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News briefs: Heineken brews changes and Lion Nathan

By Neil Merrett , 03-Jun-2008

This week, Heineken announces a restructuring of its French operations and Australian drinks group Lion Nathan hopes to give US consumers a taste of leading wine brands.

Heineken prepares French shake up

 

 

Heineken says it intends to shake up operations at its French breweries to improve profitability within the country.

 

 

 

The Netherlands-based brewer says it will invest €124m over three years to upgrade some of its breweries in France, while also cutting jobs at other plants in a bid to more efficiently manufacture some of its premium brands.

 

 

 

L'Espérance brewery in Schiltigheim, Alsace, Mons-en-Barœul in Northern France and a site in Marseille will all receive funding under the scheme.

 

 

 

In addition, the company says it will close the Brasserie Fischer in Schiltigheim by the end of next year with the work being transferred gradually to l'Espérance.

 

 

 

The company's Saint Omer site, which produces non-branded beers, will also be closed as a result.

 

 

 

In all, Heineken expects 126 job loses from it operations at Alsace and 62 at Mons-en-Barœul over the next two years. Positions at the Saint Omer site should not be affected by its sale, according to Heineken.

 

 

 

With the restructuring complete, the company says it will operate three breweries within the country with an combined annual output of six million hectolitres.

 

 

 

Lion Nathan targets US with new buy

 

 

Australia-based Lion Nathan has purchased US importer Cumulus Wine for an unspecified amount as part of plans to expand its domestically and New Zealand-sourced wines into the country.

 

 

 

Under the new name Lion Nathan USA, the company will hope to tap growing demand in the country for premium wine brands.

 

 

 

Anthony Roberts, managing director of Lion Nathan's wine operations said the move represented the best way of putting its wines onto the market.

 

 

 

"By establishing Lion Nathan USA we can tap into the proven skills of the [Cummulus Wine] sales team and create an Australasian focussed portfolio of premium regional fine wines," he stated.

 

 

 

This portfolio of imported brands will include Lion nathan's own Petaluma, St Hallett and Wither Hills labels, as well as Cummulus' Rolling, Climbing and Phillip Shaw Wines into the burgeoning US market.