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The Americas

USA | There were three takeaways from Coca-Cola’s strong second quarter 2021, when net turnover grew 42 percent to USD 10 billion: The on-premise, which was pummelled last year, has rebounded. Its core brands performed strongly and its efficient distribution networks played an important role.

USA | Boston Beer’s investors are given to violent mood swings. After hitting record stock prices on high hopes for hard seltzers, Boston Beer’s shares dropped 18 percent on 22 July 2021, following the release of the brewer’s second quarter results, which fell short of analysts’ expectations, and the company admitted it had “overestimated the growth of the hard seltzer category”.

USA | Heineken posted a minute-long commercial on YouTube on 8 July 2021, showing silver birds (aka senior citizens) dancing in a nightclub and running to skinny-dip at a nearby beach. It ended with the message, “The night belongs to the vaccinated. Time to join them.”

USA | The beer distribution model has changed dramatically over the past few decades, says the Beverage Marketing Corporation, New York. With the focus on scale and efficiencies, consolidation among distributors has given rise to mega-distributors, such as the privately-owned Reyes Beer Division, a part of Reyes Holding (estimated turnover of USD 29 billion), and Columbia Distributing, headquartered in Portland, Oregon.

USA | Touting “Drink A Seltzer and Help Save a River” was not enough to sway consumers. As hard seltzer sales move into the crucial summer season, Coors Seltzer is getting out of the game.

USA | AB-InBev’s new guard, CEO Michel Doukeris and North America chief Brendan Whitworth, have their work cut out. In his farewell interview with the Financial Times (FT) newspaper, on 4 July 2021, former CEO Carlos Brito, who stepped down at the end of June, said that the age of megadeals is over. This, analysts said, will put more pressure on AB-InBev to build brands and grow organically, although its scale has sometimes stood in the way of agility.

Canada | Because of a lingering fear that legal cannabis would eat into beer sales, brewers have openly embraced cannabis companies. Constellation Brands was the first major alcohol producer to break the taboo. In 2017, it took a USD 4 billion stake in Canadian producer Canopy Growth. Other brewers followed suit.

USA | The beer industry enters into the summer selling season with a stiff wind at its back, at least in terms of shipments. Brewers had a very solid start to 2021. Was 2020 just a passing storm with no lasting impact?

USA | It was kind of unsettling to hear Jim Koch, the founder of Boston Beer, only talk about hard seltzers at the US industry gathering, the Beverage Forum, which was held in May. Is beer on the way out, and its continued decline taken for granted, that everybody is painting the future of hard seltzers and a host of Alternative Adult Beverages in glowing hues?

USA | Disruption may be such an overused term. But it perfectly describes what hard seltzers did to the US beer market. At the Beverage Forum, organised by the Beverage Marketing Corporation and conducted online in early May 2021, Anthony van Mandl, 71, the owner of Mark Anthony Brands and maker of White Claw, explained which trends boosted the category.

USA | Allegations of sexual, racial and other misconduct, which were published on Instagram in May, have rocked the American craft beer industry. They have prompted resignations, firings and promises for change.