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.

Brew By Numbers, Brick Brewery latest UK craft beer makers to call in administrators

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.

Nestlé to launch first Nescafé instant iced coffee

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.

Monster to trim Bang Energy product range

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.

Monster announces deal for Bang Energy assets

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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Bang Energy CEO departs from role

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.

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E&J Gallo shuts California distribution operations

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 resolves Jay-Z dispute, takes control of D’Usse Cognac JV

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.

Brown-Forman embarks on duty-free push for Jack Daniel’s American single malt

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.

Pernod Ricard restarts shipments to Russia

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.

A bottle of Jameson whiskey and a glass with ice cubes sat on a bar
Credit: Leron Ligred / Shutterstock

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.

Diageo tweaks Captain Morgan recipe

In April, Diageo said it changed the recipe of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum and would roll out the new product in North America.

World Health Organization to rule on aspartame cancer risk

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.

US actor Miles Teller increases investment in The Finnish Long Drink owner

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

Vintage Wine Estates cuts SKUs in bid to drive down costs

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.

Layer Cake wine, a brand owned by Vintage Wine Estates
Layer Cake wine, a brand owned by Vintage Wine Estates. Credit: @LayerCakeWines / Facebook

Turkish parliament ‘boycotts Coca-Cola, Nestlé products’ over Israel support

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 announces new alcohol restrictions in Northern Territory

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.

NFL star Travis Kelce invests in Casa Azul Tequila Soda

In February, Kansas City Chiefs American football player Travis Kelce bought an equity stake in RTD-spirits brand Casa Azul Tequila Soda.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway bets on Diageo

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.

Diageo corporate logo
Credit: Casimiro PT / Shutterstock.com

Heineken given go-ahead for Distell Group takeover

In March, South Africa’s Competition Tribunal granted Heineken approval to take control of Distell Group and Namibia Breweries.

Anheuser-Busch InBev sells US beer brands to Tilray

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

Carlsberg UK venture to sell Ringwood Brewery, ale brands

In June, Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company (CMBC) said it planned to sell its Ringwood Brewery in southern England. However, by December, the brewer admitted it had been unable to find a buyer.

Carlsberg reduces strength of flagship pilsner in UK

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 buys Rombauer Vineyards in latest Californian deal

E&J Gallo rounds off the list with its second appearance, with its August acquisition of Napa-based Rombauer Vineyards.