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INSIGHTS Weekly Digest

 Vol 1, No 24   Oct 19, 2020

 News, Numbers, Info, and More                                                       published by Beer Marketer's INSIGHTS, Inc.

All articles shown below are excerpts from one of INSIGHTS’ 5 newsletter publications:Beer Marketer’s INSIGHTS, INSIGHTS Express, Craft Brew News, Alcohol Issues INSIGHTS, and Beverage Business INSIGHTS. Sign up to receive the INSIGHTS Weekly Digest directly to your inbox. Subscribe to our other publications to read full articles.

Prepping a GABF Like No Other and Facing Sharp Criticism, Leaner, “Scrappy” BA Presses Forward – CRAFT 10/13/20 Normally one of the biggest beer events of the year, drawing some 60K attendees to the Denver Convention Center in recent years, this weekend’s 2020 Great American Beer Festival will be far from “normal.” This year’s fest is a “stripped down, bare-bones” version of what it’s been, explained Ann Obenchain, marketing director of the event’s host, the Brewers Assn, in a recent conversation with Craft Brew News. As managing the competition took precedence, the virtual version of the festival will generate just 3% of the revenue of an in-person event, Ann shared. But the show must go on. Read more.

Constellation Network Picking Up BioSteel RTD Hydrator; NA Skeptics Reyes, Manhattan Beer Are First Distribs Aboard – BEVERAGE BUSINESS 10/13/20 Things are getting complicated on NA front in beer-land. Just as Molson Coors is revving up concerted effort to play in NAs with brands like Zen WTR and La Colombe Coffee, Constellation Brands has thrown its hat into the ring, picking up RTD extension of BioSteel sports powders for its wholesaler network that heavily overlaps that of Molson Coors.  That’s conjuring vision of some houses, including BioSteel’s first partners Reyes Group and Manhattan Beer, that may soon find themselves awash with potentially competing NA entries from their biggest 2 beer suppliers. 

Dogfish to Debut Non-Alc Entry Too as Boston Aims for NA Leadership in Craft CRAFT 10/15/20 Here comes Dogfish Head Lemon Quest, new non-alc going nationwide next Feb. It’s a lemon, blueberry, açai and sea-salt infused wheat beer that co will debut during virtual GABF press brunch, with samples shipped across US. Clocking in at just 93 calories, the new DFH entry will get slim-can treatment in 6-pks. News comes just over a month after parent co Boston Beer announced big 2021 Sam Adams bet in form of non-alc New England-style IPA, Just the Haze, recall.

New Dawn? SunRise, Heineken’s Seltzer Play With AriZona, Is Here at Last EXPRESS 10/15/20 One yr after INSIGHTS first reported it was coming, Heineken USA and AriZona Bevs announced their partnership on a seltzer last night, just before meeting with distribs. (At last yr’s meeting, HUSA hinted at unnamed major NA partnership that was coming soon.) HUSA and AriZona’s Hornell Brewing will enter red-hot seltzer mkt with natl launch of AriZona SunRise Hard Seltzer next spring in time for resets. Heineken will distribute and lead mktg on brand.  

HUSA Pushing Hard on Innovation in 2021; More 0.0 Growth, Coming Can Focus, Better CoreEXPRESS 10/15/20 Heineken USA had tuff 1st half, but sales improving lately in scans, 0.0 is a real shot-in-arm, lotsa innovation coming and it can sell a lot more cans, execs showed in regional meetings with distribs. “Innovation” tops priority list for HUSA heading into next yr. It’s looking to be “major player” in 2021 thru slew of new brands, flavor extensions and packages launching, cmo Jonnie Cahill emphasized. AriZona SunRise hard seltzer is biggest new bet, expected to be in distrib warehouses by Feb 1 latest. But other innovations included Dos Equis Lime & Salt, Dos Variety Pack, Mich Ultra fighter called Tecate Alta and several tests.

Coke Outlines Brand Prioritization Strategy That’s Now Claimed Tab as Latest Casualty – BEVERAGE BUSINESS 10/16/20 Amid drumbeat of media coverage of beloved (by some) brands that are biting the dust, Coca-Cola has opened window into its recent brand-winnowing strategy, describing process undertaken in consultation with bottlers and retail customers that seeks to foment needle-moving wins without stunting promising local and regional entries, per blog it posted explaining strategy. By now, roster of discontinued brands has included long-familiar ones like Odwalla, Zico and Tab, less familiar ones like Coca-Cola Life and Diet Coke Feisty Cherry, and regional entries like Northern Neck Ginger Ale and Delaware Punch. 

Slow Start to Pepsi/Bang Alliance Has Nerves Fraying on Both Sides – BEVERAGE BUSINESS 10/16/20 Nerves seem to be fraying between Bang Energy and its new national distribution partner PepsiCo as execs at Bang owner VPX fume over poor execution and shelf space lost to sibling brand Rockstar in key western markets, even as Pepsi execs blame Bang’s slowing velocity, pandemic impact and latest corporate reorg, from what we’re hearing on street. With a massive new plant outside Atlanta having just come on-stream, production issues of the recent past would seem to be behind Bang. But the Pepsi distribution system itself seems to have become bottleneck, with trucks not always able to accommodate full orders amid the demands of Pepsi-owned brands and the company reluctant to add routes, at a time the latest reorg still has PEP managers easing into their new roles. So an out-of-stock issue that was a severe irritant for VPX with some Bud wholesalers hasn’t improved, and may have even worsened in some areas.

Northeast Beverage Buying Levine in CT; Another AB Distrib Sells to Non-AB Distrib EXPRESS 10/16/20 Times they are a changin’. For the 2d time in 2d half 2020, AB distrib deal announced where AB distrib selling to non-AB distrib in Northeast. Levine in Norwich, Connecticut, a 1.5-mil-case AB distrib, will sell to Northeast Bev of CT in Orange. Recall, earlier this summer, McLaughlin & Moran announced deal to sell to C&C Dist in RI. Both C&C Dist and Northeast Bevs are Mancini family cos. Deal expected to close by end of yr.

Diageo Beer Co Looks to Double Its Biz Over Next 5 Yrs and Double Its Investment; New Brands, Plans – EXPRESS 10/16/20 Diageo Beer Co laid out big plans in virtual meeting this yr: co plans to double its top line and double its investments over next 5 yrs, said prexy Nuno Teles, as it aims to gain share not just in beer, but in total alc bevs. DBC already growing double digits, 3d fastest-growing major supplier, said Nuno. Up 23% last 52 weeks and gaining share in Nielsen, almost double the category rate. To keep its momentum, DBC stepping up to plate with “large” ($100 mil in all) investment in supply chain as well as several new brands and extensions, including Guinness Nitro Coffee (4% ABV) and new variations on Smirnoff.

Reimagining Third Places; Recapturing “The Joyful Association Among Strangers” – ALCOHOL ISSUES 10/16/20 No part of the alcohol beverage industry has been as hard hit as “The Third Place,” the small bars celebrated by sociologist Ray Oldenburg in “The Great Good Place.” Briefly, “third places” exist between work and home. They are inclusive, accessible (open to all and for long hours), comfortable, affordable, casual and democratic. They host regulars, but also strangers. Conversation, often with those strangers, is as critical a feature as the drink at a third place. Neighborhood bars, sometimes dubbed “dive bars,” fit this bill perfectly. Lacking outdoor space, food service or the ability to socially distance, these third places are dying by the droves as a result of the pandemic.

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