Here’s a timeline of the effect the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis is having on the global drinks industry:
The UK alcohol industry has given a cautious welcome to the Government’s decision to allow the on-premise channel in England to reopen on 4 July. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this week that indoor hospitality venues in England can reopen with table service and reduced staff.
The UK unit of Asahi has launched an online store for next-day delivery in the country of beer brands including Asahi and Peroni Nastro Azzurro. Beer Pronto allows consumers to get hold of Asahi’s full portfolio “without the waiting time of a delivery slot”.
Diageo has blamed remote working for a decision to hold back announcing its fiscal-full-year results by five days. The Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker owner will release the fiscal-2020 financial statement on 4 August instead of 30 July.
The Coca-Cola Co’s CFO has pinpointed the role that hygiene will play in emerging consumer trends in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Speaking to analysts at Deutsche Bank’s Consumer Conference 2020 earlier this month, John Murphy said Coca-Cola is keeping an eye on new consumer purchasing patterns in the COVID-19 era.
CFOs are not known for their excitability but, last week, Heineken’s finance head could hardly contain herself. “I have to be careful I don’t sound too enthusiastic,” Laurence Debroux told a virtual audience of analysts last week on Deutsche Bank’s Consumer Conference 2020 video call.
South African wine show CapeWine has been postponed from next year to 2022. The next edition of the triennial event, originally due to be held in September 2021, will now take place in October the following year.
- Why everyone’s crying out for a beer, why spirits is causing sleepless nights and why COVID could kill off conferences – The just-drinks Analyst
Ian Shackleton may no longer be an investment analyst by profession, but it’s the only way he can look at the drinks industry. This month, he returns to just-drinks with thoughts of yesterbeer, some cautionary words for spirits and a telling-off for conference organisers.
Heineken has cut back its beer portfolio by as much as 30% in some markets at the brewer rationalises SKUs in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
The head of Brown-Forman has praised the US spirits consumer for their resilience, with premiumisation in the country’s spirits category continuing, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Beverage companies in Brazil including The Coca-Cola Co, PepsiCo and Heineken are collaborating on a BRL370m (US$76m) rescue plan for small business owners.
The recent shift towards home-working will have a lasting impact on traditional office culture. Consumer Trends commentator Lucy Britner believes our drinking habits will change with it.
Coca-Cola Amatil has overhauled its vending machines in the wake of the coronavirus to accept cryptocurrency.
The head of Suntory Holdings has said the worst of the coronavirus crisis is over, as countries relax lockdown measures and reopen bars, according to recent reports.
Pernod Richard has partnered with an initiative to reopen cafes in rural French towns. The push, called 1,000 Cafés, marks this week’s reopening of the French on-premise with a call to help outlets in communities of fewer than 3,500 residents.
Concha y Toro has outlined strategies that wine companies can adopt to connect with consumers once the coronavirus pandemic has subsided, including targetting new occasions such as the virtual catch-up.
Coca-Cola bottlers in the US will offer plastic bottle preforms to help make up for a global shortfall in test tubes for use in COVID-19 testing kits.
Consumers’ growing concerns about their health are not only well documented, but they’re also a natural reaction to a global health crisis. But, several soft drinks and supplements companies are getting their messages wrong. Lucy Britner investigates.
Trade organisation the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC) has warned that Champagne sales this year are set to tumble, with around US$2bn expected to be lost in 2020.
PepsiCo’s recently-released extension of its namesake CSD in China highlights the growing trend among consumers towards more locally-sourced beverages, a trend heightened by the current COVID-19 pandemic. According to GlobalData’s COVID-19 tracker consumer survey, as of week nine – published yesterday – 79% of Chinese consumers in lockdown claimed that they find local products “somewhat or completely trustworthy”.
Everyone is asking what the world will be like post-COVID. Beer commentator Stephen Beaumont is no exception but, rather than look forward in weeks or months, Stephen takes a punt at what the brewing industry can expect to see in May 2021.
UK retailer Majestic Wine opened its branches on 27 May for the first time since the end of March.
Distell Group has cautiously welcomed the plan by the South African Government to soften lockdown measures in the country that will permit alcohol purchases for at-home consumption.
The coronavirus pandemic has decimated the on-premise around the world, with lockdowns leading to zero sales and furloughed staff in the channel. Those pubs and bars that will still be around as lockdown eases, however, could see consumers’ stronger relationship with spirits provide a healthier – and sustainable – future. Spirits commentator Richard Woodard explains.
Coca-Cola European Partners has cut about 10% off price-marked packs (PMPs) of brand Coca-Cola in the UK as part of a focus on larger formats for home consumption.
- “‘Watershed moment’ is the right term to use” – Charlie Merrells, chief strategy officer for Amazon agency Molzi
Charlie Merrells left his job as Amazon’s UK category head for beer, wines and spirits days before the coronavirus lockdown hit the country. He could hardly have picked a more tumultuous moment for retail as the pandemic pushed consumers – many for the first time – towards the e-commerce channel. In his new role as chief strategy officer for Amazon agency Molzi, Merrells is tasked with navigating companies through the new sales environment. Many of these firms have also been pushed towards the channel for the first time because of the coronavirus. In an interview with just-drinks, Merrells talks about what the rush to online has meant for beer, wines and spirits, the mistakes companies make when selling on Amazon and whether new trends for direct-to-consumer will outlive the pandemic.
Lockdown measures around the world have resulted in much less disposable income for consumers, prompting them to cut back on alcohol spending. The most recent survey data from GlobalData has found that consumers are more likely to stop buying alcohol altogether because it is beyond their budget than they are to buy premium alcoholic products at the higher end of the price range.
The ProWine China 2020 trade exhibition looks set to go ahead, with organisers claiming preparations for the November show are “in full swing”. Now in its eighth year, the latest iteration of ProWine China is scheduled to take place between 10 and 12 November in Shanghai.
The head of Campari Group has warned of a lasting impact from the coronavirus, with bars and restaurants at the greatest risk of failing to survive. Speaking to analysts last week after Campari’s Q1 results, Bob Kunze-Concewitz said a reduced on-premise could cause challenges for the alcohol industry’s recovery.
Tax Free World Association has cancelled its flagship Global Travel Retail exhibition in Cannes this year. The event, which was due to be held in the south of France in late-September, was on course to be held after organisers slashed entry fees last month.
COVID-19 continues to affect consumer trends in all markets, throwing some off course and speeding others up – including the shift to e-commerce. As more FMCG companies look at direct-to-consumer options, retailers will need to pivot to an omnichannel presence when lockdowns are lifted.
Hong Kong is to start allowing bars to reopen this weekend, although capacity will be limited to 50%. The move, which could be a blueprint for other countries looking to ease lockdown restrictions, is part of a staged reopening in Hong Kong that also sees gyms and massage parlours resume operations.
Trade association SpiritsEurope has unveiled an online quiz activation designed to promote responsible drinking during the lockdowns affecting most countries across the continent.
- “Company leaders really need to take a battlefield approach” – just-drinks speaks to Ross Colbert, KPMG Corporate Finance MD of global beverages
In this just-drinks’ exclusive interview with Ross Colbert, the MD of global beverages at KPMG Corporate Finance, we drill down into the coronavirus effect on the global drinks industry. Ross expands on his comments in part one about how consumer behaviour is adapting and also considers how the rest of 2020 will pan out.
State governments in India have increased alcohol taxes by as much as 75%, according to local reports, after consumers flocked to reopened liquor stores. Times of India said that long lines formed outside alcohol retail outlets in New Delhi, where easings of coronavirus lockdown measures allowed alcohol sales to start again. The reports said the crowds caused “chaos” in the stores and broke social distancing rules.
Concha y Toro has opened up its research laboratory in Chile to scientists processing COVID-19 tests. The wine company said last week it has acquired certification for diagnostic tests of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus
UK spirits distributor Highball Brands has recently announced the launch of Drinks Drop – a not-for-profit cocktail delivery service that will partner with some of the biggest bars around the UK to bring high-quality, premixed cocktails right to the consumer’s doorstep.
The global wine industry risks being changed permanently by the coronavirus pandemic, the International Organisation of Vine & Wine has warned. In its annual review of wine production and consumption earlier this week, the Paris-based trade body also discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the overall category.
The number of new deals is plummeting as the beverages industry faces a change in consumption channels precipitated by COVID-19. Meanwhile, global foreign direct investment is forecast to slump across all sectors.
Molson Coors has launched a wedding-themed activation in the US for its Miller High Life brand, with a prize for selected couples whose weddings have had to be postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
UK spirits distributor Highball Brands has recently announced the launch of Drinks Drop – a not-for-profit cocktail delivery service that will partner with some of the biggest bars around the UK to bring high-quality, premixed cocktails right to the consumer’s doorstep.
The US on-premise may not recover for years, The Boston Beer Co has warned, as the Samuel Adams brewer witnesses the “complete devastation” of its draught keg business.
Applying the thinking that has shaped its obesity policy to the COVID-19 crisis has landed the UK Government in difficulty. During the pandemic, discussion of further anti-obesity measures targeted at soft drinks firms has been further deferred, Ben Cooper writes. How governments address conflicts between commercial freedoms and wellbeing may be up for a thorough re-appraisal as part of the post-COVID-19 reset.
Alcohol sales on the island of Ireland have plunged by almost a third, a trade association has estimated, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
In these times of uncertainty, I’m willing to guarantee one thing – the word of 2020 will be ‘resilience’. Pernod Ricard CEO Alex Ricard deployed it back in February to describe his company’s business model when the effects of the coronavirus were first felt in China. Since then, companies including UK soft drinks makers Britvic and AG Barr, as well as Australasian bottler Coca-Cola Amatil have used the word to describe their coronavirus-hit quarterly financial results.
In Japan, Kirin Beverage Co’s recently-launched Kirin iMUSE water, featuring immunity-boosting lactic bacteria, reached its three-month sales target within a week of release.
The Coca-Cola Co’s global volumes are down 25% this month as out-of-home outlets close their doors. The soft drinks giant, which released Q1 results for January to March today, revealed that April volumes so far are significantly down on last year because of the coronavirus lockdown that has shuttered the HoReCa (Hotel/Restaurant/Catering) channel in many countries around the world.
A group of workers at a Ford manufacturing plant in the US are experimenting with wearable social-distancing devices that could be deployed more widely, including in drinks production.
Over the next few weeks, the drinks industry will see the release of some of the most anticipated – and, not in a good way – quarterly results in its history. The coronavirus pandemic has ripped apart full-year outlooks across the board but, for soft drinks and alcohol, the chaos has been further obscured by the central dichotomy of the industry – its split between the on- and off-premise.
Moves by alcohol producers to switch production to help combat the coronavirus pandemic is tapping into consumer demand to see companies do their bit.
Moet Hennessy has credited the US with tempering its double-digit sales decline in the first three months of 2020.
With most of the world on lockdown, Neil Ridley explores how the spirits category can continue to support itself once the coronavirus pandemic eases.
The China Brew China Beverage trade exhibition is set to commence as planned, according to the show’s organiser.
Anheuser-Busch InBev has halved the final dividend payment of its fiscal year because of continued uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic.
From Corporate Social Responsibility to e-sports, soft drinks brand owners are moving their marketing budgets to reach changing consumer priorities that have been emphasised by the coronavirus pandemic. How successful will they be? Lucy Britner investigates.
Diageo has joined the ranks of drinks companies that have abandoned their full-year guidance, with the coronavirus pandemic already having a “significant impact” on its performance.
Heineken has pledged to retain all of its employees until at least the end of this year despite an expected economic hit from the coronavirus.
Every industry is being severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In wine, the sales channels have been battered while production also has battles to fight. Category commentator Chris Losh surveys the wreckage.
Jones Soda is to sponsor an e-sports motor racing tournament as real-life sporting events are cancelled as a result of the coronavirus.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, consumer trends columnist Lucy Britner looks at how the crisis will change consumer behaviour.
UK spirits distiller British Honey Co has warned of a three-fold increase in the price of ethanol as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Anheuser-Busch InBev is to cease brewing operations in Mexico, after the country’s authorities deemed beer production as non-essential.
Carlsberg has followed several of its global brewing peers in suspending its performance forecasts for 2020, with short-term predictions deemed unreliable for the coming months.
It was supposed to be the summer of seltzer. But, the coronavirus outbreak in the US has put paid to what analysts estimated would be a 270% increase in sales this year for one of the hottest categories in alcoholic drinks. Lockdown measures across the country will mean the cancellation of hundreds of thousands of outdoor picnics, tail-gate barbecues and beach festivals – not to mention TV parties for summer sports events such as the now-postponed Tokyo Olympics. In the space of less than a month, the outdoor hard seltzer consumption occasion has all but disappeared.
Pernod Ricard’s Cognac unit, Martell, will have to rely on existing stocks as coronavirus safety measures impact production.
Beer sales in the US off-premise channel surged at the start of the coronavirus emergency, new figures have shown
Halewood Wines & Spirits is to reduce staff numbers in the UK and close its US office as part of wide-ranging measures to combat the coronavirus impact
Ben Cooper examines how COVID-19 is giving progressive companies the chance to show the ideals of conscious capitalism in action, and how corporate engagement in addressing major global issues, such as climate change and poverty, might be affected by the coronavirus pandemic
Molson Coors Beverage Co is the latest drinks company to abandon its performance forecast for this year, with the group also rolling out a package of measures to help employees during the coronavirus crisis
There’s only one subject on everyone’s minds at the moment, Stephen Beaumont included. This month, our beer expert looks at the options available to brewers in these deeply troubling times
An evaluation of the impact from the coronavirus outbreak is premature, according to Campari Group, but the effect will be certainly be felt in the short term
Authorities in South Africa have introduced stringent measures, including halting the production of all alcohol in the country, to counter the spread of COVID-19
- “We’re living through very anxious times” – just-drinks speaks to Distilled Spirits Council CEO Chris Swonger – CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL
As distillers in the US come to terms with an on-premise channel in shutdown and an uncertain economic future, just-drinks spoke to the head of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Chris Swonger, about the potential impact of the coronavirus
The Coca-Cola Co has no plans to lay off staff, according to CEO James Quincey, despite warning that the world is “still at the beginning of the beginning” of the coronavirus outbreak
- “No one wins. I don’t see any company coming out of this up” – just-drinks speaks to Wine & Spirit Trade Association chief executive Miles Beale – CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL
As the coronavirus COVID-19 throws the UK into confusion this week, just-drinks speaks to the chief executive of the country’s Wine & Spirit Trade Association, Miles Beale, to hear his view on a tumultuous few days – with no immediate end in sight
Pernod Ricard has revised its outlook for the current fiscal year, with operating profits expected to tumble by around 20%. The group flagged a “significant evolution” in the spread of COVID-19 in recent weeks as having prompted the review
Anheuser-Busch InBev has withdrawn its full-year outlook as COVID-19 continues to spread uncertainty about the short-term future among global alcohol companies
PepsiCo plans to take on 6,000 new US-based workers to meet the extra off-premise demand from the COVID-19 outbreak, while preparing compensation packages for its existing employees across the country
Constellation Brands has seen its beer volumes leap by almost a third in the US off-premise channel in the last month, as consumers avoid the on-premise to stem the spread of COVID-19
Another UK on-premise trade organisation has joined the chorus of voices in the country calling for government assistance to deal with the threat to the channel from the coronavirus COVID-19
- 18-Mar – “We’ve got to keep our business running” – UK brewers react to coronavirus on-premise impact
UK brewers have voiced their concerns about the future of the country’s hospitality sector as the on-premise faces an effective shutdown because of the coronavirus
Diageo has unveiled three support measures to help the UK on- and off-premise channels in their battle to deal with the coronavirus crisis
Food & drink entrepreneur John Stapleton, who created and sold brands New Covent Garden Soup Co and Little Dish, believes there are a number of steps SMEs can take to help them survive coronavirus
Beverage companies in Europe and the US are moving to protect employees from an upsurge in coronavirus outbreaks by closing corporate offices and encouraging their staff to work from home
First-quarter sales for China’s leading brewers are expected to fall by about one-third as the country’s on-premise slowly reopens, an analyst has said
COVID-19 will have little impact on spirits sales in the Global Travel Retail channel, according to the world’s largest travel retailer, Dufry
The Russian leg of the global Beviale string of trade shows is the latest to be postponed, with COVID-19 forcing the organisers’ hand. NürnbergMesse announced that this year’s Beviale Moscow event will be put back by six months. Originally scheduled for 24 to 26 March, the beverage show will now take place in the same venue – in Sokolniki in the Russian capital – between 2 and 4 September
- 5-Mar – Axe falls on ProWein 2020
Trade show ProWein has been cancelled and will not return until next year. The Dusseldorf show, due to start on 15 March, was initially postponed but had been expected to go ahead at a later date. Messe Dusseldorf, which hosts the show, confirmed the next ProWein will take place in March 2021
- 5-Mar – TFWA Singapore cancelled
Travel Retail trade fair TFWA Singapore has been cancelled. TFWA organisers said today the show, due to be held in Singapore between 10 and 14 May, will no longer take place
Brown-Forman lowered its full-year sales estimates, due to a combination of the international tariff wars and the pending coronavirus pandemic
- 4-Mar – Vinitaly postponed
The organisers of Verona-based wine trade show Vinitaly postponed the event. Veronafiere said the show will now take place from 14-17 June, instead of 19-22 April
Constellation Brands moved to address “unfounded concerns” that the coronavirus COVID-19 had impacted US consumer demand for Corona beer. The company, which owns Corona in the US, highlighted “misinformation” circulating in print and on social media regarding the health of Corona sales. According to the group, some reports have suggested that US consumers are not buying Corona because they believe it is linked to the coronavirus
The outlook for Danone’s bottled water operations this year has been thrown into doubt because its Mizone production facility is in the Chinese city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak. Mizone, which is one of China’s leading vitamin-infused water brands, had been lined up for a relaunch next month to “reignite” growth. These plans are now postponed, due to Mizone’s sole production site, in Wuhan, having had to close
In results for the 12 months of 2019, Anheuser-Busch InBev indicated a circa US$285m hit to its 2020 sales so far, as a result of COVID-19 in China. Sales during the Chinese New Year had been disappointing, with the festive period coinciding with the start of the coronavirus spread
The Coca-Cola Co has said shipments of artificial sweetener sucralose from China have been delayed because of the coronavirus outbreak. The company sources sucralose from both the US and China, but has flagged that Chinese suppliers have experienced delays in production and export as a result of the virus
Treasury Wine Estates will fall short of its expected fiscal 2020 performance thanks to the “significant impact” of the coronavirus on wine consumption in China. In a trading update, the company said: “Whilst the full operating and financial impacts of the outbreak are yet to be fully determined, TWE now has sufficient information in its possession that would indicate consumption across discretionary categories in China has been significantly impacted through February, and that this impact on consumption is expected to be sustained to at least through March”
The coronavirus outbreak will knock up to GBP325m (US$422m) off Diageo’s full-year sales, the company has forecast. In a trading update, Diageo warned that reduced airline travel and an effective shutdown off China’s on-premise will hurt its top-line. The group estimated organic sales in the 12 months to the end of June will be down between GBP225m to GBP325m because of the virus
Campari Group is to delay a targetted marketing activation for Aperol Spritz in China because of the coronavirus. The push, which CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz described as “research” to help fine-tune future campaigns, was due to start in February but has been postponed to the second half of this year
Wine and beer demand in China will be down about 20% in the first quarter of the year, an analyst has said, as the impact of the coronavirus outbreak increases in severity. In a note to clients, Bernstein’s Euan McLeish said premium wine demand is estimated to fall by 21% in the first three months of the year compared to the year prior. Beer demand, meanwhile, will decrease by as much as 18%
- 14-Feb – ProWein Singapore delayed
The organisers of ProWein Singapore delayed the trade show in mid-February due to the recent outbreak in China of the coronavirus. The event, which is co-run run by Messe Dusseldorf and Informa Markets, was due to run from 31 March to 3 April. In late-February, the show was rescheduled to 13-16 July
Pernod Ricard sounded a note of caution in its latest half-year results, with the coronavirus expected to hit sales in the group’s fiscal-2020. China did well, delivering an 11% rise thanks in part to the earlier Chinese New Year. However, Pernod noted that the outbreak in the country is set to hit hard in the second half, with the country’s entire on-premise channel having had to close in February as authorities try to reduce the spread
Pernod Ricard expects the coronavirus to shave 2% off its overall year-end sales as on-premise outlets in the worst-hit areas will stay closed until the end of June. Group CEO Alex Ricard outlined a number of assumptions Pernod is working under in China in lieu of continued uncertainty over the impact of the coronavirus, which has killed almost 1,800 in China and brought parts of the country to a standstill
Continued growth in Asia drove Australian wine exports to near-record levels in 2019, said trade association Wine Australia, but this year’s sales are likely to be hit by the coronavirus in the region
The coronavirus outbreak in China will hit sales and profits in beverage-related industries such as retail and entertainment for “several months”, according to a report from Moody’s. In a study that both underlined the short-term impact the virus will have on Chinese consumption and downplayed longer-term effects, Moody’s said the coronavirus will have a “greater economic impact” than the SARS outbreak of 2002-2003
Carlsberg said it is on track to restart production at its China breweries after an extended lunar new year shutdown caused by the coronavirus. Speaking to just-drinks, CEO Cees ‘t Hart said. plans were in place to restart production on 10 February
The coronavirus outbreak in China is unlikely to affect The Coca-Cola Co’s top-line performance in the longer-term, according to CEO James Quincey, despite offices and manufacturing sites in the country remaining closed
The Coca-Cola Co’s impressive full-year performance in 2019 demonstrates the company’s “broad-based strength”, while guidance for the current year looks conservative, analysts believe
- 31 Jan – “The minute you react to short-term volatility, that’s when businesses get into trouble” – Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes
Speaking exclusively to just-drinks following Diageo’s half-year results, CEO Ivan Menezes admitted the group’s GTR operations had been hit in the last six months of 2019 by reduced traveller numbers. “It’s been more challenging,” he told us. “To be prudent – and this is before coronavirus – we’ve assumed that Travel Retail will stay tough. Clearly, it has the potential to get even tougher with the travel impacts of the virus”
Analysts have offered a lukewarm reception to Diageo’s performance in the last six months of 2019, warning that negative factors such as the coronavirus and an economic slowdown in India could impact the business in 2020
In late-January, Heineken restricted all business travel to China as international brewers work to combat upheaval caused by the coronavirus. The news came at the same time as Anheuser-Busch InBev suspended production at its brewery in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the virus is believed to have first transmitted to humans. A-B InBev clarified the situation a day later, saying that the closure of the facility had been extended after production ceased over Chinese New Year
The first mention of the coronavirus on just-drinks came when Remy Cointreau posted its nine-month results in late-January. While the marked sales decline in the third quarter was blamed predominantly on the strategy to exit the ‘Partner Brands’ business, a poor showing for the Remy Cointreau brand was linked to “the decline in tourism in Hong Kong” thanks to the outbreak. The group also chose not to issue an outlook forecast
In 2003, I was living in Taipei at the height of the SARS panic. The city was a sea of facemasks, hand sanitiser and wary residents. At a time when everyone had a SARS story, I spoke to one doctor whose hospital was quarantined without warning, trapping staff, patients and even those who had dropped by to visit relatives. That the latest coronavirus outbreak is bigger than SARS is evident in the numbers. More than 500 people have already died in China and the Government is restricting travel, especially in the Hubei province epicentre. This time, whole cities are on lockdown rather than just hospitals