Last Call: Heineken Takes Minority Stake in Chinese Beer Giant; ZX Ventures Makes E-Commerce Play in Australia

Heineken Strikes $3.1 Billion Deal with China Resources Beer

Heineken today said it would spend $3.1 billion to acquire a 40 percent stake in China Resources Beer, the largest Chinese beer company and maker of the widely distributed Snow brand.

In turn, CR Beer parent company China Resources Enterprise has agreed to purchase 0.9 percent of shares in Heineken — the world’s second largest beer manufacturer — for $537.5 million, according to a press release.

“We believe that our strong Heineken brand and marketing capabilities, combined with CR Beer’s deep understanding of the local market, its scale and best-in-class distribution network will create a winning combination in the growing premium beer segment in China,” Heineken chairman and CEO Jean-François van Boxmeer said, via the release.

“We believe we can win together in this new era of the Chinese beer market, in which the premium segment will become increasingly important,” China Resources Enterprise chairman Chen Lang added.

According to Reuters, the two companies are conducting due diligence in order to receive regulatory approval in China.

ZX Ventures Acquires BoozeBud

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s “global growth and innovation team” ZX Ventures has acquired Australia-headquartered online alcohol retailer BoozeBud, according to The Shout.

ZX Ventures’ head of craft, new business development and e-commerce business Rodolfo Chung, told the outlet that ZX believes BoozeBud has not yet realized its full potential.

“We believe that we are in the right moment in terms of the growth of the e-commerce business in Australia,” he told the outlet. “We do have experience in other countries, we have had some very good results and we see this growing a lot elsewhere and it is inevitable that this is going to happen here.”

BoozeBud, which works with about 400 suppliers in Australia, is the most recent investment for ZX Ventures, whose portfolio includes online retailer, Beer Hawk in the United Kingdom, along with several international breweries, two major U.S. homebrew supply companies, the RateBeer platform and more.

Toppling Goliath Sues Former Brewer

Iowa-based Toppling Goliath is attempting to block its former head brewer from working at a new brewery in Cedar Rapids, according to the Associated Press.

According to the lawsuit, Chris Flenker signed a two-year non-compete that barred him from working with a competing brewery located within 150 miles of Decorah.

Flenker, who worked at Toppling Goliath from 2015 to 2107, went to work for his brother, who owns Thew Brewing in Cedar Rapids, a little more than 100 miles away from Toppling Goliath earlier this year.

Toppling Goliath is seeking an injunction to bar Flenker’s employment due to his access to recipes, formulas and other trade secrets, the outlet reported.

Beer Institute Announces June Domestic Tax Paid Estimates

U.S. brewers shipped 3.8 percent fewer barrels of beer during June 2018 than during the same period last year, according to the Beer Institute, citing the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau’s (TTB) unofficial estimate of domestic tax paid shipments for U.S. beer producers.

The BI noted that June 2018 had one fewer selling day compared to last June, and adjusting for the missing day, beer shipment volumes actually increased 0.8 percent.

“Inventories had been running below normal levels at the end of May due to unexpectedly favorable weather, which caused many distributors to order more beer for delivery in June than they would have otherwise,” BI chief economist Michael Uhrich said, via a press release.

U.S. brewers shipped a total of 16,327,000 barrels of beer in June, according to the BI. The total number of barrels shipped for the year — 83,736,000 — is down 3.7 percent (3,177,512 barrels) compared to the same six-month period last year.

Illinois Wholesaler Closes After More Than 70 Years

Illinois’ Skokie Valley Beverage Co. is selling off its business after more than 70 years, according to the Chicago Tribune.

One of the beneficiaries of the sale is Chicago’s Lakeshore Beverage Co., which is acquiring the rights to distribute the Old Style beer brand in Wrigleyville along with LaCroix sparkling water, the outlet reported.

Reyes Holdings’ Chicago Beverage Systems and Windy City Distributing will split up the rest of Skokie Valley’s portfolio, with the former gaining the rights too about 1 million cases annually of the Modelo and Corona Mexican import labels in northern Cook County, while the latter will gain the rights to the Wild Onion Brewery brand.

Buffalo Wild Wings Partners to Release 5 Beers for Fantasy Football Drafts

Just in time for fantasy football season, Buffalo Wild Wings has partnered with five regional craft breweries — including Deschutes, Founders, Harpoon, Odell and Sweetwater — to release a new series for beers for drafts.

The five beers will be released by region, with Founders 3rd and Lager available in the central states; Harpoon Simcoe the Underdog Pale Ale available in the North Atlantic region; Sweetwater Low Hanging Fruit Golden Ale available in the South Atlantic; Deschutes Fantasy Football League India Pale Lager released in the Pacific; and Odell Draft Party Milkshake IPA served in the Mountain region.

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