Acquisitions, aspartame, NPD and celebrity investments (and legal spats) were among the topics on Just Drinks’ news pages that caught your eye throughout the year.
May saw two UK craft breweries – Brick Brewery and Brew By Numbers – both signal their intent to appoint administrators. By August, Breal Capital had acquired both businesses.
In April, Nestlé announced the launch of Nescafé’s first cold instant-coffee offering, Nescafé Ice Roast, which was to be rolled out in China and Mexico.
In August, a month after Monster snapped up its fellow US energy drinks business, its management was outlining plans for its new asset’s product portfolio.
Next on the list comes Monster’s deal for Bang Energy, announced in July. Bang Energy’s parent Vital Pharmaceuticals filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protections last October after losing a $293m false advertising lawsuit against Monster. The Canarchy brand owner was VPX’s largest unsecured creditor.
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Back in March, before the deal with Monster, Vital Pharmaceuticals announced its former CEO and “chief science officer” Jack Owoc was no longer serving in either role or as a member of its board.Sign up to our free daily newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox.
In January, it emerged US wine major E&J Gallo was to close its California-based distribution operations, handing its shipping to retail chains to Texas firm Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC).
Bacardi reached an agreement in February to take over the majority shareholding of the D’Usse Cognac brand, resolving a lengthy legal battle with US rap star Jay-Z.
In September, Brown-Forman set out plans to roll out the American single malt whisky it had produced to sell under flagship brand Jack Daniel’s.
A little more than a year since the start of the war in Ukraine, Pernod Ricard said it had restarted shipments to Russia to refill supplies. The French spirits major ceased exports following the invasion of Ukraine and maintained sales through pre-existing stocks, with products including Jameson whiskey, The Glenlivet Scotch and Monkey 47 gin still sold in Russia.
Another celebrity legal spat concluded in January, with US rapper Flo Rida awarded $82.6m in damages after successfully suing Celsius Holdings for violating the conditions of an endorsement deal.
In April, Diageo said it changed the recipe of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and would roll out the new product in North America.
In June, news the World Health Organization (WHO) was planning to release two reports assessing the safety of popular diet soft drink ingredient aspartame attracted headlines. Those reports emerged the following month, with the WHO deeming the ingredient a “possible carcinogen” but able to be consumed safely within previously recommended guidelines.
At the start of the year, Miles Teller joined the ranks of actors investing in drinks brands with an undisclosed “larger ownership stake” in The Long Drink Co., the producer of The Finnish Long Drink RTDs
May saw Vintage Wine Estates reveal it had cut the number of products in its portfolio by half as part of the US group’s bid to return to profitability.
In November, Turkey’s parliament reportedly stopped serving Coca-Cola and Nestlé products due to their alleged support for Israel amid the conflict with Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Australia’s Prime Minister announced the return of curbs on the sale of alcohol in the country’s Northern Territory in January, the move in response to an increase in crime and anti-social behaviour in the region.
In February, Kansas City Chiefs American football player Travis Kelce bought an equity stake in RTD-spirits brand Casa Azul Tequila Soda.
Three months later, another investment emerged, this time involving one of the most famous businessmen on the planet and the world’s largest spirits company. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway multinational conglomerate purchased £40m (then $50m) of shares in Diageo.
August saw Anheuser-Busch InBev offload a clutch of US assets to Tilray Brands, the Canada-based cannabis company that has been building its presence in beer.From our interview pages in December: “We’re a big believer in craft beer” – Tilray’s Irwin Simon and Ty Gilmore talk the cannabis group’s expansion in beer
A month later, Carlsberg became the latest multinational brewer to reduce the abv of one of its beers in response to changes to UK alcohol duty.
E&J Gallo rounds off the list with its second appearance, with its August acquisition of Napa-based Rombauer Vineyards.