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The Americas

Canada | No joke. On 1 April 2021 the government’s excise tax on beer was increased for the fifth time in four years, and the second time during the pandemic. This increase will place additional stress on struggling bars and restaurants, as well as the 149000 Canadians whose jobs are supported by the production and sale of beer, Beer Canada, a trade group, said.

Mexico | A populist to the core, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador slammed the production of beer and milk in areas where there is not enough water. In 2020, the populist president already cancelled plans for Constellation’s new 10 million hl brewery on Mexico’s northern border, and on 29 March 2021 he questioned the whole idea of producing beer for export.

USA | For once the doom-mongers were wrong. Restrictions to prevent the spread of covid-19 in 2020 did not force thousands of craft brewers out of business, The Brewers Association (BA) revealed on 8 April 2021.

USA | Hard seltzers are among the fastest-growing categories within the beer, spirits and wine category, and should continue growing in the double digits this year, AB-InBev’s North American chief Michel Doukeris said on 17 March 2021 on CNBC.

USA | Good grief – what is ranch water? By all accounts it is a hard seltzer that takes its inspiration from a popular Texan highball cocktail, which is mixed with lime juice, tequila, and Topo Chico, a brand of sparkling mineral water from Mexico.

USA | Molson Coors, the number two brewer in the US, fell victim to a cyber attack that appears to have left it unable to access an undisclosed number of systems, and disrupted some of its core business activities. The incident took place on 11 March and was disclosed in an SEC filing on 12 March 2021. Unconfirmed reports argue that it is a ransomware attack.

USA | Figures for thought: Global beer consumption increased annually until 2010, when per capital consumption reached 26.7 litres, and then declined through 2020, when per capita consumption was projected to hit only 24 litres.

USA | Remember Dean Metropoulos, the man who helped turn around Pabst Blue Ribbon before he sold it to its current owners? In February 2021, Nestlé agreed to sell its bottled water business NWNA in the US and Canada to private equity firm One Rock Capital Partners, in a deal worth USD 4.3 billion.

USA | Gone are the days when the founder of Denver’s Wyncoop Brewery, John Hickenlooper, now a Senator in Washington, could quip: “My competition is television.” Nowadays a brewer’s list of competitors is far longer and will likely include legal recreational cannabis.

USA | Plenty of cannabis beverages could hit the shelves in the US this year. As says the Beverage Marketing Corporation (BMC), New York, producers have adopted the tactic of first launching in states, which have fully legalised cannabis, often through a subsidiary and/or licensing system to avoid full legal exposure.

USA | The growth rates are still staggering: Boston Beer said that the US hard seltzer category constituted about 7 percent of domestic beer consumption in 2020, having grown approximately 160 percent over 2019.