UK raised £153.8m from sugar tax on soft drinks

Statistics published by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) revealed that manufacturers and traders of soft drinks in the UK paid an additional £153.8m in sugar tax since it was introduced in April this year.

Known as the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL), the new tax was introduced to address childhood obesity and encourage manufacturers to reduce the sugar content of drinks products.

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Robert Jenrick said: “Today’s figures show the positive impact the soft drinks levy is having by raising millions of pounds for sports facilities and healthier eating in schools, as well as encouraging manufacturers to cut the sugar in more than half the drinks found in UK stores.”

Unilever and Nestle competed to buy GSK’s Horlicks business in India

Unilever and Nestle emerged as the leading bidders to acquire GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Indian nutrition business Horlicks, according to Reuters.

Sources familiar with the development said that the deal could be around $3bn as GSK owns a 72.5% stake in India’s GSK Consumer Healthcare, reports The Times of India.

A GSK Consumer Healthcare spokesperson was quoted by The Times of India as saying: “We are conducting a strategic review and expect to conclude that by the year-end.”

Rasna entered malt-based health drink segment

India-based instant fruit concentrate manufacturer Rasna ventured into the malt-based health drink market by launching two new products under its ‘Rasna Native Haat’ brand.

The newly launched products portfolio includes chocolate-flavoured honey vita and almond-flavoured badam vita.

Honey Vita is targeted primarily at children and will compete against established health drink brands such as Mondelez’s Cadbury Bournvita, GSK’s Boost, and Complan.

Johnnie Walker opened whisky retail store in Madrid, Spain

Johnnie Walker opened its first flagship experiential retail store in Madrid, Spain.

First announced in October, the new store is expected to become a leading destination for Scotch and whisky lovers.

It hosts a variety of immersive experiences such as whisky appreciation classes and tastings, and the flagship store features some of the rarest single malts in the world used by Johnnie Walker. It also features exclusive limited-edition curated collaborations.

Edrington sold Cutty Sark Scotch whisky brand to La Martiniquaise-Bardinet

Scottish spirits company Edrington agreed to sell its Cutty Sark Scotch whisky brand to French spirits group La Martiniquaise-Bardinet.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Though Cutty Sark Scotch Whisky was launched in 1923, Edrington became associated with the brand in the 1930s. Completion of the deal was expected within a month.

Blackwater’s Waterford distillery began whiskey production

Blackwater Distillery commenced the Irish whiskey distillation process at its facility in Ballyduff, near Lismore, Co Waterford.

The distillery will produce single malt and pot still Irish whiskey, as well as Blackwater Irish Gin.

Waterford’s distillery became the 21st operational distillery in Ireland.

Pepsi and Coca-Cola pledged to invest $1.4bn in Pakistan

The Government of Pakistan has announced that beverage majors PepsiCo and Coca-Cola will invest $1.4bn in the country in the next five years.

The statement came after executives from the two companies met with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Headed by the company’s Asia, Middle East and North Africa CEO Mike Spanos, the PepsiCo delegation pledged to make a further investment of $1.2bn in the next five years.

UK Government urged to ban sale of energy drinks to under-18s

Health campaigners and teachers in the UK reportedly urged the government to raise the age limit for the sale of energy drinks to 18.

The Children’s Food Campaign (CFC), the British Dietetic Association and the Action on Sugar campaign group suggested that an under-18 ban would help educational institutions combat behavioural issues linked to energy drinks consumption.

In August this year, the UK Government announced that it will ban the sale of energy drinks to children in England due to growing concerns over the impact of the heavily caffeinated and sugary drinks on young people’s health.

KDP and AB InBev introduced at-home cocktail machine in US

US-based Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP) partnered with global brewer Anheuser Busch InBev (AB InBev) to launch the Drinkworks Home Bar in the US.

Featuring 24 different recipes, the new pod-based machine prepares beers, ciders and cocktails.

Drinkworks’ CEO Nathaniel Davis said: “This joint venture (JV) was created with the mission of making the entire drinking experience, from purchase to creation and enjoyment, more remarkable through innovation.

Diageo to sell certain brands to Sazerac for $550m

Multinational alcoholic beverages company Diageo agreed to sell 19 brands to US-based distiller Sazerac for an aggregate consideration of $550m.

The brands involved in the transaction include Seagram’s VO, Seagram’s 83, Seagram’s Five Star, Myers’s, Parrot Bay, Romana Sambuca and Popov, as well as Yukon Jack, Goldschlager, Stirrings and The Club.

Other brands included in the deal are Scoresby, Black Haus, Peligroso, Relska, Grind, Piehole, Booth’s and John Begg.