities to assess beer market practices, particularly where one player is dominant.
Such a move would cause concern to the likes of Anheuser-Busch InBev, whose Brazilian unit, AmBev, hugely dominates its local beer market. Considering its profile in legal circles last week, then, it could be seen as a shame that SABMiller didn't acquire FEMSA Cerveza – which is third in Brazil - earlier this year. Had it done, SAB could have asked for a bulk discount.
Speaking of A-B InBev, the brewer was quick to praise Brazil for its healthy contribution to its first-half results, announced last week. Click here for a full round-up of our coverage.
Finally, in this month's soft drinks & water column, Annette Farr considered the likelihood of success for Lucozade and Innocent in the competitive US energy drink and smoothie markets.
Until next time...