Brau und Brunnen, the German drinks group which just last week agreed to sell its stake in the Appolinaris & Schweppes mineral water joint venture to its British partner Cadbury Schweppes, has announced that it is preparing a complete overhaul of the way it does business after a difficult period of job cuts, debt reduction and restructuring.
The change is necessary because of increasing competition in the German market for both beer and soft drinks, and will involve a merging of the sales forces for the company's various beer, bottled water and soft drink brands in order to create greater synergies.
The new focus will be accompanied by the buyback of up to 10 per cent of the company's shares between now and December 2003.
A central marketing unit will provide sales support for what the company claims is one of the broadest ranges of drinks products in Germany, with 18 brands of beer alone including Jever, Dortmunder Union, Berliner Pilsner and Brinkhoff's No.1, and Brau und Brunnen added that the new structure would allow it to react more quickly to consumer demand, as it has done for its Spreequell brand of soft drinks.
Both Spreequell and Club Cola are to be introduced in 1-litre PET bottles in addition to the existing glass bottles. The Spreequell Orange and Lemon, Spreequell Bitter Lemon and Tonic, the Spreequell Activ range, Spreequell Apfelschorle and Club Cola brands will all be affected by the change.
Brau und Brunnen said the introduction of the PET bottles was a result of consumer demand, with plastic bottles already dominating the soft drink market because of their convenience.
The launch will be backed by a major TV and cinema advertising campaign in the core markets of Berlin and Brandenburg.