Coca-Cola to invest €1bn in France over next five years

Global beverage company Coca-Cola unveiled plans to invest €1bn in France over the next five years.

Coca-Cola chairman and CEO James Quincey shared the plans at the Choose France Summit.

The company will invest along with its bottling partner Coca-Cola European Partners

Pepsico to debut zero-sugar version of Mountain Dew in US

PepsiCo revealed plans to expand its Mountain Dew beverage portfolio in the US by adding a zero-sugar version of the soft drink.

Launched on 13 January, the beverage, MTN DEW Zero Sugar, is being distributed across all retail outlets in the US market.

The beverage variant offers the same flavour of the original MTN DEW without any sugar content, the company said.

Purity Organic acquires Dunn’s River Brands to boost portfolio

US-based organic beverage company Purity Organic acquired management company Dunn’s River Brands, which runs Fireman Capital’s beverage portfolio.

Currently, Dunn’s beverage portfolio includes Sweet Leaf Tea brand, as well as the Tradewinds Beverage brand in the US.

Purity Organic chairman Douglas Abrams said: “We believe there is tremendous potential for all our brands as the organic beverage market continues to expand. We will continue to deliver great-tasting, organic beverages with a variety of strong brands.”

Molson Coors plans to sell California brewery

US-based Molson Coors Beverage Company is closing production at its brewery in Irwindale, California by September.

The company also signed an agreement with the Pabst Brewing Co granting them an option to acquire the brewery for $150m.

Molson Coors chief integrated supply chain officer Brian Erhardt said: “This move will allow us to optimise our brewery footprint while streamlining our operations for greater efficiency across the network.

Eden Springs acquires Hungarian Clearwater to expand presence

Eden Springs expanded its presence in the Hungarian market with the acquisition of dispenser company Clearwater.

The acquisition, which marks the foray of Eden Springs into the Hungarian market, is expected to add nearly 14,000 water dispensers to the company’s network.

The company’s Continental Europe president Antonio Alarcon said: “ClearWater is the market leader in providing water across Hungary, with significant density in Budapest and shares our commitment to excellence.

Pernod Ricard ends association with bullfighting clubs

French alcoholic beverage firm Pernod Ricard announced it is no longer associated with bullfighting clubs.

Animal protection groups including People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) France and PETA US have urged the company to end its collaboration with the clubs, as the groups believe these clubs support cruel blood sport.

The groups urged Pernod Ricard to end its association with the bullfighting clubs, as each year thousands of bulls in bullrings around the world are slaughtered.

Diageo invests in spirits alternative producer Ritual Zero Proof

Diageo-funded spirits innovation company Distill Ventures made a minority investment in US-based Ritual Zero Proof.

Ritual Zero Proof is the first American company to produce spirit alternatives, which taste and smell similar to spirits.

Headquartered in Chicago, Ritual Beverage Company was founded by three friends Marcus Sakey, GG Sakey and David Crooch.

Urban South Brewery to open first satellite brewery in Texas

US-based Urban South Brewery will begin expanding its presence in America by opening its first satellite brewery in Houston, Texas.

Located in Houston’s Sawyer Yards District, the 14,000ft2 facility will feature a ten-barrel research and development (R&D) brewing operation, canning line and dedicated barrel and blending room.

Additionally, the facility will also feature a public taproom with a large patio and beer garden.

AB InBev to use renewable electricity for brewing operations

International brewing firm Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) announced that it will be using 100% renewable electricity for its European brewing operations.

The brewing firm signed an agreement with renewable energy developer BayWa re for the supply of clean electricity for its brewing operations in Europe.

Under the terms of the ten-year virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA), BayWa re will be supplying clean electricity to AB InBev’s 14 breweries in Western Europe.

WSTA urges UK Chancellor to cut alcohol duty in upcoming budget

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) urged the UK chancellor to cut wine and spirit duty by 2% in the upcoming budget and sent its budget submission to the Treasury.

WSTA noted that a duty freeze in the 2017 budget, resulted in a bumper tax windfall for the Treasury and the decision was beneficial for consumers as well as businesses in the UK.

However, this respite given by the government was short-lived. The Chancellor once again froze spirit duty but left wine out with unfair duty increase in 2018.