Here’s a look at the biggest stories and the best content from just-drinks this week.

As the end of the year approaches, we take a look back at the ten biggest analysis articles on just-drinks over the last 12 months, including how drinks companies can capitalise on coronavirus cocooning and how the on-premise can make the most of Christmas 2020.

 Here’s a rundown of the ten biggest interviews to appear on just-drinks in the last 12 months, including Beam Suntory CEO Albert Baladi and Ross Colbert, KPMG Corporate Finance MD of global beverages.

  • The beer category in 2020 – just-drinks’ Review of the Year, Part I

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    By GlobalData

just-drinks takes an in-depth look at the stories that made the headlines in 2020 across the drinks categories. In part I, editor Olly Wehring picks out the highs and the lows in beer including hard seltzer’s genesis from problem to opportunity and the dawn of a new era for Heineken.

Lucy Britner considers what shaped the soft drinks category this year, including the global rise of the ‘adaptogen’ and Pepsico and Nestle declaring mental health a future driver for the category.

From just-drinks’ data centre:

Brown-Forman has maintained its mid-single-digit sales growth in the second quarter, although the group’s Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey continues to struggle. In results for the three and six months to the end of October, announced this week, Brown-Forman reported a 4% lift in sales for both periods.

Anheuser-Busch’s Canadian division is targetting Millennial and Generation Z consumers in the US with a campaign to promote moderate drinking over the holiday period. Labatt Brewing Co’s ‘Swap Out Six’ activation, which launches across the US on social media channels this month, promotes the consumption of non-alcoholic beverages alongside regular beer. The push centres around Labatt’s 0.5% abv pilsener, Labatt NA, which contains 72 calories per 12oz (34.1cl) can.

Inver House Distillers has lined up a Sweden-only release for a Sherry cask-finished expression of its AnCnoc single malt Scotch whisky brand.

UK cigar and whisky merchant C Gars has added two expressions from Key West First Legal Rum Distillery to its spirits offering. The London-based company will be the exclusive UK importer for the first rums to be legally produced in Key West, Florida. The Bad Bitch Marie and Aged Key West Raw & Unfiltered expressions both carry an SRP of GBP59.99 (US$80) and an abv of 40%.

Cuervo has released details of the oldest iteration in the recently-launched ‘The Causeway Collection’ from Irish whiskey brand Bushmills.

From our news pages:

The head of Brown-Forman has expressed his surprise at the strong showing of the group’s RTD portfolio, with current performance “exceeding our expectations”. In results for the six months to the end of October, announced this week, Brown-Forman posted a 34% leap in sales from its Jack Daniel’s-branded ready-to-drink stable. Three months ago, Q1 figures showed a similarly-impressive 37% top-line jump.

Britvic has launched a strategic review of its Counterpoint licensed wholesale business in Ireland. The UK-based soft drinks group, which owns the Ballygowan Irish mineral water brand, confirmed the review to just-drinks this week, adding that the Irish hospitality channel that Counterpoint services has been “closed for a number of months due to the pandemic”.

Diageo is considering a reduction of headcounts at its Scottish malt whisky distilleries in a move to a “more flexible” operating model. The group, which employs 550 people at malt distilleries in Scotland, said 22 jobs may be removed in a restructuring. An employee consultation process has been launched.

Coca-Cola European Partners has become one of the first beverage companies to link its sustainability targets to executive bonuses as part of a pledge to reach net-zero emissions. The European Coca-Cola bottler said this week that its long-term incentive plans will include an emissions-reduction target for the first time.

Mezcal and Tequila are set for increased success in the US and Canada, according to a research report commissioned by alcohol e-commerce platform Drizly. In response to the second annual survey conducted by the company’s data and insights arm, BevAlc Insights, 500 independent alcohol retailers ranked Tequila as the most desired spirit for re-stock in the next one-to-three years – almost 30 points ahead of vodka and Scotch.

A US spirits trade group has urged further action after the UK Government suspended some alcohol tariffs as part of a conciliatory move designed to quell an escalating trade dispute. This week, the authorities in the UK announced they will take an “independent approach” to the ongoing dispute between the European Union and the US by introducing a temporary halt to tariffs on rum, brandy and vodka from the US. The tariffs are the result of a cross-continental dispute between aircraft manufactures Boeing in the US and Airbus in the EU and have harmed alcohol sales on both sides of the Atlantic.