It would have taken a long breath to succeed in the Chinese beer market. Too long apparently for Tasman brewer Lion Nathan. Rumour has it that Lion Nathan will sell its operations in China sometime soon. The assets are worth US$162 million. In the year ending 31 August 2000 Lion Nathan reported a loss of US$13.2 million in China, which makes it yet another year written in red ink since 1995.

In December, McWilliam’s Wines in Sydney recalled Holsten’s five-litre party keg due to an active yeast culture. Though it was claimed that the yeast was not harmful, the pressure build-up could cause seal failure. Customers were asked not to consume the product and to return it to the point of purchase for a full refund.

They gave us the sweaty palms and knee-trembling sort of cliff-hangers - and we judge from experience having suffered through the best cliff-hangers produced by Hollywood ever. Actually, it was a bit like a re-run of the street-emptying Penelope-Ulysses saga. Since September, the auction for the Seagram wines and spirits portfolio has kept potent suitors of the likes of Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Bacardi, Brown-Forman, Allied Domecq and Vin & Sprit on their toes. While the best and finest from Central Casting competed for Penelope’s favour, she or rather France’s Vivendi, a media, telecommunications and utilities conglomerate, feigned disinterest and patiently waited for the right one (read most cash rich one) to allow into her bed chamber.15 billion in cash on a debt free basis..

Carlsberg A/S (Carlsberg) has signed an agreement with the Asian Chang Beverage Company to form Carlsberg Asia Ltd. (Carlsberg Asia), a 50 : 50 joint venture that will look after the companies’ marketing and brewing activities in the Asian region. Carlsberg Asia will have a pro-forma net turnover of approximately US$770 million in the first year of operation. The pro-forma profits of the joint venture after tax are expected to be approximately US$100 million in the year 2001. Carlsberg Asia will, through its own breweries and licensed operations, brew 17 million hl of beer in its first year of operation, of which the Carlsberg brand is expected to represent 2.0 million hl.
The new company was established on January 1, 2001 with the head office in Singapore. Ltd..

Okay, the label is on the moronic side of tasteless, but we thought that if the Kiwis like it, who are we to judge. Blonde Mac, a wheat beer flavoured with orange peel and coriander, was released this past November to acknowledge Mac’s sponsorship of the Bizarre Bra section of the New Zealand Wearable Art Awards. It displays an automotive themed bra called "Hooters". Mac’s, a Nelson-based craft brewery owned by Tasman brewer Lion Nathan, has committed itself to releasing innovative beers which are supposed to capture the imagination of beer drinkers and non-beer drinkers alike. It has certainly achieved this goal. By the way, last year’s winner of the Bizarre Bra section was some contraption called "Flying Bazookas". Let’s hope its wearability was as high as Blonde Mac’s drinkability.

So James Bond, a.k.a Sean Connery, broke his promise that he would never return. Did we mind? Not a bit. Because "Bond ... James Bond" came back to save the world from an angst-master villain, enlisting the help of a woman with great pneumatic qualities. All was right.
Some years back, Asahi vowed that it would never enter the Happoshu market, a promise it broke in February with the introduction of the low-priced Asahi Honnama label. Happoshu tastes like beer but is usually significantly (ca. 30 %) cheaper than beer due to its low malt content, which attracts lower taxes.
Whether all is right in the Japanese beer market is open to doubt as Happoshu products last year accounted for 22.2 % of Japan’s malt beverage market. While Happoshu’s sales rose 15.
Asahi, Japan’s No..

The Chinese beer market has not been very kind to foreign companies in recent months. After the initial enthusiasm had evaporated, many companies have been squeezed out by domestic brewer Tsingtao. The problems in the 1.3 billion communist country are numerous: Equipment and raw materials have to be imported at high cost, specialist staff have oftentimes to be paid high incentives to attract them to the country. Five years ago, the situation for foreign companies looked very rosy, as recalled by Tsingtao Vice-Chairman Peng Zuoyi. Apparently, many investors underestimated the high costs, a reason why they had much higher production costs than domestic brewers. In actual fact, the price of foreign brands is oftentimes more than 5 CNY (about 1.
Tsingtao costs only 1 CNY (about 0. A 0..

Demand for mineral water, fruit juices, health drinks and "Lifestyle Drinks" should increase in the Peoples’ Republic of China as the standard of living goes up, in particular in urban areas. Some Chinese beverage producers have moved to establish their own brands and are trying, by product innovation, to increase market share. US American suppliers in particular have positioned themselves very forcibly in the Chinese beverage market whereas German machinery builders are among the most important suppliers.
Beverage consumption is expected to double in the Peoples’ Republic of China within the next five years. Per-capita consumption is expected to reach 20 l and output 270 million hl by 2005. Output will thus rise by an average of 14 % annually.3 CNY). Sales of 156.3 million hl..

You have to give winemakers the credit for always getting their prose right. Who else but a winemaker would describe his beer as 2a table beer which really shines after you have had a meal." Mind you, on our tables only the glassware shines ... and only when it’s polished and empty and unused. But that’s probably an irrelevancy to Coonawarra winemaker Phillip Dohnt who is the man behind the Coonawarra Pale Ale by the Lawrence Victor Estate. At present, the beer is brewed 700 km away from Coonawarra but plans are underway to establish a brewery in nearby Penola. The boutique beer seems to be doing well in Sydney and Melbourne among the fashionistas who know their peppery shiraz and complex cabernets sauvignons ... and the latest "table beer".

The opposition to GST brought them together: Australian Associated Brewers is suing the government to force it to pay back more than A$100 million (US$56 million) in beer taxes. The Australian government increased taxes on beer on 1 July 2000 (see the article "More buzz in Shiraz" in this issue) which brought up the price of draught beer by as much as 9 % whereas the tax on packaged beer was raised by only 1.9 %. The brewers argue that the Prime Minister John Howard broke a promise that the beer would only rise the uniform 1.9 % when the new tax took effect. Lion Nathan, Australia’s No 2 brewer, released a statement saying that the amount of beer sold on premises fell 4 % in the second half of 2000 from the same period a year ago. Grassroots activism, Australian style..

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