Source: Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
We started last week with a surprise: Coca-Cola Amatil's announcement on Monday that it was not going to progress with its expected purchase of Foster's Australian spirits operations raised our eyebrows. The transaction had been widely-expected to go through but, following its tie-up with Beam Inc in the country last year, it would appear that Amatil is happy with its spirits lot. Or, did Amatil's due diligence throw up some unwanted assets?
In beer, Anheuser-Busch InBev's full-year numbers dominated last week's headlines. While profits leapt and sales increased by value, the brewing behemoth didn't actually sell any more beer in 2011, in volume terms. A-B InBev will hope, then, that an up-tick in US sales is more trend than blip, and that Brazil's introduction of a minimum wage prompts consumers to celebrate with beer.
Two stories last week reminded us that it's not just a company's performance or its latest product launch or HR announcement that makes our industry as colourful as it is. When a judge in Lithuania used the term "essential service" to describe Carlsberg's activities in the country, an almighty row ensued. Also, 'insider trading' is always the kind of phrase that gets the juices flowing - unless you're Coca-Cola Enterprises.
Finally, please be upstanding for the arrival of our new deputy editor. Following Chris Mercer's move to freelance (he'll continue to contribute heavily to just-drinks, panic not), I am delighted to welcome James Wilmore to the fold. Many of you here in the UK will remember James from his time at The Publican. He's currently making himself comfortable in the deputy editor hot-seat, and listening in to Campari's full-year results conference call as I type.
As he means to go on!