News briefs: Coca-Cola, US beer imports and Viking politics

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Energy drink, Coca-cola company, Coca-cola, Beer, Powerade

This week, Coca-Cola announces a Monster deal to boost its energy drink presence, imported beers are on the rise in the US and a British MP lends his support to a Viking beer.

Coca-Cola strikes energy drink deal

The Coca-Cola Company and one of its US bottlers have announced a new cooperation to distribute the Monster brand of energy drink across parts of Europe, Canada and the US.

As part of its deal with manufacturer Hansen, the beverage group says it will supply the drink to six Western European countries along with as certain territories in North America, by the beginning of next year.

Hansen chairman Rodney Sacks said that in taking over from a previous deal with the Dr Pepper Snapple Group, it expected Coca-Cola to further push its market presence globally.

"We believe the relationship with the Coca-Cola Company and Coca-Cola Enterprises will enable us to build on the success of our Monster Energy brand in North America and expand into fertile new international markets,”​ he stated.

“In the United States, the relationship will complement our existing long-term arrangements with Anheuser-Busch distributors, which have been and we expect will continue to be very important to Hansen. “

Such a move reflects the continuing worldwide growth for energy drinks, as an increasing number of manufacturers look to tap into consumer demands for functional and health benefits in drinks.

Zenith International's research director, Gary Roethenbaugh said the US was becoming an increasingly significant market for the products and as such, was driving global growth for the product.

US consumers drank 990m litres of energy drinks during 2006, a 47 per cent increase over the previous year, making the country the largest global market for the product, Roethenbaugh said.

MP pledges Viking beer support

A UK politician has pledged his support to a local brewery, which is facing attacks from an industry led-watchdog over the branding of its Viking beer, according to press reports.

Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland, is to take his concerns to the UK government after an 8.5 per cent volume beer made by The Orkney Brewery was criticized over the ‘aggressive’ imagery associated with its name, Skill Splitter, said the Scotsman newspaper.

In a report commissioned by The Portman Group, a UK-based social responsibility organisation, the beer was attacked over allegations its name plays up both violence and the impact of its alcohol content on a consumer.

Under the group’s mandate, its members will meet later in the year to decide if any penalties should be imposed on the brewery, which could lead to recommendations for retailers not to stock the product.

The brewer says that it intends to fight the report’s findings claiming its name is derived from Thorfinn Hausakluif, a Viking Earl of Orkney who also liked to be known as the “Skull Splitter.”

Norman Sinclair, managing director of parent company Sinclair Breweries said that the company had already explained the ale’s origin to the Portman group and claimed that the body’s focus on the craft beer segment was misguided.

Imported beer sales up in US

With major upheavals over the last year in the US beer industry, particularly with the merger between Belgium-based InBev and brewer Anheuser-Busch, the popularity light and imported beers is set to rise, according to new findings.

According to the Beverage Information Group, amidst a difficult economic environment, US sales of imported and light beers are expected to grow by 2.1 and 2 per cent respectively on annual compound growth rates over the next five years.

This growth is ahead of the overall rise in the US beer market last year, which rose by 1.2 per cent.

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