Beverage bites: news up to March 5, 2015

Bacteria and beer pong; Diageo’s Mexico investment, and more beverage bites

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Do you play beer pong? Read on...              (picture credit: Flickr / Quinn Dombrowski)
Do you play beer pong? Read on... (picture credit: Flickr / Quinn Dombrowski)

Related tags Coffee Bacteria

An ‘exploding’ African beer market; Diageo’s Mexican investment; and the bacteria involved in the game of beer pong: some of the nuggets of news in this week’s Beverage Bites feature. 

Africa: fastest growing beer market by 2017

The African beer market is ‘exploding’ with an annual average growth rate of 5% between 2013 and 2017, says a report released yesterday by market research company Canadean.

Growth in this market will outstrip that in Asia and Latin America (which are expected to grow at 4% and 3% respectively).

The biggest market on the continent is South Africa (2014 volumes expected to hit 30,921th hl) followed by Nigeria (15,200th hl) and Angola (12,790th hl).

Falling inflation, a decrease in foreign debt, rise in GDP, and population growth is helping boost the market, said Kevin Baker, account director, Canadean. Africans are also changing home brewed drinks (which pose a ‘significant health risk’) for commercially brewed beverages, he added.

tequila don julio
Tequila Don Julio

Mexico: a country of ‘enormous opportunity,’ says Diageo

Diageo completed its acquisition of Tequila Don Julio last week, and yesterday pledged further investment for Mexico.

It will expand local production facilities (distilling, bottling and water treatment), increase agave farming capacity, and build a heritage centre at Atotonilco, Jalisco.  It will also be boosting advertising spending to build the Don Julio brand across the world.

The acquisition and additional investment brings Diageo’s Mexico investment to around $400m over five years, creating around 200 direct jobs.

Ivan Menezes, chief executive, Diageo, said that Mexico is a country of ‘enormous opportunity’ and will be an important part of the company’s future.

Russian factory closures for Coca-Cola and PepsiCo

This week PepsiCo Russia announced it will close its juice factory​ in Ramenskoe, near Moscow.

Coca-Cola Hellenic Russia confirmed it was closing its Nizhny Norgorod plant (which produces sparkling and ice tea) in favor of its more modern sites, saying it has to enhance its competitiveness in ‘the new economic realities.’

In January Carlsberg decided to close two of its ten Russian breweries, citing the macro economic situation and a declining beer market.

fanta klassic cropped
Fanta Classic

Fanta faces backlash after viewers link video to Nazi Germany

Coca-Cola wanted to evoke ‘positive childhood memories’ with an online video celebrating Fanta’s 75th​ anniversary and the launch of Fanta Classic. Instead, viewers linked the brand to Nazi Germany.

Fanta was invented in Germany in 1940, and the video on its German website took a nostalgic look at how the drink was invented.

But viewers claimed a reference to the ‘good old times’ referred to Nazi Germany.

Coca-Cola responded that, although the product was created in Essen during WW2, the brand had no association with Hitler or the Nazi Party, and apologized for any offence caused.

And finally…

Scientists have analysed the bacteria recovered from ping pong balls used in the drinking game ‘beer pong.’

In the game, players bounce ping pong balls across a table and try to land them in cups half filled with beer. If a player is successful, the opponent must drink the beer. The game is a college campus past-time but there are also serious leagues and a world championship.

Realising the potential for transmission of microbial pathogens (via the ball, surfaces, players and beer to start with), a team from Clemson University in South Carolina analysed the microbial species transferred during the game. The highest level of microbes transferred was found when games were played outside, although the study found most species were not pathogenic.

The researchers also deliberately inoculated balls with a non-pathogenic form of E.Coli to see how the microbe spread – finding it was successfully transferred to all team members. 

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