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A new project from Anheuser-Busch InBev's incubator unit is to deliver cold craft beer across London, including brands owned by Japanese brewer Kirin.

Beer Hawk Fresh will include brands from Kirins Little Creatures brewery

Beer Hawk Fresh will include brands from Kirin's Little Creatures brewery

Beer Hawk Fresh, part of A-B InBev's ZX Ventures, will distribute cold-chain beer in kegs, cans and bottles to London-based accounts on the same day they are ordered, the company said today. The new venture, which targets bars, restaurants and shops, gives craft brewers a "powerful new route to market" in the capital, Beer Hawk Fresh said.

Breweries already on board include independents such as San Diego's Modern Times and the A-B InBev-owned Goose Island, Camden Town and Birra del Borgo. Also on the list are Kirin's Australian brewery, Little Creatures, as well as Kirin's London-based Fourpure and Huddersfield's Magic Rock.

Beer Hawk Fresh is operated by Beer Hawk, the UK online beer shop bought by ZX Ventures in 2016. Beer Hawk said more breweries will join the new venture in the coming weeks.

Chris Beaver, UK & Europe channel controller for Kirin's Lion unit, said: "As beer quality is the most important thing to any brewer, we are delighted to work with such a respected distributor as Beer Hawk on entering the world of refrigerated distribution."

Andrew Morgan, head of Beer Hawk Fresh, claims the business is a "coming-of-age" for the craft beer sector. "With Beer Hawk Fresh part of ZX Ventures, the global growth incubator of A-B InBev, breweries will benefit from the significant scale this provides in the UK craft scene," Morgan said.

just-drinks thinks

The expansion of ZX Venture's Beer Hawk distribution footprint into same-day, cold-chain delivery is yet another example of international alcohol companies taking more of an interest in their own supply chain. Previously content to allow third-party distributors handle logistics, companies including ZX Venture-owner Anheuser-Busch InBev and Pernod Ricard are zeroing in on route-to-market.

In the past few years, ZX Ventures has bought not only Beer Hawk but subscription service Beer Bods, e-commerce retailer Master of Malt (through the Atom Group acquisition) and continental European beer-delivery service Hopt. In the past few months, Pernod has bought two e-commerce platforms in Spain and a third that serves Africa.

It is no coincidence that these purchases are all direct-to-consumer. Digital has given companies a new way to connect with their audience and increase brand loyalty. Behind all of this is a more powerful motivation - data. When a company sells direct, the information coming the other way can prove invaluable in reaching more consumers, and keeping the ones it already has.

In A-B InBev and Pernod's ideal world, consumers would buy everything from one in-house centralised hub, negating the need for third-party distributors. Until that day comes, they will continue to buy regional direct-sales companies.


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Lager Beer (Beer & Cider) Market in Canada - Outlook to 2022: Market Size, Growth and Forecast Analytics

Lager Beer (Beer & Cider) Market in Canada - Outlook to 2022: Market Size, Growth and Forecast Analytics is a broad level market review of Lager Beer market in Canada.

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