Here, just-drinks consolidates the M&A activity in the global drinks industry during February.

Soft Drinks

Danone Manifesto Ventures invests in Harmless Harvest

Danone‘s venture capital unit has invested in an organic coconut water producer in the US. Danone Manifesto Ventures led a US$30m investment round in Harmless Harvest.

Will PepsiCo ‘Live to Tell’ a Vita Coco success story? – Comment

This month, soft drinks commentator Richard Corbett takes a look at Vita Coco, the market-leading coconut water brand that is reportedly in PepsiCo’s sights.


CHAMP starts latest efforts to offload Accolade Wines, opens talks with The Carlyle Group

The owner of Accolade Wines has confirmed to just-drinks that it has opened negotiations into divesting the business. Australian private equity group CHAMP said it is in talks with New York-based peer The Carlyle Group over a possible transaction.

“The wine business is changing” – Interview from 2016 with Accolade Wines’ then-CEO, Paul Schaafsma

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In early-2016, managing editor Olly Wehring met up with Paul Schaafsma, a wine industry veteran of around 20 years, who moved up to become CEO of Accolade in late-2015.


Halewood Wines & Spirits snaps up Dead Man’s Fingers spiced rum

Halewood Wines & Spirits has bought UK spiced rum brand Dead Man’s Fingers for an undisclosed sum. A spokesperson for Halewood confirmed to just-drinks that the company had bought the Cornwall-based brand outright, but declined to disclose financial details.

MS Walker buys John L Sullivan Irish whiskey brand

Boston-based drinks firm MS Walker will re-introduce John L Sullivan Irish whiskey in the US, after purchasing the rights to the brand. The company acquired the rights from Georgetown Trading Co.

Is Irish whiskey ready to recognise its potential? – Comment

One of the more lively spirits sectors in recent years, Irish whiskey is certainly on the up. In late-2016, however, spirits commentator Ian Buxton asked if the country’s distillers are in danger of over-stating Irish whiskey’s prospects.

Actor Ryan Reynolds buys into Aviation Gin

Davos Brands has secured celebrity backing for Aviation Gin, with actor Ryan Reynolds buying an “ownership interest” in the brand. The US-based spirits and sake distributor confirmed that Reynolds would take an unspecified stake in Aviation, which sold around 25,000 cases in 2017. 


Carlsberg sweeps up 49% Olympic Brewery stake in Greece

Carlsberg has strengthened its position in Southern Europe after taking full control of Greece’s Olympic Brewery. The Danish brewer acquired the remaining 49% of Olympic Brewery following its 51% stake purchase in 2014.

Fuller, Smith & Turner makes craft play in UK through Dark Star

UK brewer and pub operator Fuller, Smith & Turner has acquired Dark Star, a craft brewer in the south of the country. The purchase sees London-base Fuller’s take full ownership of Dark Star.

Is it time for brewers to drop ‘craft’ for ‘independent’? – Comment

In mid-2017, two craft beer trade associations have offered members promotional material designed to highlight their independent ownership status. Here, beer commentator Stephen Beaumont considers whether this means the end of the road for the much-debated ‘craft’ term.