There’s no denying that this time of year can be quite busy. Whether it’s work or play, there never seems to be enough time to do everything you want and need to do. But if you are able to find that moment of solitude to sit back and reflect on the year that you have just left behind, it can make the hustle and bustle of this month seem like white noise.
This time of year, I usually flip through my personal planner before I dispose of it. It always gives me an opportunity to remember some of the things that I enjoyed throughout the year. Although not the same as a personal planner, flipping through the magazines from 2012 also gave me perspective about just how busy the beverage industry has been this year.
Nearly a year ago, I spoke with Joe Heron, chief executive officer and founder of Crispin Hard Cider Co., Minneapolis, about his company and the growing hard cider market. Not too long after that, Heron and his brand were acquired by Tenth and Blake, the craft and import division of Chicago-based MillerCoors.
“We’re thrilled to be part of the Tenth and Blake family,” Heron said in a statement in February. “We’ve always had very ambitious plans, and we’re proud of what we’re achieving with great products and an unrivaled creativity that mirrors the inspirational American craft beer ethos. Tenth and Blake provides us the capability to scale up at the same pace as our increasingly accelerating demand in the U.S. and beyond.”
Crispin wasn’t the only hard cider company that was acquired this year. In October, Middlebury, Vt.-based Vermont Hard Cider Co. and its Woodchuck brand were acquired by Dublin-based C&C Group, a manufacturer of cider brands in Ireland. The manufacturing for Woodchuck will stay in Vermont. Noting category success, sales in the hard cider category have grown nearly 60 percent compared with 2011, and Woodchuck hard cider sales continue to increase by approximately 25 percent a year, according to Vermont Hard Cider Co.
Hard cider isn’t the only business that has been bustling. Starbucks Coffee Co., Seattle, has been busy this year with its release of the Verismo system, which crafts Starbucks coffeehouse-quality brewed coffee and espresso beverages, such as lattes and Americano-style coffees, one cup at a time, through a strategic relationship with Germany-based Krueger GmbH & Co. KG. The company also entered the super-premium juice market with the acquisition of Evolution Fresh, which now features retail concepts in select markets. The company also recently expanded its tea market with the acquisition of Teavana Holdings Inc., Atlanta. Starbucks plans to continue to grow and extend Teavana’s 300 mall-based stores as well as add a high-profile neighborhood store concept that will accelerate Teavana’s domestic and global footprint, it notes.
It also was nearly a year ago that we named our Bottler of the Year. Here we are a year later, and it is time to announce another. Check out the January 2013 edition to read which bottler received the honor!
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