Interbrew, AmBev to merge

Belgium's Interbrew is set to pass Anheuser-Busch as the largest brewer in the world thanks to a merger with Brazil's AmBev. Interbrew will hold a 57 percent stake in AmBev, creating InterbrewAmBev, a company with 14 percent global market share and $11.9 billion in revenue.
"Joining with AmBev, Latin America's leading brewer, and its world-class management team is great news for our consumers, employees, distributors and shareholders," said Interbrew Chief Executive Officer John Brock. "The combination preserves the best of both companies while enhancing our profitability and prospects. For Interbrew, it also represents an opportunity to enter some of the fastest-growing beer markets in the world."
"A unified operation for the Americas, from Canada to Argentina, is a very exciting prospect," said Marcel Herrmann Telles, co-chairman at AmBev. "More broadly, we can now achieve our long-term goal of opening the world's largest markets for AmBev's brands."
InterbrewAmBev's top brands include Stella Artois, Beck's and Brahama, and AmBev also produces soft drinks. The combined company is expected to sell 215 million hectoliters of total volume, of which beer is 190 million and soft drinks 25 million. It will rank No. 1 or No. 2 in more than 20 beer markets. The companies also say they expect to realize $350 million in annual synergies by combining technical, procurement and other cost savings.
The transaction is expected to close the second half of the year. At that time, Pierre Jean Everaert will be appointed chairman and John Brock chief executive officer. BI
Coca-Cola's Daft announces retirement plan
Coca-Cola Co. Chairman Doug Daft announced he will retire at the end of the year, the latest and largest in a series of management changes to come from the company during the past several months.
The announcement was not unexpected. Daft reportedly indicated he expected to hold the position no longer than five years. Daft told Coca-Cola employees he was proud of what the company has accomplished in the four years since he took over as chairman, especially its 2003 net results.
President and Chief Operating Officer Steve Heyer tops the list of expected replacements for Daft. "We believe that it is very likely that Mr. Heyer will be selected as the next CEO, given his recent work to change the global direction of [Coca-Cola] and mold the company's management team into his vision," said Smith Barney analyst Bonnie Herzog in a recent report.
Coca-Cola also announced that Don Knauss will take over the job recently vacated by Jeff Dunn as head of Coca-Cola North America. Knauss was most recently president of the North American retail sales division. BI
Signature Wines expands distribution
Signature Wines, Hayward, Calif., known best for private label wines, has expanded its channels of distribution to include distributor and retail sales. The company also has added six of its own wines to be available for national distribution, and hired Denis Weil as director of distributor and retail sales.
"Initially only available online, we are now taking our relationship programs and our own award-winning brands through three-tier distribution to reach the traditional retail channels. We believe there are great sales and growth opportunities for all who participate in our programs," said Scott Cahill, chief executive officer at Signature Wines. BI
The new CPG
The consumer packaged goods industry is both consolidating and fragmenting at the same time, attendees at Information Resources Inc.'s Reinventing CPG Summit learned in San Diego last month. Even as the number of retailers continues to shrink into a smaller number of behemoth companies, the industry is reaching out to more specific consumers with special needs and customized packaging.
Among the general session speakers at the conference were Ron Moser of Wal-Mart, who explained the company's move to RFID. The company plans to have its Top 100 suppliers on an RFID system by January 2005, and all of its suppliers onboard by the end of 2006. PepsiCo Senior Vice President Dwight Riksey discussed better ways to measure growth and use the data tools available to today's CPG companies, and 7-Eleven Chief Executive Officer Jim Keyes discussed the role of local retailers in discerning consumer trends. Welch's Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Dave Lukiewski provided a look at "heritage brands", and Mike Bloom of CVS discussed chain drug stores and their important female target consumer.
As much as last month's conference was about the new world of packaged goods, it was also about the "new IRI". Company Chairman Romesh Wadhwani and President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Klein pledged to make IRI the leading global provider of data and retail solutions with more customized, real-time information and business performance management solutions.
Absolut Spirits Co. has named Matthias Aeppli vice president of marketing, responsible for brands such as Absolut Vodka, Level Vodka, Danzka Vodka and Plymouth Gin. He replaces James Goodwin, who left the company in September of last year… National Distributing Co. has named Joe Gigliotti executive vice president and general manager for Virginia, and Charlie Bradford president and general manager for South Carolina… Singha North America has named Steve Landert Southeastern manager, responsible for sales, marketing, inventory and brand development for Singha Beer… Eric Berniker has been selected as brand manager for Glaceau Smartwater at Energy Brands… Camus Cognac has named Frederic Delesque director of marketing, responsible for global marketing efforts, including new product development… Cara Morrison has been tapped as winemaker at Brown-Forman's Jekel Vineyards… Stan Novack, vice president of concept development for HMSHost Corp., has become president of the American Beverage Institute, a restaurant association based in Washington, D.C.
News Briefs
Distiller Frederick Booker Noe III died last month after an extended illness. The grandson of Jim Beam, Noe served as master distiller at Jim Beam and was said to be an innovator in bourbon, rejuvenating the category through the development of the small batch trend.
Distilled Spirits Council President Peter Cressy called Noe, "one of the crown jewels in the American distilling industry. He was a cultural icon who was beloved by whiskey aficionados around the globe."
Carlsberg Breweries has established its own import company, Carlsberg USA, to handle sales in the United States. Barton Beers, Chicago, will continue to handle the company's Tetley's and Double Diamond business until May 1.
"With several import groups handling our products and providing different support levels, we have established a new company to have direct control of our sales and marketing initiatives and provide uniform support for all our brands in the U.S. marketplace," said Soren Holm Jensen, vice president at Carlsberg Breweries. "We have enjoyed a great relationship with Barton Beers and have worked with them on this strategy, which enables both organizations to focus more closely on each of our key brands."
Sweetwater Brewing Co., Atlanta, has moved to a new brewery due to rapid growth. The new facility measures 25,000 square feet and has a 30,000-barrel capacity. The company's expansion plans for 2004 include Birmingham, Ala.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Augusta and Macon, Ga.; and the panhandle of Florida.
Spirits West has been selected as the exclusive broker of Diageo and Schieffelin & Somerset spirit brands and Diageo Chateau & Estates wines in Idaho and Montana, as well as all of Diageo and Schieffelin & Somerset spirit and wine brands in Wyoming and Utah. Roger Nayden will act as Spirits West's sales manager in Idaho, and Bob Schreiner will oversee operations in Montana, Wyoming and Utah.
The Coca-Cola Co. will open the Beverage Institute for Health & Wellness in Houston to determine new beverage opportunities. The group will be led by Don Short, and will include an advisory committee.
A new trade agreement between the United States and Australia will eliminate Australia's 5-percent duty on distilled spirits imported from the United States. U.S. exports to Australia increased 7.2 percent in 2003, and accounted for 10 percent of total U.S. spirits exports. The agreement also includes special protection for bourbon and Tennessee whiskey, which make up 83 percent of U.S. spirits sales to Australia, recognizing them as products manufactured exclusively in the United States.
"The elimination of Australia's import duties on U.S. distilled spirits will ensure Australia's position as a leading export market for the U.S. spirits industry," says Debbie Lamb, senior vice president of international issues and trade for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. "The industry applauds the tremendous efforts of the U.S. and Australian negotiators to conclude such an important agreement."
The market for sports nutrition and weight loss products in the United States grew 12 percent last year, according to a new report from Nutrition Business Journal. Consumer sales are expected to achieve a compound annual growth rate of 7 percent for a total of $28.4 billion by 2013, with incremental sales of $290 million to $670 million each year.
Izze Sparkling Juices are now available in Puerto Rico thanks to a new partnership between Izze Beverage Co., Boulder, Colo., and Homera Marketing and Sales, San Juan.
Coors Brewing Co. will be the new sponsor of the Fiddler's Green Amphitheater in Greenwood Village, Colo., near Denver. Renamed Coors Amphitheater, the outdoor music venue also will feature new upgrades such as seating, artist accommodations and patron amenities.
Go Figure
5.5 11 20
Billions of dollars of retail tea sold in 2003, according to The U.S. Market for Tea and Ready-To-Drink Tea, a report published by Packaged Facts. This is up nearly $1 billion over 2002, surpassing the $5 billion
mark for the first time.
Percent increase in the private label soy market during the past four years, according to Allan Routh, president and chief executive officer of Sunrich Inc., in a recent statement. This is compared to an 8 percent growth in overall food segments.
Number of acres in downtown Atlanta under development by The Coca-Cola Co. Approximately half of the land will be home to an aquarium and the updated version of the World of Coca-Cola, scheduled to open in 2006, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
30 44 72.5
Number of cents excise taxes will be increased per bottle of $5 vodka due to a tax plan imposed in Iowa, according to The Des Moines Register. The same plan calls for a decrease of $1.20 in tax on a $20 bottle of vodka, and for increased tax savings as the price per bottle rises.
Millions of adults who are not
currently on a low-carb diet but are likely to try one in the next two years, according to a survey conducted
by Opinion Dynamics Corp., Cambridge, Mass.
Millions of liters of Absolut vodka shipped from Ahus harbor in Sweden in 2003, according to V&S Vin&Sprit AB. Construction on a new production plant in Sweden will be complete by 2007 to keep up with demand.