Anheuser-Busch last month
purchased Rolling Rock from InBev USA for $82 million. The deal includes
the global brand rights and recipes for the
Rolling Rock beers, however, the Latrobe, Pa., facility that has been home
to Rolling Rock will be sold and production will be moved to A-B’s
Newark, N.J., plant in August.
“We have an ideal opportunity to grow this
historic brand,” said Anheuser-Busch President August Busch IV.
“This beer is not like others, and its consumer following is equally
distinctive. We live in a diverse world where consumers are hungry for
variety. Acquiring Rolling Rock enables us to reach a new audience and to
continue building our broad portfolio of products that meet the
wide-ranging needs of consumers.”
For its part, InBev says the decision to sell Rolling
Rock was based on its desire to focus on higher-growth import brands such
as Stella Artois, Bass Pale Ale, Beck's, Brahma and Labatt Blue.
Anheuser-Busch also is investing in in Chicago’s
Goose Island Beer Co. via its interest in Widmer Brothers Brewing. Widmer,
based in Oregon, has acquired a minority share of Goose Island. A-B in
turn, owns a stake in Widmer, giving the Chicago brewer access to a wider
Pepsi to distribute Ethos water
Starbucks Coffee Co. and PepsiCo have expanded their North American
Coffee Partnership to include water, with an agreement that will allow
Pepsi to distribute Starbuck’s Ethos water. The companies say the
agreement will include the co-packing, distribution and marketing of Ethos
products in the United States and Canada, and will significantly increase
distribution of Ethos at the retail level.
Currently, Ethos water is available at more than 5,000
Starbucks stores and several smaller local retailers in the United States.
Plans include additional bottle sizes and case packs.
Ethos Water was founded in 2002 by Peter Thum and
Jonathan Greenblatt, and acquired by Starbucks in April 2005. It was
created to raise awareness and funds to bring clean water to children
around the world. The companies say they will continue to make a $0.05
donation for each bottle of Ethos water sold in all distribution channels.
McDonald’s to boost beverage lineup
Fast food giant
McDonald’s Corp. is experimenting with new beverage offerings,
including bottled drink sales through drink coolers. The chain is said to
be testing sweet iced tea in 3,000 restaurants in the southern United
States and iced coffee in the Northeast. It also is looking into energy
drinks and flavor shots to allow consumers to customize their fountain soft
“We are looking very closely at our overall
beverage strategy,” McDonald’s Chief Executive Officer James
Skinner said at a press conference after the company’s annual
The company has been working with Coca-Cola to test
bottled products in Texas locations, and the companies have said the
results are “promising.” The move potentially would open
McDonald’s beverage business to companies other than Coca-Cola,
particularly in the single-serve category. BI
Frïs changes hands
FutureBrands LLC and The
Absolut Spirits Co. Inc. have begun importing and marketing Frïs Vodka in the United States. Frïs
Vodka is owned by parent company V&S Absolut Spirits, and previously
was imported by Shaw-Ross International Importers. FutureBrands LLC is
Absolut’s joint venture with Beam Global Wine and Spirits Inc.
Frïs Vodka is created through a freeze
distillation process, an additional step in the distillation process that
significantly reduces the temperature of the spirit to remove impurities,
and is available in Original, Lime and Apple varieties.
V&S Group also announced it finalized the sale of
Danzka Vodka to Belvedere SA. V&S will continue to produce Danzka for
the next five years.
Ito En adds distribution
Green tea manufacturer Ito
En North America Inc., based in New York City, has purchased Mason
Distributors Inc. of Miami Lakes, Fla. Mason is a distributor of vitamin,
mineral and herb supplements, and is the first wholly owned subsidiary to
be added to Ito En’s U.S. operations.
Commenting on the move, Yosuke Honjo, president of Ito
En North America said, “With the acquisition of this company,
Ito En is able to enter the supplement market and anticipates an effective
synergy with our core green tea business and increasing the value and
success of the group as a whole.”
Pepsi, Glaceau reach packaging agreement
PepsiCo last month agreed to change the look of its SoBe Life Water after
a dispute with Glaceau, Whitestone, N.Y., over trade dress. The agreement
settles the lawsuit brought by Glaceau in April, which claimed the Life
Water package was too similar to Glaceau Vitaminwater
7 UP’s ‘natural’ campaign under
The food industry watchdog
group the Center for Science in the Public Interest has threatened to sue
Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages over its new 7 UP campaign that touts
the product’s natural ingredients. At issue is the use of high
fructose corn syrup, which the group claims is not a natural ingredient.
The company responded by saying it was “entirely
confident in the accuracy” of the claim, and that high fructose corn
syrup is a natural ingredient made from corn and is processed using similar
methods to other natural foods and ingredients.
NBWA’s Purser tapped for Association Committee
The U.S. Chamber of
Commerce recently selected Craig Purser, president of the National Beer
Wholesalers Association, to the Association Committee of 100 (C100), a
group that includes the country’s leading association chief
executives. The C100’s goal is to provide advice to the U.S. Chamber
of Commerce board of directors; enhance Chamber lobbying and coalition
work; recommend programming; and strengthen outreach to the business and
association community. Purser joins a prestigious group that includes five
former members of Congress, two governors, and several “Executives of
Brown-Forman acquires Chambord
Brown-Forman has added the
Chambord brand and related assets from Charles Jacquin et Cie to its
business for $255 million dollars. The deal includes the Chambord
trademark, and the French manufacturing operations where the brand is
Chambord is a super-premium, black raspberry liqueur
that is produced and bottled in France. It becomes part of
Brown-Forman’s Developing Brands portfolio, a group of growing
super-premium brands that also include Amarula Cream Liqueur, Appleton
Estate Jamaica Rum, Don Eduardo Tequila, Tuaca Liqueur and Woodford Reserve
National, Republic to merge
National Distributing Co., Atlanta, and Republic Beverage Co.,
Houston, announced last month that they will merge to create the
second-largest wine and spirits distributor in the United States. The
combined company will be worth $4 billion and employ 5,500 people. The
company will operate in more than 19 states.
New Belgium expands production
New Belgium Brewing Co.,
Fort Collins, Colo., is planning a more than $21 million expansion,
according to a report in the Rocky Mountain
News. The company will add a new
5,500-square-foot bottling facility as well as new equipment that will
allow it to turn out 700 bottles per minute.
The company says the project will include
environmentally friendly building materials, and will feature natural
lighting and a Freon-free heating and cooling system.
Back to school
Beverage distributor Glazer’s, based in Dallas, has opened
Glazer’s Beverage University, an “eLearning” Web site
that offers courses on wine, distilled spirits, and malt beverage products.
The company says the goal of the online learning center is to provide its
customers with an ongoing resource on adult beverage products and industry
“Glazer’s is a recognized industry leader
in how we educate and train our salespeople on brand and category
knowledge, as well as world class selling techniques,” Vice President
of Training and Development for Strategic Accounts Bill Saul says.
“Our internal corporate education and training program is called the
Glazer Beverage Academy. The Glazer Beverage Academy is a fully integrated
sales training program, covering all categories and beverage types,
channel-specific business-building training programs, and all levels of sales management training … By extending our
internal training programs to our customer base, we believe that we
position Glazer’s to be the most credible voice in the industry for
growing the beverage category.”
I want to hear from you. Tell me how we can improve.
The February 2020 issue dives into Essentia water, their high-pH and high aspirations for ongoing innovation. Speaking of innovation, this issue also features a special report on how (and why) the zero-proof functional beverage market is growing. Also, check out what types of rifts and shifts are shaking up the wine category and discount variety stores, as well as the latest ingredient highlights (hint: exotic fruits make an appearance). To cap it off, peruse new product releases, the latest appearances in packaging, and holistic approaches to cognitive health. Thirsty for more? Subscribe to get the latest stories delivered right to your inbox.
Check back throughout the month for additional content.
Check back throughout the month for additional content.