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

A new owner for Japans Orion Breweries made the headlines on just-drinks this week

A new owner for Japan's Orion Breweries made the headlines on just-drinks this week

Our category commentators are all looking forward this month, sharing their forecasts for the year ahead. Next up, we have Stephen Beaumont with his thoughts on the next 12 months in the global beer category.

Our resident analyst is back, in 2019! Ian Shackleton will share with us his investor perspective on the drinks industry throughout the year. This month's take sees Ian picking a favourite between beer and spirits, announcing his 'Stock to Watch' of 2019 and warning of the disruptive effects on a company from an activist investor.

Asahi's European unit has agreed to purchase London-based Fuller, Smith & Turner's beer unit, in a deal worth GBP250m (US$326m).

"Immortalised in the name of one of our famous ales, 1845 is a year that will forever be Fuller's," reads the website of the owner of the London Pride beer brand. "It was then that the partnership papers of Fuller, Smith & Turner were officially signed, marking the start of something very special for London's brewery scene." In that case, does 2019 mark an altogether different feeling for London's brewery scene, as Fuller's agrees to sell its beer business, including the famous Griffin brewery, to Japanese mega-company Asahi Group?

The publication of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Risks Report 2019 last week showed environmental issues again dominating the long-term global risk landscape. For drinks companies, however, their significant exposure to climate-related risk only tells part of the story, with their supply chains particularly threatened by a combination of risk factors. Ben Cooper reports.

Cognac brand Remy Martin has produced its best quarterly results in the year so far for parent Remy Cointreau, with the group posting a near-9% lift in sales for the last three months of 2018.

What a difference 11 days can make. In year-to-date results this week, Remy Cointreau noted that the earlier timing of Chinese New Year - on 5 February this year compared to 16 February in 2018 - added one point of growth in the group's third quarter. China's thirst for Remy Martin in the three months to the end of December saw the Cognac brand's sales lift by 15.6%

A raft of food and drinks companies have signed up to a global environmental initiative to combat the use of plastics in packaging.

Earlier this week, a raft of food and drinks companies, including Coca-Cola European Partners, Danone and PepsiCo announced a global environmental initiative to combat the use of plastics in packaging. Here's how the pilot programme will work.

Meanwhile, on our news pages this week:

A "breach of internal policies" has prompted the departure of COO Robert Foye from Treasury Wine Estates, less than five years after he joined the group from The Coca-Cola Co.

Suntory has discontinued sales of six of its Japanese whisky SKUs amid ongoing supply issues. The company's domestic spirits arm, Suntory Spirits, confirmed to just-drinks today that SKUs including the 70cl Shirokaku will no longer be available to consumers.

Cocktail trends for the coming year will include using fortified wines such as Port to keep alcohol levels down, a new study from a US distributor has suggested.

Nomura Holdings has partnered with private equity group Carlyle to launch a takeover of Orion Breweries in Japan. The two companies confirmed today that they are making a tender offer for shares in Japan's fifth-largest brewer.

Pernod Ricard is to cut more than half of its staff in South Korea as the French drinks group overhauls its strategy in the country amid shrinking whisky sales. just-drinks understands about 95 employees at Pernod Ricard Korea will remain, down from a current headcount of about 225.

Anheuser-Busch InBev CEO Carlos Brito has reportedly blamed US cannabis tourists for clouding data on whether cannabis legalisation in North America is damaging beer sales. The head of the world's largest brewer told CNBC this week it is difficult to draw conclusions from recent beer declines in the US because "we still don't have enough data points" on cannabis.


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If you read only one thing... - This week's must-reads on just-drinks

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If you read only one thing... - This week's must-reads on just-drinks

If you read only one thing... - This week's must-reads on just-drinks...

If you read only one thing... - This week's must-reads on just-drinks

If you read only one thing... - This week's must-reads on just-drinks...

If you read only one thing... - This week's must-reads on just-drinks

If you read only one thing... - This week's must-reads on just-drinks...

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