Here, just-drinks consolidates the M&A activity in the global drinks industry during December, a month that saw Diageo move into on-tap cocktails, Carlton & United Breweries make a craft brewer play and Constellation Brands revise its brands offload to E&J Gallo.


Constellation Brands has offloaded Ballast Point, almost exactly four years after spending US$1bn on the San Diego-based craft brewer. The group, which has recently sold off some of its wine and spirits brands, confirmed in early-December that Ballast Point will transition to Illinois start-up, Kings & Convicts Brewing Co.

Carlton & United Breweries has used the time waiting to welcome its new owner with the purchase of another craft brewer in its domestic market. The Australian company, which is set to be sold by Anheuser-Busch InBev to Asahi Group next year, confirmed the acquisition of Balter Brewing Co.

Australia’s competition watchdogs have warned that Asahi‘s takeover of Anheuser-Busch InBev’s operations in the country will put two-thirds of the cider market in the hands of just one company. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) said in a preliminary view on the proposed purchase of Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) that it would give Asahi control of the Somersby, Strongbow, Mercury and Bulmers brands, which account for the bulk of cider sales in Australia.

The beer category in 2019 – just-drinks’ Review of the Year

As the end of the year approaches, just-drinks takes a four-part look at the stories that made the headlines in 2019 across the global drinks industry. In part III, deputy editor Andy Morton picks out the highs and the lows for the beer category.


Diageo is looking to consolidate its operations in India, proposing a folding in of loss-making Pioneer Distilleries to its United Spirits business. The board of United Spirits confirmed the approval of a merger with Pioneer, centred around an offer to shareholders.

Mast-Jagermeister has bought into another start-up, this time taking a stake in Germany’s Taste Tours. The owner of the Jagermeister liqueur brand confirmed its investment in the food tour company, which was set up last year in Hamburg. 

Diageo has bought a UK draught cocktail producer, targeting trends for mixed drinks in high-footfall venues. Tipplesworth owns a range of pre-mix cocktail syrups that can be used with draught systems to serve drinks “consistently, at speed and at scale”, Diageo said.

Mark Anthony Brands is to take full control of Irish whiskey and gin distillery Glendalough. The company, which owns the White Claw hard seltzer, said it will increase to 100% the minority holding in Glendalough it took in 2016.

The spirits category in 2019 – just-drinks’ Review of the Year

As the year draws to a close, just-drinks takes a look back at the stories that have made the headlines across the global drinks industry over the last 12 months. Here, editor Olly Wehring picks out the highs and lows for the spirits category in 2019 in just-drinks’ two-part review.


Moet Hennessy has acquired majority control of the Provence rosé producer Château d’Esclans. The transaction, for an undisclosed sum, sees Moet Hennessy hold 55% of the company, which is the market leader for French rosé in the US.

B Wise Vineyards has acquired one of its peers in California, Amapola Creek Vineyards & Winery. The transaction sees Sonoma Valley-based B Wise take ownership of the Amapola Creek wine brand as well as vineyards, winery, property and current inventories.

Constellation Brands has knocked more than half-a-billion dollars off the price of its wine divestment to E&J Gallo after regulators forced the company to exclude three brands from the deal. The agreement, for lower-end brands, was first announced in April and expected to close at the end of May. However, a review by the US Federal Trade Commission has led to Cook’s California Champagne, J. Roget American Champagne, and Paul Masson Grande Amber Brandy to be removed from the list of about 30 brands involved in the sale.

The wine category in 2019 – just-drinks’ Review of the Year

As the year draws to a close, just-drinks takes a look back at the stories that have made the headlines across the global drinks industry over the last 12 months. Here, Ben Cooper picks out the highs and lows for the wine category.


Asahi Group is reportedly planning to increase the number of its vending machines in Singapore and Malaysia to 10,000, through the acquisition of vending machine operator Advend. Nikkei Asain Review reported that Asahi is to buy Singapore-based Advend for an undisclosed sum.

Amber Beverage Group has acquired control of Austrian drinks distributor and wholesaler Mountain Spirits. The transaction is for an unspecified stake size.

Campari Group has closed the year with confirmation of its latest purchase, taking full control of its distribution in France. Having announced the commencement last month of talks to acquire Baron Philippe de Rothschild’s distribution operations in the country, Campari said last month that a transaction has been agreed.