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 teams for Super Bowl LV are set. But, what can we expect from the ads and marketing campaigns due to launch around the NFL's final game of the season? just-drinks counts down to the big game on 7 February and rounds up the drinks adverts as they're released.

International trade disputes are 'two-a-penny' at the moment and have become a fact of life for brand owners in most beverage categories. Australian wine brand owners, however, appear to have things tougher than most, as the country's authorities are in Beijing's sights. Category commentator Chris Losh surveys the wreckage of this particular perfect storm.

In the wake of PepsiCo's tie-up with meat alternatives company Beyond Meat last week, soft drinks commentator Lucy Britner looks at the category's underlying trends in health & wellness and assesses the benefits of tapping up the experts to create the next wave of functional fixes.

As the coronavirus rocked the alcohol industry last year, one question evaded a definitive answer; where will the pandemic hit hardest - in beer, wine or spirits?

This year's Non-Alcoholic Beverages Strategy Conference, hosted by just-drinks' sister company, Arena International, is almost upon us. The one-day conference takes place online on Wednesday next week and is free of charge to beverage manufacturers and brand owners.

In the just-drinks data centre:

The growing trend among consumers to focus on health & wellness is the stand-out from Carlsberg's 2020 results today, as a full-year dip in sales masked a strong showing for its alcohol-free beers.

Wine leapfrogged beer last year to become South Korea's most valuable imported alcohol category, new figures have shown. According to data from South Korea's customs authorities, wine imports to South Korea jumped 27% in value in 2020.

Australian wine exports to mainland China dropped to near zero in December as new tariffs cut off trade channels to the important East Asian market. In November, Chinese authorities surprised Australia's wine industry by slapping substantial trade tariffs on bottled wine imports from the country.

Bleeding Heart Rum Co is raising the US profile of its Don Papa rum brand with a wider roll-out of two expressions to more markets in the coming weeks. The Philippines rum, the sales and marketing of which are handled in the country by Zamora Co's US division, is poised to expand the availability of the seven- and ten-year-old iterations beyond their current presence in five states.

On our news pages:

US tariffs have cost the Scotch whisky industry as much as GBP500m (US$680m), according to new figures from the Scotch Whisky Association. The trade association said today Scotch exports to the US have dropped by 35% in value since the introduction of a 25% tariff in October 2019.

Budejovicky Budvar posted a 1% sales rise last year as the coronavirus weakened demand for the brewer's namesake brand in the on-premise channel. The Czech Government-owned company said this week the top-line increase came despite the loss of higher-margin draught and tank beer sales as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Heineken is to take full control of Brixton Brewery, closing the loop on the minority stake it has held in the London brewer for just over three years. Brixton's owners announced the takeover in a blog post on Monday confirming Heineken is to acquire the remaining 51% stake it doesn't already own in the company.

Drizly is to become part of the Uber Eats home-delivery offering, with the alcohol e-commerce platform set to be acquired by the ride-hailing giant. The purchase, announced on Tuesday, will see Drizly join Uber Technologies for a fee of around US$1.1bn.

South Africa's alcohol industry has warned that the recent decision to lift the nationwide ban on alcohol sales may be "too little, too late". On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that licensed premises could resume selling alcohol between 10am and 6pm, Monday to Thursday.

The US arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev is lining up a "more-than" US$1bn investment in its operations in the country, kicking off with the group's first 'corporate' television advert during this weekend's Super Bowl. The spend, announced by Anheuser-Busch earlier on Wednesday, will occur across the US unit's domestic supply chain.

Marston's has turned down a takeover bid from a private-equity group on the basis that its recently-launched joint-venture with Carlsberg has made the UK brewer significantly more valuable. The proposal, tabled last week by US investment fund Platinum Equity Advisors, "significantly undervalues" Marston's, the brewer said on Monday.

Expert Analysis

Top Trends in Alcoholic Drinks

Top Trends in Alcoholic Drinks

Alcohol as a sector is highly mature, with stable categories, but a vast choice of individual products. This maturity, along with the relative conservatism in the category, makes innovation difficult ...


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