The addition of the North American production facility will allow Asahi to grow sales in both the US and Canada. AEI – the international branch of Japanese giant Asahi Group Holdings - says the move will also offer significant sustainability benefits, most notably through the reduction of distribution-related emissions.
"Local production in North America has been an ambition of ours for some time because of the benefits it will bring," said Paolo Lanzarotti, CEO, Asahi Europe & International.
"With complementary strengths and a shared growth mindset, Asahi and Octopi maintain a commitment to creating meaningful connections with our partners, the communities in which we operate and the planet."
Octopi Brewing is the fourth largest production brewery in Wisconsin: currently serving 45 states and five countries in Europe. Its modern production facility was built in 2014 to make a wide range of beverages, including beer and ready to drink products, using state-of-the-art packaging lines that can accommodate multiple styles and sizes of bottles and cans for maximum flexibility.
Over the coming year, Octopi will be integrated into AEI's U.S. subsidiary, Asahi Beer USA, and will begin production of key global brands Asahi Super Dry and Kozel.
The company also pledges to invest additional capital to enable the brewery to meet its Japanese standards for producing Asahi Super Dry.
First introduced in 1987, Asahi Super Dry is Japan's #1 bestselling beer, while exports have made it what the company calls a ‘global icon of modern Japan’. In the company’s latest set of financial results, it reported 37% year-on-year growth in sales volumes thanks to exports across Asia, Europe and Oceania (FY2023 nine months ending September 2023).
The company is also rolling out alcohol-free Asahi 0.0% globally (including last year's US launch).
As a premium brand with its Japanese heritage and focus on food pairing, it hopes to carve out a point of difference against heavyweights in the US such as Modelo Especiale, Bud Light and Budweiser.
Octopi’s facility will also produce a wider portfolio of brands for distribution and sale in Canada.
Octopi will continue its co-packing operations and its existing leadership team will remain in place under Isaac Showaki, President, Octopi Brewing.
Victoria Segebarth, Managing Director, EMEA & Americas at Asahi Europe & International said, "By making this investment we are taking a major step forward in accelerating the growth journey of our global brands, expanding awareness, reach and access across North America through existing and new on and off trade partners."
Built up via years of acquisitions, AEI has been strengthening Asahi’s presence in Europe and further afield.
The business already has 19 production facilities in eight countries across Europe, with brands including Asahi Super Dry, Pilsner Urquell, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Grolsch and Kozel. Exports cover 90 markets.