UK gin sales surpassed £2bn mark

UK gin sales and exports surpassed £2bn ($2.6bn) this year, according to a report released by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

The records indicated that British consumers purchased nearly 60 million gin bottles at retail outlets, pubs and restaurants, representing an additional 14.4 million bottles compared with last year. This is thought to have generated an extra £516m.

WSTA’s CEO Miles Beale said: “Gin has proved itself to be just the tonic for the government’s ambitions to grow exports of premium British products.”

Coca-Cola India launched Minute Maid Smoothie

Coca-Cola India expanded its Minute Maid portfolio with the addition of a new smoothie product containing fruit, milk and nutrients.

Called the Minute Maid Smoothie, the new offering is available in mango and banana flavours and will be retailed for Rs30 ($0.42) for a 250ml bottle.

With the launch, the company is making a commitment towards the Fruit Circular Economy initiative, providing an array of healthy and nutritious beverage choices to its Indian consumers.

Black Storm acquires gluten-free drinks manufacturer

UK-based Black Storm Brewery acquired gluten-free drinks manufacturer Autumn Brewing.

The acquisition is reported to be part of the company’s strategy to further strengthen its position in the UK market.

Autumn Brewing director Peter Briggs told media sources: “The transfer of ownership provides a number of benefits for Autumn Brewing and its award-winning Alt Brew brand of naturally gluten-free beer.”

Alcohol consumption rate reached 55-year low mark in Australia

Alcohol consumption in Australia is reported to have significantly reduced to a level that has not been seen since the 1960s, according to the Australia Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) data.

The total alcohol consumed by Australians aged more than 15 years old in 2016-17 was equivalent to 186 million litres of pure alcohol. This reflects a large reduction in consumption per person, at 9.4l.

ABS’ health statistics director Louise Gates said: “This is the lowest annual figure since 1961-62 and it continues a recent downward trend, which started around 2008-09.”

Edrington Acquired Wyoming Whiskey to Expand to US Whisky Market

Scottish spirits company Edrington acquired a minority stake in US-based bourbon producer Wyoming Whiskey to expand its spirits portfolio to the US whisky category.

Edrington’s CEO Ian Curle said: “We’re pleased to be partnering with the Mead family to bring Wyoming Whiskey into the Edrington portfolio.

“This deal is a further step towards becoming the world’s leading premium spirits company and adds to a brilliant year, which has seen us open our award-winning distillery and brand home for The Macallan.”

FrieslandCampina to invest in RTD milk plant in Nigeria

Dutch dairy cooperative Royal FrieslandCampina announced plans to invest in an evaporated milk and ready-to-drink (RTD) milk plant in Nigeria.

The €23m investment is reported to be part of the company’s Dairy Development Programme (DDP).

FrieslandCampina’s CEO Hein Schumacher made the announcement during his visit to Nigeria’s capital city.

Brakspear and Toast Ale to brew ale made from waste bread

UK-based brewer and pub operator Brakspear partnered with Toast Ale to brew Henley on Toast, new 4.1% ale that is made from waste bread.

The new Henley on Toast will be brewed at Brakspear’s Bell Street Brewery in Henley by head brewer Malcolm Mayo using waste bread; pale, cara and crystal malts; and a portion of oats.

The beverage will also feature sliced oranges and Bramling Cross and Amarillo hops, as well as Cascade, which will be added as a late hop.

IGC executed distribution agreement for energy drink products

India Globalization Capital (IGC) executed a ten-year distribution agreement for energy drink products, including sugar-free beverage Nitro G.

With the latest agreement in place, IGC is also entering the hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) infused energy drinks category.

Under the distribution agreement, IGC has agreed to pay 797,000 shares of restricted and unregistered common stock with an option for multiple five-year extensions for the rights to market the products in the US, Canada, Mexico and South America.

KDP acquired beverage firm Core Nutrition for $525m

US-based soft drinks company Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP) signed a definitive agreement to acquire beverage maker Core Nutrition in a deal valued at $525m.

Established in 2015, Core Nutrition’s portfolio includes nutrient-enhanced bottled water Core Hydration and Core Organic, which has been certified organic by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Core Nutrition’s two beverage products are currently being distributed by KDP.

Albert Heijn unveiled blockchain mapping technology

Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn and soft drinks bottler Refresco launched a blockchain mapping technology to increase chain transparency.

By scanning the quick response (QR) code through their smartphone devices, consumers will be able to track the supply chain of Albert Heijn’s ambient orange juice, which is sourced from Louis Dreyfus Company’s (LDC) juice business using oranges grown in Brazil. The juice is then bottled by Rofresco before being supplied to  Albert Heijn.

The blockchain mapping technology also provides information about the orange’s harvest date range and degree of sweetness.