January's top stories: Starbucks' voice ordering app and Britvic's acquisition of Bela Ischia

Starbucks introduced new voice ordering capabilities on its Starbucks mobile iOS app and Amazon Alexa platform, and Britvic reached an agreement to acquire juice provider Bela Ischia Alimentos. Drinks-insight-network.com wraps up the key headlines from January, 2017.


Starbucks introduced voice ordering to enhance customer experience

US-based coffee firm Starbucks introduced new voice ordering capabilities to its Starbucks mobile iOS app and Amazon Alexa platform to enhance customer experience.

The new service enables customers to order and pay for items prior to arriving at the Starbucks store. An extension of Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay, customers can now order coffee using the app's My Starbucks feature.

Starbucks' chief technology officer Gerri Martin-Flickinger said: “The Starbucks experience is built on the personal connection between our baristas and customers, so everything we do in our digital ecosystem must reflect that sensibility.

UK's Britvic to acquire juice firm Bela Ischia

UK-based beverage firm Britvic reached an agreement to acquire Brazil-based concentrates and juice provider Bela Ischia Alimentos for a total cash consideration of R$218m ($66.5m).

A part of Britvic's strategy for international expansion, the transaction will be funded from current debt facilities. Britvic includes brands such as Robinsons, MiWadi and Teisseire.

The firm also acquired Empresa Brasileira de Bebidas e Alimentos (ebba) as well as Brazil-based liquid concentrate brands Maguary and Dafruta in September 2015.

US firm Western Spirits and Bardstown Bourbon partnered under distilling programme

US-based whisky firm Bardstown Bourbon Company (BBCo) established a partnership with manufacturer Western Spirits Beverage Company under its Collaborative Distilling Program.

Set to begin production in January, Western Spirits planned to work with BBCo's master distiller Steve Nally to create custom whiskey for its brand portfolio.

The Bardstown Bourbon Company recently started work on a distillery expansion project, increasing its proof gallon capacity from current 1.5 million to 3 million.

Rémy Cointreau closed acquisition of Domaine des Hautes Glaces distillery and Westland Distillery

Wines and spirits firm The Rémy Cointreau Group completed the acquisition of single malt whisky distilleries Domaine des Hautes Glace and Westland Distillery.

Financial details of the acquisitions were not disclosed.

Rémy Cointreau Group entered into negotiations with Domaine des Hautes Glaces distillery in October 2016 before closing the acquisition of the distillery in January, 2017.

Irish Distillers to invest €10m in Midleton Distillery

Irish Distillers made plans to invest approximately €10.5m in Midleton Distillery to increase its production capacity.

The investment is expected to increase the production capacity of Irish Distillers' single pot still Irish whiskey by more than 30%.

The firm intends to install three new copper pot stills at Midleton Distillery facility. Each still will have a capacity of more than 75,000l and will be in operation by June. It is estimated that the construction phase will create 60 job opportunities.

Beam Suntory and Southern Glazer’s entered long-term distribution agreement

US-based spirits firm Beam Suntory signed a new 37-state corporate long-term distribution agreement with wines and spirits distribution firm Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits.

Under the agreement, Southern Glazer’s will distribute the portfolio of Beam Suntory’s brands via its US network in 21 open markets until 2030.

According to Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, the strategic partnership will allow the firm to deliver in an efficient and effective way to the market, as well as with thorough data insights.

Strauss Coffee to purchase German firm Norddeutsche Kaffeewerke

Netherlands-based Strauss Coffee made plans to acquire German freeze-dried instant coffee company Norddeutsche Kaffeewerke.

Strauss Coffee intends to purchase the German coffee plant, which it has leased to Norddeutsche Kaffeewerke since 2012.

It is expected that the deal will not affect the current production operations.

Nestlé Egypt to acquire instant coffee manufacturer Caravan

Nestlé Egypt signed an agreement to acquire Egypt-based instant coffee manufacturer Caravan Marketing Company.

The acquisition is a part of Nestlé's strategy to invest in Egypt and enhance the development of its soluble coffee sector.

Nestlé's Egypt chairman and chief executive officer Yasser Abdulmalak said: “We are pleased to conclude the signature of this agreement. Our investment and expansion plans in Egypt reflect the importance of this market to us.

New app tested to measure water stress of grapevines

A new smartphone app that allows grapegrowers to measure water status of their grapevines is being trialled in Australia.

It is expected that the viticultural app will allow grapegrowers to improve water management decisions.

Images of grapevines taken through a thermal camera attached to their smartphone will be analysed by the app to calculate vine water status.

Tata Global Beverages to divest stake in Zhejiang Tata Tea Extraction

Indian non-alcoholic beverages company Tata Global Beverages (TGBL) announced plans to sell its stake in its Chinese joint venture (JV), Zhejiang Tata Tea Extraction (ZTTECL).

The transaction valued at for Rs330m ($4.83m) will be subject to necessary approvals, completion of negotiations, definitive agreements and satisfaction of conditions precedent.

Z Business quoted TGBL former chairman Cyrus Mistry saying in August last year: "We are looking at restructuring the business there. In what way this will be done, that has to be looked into."