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

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

The Coca-Cola Co's admission earlier this month that it produces 3m tonnes of plastic packaging per year was a landmark moment for the soft drinks giant, though clearly not one it was hastening to greet. This is not only a significant moment in the campaign to address plastic waste, Ben Cooper writes, but points to the shifting ground on what companies must disclose and what is acceptable for them to keep to themselves.

While many brown spirits brand owners have made hay from creating 'homes' for their brands, the white spirits category may be missing a trick. Richard Woodard explains.

The UK arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev has changed its name to Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I. The move, which takes immediate effect, comes almost three months after the appointment of a new head at the division. Paula Lindenberg replaced Jason Warner as president of the then-named A-B InBev UK & Ireland at the start of January.

If today's news of a company name change in the UK is a precursor to a wider change in the global brewing category, then I for one cannot wait. We reported this morning that the division of Anheuser-Busch InBev responsible for the UK & Ireland will now operate under the name Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I.

Bacardi has lined up the wider release of its new orange-flavoured aperitif brand in Europe. The company said today that Martini Fiero will launch in the UK, Belgium and Spain. A spokesperson for Bacardi told just-drinks that the brand first launched last May and June in Italy, Germany and France.

Last week, Bacardi became the latest company to take on Campari Group's Aperol brand, with the wider launch of its own orange-flavoured aperitif. Martini Fiero is rolling out the UK, Belgium and Spain, following the launch last year in Italy, Germany and France. The 14.9% abv drink is a blend of white wines and botanicals, including sweet Spanish oranges from Murcia.

Using private messaging apps is the most popular method of sharing content. According to new research from GlobalWebIndex and We Are Social, three in five internet users in the UK and US now share content and recommendations via private messaging apps, ahead of open social media platforms and word of mouth. This type of content sharing is known as dark social.

Meanwhile, on our news pages:

Beam Suntory has simplified its international region structure, reducing the division's business units from six to three. The company said today that its international reporting units will be: Asia Pacific & Global Travel Retail (GTR); Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA), and India. The changes will take effect from 1 April.

Pernod Ricard is poised to launch a revamped bottle for the Elyx expression of its Absolut vodka brand. The packaging update, announced today, hopes to highlight to consumers the role played by copper in the production process. Absolut Elyx, which retails for around US$39 per 75cl bottle in the US, is distilled through a copper column still at the Absolut production facility in Åhus, Sweden.

Stillhouse Spirits Co has filed a lawsuit against Bacardi, accusing the spirits giant of trying to acquire the start-up for "substantially below market value". The filing, with the District Court for the District of Delaware, was lodged earlier this week by lawyers for Stillhouse founder & CEO Brad Beckerman. The company alleges that Bacardi, which holds a minority stake in the US spirits company, is looking to bring Stillhouse "in house" but has told the company it would not provide additional funding "unless or until a deal is completed or very near completed".

Distinguished Vineyards & Wine Partners has added to its production footprint in the US with two acquisitions in California, one from its parent company, Kirin Holdings. The Napa Valley-based company confirmed late yesterday it has taken ownership of Markham Vineyards, also based in the California wine region. The internal transaction sees control shift from Kirin to DVWP.

Both MillerCoors and Stone Brewing have issued positive responses to the latest development in the brewers' court battle over alleged copyright infringement by MillerCoors' Keystone brand. In a statement today, craft brewer Stone said the court this week confirmed "Stone's mark to be commercially strong and recognisable". The court did not order a preliminary injunction, however, instead the case will go to trial.

The Coca-Cola Co has finally delivered on its threat to launch an energy version of its namesake CSD, as the group waits on the outcome of a disagreement with Monster Beverage Corp. Targeting consumers aged between 18 and 35, Coca-Cola Energy will launch in Hungary and Spain next month. The roll-out of the first energy version of brand Coke precedes a wider release to other markets over this year and next.

And, on the results front:

Fever-Tree continued to ride the premium spirit trend in 2018, with full-year sales for the higher-end mixers producer rising by almost 40%. The UK-based company said yesterday that the top-line increase to GBP237.5m was ahead of expectations. The sales lift in the 12 months to the end of December was slower than the first half of the year, however, which was up by 46%.

AG Barr has posted a mid-single digit sales lift from its latest fiscal year, as the positioning of the portfolio below the UK's sugar tax level benefitted from a "good year" for soft drinks in the country. The group said earlier today that sales in the 12 months to 26 January came in 5.6% up on the corresponding period a year earlier. A "successful ... reformulation plan" has seen Barr move 99% of its soft drinks portfolio below the threshold for the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, or sugar tax, in the UK

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