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The Americas

In a bold move, Jim Koch of The Boston Beer Company, notified 450 distributors this summer that he would buy back all out-of-code (i.e. no longer brewery-fresh) Samuel Adams for the month of March. The brewer expects to fork out up to US$2 million to get back cases of Samuel Adams which have sat around too long with distributors. Until August more than two million bottles of Samuel Adams had been shipped to a recycler. According to Jim Koch, nothing was thrown into landfills or sewers. Even the beer was recycled into ethanol, an additive for petrol. The Boston Beer Company was founded in 1985 and was the 6th largest brewer in the US in 1999.

The Guinness Bass Import Co., USA, has decided to produce the Harp Lager brand for the US market in Canada under a licensing agreement with the Labatt Brewing Co, beginning in the autumn. The decision to brew Harp in Canada is based on, yes, financial considerations. GBIC’s president Tim Kelly was quoted saying that his goal was to bring the Harp lager brand to profitability, which would allow him to increase investments thus accelerating growth in both existing and new markets.

In September, Interbrew sold its 80 % stake in the Toronto Blue Jays baseball club to Rogers Communication for US$112 million. The transaction is subject to Major League Baseball and regulatory approval. 50% of the purchase price will be satisfied by the issuance of Rogers Class B shares. Labatt, Interbrew’s Canadian subsidiary, will continue to support the team as the leading sponsor of the Blue Jays.

Anheuser-Busch has been chosen by the Commission on Presidential Debates as a national corporate sponsor of the four presidential debates for the 2000 election to be held in November. The brewer will be the sole sponsor of the debate taking place in St. Louis on 17 October, the company reported.

Instead of the forecast synergies in the order of R$504 million, the merger of Antarctica and Brahma into AmBev seems to require an investment of R$75 million to integrate the operations, distribution and logistics systems of both companies. As the Vice President of AmBev, Victório de Marchi, said these costs were not included in the initial plan for the merger, but were caused by CADE, the government anti-trust body, taking nine months to finally approve of the merger.

Kaiser, the second largest brewer in Brazil, announced that it would take advantage of AmBev’s re-focusing following the merger to increase its own market share to 20%. To this end, Kaiser has doubled its advertising budget and plans to invest R$30 million in a multimedia campaign that will use home videos of consumers in neighbourhood bars for television commercials.

Heineken is believed to be in negotiations to raise its current 14% stake in Cervejarias Kaiser. Kaiser is the second largest brewer in Brazil with a market share of 15%. Market leader AmBev controls 71% and Schincariol 12%. According to a recent report by the Emerging Markets Brewery Fund, HVB New York, the traditional duopolistic structure of South American beer markets is soon to be a thing of the past. In nine out of twelve countries, a single brewer controls more than 80% of the market. Over the past 18 months the major brewers in Brazil, Colombia and Peru swallowed their competitors thus strengthening their position in their domestic markets.

In the beginning was .... no word. Every so often Europeans are at a loss for words when faced with what turns Americans on. And this is one of those times.

Someone has been chasing tail ... someone who really should know better. In fact, his illicit pursuits almost cost him his job. Besides, why does he have to play with cigars? Especially since smoking is so Politically Incorrect these days. And Cuban cigars to boot. His name: Bill C. And here is someone else striving to consolidate his company’s market leadership and just happens to become a monopolist along the way. However, the trade regulators do not take kindly to this and drag him to court. Now it looks as if his company will be broken into two separate companies. His name: Bill G. 60% .

This summer, Grupo Modelo, Mexico’s number one brewer, started selling its leading brand Corona Extra in a can presentation. From now on it will be possible to enjoy the US’s leading import brand in places like planes, golf courses, stadiums and other locations where there are restrictions on products in glass containers. Nevertheless, the 12-ounce clear glass bottle will remain Corona Extra’s main package. Other packages available in the US are 22- and 7-ounce bottles of Corona Extra, 12-ounce bottles of Corona Light, Negra Modelo and Pacifico and Modelo Especial in bottles and cans of the same volume. Grupo Modelo exports five brands with a presence in more than 140 countries.

For those desiring a little extra Tequila to tickle their taste buds, Anheuser-Busch has rolled out Tequiza Extra, a beer which does not have added lime or the sweetness characteristic of its sister product, Tequiza, which was rolled out in February 1999.
Tequiza Extra contains 5.6% alc./vol. and 147 calories per 12-ounce serving. It is available in six- and 12-packs of clear, 12-ounce import style bottles that feature a twist-off cap. The brand is supported by English and Spanish language radio and print advertising.
Twang Inc., San Antonio, has teamed up with Anheuser-Busch to incorporate Tequiza-Twang, a lemon-lime flavoured salt, into its national rollout of Tequiza Extra. As the slogan goes: 1. Lick the salt, 2. Drink the beer.29 to US$1.79 per bottle (1.4-oz. bottle)./vol..

Grupo Modelo’s total shipments in the first half of the year reached 18.0 million hl, growing 3.0% compared to the same period 1999. This was mainly achieved by a 3.2% increase in domestic volume and a 2.3% growth in export shipments. Export volume for the first half 2000 accounted for 24.9% of the total volume compared to the 25.1% registered last year. Net sales were 13,897 million pesos, up 5.9%. However, during the second quarter, total shipments of beer grew only 0.9%, representing a 1.4% increase in the domestic market and a 0.5% decrease in exports. In effect, second quarter sales were 7,632 million pesos, a 4.2% rise over II-99. Earning per share were 0.88 pesos compared to 0.93 pesos to the first half of 1999.