For its financial year ended 30 September 2000, Asia Pacific Breweries (APB) reported a decline in turnover by S$14.5m to S$343.9m (US$190m), due to lower Heineken exports from the Singapore brewery and a 3% volume decline in the Singapore beer market. APB’s CEO, Koh Poh Tiong, was reported as saying that young people were drinking more wine, coffee, water and other beverages. Also the decline in numbers of foreign construction workers by as many as 100,000 in the past year hit sales negatively.

The so-called Low Malt Beers (beers with a reduced malt portion) are gaining significant ground in the Japanese market. Their market share exceeded the 20% mark for the first time last year. Low Malts are less expensive compared to conventional beers, due to tax concessions in view of the lower malt portion in the grist. Recent statistics indicate that domestic sales of beer in Japan fell 0.7% in 2000. The Japanese beer market continues to be saturated, partly on account of the declining portion of younger people and the rising portion of elderly people in the population, so that increases in demand are limited.
Price-conscious consumers additionally shift from standard beer to Low Malts. According to statistics, sales of standard beer dropped 4.5% whereas sales of Low Malts rose 15%..

It is becoming apparent that there is a trend towards emergence of just a few brewing groups in the Peoples’ Republic of China. Even though supply of beer exceeds demand, domestic breweries are expanding capacity in order to be better positioned in a more competitive market. Foreign machine suppliers are deriving less benefit from this modernisation and expansion. In total, about 220 million hl of beer will have been produced in the PR of China in 2000, up from 209 million hl in the previous year, according to figures from the China Alcoholic Drinks Industry Association (CADIA). 40 million hl capacity was said to have remained unused in 1999.
In the next five years the brewing industry will change considerably.
There are over 800 breweries in China currently.

Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) completed its long-awaited sale of its troubled Philippines bottling operations. In a complex A$2.25bn (US$1.1bn) share and debt deal, the operations will be sold to a partnership of Philippines brewer San Miguel and the Coca-Cola Company, Atlanta. The deal will also see a change in CCA’s ownership structure. San Miguel’s 21 % stake will be cancelled and Atlanta Coke’s interest reduced from 37.6 % to 36 %, bringing up CCA’s free floating shares from 41.4 % to 64 %. The deal will also crystallise a loss of about A$1bn for CCA on its 1997 entry price into the Philippines business.

Lion Nathan has continued its aggressive push into the Victorian market, Foster’s home market, by launching a new premium beer, Hahn Witbier. The introduction of the Belgian-style wheat beer is another attempt by the Tasman brewer to break into the 18- to 30-year-old Victorian market. Over the past two years, Lion Nathan has bought 45 destination venues, such as fashionable pubs, nightclubs and licensed café-pubs, spending an estimated amount of A$60m (US$29m). The new Hahn Witbier is targeted at drinkers of premium beer, which is the fastest growing segment of the market, currently comprising just 6 %.

According to a report "World Drink Trends" recently published by NTC Publications, Henley-on-Thames/UK, wine consumption is rising at the expense of beer consumption in English-speaking Western countries. This general trend is also observed in Sweden and Germany, traditionally beer-drinking countries. In England, wine consumption rose 402 % between 1970 and 1999. The report covers more than 60 % of the world population and underlines the increasing popularity of beer in countries such as Portugal, Spain and also in Brazil, Paraguay and Turkey.
World beer production rose almost 1.4 million hl in 1998, particularly in South-East Asian and Latin American countries.
Consumption of alcohol remains highest in Western Europe, although it is falling in these countries..

Australia’s chains of liquor stores seem to be outdoing one another in special offers. In February a 24-pack of Carlton Draught retailed for A$26.99, a 24-pack of Foster’s Light Ice for A$19.99 (US$9.79), a 24-pack of Hahn Premium for A$40.99 and the equivalent of 24 bottles of Crown Lager for A$45.98 (US$22.50). The rationale is that some brands are just standard and others premium. Compare that with the price of 8 bottles of Lemon Ruski - A$20.99 - or UDL’s Vodka & Raspberry RTD - A$18 - and you get the full picture.

The Australia and New Zealand Food Standards Council has revealed plans for a major reform of how local food manufacturers label their packaged foods. Under the new code, which has been approved of by State and New Zealand health ministers, all packaged food will have to carry nutrition labels, indicating the level of fat, salt, kilojoules and carbohydrates. Furthermore, almost all labels will have to carry a breakdown of the percentage content of ingredients. There are concessions for seven food categories: cream, icecream, peanut butter, yoghurt, chocolate, fruit juice drinks and jam.
The new labelling code will be introduced over the next two years. It has been met with an outcry by the Australian Food and Grocery Council. Visit its website at

It was a logical next step. In the 1960s, Australia gave the world wine in a box. Now it has introduced wine in a 330ml aluminium can. It took wine producer Iron Bridge from the state of Victoria and the packaging company Amcor Beverage Cans over three years to develop the concept. The makers of the product claim that wine in a can has a significant advantage over wine in a bottle because cans are tamper proof and safe from exterior influences which are known to cause oxidation and spoilage. Iron Bridge’s 1998 Cabernet Shiraz will retail for A$5.50 (US$2.70) per can. The wine producer plans to launch a website, for online ordering.

Allied Domecq and Diageo are thought to be keen on acquiring New World wine companies. Rumours that Diageo was going to bid for Foster’s Brewing Group are indicative of such an interest.
Although forecasts issued by the organisers of the Vinexpo trade show argue that the world’s wine industry will face a surplus of more than 100m hl a year by 2005, Beringer Blass’ Managing Director, Terry Davis, was quoted as saying that there was still a shortage of premium grapes.
That is probably one of the reason why Australasian wine companies are on a frantic buying spree. In March Southcorp (Penfolds, Lindemans), which produces 18m cases, took over the family-owned Rosemount Estates wine company, which produces 4.25m cases, for A$1.5bn (US$735m).3bn company (US$2.1bn (US$539m)..

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