Vol 5, No 29  July 15, 2024

               News, Numbers, Info, and More                             published by Beer Marketer's INSIGHTS, Inc.

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Carlsberg Proposes to Buy UK PepsiCo Bottler, Britvic, for $4.2 Bil; Bought Out Marston’s JV for $265 Mil EXPRESS – Jul 8 The world’s 4th largest beer co, Carlsberg, is one step closer to striking the biggest global convergence deal yet between alc and non-alc cos. Carlsberg Group and Britvic PLC, the “main partner” for PepsiCo in the UK and Ireland, among other NA brands and mkts, “reached an agreement on the terms of a recommended cash offer” of approximately $4.2 bil (£3.3 bil), cos announced. Full “implied enterprise value” of the deal is ~$5.3 bil (£4.1 bil) including debt. Co sweetened the pot after Britvic initially rejected its $3.9-bil offer late last mo. Deal proposed to shareholders would make Carlsberg a “UK beverage ‘powerhouse,’” ceo Jacob Aarup-Anderson reportedly stated on an earnings call, per Reuters.

Dichello and AB Hammering Out Details to Settle Multi-Yr Dispute EXPRESS – Jul 9 Last wk, AB and Dichello Dist, one of its distribs in CT, alerted fed ct that they expect to settle their long-running dispute. Tho not final yet, the settlement would effectively save both parties from looming trial, originally set for jury selection this wk. Indeed, co asked ct for additional time to hammer out some of the specific terms of the settlement. AB alluded to as much in statement by spokesperson today, noting that “Anheuser-Busch and Dichello have agreed to a settlement contingent upon satisfaction of certain conditions.” Dichello prexy John Hall commented that “both sides worked together to find a mutually beneficial solution and look forward to a continued relationship.”

Athletic Lands Another $50-Mil Equity Raise; Led by General Atlantic Investing Firm with Seat on Board CRAFT – Jul 9 Athletic is once again bolstering its balance sheet, adding another $50-mil capital infusion that brings its total amount raised to roughly $223 mil since launching in 2018. Latest equity financing round closed early Jul and was led by General Atlantic, a top “global growth investor” with ~$84 bil in assets under mgmt, alongside “participation from multiple existing investors,” co announced. General Atlantic wasn’t previously part of Athletic’s cap table (i.e. investor group) and will “assume a seat” on the company’s board alongside Keurig Dr Pepper and others.

PEOPLE: CEO Jacot Exits Zola Owner Arcadia Biosciences, Succeeded by CFO Schaefer; Oatly Recruits Nestle Waters Vet Link as CCO BEV INSIGHTS – Jul 9 Stan Jacot, who stewarded tilt of Arcadia Biosciences into consumer segment, including via Zola Coconut Water pickup, has left the co, succeeded by CFO Thomas Schaefer. No reason was given for departure, nor whether he has an immediate new destination, tho RKDA chmn Kevin Comcowich was effusive in citing exec’s contributions at Dallas-based co and offered no indication that change in strategy is afoot. “Under his leadership, Arcadia expanded the GoodWheat brand into three categories, sold the brand to Above Food, monetized a portion of our wheat IP, revamped Zola coconut water and divested or exited several unprofitable businesses.

ICCPUD Posts Panel Protocol for Comment: Short Timeline, Expansive Plans, Long View
ALCOHOL ISSUES – Jul 10 Just ahead of the July 4 holiday, the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking (ICCPUD) published its proposed methodology for studying alcohol’s impact on health. Though substantially rearranged, it features many of the same plans and processes outlined in the draft protocol quietly published by members of ICCPUD’s 6-person Scientific Review Panel (SRP) in April (as detailed in our May 9 issue). ICCPUD will take comments on the proposed project through August 2. Expected in May, the revised protocol’s publication is already over a month behind schedule. It outlines an extensive “series of studies” that adds further weight to existing questions about the project’s timeline, finishing by the end of this year. Questions also remain about the funding used to support the project and why it’s being pursued now, in this way.

Sunkey Completed Acquisition of Silver Eagle; Tim & Greg Mitchell Appointed Leadership Roles; More PE in Beer Distribution EXPRESS – Jul 11 The biggest beer distrib deal of the year officially closed. Just over two mos since announced, Sunkey Beverage Holdings completed its acquisition of Silver Eagle Bevs, the 15-mil-case AB and Constellation distrib in the San Antonio, TX area. Deal was reportedly expected to come in around $600 mil with a mid-to-high teens EBITDA multiple, putting former owner John Nau’s sale of the Houston and San Antonio operations at ~$1.7 bil collectively. Tim Mitchell is ceo of newly created Sunkey org, and was named ceo of Silver Eagle Bevs with Greg Mitchell as prexy of Silver Eagle. Sunkey entity includes all of Mitchell family operations in FL and AR, according to the press release.

Pepsi Blames Strapped Consumers for Flattish Q2; N Amer Bev Weakness Joined by Frito Strains; Will Selectively Tweak Pricing BEV INSIGHTS – Jul 11 PepsiCo in Q2 suffered the consequences of its double-digit price hikes of recent years as consumers across all income tiers dialed back their spending, with CEO Ramon Laguarta telling investors the co will be offering more aggressive entry points for some product lines. “They’re saying ‘There's been a lot of inflation and my disposable income is stretched,’” Laguarta told Reuters. “It's not only the lower-income consumer, it’s throughout.” Tho PepsiCo North American Bevs (PBNA) had long lagged, the weakness extended even to its Frito-Lay growth engine, where co now will be “surgically providing optimal value propositions within certain portions of our North America convenient foods portfolio,” per Ramon. Massive product recall at Quaker Foods North America div didn’t help topline either. For period, PEP revenues edged up 0.8% to $22.5 bil on 2% volume decline. But operating profit grew robust 10.6% to $4 bil.

New Drinkers Trickle In as Aging Craft Drinkers Pull Back, BA Survey Analysis Shows CRAFT – Jul 11 Sightly more US adults reported drinking craft beer than a yr ago, two different surveys show. But they’re turning to craft less frequently. And there are now more craft drinkers who say they’re cutting back than there are ramping up consumption. That’s some of the reason why craft isn’t growing lately, Brewers Assn’s team of economists, Bart Watson and Matt Gacioch presented on Jul 11. Just under half of American adults, 48%, said they drink craft beer at least several times a year, up 4 pts from recent yrs, according to 2024 results of annual Harris Poll commissioned by BA, Bart shared. Separate results from Scarborough Research showed 9.1% of adults drank craft in the last 30 days, up 0.7 pts from earlier surveys. “Interestingly, both of these are going up,” Bart commented, “even though craft growth has stalled.”

Announcing The RTD Report Don’t miss this definitive guide to the growing world of ready-to-drink alc bevs. For the first time ever, Beer Marketer’s INSIGHTS is compiling key stats across beer, wine and spirits RTDs in one comprehensive digital report. Dive deep into this rapidly developing subsegment with data that details: all-channel volume estimates for RTD alc bevs in the US from 2019-2023; top RTD suppliers, brands and segments in 2023, plus latest developments in the 1st half; a historical look at FMB/Seltzer/Cider shipments vs Total Beer since 1999; crossover brands and RTD partnerships since the early 2000s; a map and analysis of legal/legislative playing field at state levels; review of the latest developments in delta 9/THC bevs; and more! A digital version of the completed report will be sent once available September 10. Order today to reserve your copy now!

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