On just-drinks last week:
- Following its takeover of Grupo Modelo, announced late last month, the CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev moved to calm speculation that the move may come under fire from US competition authorities. “We believe this transaction brings no change to the US market,” said Carlos Brito, despite admitting that the brewer had not consulted the US authorities prior to announcing the deal.
- Speaking of A-B InBev, arch European rival Budejovicky Budvar pulled the plug on the two brewers' tie-up in the US. “Our partner did not fundamentally meet the business targets that should have been achieved under the contract,” said Budvar, which is moving distribution of its Czechvar brand in the US to United States Beverage.
- In soft drinks, both the Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo moved to defend their namesake brands from claims that the small traces of alcohol they had been found to contain would mean that Muslims could not drink them. “Trace levels of alcohol can occur naturally in many foods and beverages," said Coca-Cola. "Governments and religious organisations have recognised that such minute levels are considered acceptable in non-alcoholic foods and beverages.”
- The threat of an alcohol advertising ban in South Africa brought Diageo to the fore last week, with the head of its African operations confirming the company is “actively engaged” in talks with authorities over the matter. “We’ll support the government in hopefully developing the right sort of policy,” said Nick Blazquez. “We’ve got a good reputation upon which to build and try to help governments establish the policies and have the outcomes that they would like to have."
- On the features front, Chris Losh considered the future potential of reduced abv wine, Simon Jackson from the Institute of Brewing & Distilling gave us the low-down on the latest in the field of hops and Rod Street from SymphonyIRI looked at the state of play for all drinks producers in the troubled markets of western Europe.
Finally, if you were off celebrating Independence Day in the US last week, click here for a round-up of the top stories on just-drinks last week, while you were partying.