Beverage bites: news up to September 11, 2015

Craft beer buys, boost for VertuoLine, and more beverage bites

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

MillerCoors yesterday announced it will acquire a majority stake in Saint Archer
MillerCoors yesterday announced it will acquire a majority stake in Saint Archer

Related tags Molson coors Molson coors brewing company

Heineken and MillerCoors have both been shopping in the craft beer scene this week. Meanwhile, Whittard of Chelsea has joined the Ethical Tea Partnership… read on for more beverage bites.   

MillerCoors boosts craft portfolio with artists, skateboarders and surfers

MillerCoors’ craft division, Tenth and Blake, will acquire a majority interest in Saint Archer Brewing Company.

Saint Archer was founded in San Diego in 2013 by an entrepreneurial group of artists, skateboarders and surfers.

It anticipates selling 35,000 barrels of beer in 2015 – up more than 100% on its 2014 sales.

Tenth and Blake sees it as one of the fastest growing breweries in California, and says the company fits in with its strategy of building its high-end portfolio while driving topline growth.

Saint Archer will continue to be led by co-founder and president Josh Landan, with the company operating as a separate business unit of Tenth and Blake.

Landan said the partnership will give Saint Archer the resources to innovate and grow: “With Tenth and Blake’s help, we hope to one day be a national brand,” ​he said.

Tenth and Blake’s portfolio includes Blue Moon Brewing Company, Crispin Cider Company, Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company, and a minority equity stake in Terrapin Beer Company.

Heineken buys craft brewer

Earlier in the week, Heineken also announced a craft beer acquisition: acquiring a 50% shareholding in Lagunitas Brewing Co as it seeks to expand into the craft beer industry.

Lagunitas is the fifth largest craft brewer in the US (by volume), with brands including Lagunitas IPA and pale wheat ale Little Sumpin’ Sumpin.’

It was founded in California in 1993, and is currently constructing its third brewery. It has a track record of growth, with 2012-2014 revenue CAGR at 58%.


Heineken says the transaction will provide the opportunity for it to “build a strong foothold in the dynamic craft brewing category on a global scale.”

Founder Tony Magee will continue to lead Lagunitas with the existing management team, and the company will operate as an independent entity.

Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed.

Whittard of Chelsea joins ethical tea organisation

Whittard of Chelsea has joined the Ethical Tea Partnership (ETP), a non-profit membership organisation which is working to improve tea sustainability, the lives of tea workers, and the environment in which tea is produced.

Whittard of Chelsea has more than 50 stores on the UK high street, and sells direct to consumers online.

Whittard of Chelsea

Mark Dunhill, Whittard of Chelsea CEO, said joining the ETP was part of its commitment to improving the wider tea industry. He said the creation of a sustainable tea industry involves future-proofing supply chains and improving working conditions for tea workers around the globe.  

Sarah Roberts, Ethical Tea Partnership’s executive director, said she welcomed the well-known and internationally recognised brand. “I look forward to seeing the ETP hand and leaf logo on products, which will ultimately increase awareness with consumers about the great work we do,”​ she said.

MillerCoors appoints new CEO

Gavin Hattersley has been appointed as CEO for MillerCoors, the joint US venture between SABMiller and Molson Coors Brewing Company.

Hattersley has been interim CEO for MillerCoors since former CEO Tom Long retired at the end of June, while maintaining the role of CFO at Molson Coors during this time. He will continue to hold both roles until November, while Molson Coors embarks on a search for his successor.

Alan Clark, chief executive of SABMiller, said Hattersley was the right choice as he is familiar with both parent companies and “knows the MillerCoors business better than anyone.” ​Meanwhile, Molson Coors CEO Mark Hunter said Hattersley has the “business knowledge [and the] healthy dose of impatience”​ that MillerCoors needs.

And elsewhere…

Diageo has issued a voluntary recall for some Smirnoff Ice​ products over fears they could contain glass fragments.

vertuoline red

Yesterday Nespresso celebrated the inauguration of a $300m production site​ in Switzerland, which will produce Grands Crus for the VertuoLine machine (sold in North America). 

Cider Australia has launched a petition calling for cider to be included in country of origin labelling laws​, to help producers using local ingredients compete with cheaper imported concentrate. 

Two former Clipper Teas bosses have launched probiotic tea brand Daily Cultures.

The European Federation of Bottled Waters is calling for clear, specific legislation to protect natural mineral and spring water sources from fracking​.  97% of bottled water sold in European is natural mineral or spring water – which under legislation must come from a specific source and cannot be treated. 

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