The year that was: Headlines of 2016
From mergers and acquisitions to innovations in packaging and flavors, we take a look back over some of the headlines of 2016.
- Pernod Ricard acquires majority share in gin brand Monkey 47. Monkey 47 is produced in the Black Forest, and was introduced in Germany in 2010.
- Coca-Cola Great Britain announces a new recipe for stevia-sweetened Coca-Cola Life, with the 330ml cans now containing 76 calories and 19g of sugar (45% less than the regular full calorie flagship drink)
- Samuel Adams launches three nitro beers in the US as part of the Samuel Adams Nitro Project. They are: Nitro White Ale, Nitro IPA and Nitro Coffee Stout.
- Mintel research reveals that US bottled water sales reached a record high in 2015. It predicts continued rapid growth through to 2020, with sales growth of 34.7%.
- Japan’s Asahi Group Holdings bids for Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime in Europe (the SABMiller brands having been put up for sale as part of AB InBev’s acquisition of SABMiller). AB InBev accepts the offer in April.
- Coca-Cola reveals secondary packaging that can be turned into virtual reality viewers.
- AB InBev says it will sell the SABMiller stake in Snow (the world’s top selling beer) to China Resources Beer.
- PepsiCo says it will roll out its ‘PepsiMoji’ campaignto more than 100 markets (Pepsimoji is the campaign using emojis on its Pepsi packaging). The PepsiMoji campaign includes the designs across the full Pepsi portfolio, including Pepsi, Pepsi MAX and Diet Pepsi/Pepsi Light.
- In the US, Anheuser-Busch acquires Devils Backbone Brewing Company, a craft brewer based in Virginia.
- Coca-Cola launches new packaging as part of its ‘one brand’ marketing strategy, with Mexico the first market to use the packaging. Other markets are following in 2016 and 2017.
- The European Commission approves AB InBev’s acquisition of SABMiller, although this is conditional on AB InBev ‘selling practically the entire SABMiller beer business in Europe’.
- Brown-Forman acquires The BenRiach Distillery Company for around $416m. This brings three Single Malt Scotch Whisky brands to Brown-Forman’s product portfolio: The GlenDronach, BenRiach, and Glenglassaugh.
- Leonardo DiCaprio invests in RUNA, a beverage brand using the Amazonian leaf guayusa, and joins the brand’s advisory board.
- Craft spirits now account for one in seven spirit launches around the world, according to Mintel research.
- Anheuser-Busch and Starbucks partner to launch Teavana, a non-alcoholic, premium RTD tea, in the US.
- Diet Pepsi brings back aspartame with the launch of its ‘Diet Pepsi Classic Sweetener Blend’ (PepsiCo had ditched aspartame from Diet Pepsi in the US in 2015).
- The Beer Institute, a national trade association for the US brewing industry, launches an initiative to encourage brewers and importers to voluntarily include a serving facts statement and freshness dating on their products. Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors and Heineken USA are among the brewers who agree to include information such as calorie content and other nutritional information.
- AB InBev boosts its takeover offer for SABMiller, after Britain’s vote to leave the EU resulted in a fall in the pound. Shareholders of both companies approve the ‘megabrew’ deal in September.
- Two Heineken-owned British pubs offer a specially named beer, ‘Come What May’, to toast the new prime minister, Theresa May.
- Texas craft brewers celebrate after a judge rules a 2013 distribution rights law (which required breweries to give up distribution and territorial rights) is unconstitutional.
- The beverage industry in South Africa says a proposed tax on sugar-sweetened beverages threatens thousands of livelihoods and economic growth. South Africa’s proposal for a 20% tax on sugar sweetened beverages was announced in the February 2016 Budget, with the policy paper released in July.
- Carlsberg reveals a physical protoype of its Green Fiber Bottle in what it hails as a ‘milestone’ breakthrough following an ‘ambitious’ three-year project.
- A Carlsberg UK video is banned by the UK’s advertising standards authority for linking alcohol with a building site, ‘an unsafe and unwise location in which to consume alcohol’.
- Megabrew: Anheuser-Busch InBev announces the successful completion of its takeover of SABMiller, a process that took a year to complete.
- PepsiCo sets sugar reduction targets: by 2025, at least two-thirds of PepsiCo’s beverages will have 100 calories or fewer from added sugar per 12oz serving.
- in Australia.
- In Scotland, the drinks industry (led by the Scotch Whisky Association) applies to appeal in the UK Supreme Court against Scotland’s plans for minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcoholic beverages.
- PepsiCo acquires KeVita, a North American company that produces fermented probiotic and kombucha beverages.
- Dr Pepper Snapple Group acquires Bai Brands, a US company known for its antioxidant-infused beverages, for $1.7bn.
- The UK government publishes draft primary legislation for its soft drinks industry levy, which is due to come into effect in April 2018.
- The Brewers Association, the not-for-profit trade association for small and independent US brewers, identifies key trends for craft beer: including homebrewing, beercations, and exports.
- Anheuser-Busch InBev agrees to sell its entire indirect shareholding in Distell Group Limited to South Africa’s Public Investment Corporation Ltd, a state-owned pension fund.