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One Rock Deal for Nestle Water North America Brings Seasoned CPG Operator Metropoulos into Mix – BEVERAGE BUSINESS 2/17/21 Nestle confirmed One Rock Capital Partners as buyer for its North American bottled water assets, and the relative newcomer to CPG space has enlisted experienced partner to help operate the biz: former Hostess Brands and Pabst Brewing owner Metropoulos & Co, which will install Dean Metropoulos as chmn and interim ceo. Announcement of deal for $4.3 bil resolved some other key uncertainties of earlier reports naming One Rock the likely buyer: transaction for Nestle Waters North America unit does include extensive ReadyRefresh home & office delivery (HOD) network, and encompasses not just sourced spring waters like Poland Spring, Arrowhead and Ozarka but also the Pure Life and Splash brands. So Nestle succeeded in finding a unitary buyer for all the assets it wished to shed, while retaining the higher-end Perrier, San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna brands as still strategically relevant.
8th Circuit to Disgruntled Retailers: “Tell it to the Legislators”; Another State Law Upheld – EXPRESS 2/17/21 Retailers seeking to ship across state lines without obtaining licenses or opening stores in those new markets suffered two more defeats last wk. Echoing and citing an earlier 6th Circuit decision, 8th Circuit Ct of Appeals upheld Missouri law that barred out-of-state retailers from shipping to MO consumers even tho MO law allows in-state retailers to do so. (Recall, 6th Circuit upheld similar Michigan law in Lebamoff case and US Sup Ct refused to hear an appeal.) Then too, US District Ct judge in Kentucky cited 6th Circuit decision in Lebamoff to uphold a KY law that bars non-KY retailers from shipping direct to KY consumers.
Boston Ended 2020 with a Bang: Gained 2 Mil Bbls+ to 7.37 Mil Bbls; Sam Scan Check – CRAFT 2/17/21 Even as Covid-19 upended Sam Adams and Angry Orchard’s sizeable draft/on-prem biz, Boston Beer still managed to post best growth in its history (by far) in 2020, as shipments grew 38.8% to 7.37 mil bbls and revs grew 39% to $1.85 bil. So Boston gained over 2 mil bbls and over $500 mil in revs last yr. Meanwhile, beer becoming progressively smaller part of its mix: Sam Adams just 11% of total Boston $$ and 10.5% of its volume in yr-to-date Nielsen off-premise data.
Boston Beer Seeks 2.5-3.3 Mil Bbls Growth in 2021; 70-100% Seltzer Growth – EXPRESS 2/18/21 After record 2020, Boston expects to grow even more in 2021. At low end of its 35-45% volume growth guidance, Boston would be up 2.6 mil bbls and very close to 10 mil bbls this yr. At high end of its guidance Boston would be up more like 3.3 mil bbls and closer to 11 mil bbls in 2021. Boston holding fast to its belief that seltzer segment will be up 70-100% in 2021, ceo Dave Burwick said on conference call. Well, 70% would be ~140 mil cases. Or over 10 mil bbls of growth, more than hard seltzer grew last yr.
Top 2 Imports Grab Half of the Segment; Constellation’s Got 2/3 of It; Stella Leaves Home – BEER MARKETER'S 2/19/21 Lotsa moving pieces in import biz these days. Due to wacky way the Commerce Dept counts the numbers, it leaves Corona Seltzer out of import beer numbers, so you gotta adjust for that. AB just announced all Stella Artois sold in US will be made in US beginning summer 2021. That move will take almost 2.5 mil bbls and a top-5 import brand outta the mix. Meanwhile, Constellation’s Mexican portfolio continues to build its dominance of the segment. Constellation very close to 2/3 of all imports last yr at just below 24 mil bbls. Toss in Heineken USA and those 2 companies now well over 80 share of all imports. Take out Stella and they’ll close in on 90 share of imports.
As Cannabis Supporters Bulk Up Lobbying Muscle, Foes Find New “Playbook” – ALCOHOL ISSUES 2/19/21 Combination of state ballot wins in November and changes in Washington, DC leadership in the executive branch and the Senate kicked off new round of speculation that cannabis legalization coming sooner rather than later to the US. And those with the most at stake, cannabis businesses and advocates, are starting to get more serious. Almost 4 dozen companies and advocacy organizations just created the US Cannabis Council (USCC), “the largest coalition of its kind,” according to an announcement this week.
Coca-Cola Move for Control of Body Armor Validates ‘Not Invented Here’ Strategy in Tough-to-Crack Segment – BEVERAGE BUSINESS 2/19/21 History of strategics’ investments in up-&-coming brands is full of once-promising alliances that sputtered out, sometimes quickly. Coca-Cola’s minority investment in Body Armor wouldn’t seem to be one of those. Atlanta-based soda giant confirmed to Beverage Digest newsletter that it’s filed pre-acquisition notification with antitrust agency FTC relating to its intent to take controlling interest in NY-based premium energy brand, the first sports drink brand in memory to make any progress in cracking decades-long hegemony of PepsiCo’s Gatorade entry. Note that Body Armor poured some cold water on report, saying that while KO purchasing a controlling interest is “a distinct possibility,” the reports are premature and “there are other potential options for the future of the business.” Assuming transaction does proceed, it’s unclear as to what extent Coke will seek to bring brand under corporate roof in Atlanta, sometimes a kiss of death for brands still in their prime breakout phase.
Craft Update 2021 Webinar Series Begins in 2 Wks Dive into a wide array of US craft beer data with Craft Update 2021, a two-part webinar series and exclusive report from Beer Marketer's INSIGHTS. This exclusive resource features full-year 2020 results for US craft, top players, brands and more, synthesizing crucial data points and up-to-the-minute news. Part I will go deep on full-year 2020 craft numbers on March 3. Part II follows up on April 28 with more color, state and city-level data, legal & legislative coverage and more. Both webinars will start at 1pm Eastern and run 90 minutes including Q&A with senior editors David Steinman and Christopher Shepard. Register today: $150 for one part, $250 for both. Significant savings available for groups of 5 team members. More info at beerinsights.com.
Craft $$ Up 19% in Jan IRI; Voodoo Imp IPA #1 Craft Brand for Yr? Other Top Brand Shifts – CRAFT 2/19/21 Craft beer is off to a solid start in off-prem IRI data thru most of Jan. Craft $$ sales grew 19% and gained 0.4 share of total beer $$ to 11.7 share YTD thru Jan 24 in IRI multi-outlet + convenience data. One of craft’s best off-prem share gains in a while now. Nearly all top craft cos within top-25 IRI vendors are growing to start the year. But New Belgium (+45%) and AB acquired craft (+28%, ex-CBA) are gaining most share of segment by far. In fact, NBB sales surpassed Sierra Nevada in IRI MULC, snagging additional 1.3 share of craft $$ to 7.1. If its Fruit Smash hard seltzer does well (not yet included), NBB could start pullin’ ahead of the pack fast this yr.
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