Following the news that The Boston Beer Co is to enter the cannabis-infused beverage segment in Canada, Just Drinks considers the opportunities (and threats) that THC could present to multinational alcohol brand owners.

Brewers need to walk a tightrope when playing the ‘functional’ card for their wares. Category commentator Stephen Beaumont surveys the landscape.

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The US has long been the most important market for spirits brand owners. Has a recent survey of consumption plans provided food for thought? Category commentator Richard Woodard considers the evidence.

The COVID-19 pandemic trebled Heineken’s volume sales from its direct-to-consumer e-commerce platform Beerwulf, but will at-home drinking trends persist as the world reopens? Just Drinks sits down with the unit’s MD, Cindy Tervoort, to find out more.

Once a month, the drinks industry-funded International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, which covers alcohol-related health and policy research worldwide, reviews some of the alcohol category’s most recent Environment, Social & Governance initiatives. Here’s what’s been going on in May.

On Just Drinks’ news pages:

Anheuser-Busch InBev is falling short of its target of 20% of beer volumes from low- and no-alcohol variants by 2025, according to its chief sustainability officer.

The Coca-Cola Co has discontinued its Honest tea brand as the group continues to consolidate its portfolio.

The UK division of Heineken is proposing to close one of its facilities in Scotland with Greene King set to take on production responsibilities.

PepsiCo has renewed its marketing arrangement with the National Football League (NFL) in the US but is giving up the rights to the Super Bowl halftime show.

RTD cocktails – particularly those with a Tequila base – non-alcoholic drinks and red wine look set for a strong summer in the US, according to a new consumer report from e-commerce delivery platform Drizly.

In our data centre:

The rum category is enjoying a premiumisation surge in the UK, according to Campari Group, as flavoured and spiced expressions draw in younger consumers and drive higher price points.

Beam Suntory is to make a gin play in India with the launch of its Sipsmith brand in the country.

Mark Anthony Brands’ White Claw hard seltzer brand is to sponsor around 40 UK festivals this summer.

UK-based sparkling water company Dash Water has added to its portfolio of fruit- and vegetable-infused flavours with the addition of a mango variant.

From our parent company, GlobalData:

Job vacancies related to ‘big data’ in the global drinks industry became easier to fill in the first quarter of this year, according to recently-released figures.

The proportion of beverage companies hiring for ‘robotics’-related positions declined slightly last month, according to recently-released figures.

The proportion of beverage companies hiring for ‘machine learning’-related positions rose last month, according to recently-released figures.

References to the term ‘big data’ in beverage companies’ filings were on the rise in the final quarter of last year, according to recently-released data.

Asia-Pacific was the fastest-growing region for ‘artificial intelligence’ (AI) hirings among beverage companies in the first quarter of this year, according to recent research.