Here’s a look at the biggest stories and the best content from just-drinks this week.
In his latest just-drinks outing, former beverages analyst Ian Shackleton ponders Diageo’s next move, the opportunity (or otherwise) of 0%-abv spirits and the likelihood of a new CEO at Anheuser-Busch InBev.
As COVID-19 has turned the flood of marketing dollars to a trickle, one major victim for drinks companies has been the entering of their brands into category competitions. This month, beer commentator Stephen Beaumont provides advice for the brewers out there struggling with the existential question: What do awards actually do?
Hard seltzer is attempting to go global as both multinationals and independent producers look to emulate the category’s US success in new markets. The UK has been one of the first ports of call for leading brands such as Mark Anthony Brands’ White Claw and Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Mike’s Hard Seltzer, creating a new front in the hard seltzer fight as well as an opportunity for innovative start-ups targeting a slice of a potentially-lucrative market. just-drinks spoke to one of those new companies, the sister-and-brother-led Loon Water, which launched the apple-based Two Brooks alcoholic sparkling water earlier this year. Loon Water co-founders Fabio and Francesca Bruni talk about the difference between the US and UK markets, why distillers risk brand dilution with big-name launches and where the global hard seltzer category goes from here.
On just-drinks news pages:
Beam Suntory and other whisky distillers have backed a campaign accusing the author of a leading industry guide of using crude and sexist language. In a statement, Beam Suntory said it re-evaluating its marketing after a whisky writer highlighted reviews in Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible that compared drinking to having sex.
Anheuser-Busch InBev’s full acquisition of Craft Brew Alliance is finally set to close after approval of the transaction has been granted by the US justice department.
Now is a “great time” to launch new beer brands, according to Asahi, as the brewer returns Grolsch to the UK market in a lower-abv guise. The Japanese brewer, which withdrew Grolsch from the UK last year when a brewing agreement with Molson Coors expired, confirmed this week that the Dutch brand is back in the UK on- and off-premise channels.
A group of trade associations representing the US wine industry have written to the Speaker of the House and the Minority Leader calling for government aid to deal with the fallout of wildfires in the west of the country.
The Coca-Cola Co has rejected allegations that it is exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to walk away from a US$34m sponsorship deal with a US motorsports group.
Beam Suntory’s Hornitos Tequila brand is fronting an activation designed to support legal immigrants in their attempts to become US citizens. ‘A Fair Shot’, unveiled this week, sees Hornitos partner with The League of United Latin American Citizens and the We Are All Human foundation on a “multi-year” project described as a “response to the current challenges facing immigrant communities”.
The US division of Pernod Ricard has lined up a marketing push for Absolut vodka, with the brand’s first TV spot in the country for three years set to encourage consumers to vote in November’s presidential election.