Edinburgh Council approved Johnnie Walker visitor experience centre

The City of Edinburgh’s council planning committee has approved plans to create a global flagship visitor experience centre for Johnnie Walker.

In February this year, Diageo submitted plans for a seven-floor visitor centre featuring a multi-sensory visitor experience, flexible events spaces, a training academy and a retail space.

Diageo Scotland chairman David Cutter said: “This is another significant step forward in our journey to create an inspiring flagship destination for Johnnie Walker.”

Microsoft, Mackmyra and Fourkind to create whiskey using AI

Microsoft, technology consultancy firm Fourkind and Swedish whisky distillery Mackmyra will form a partnership to create a new whisky.

The beverage will be one of the first consumer recipes to be created using artificial intelligence (AI).

Mackmyra Master Blender Angela D’Orazio said: “We always strive to challenge the traditions in the very traditional whisky trade and that’s something we really do now when we develop a whisky with the help of AI.”

Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits to launch eCommerce platform

Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits is set to launch digital platform Proof to provide customers with 24/7 online ordering and account management.

The platform offers business to business (B2B) e-commerce experience and enables customers worldwide to browse and re-order products on a wide range of devices.

Southern Glazer’s CEO Wayne Chaplin said: “Proof is one more way Southern Glazer’s is responding to the changing marketplace, meeting the evolving needs of our customers, and giving our suppliers new ways to grow their businesses.”

SWA revealed Scotch whisky contributes £5.5bn to UK economy

Scotch whisky’s contribution to the UK economy increased by 10% since 2016 to £5.5bn, says the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

The figures were part of a report that was based on work carried out by the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR). It suggests that Scotland’s national drink generates two-thirds of all UK spirits’ gross value added (GVA).

SWA chief executive Karen Betts said: “This research shows the huge contribution that our industry plays to both the Scottish and UK economies.”

European Commission fined AB InBev €200m over Belgian beer imports

The European Commission (EC) fined international brewing company AB InBev €200.4m as the company prevented cheaper beer imports from the Netherlands into Belgium.

EC’s decision came after a three-year investigation into AB InBev’s Jupiler brand in Belgium which has a 40% market share.

In June 2016, EC opened an antitrust investigation on the company to investigate if it used its dominant position on the Belgian beer market by hindering imports of its beer from neighbouring countries.

Symrise invested in Califormulations to foster beverage innovation

Symrise announced a strategic partnership with Califormulations, a platform designed to support end-to-end beverage innovation to consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies.

Califormulations has 100,000ft² of space over three locations in Columbus, Georgia. The company is dedicated to beverage development, multi-purpose production, pilot-scale flexible bottling and shelf-ready, scalable packaging.

Symrise has regional headquarters in Teterboro, New Jersey. It offers global expertise in flavour solutions, while its Beverage Center in Laguna Beach, California, researches new beverage product concepts.

Boston Beer and Dogfish Head signed $300m merger agreement

Boston Beer Company signed an agreement to acquire Dogfish Head Brewery in a definitive merger agreement valued at $300m.

Boston Beer intends to fund the transaction with cash and credit. Upon completion, the two companies are expected to create a platform for craft beer. The merged entity will operate as an independent craft brewery.

Dogfish Head Brewery founder and brewer Sam Calagione said: “Not only are Dogfish Head and Boston Beer two original American breweries, but Jim Koch and I worked hard with other leading craft brewery founders and the Brewers Association to develop and champion what defines independent American brewers.”

Beam Suntory established own distribution channel in Brazil

Beam Suntory decided to bring distribution operations in-house in Brazil.

As per the plan, the company will assume the management and ownership of its route to market starting July, ending its prior agreement with Bacardi.

Beam Suntory International president Pryce Greenow said: “In pursuit of our objective to be the world’s most admired and fastest-growing premium spirits company, we are focused on building premium brands of scale, particularly in fast-growing markets.”

Canada’s Big Rock Brewery laid off staff to save costs

Big Rock Brewery revealed plans to lay off workers as part of cost-cutting measures.

The move was claimed to be in response to the over-regulated market for brewers in Alberta, Canada. The province’s previous government increased the net provincial tax by 104% last year, which affected the profitability of small brewers in the region.

Big Rock Brewery’s senior management noted that the cost-cutting measures are the result of an extensive evaluation of its business following the tax increase, as conducted by Arsenault and Big Rock Brewery CFO Don Sewell.

PepsiCo unveiled $4bn investment plan in Mexico

PepsiCo announced plans to invest nearly $4bn in Mexico over the next two years to expand its footprint in the region.

The investment will see the construction of a new production plant in Guanajuato, as well as improving infrastructure, agricultural models, sustainability initiatives and community development programmes.

PepsiCo board chairman and CEO Ramón Laguarta said: “We are proud of our more than 110 years of history in Mexico and we are excited for the next 100.”