Dear Client:  Heineken USA just told their distributor council some tough news.  BBD has learned that HUSA will cut about 14% of its workforce, effective January 1, to help right-size their cost structure after a tough year for overall Heineken NV results.  Recall Heineken had made a commitment to no restructuring related to COVID-19 in … Continue reading “HUSA Downsizing About 14% of Workforce Effective January 1”

Dear Client:  In late August, we reported on Nude Beverage’s aspiration to be a top three hard seltzer player in the U.S. Already the bestselling hard seltzer brand in its native Western Canada, the company started rolling in several (many of them western) U.S. states earlier this year [see BBD 08-28-2020].  Founder Julius Makarewicz recently … Continue reading “Nude Launching Tequila Hard Soda and Hard Iced Tea this Spring”

Dear Client:  Just as we’d adjusted our “fat” pants, and were limbering our knuckles to hit the BBD platinum keyboard yesterday morning, an alarming e-mail popped into our inbox: “Would love to hear from other distributors across the nation as November was really tough for us. We only grew single digits in the off and … Continue reading “Many Distribs Forecast a Tough December”

Dear Client:  We’d heard the name of A-B’s shelf-setting program, IGNITE, thrown around the last year or so. But we weren’t really sure what it recommended, or how it stacks up against, say, Constellation’s Shopper First Shelf. (Spoiler alert: A-B’s method sets shelves by price, with lots of space for lagers, and throws Beyond Beer … Continue reading “Behind A-B’s IGNITE Program”

Dear Client:  “The Fixx.” It sounds like a Beachbody workout, or maybe a supplement. And that’s half appropriate, because it’s actually the imminent hard seltzer from Bang we first told you about last week.  According to a sell sheet BBD has procured from our never-failing, nefarious backchannels, Bang’s “Fixx” hard seltzer will hit the regular … Continue reading “Here Comes “The Fixx” Hard Seltzer from Bang, With Electrolytes”

Dear Client:  Despite contrary reports, City Brewing chief George Parke III says the company is not for sale. This, after a Bloomberg article surfaced late last week claiming that the massive contract brewer was mulling a sale, citing “people with knowledge of the matter.” These anonymous sources reportedly told the outlet that the La Crosse-based … Continue reading “City Brewing Chief Shuts Down Speculation of a Sale”

Dear Client:  The fact that Bang has to come back to beer wholesalers, having allegedly “fired” Pepsi from an exclusive distribution agreement, and apparently wanting to launch a hard seltzer — well, it ain’t gonna be without significant concessions from Bang.  That’s clear, from distributors who are already being courted again by the bombastic company.  … Continue reading “Beer Distribs Say Bang Contracts Need “Significant” Changes”

Dear Client:  We got new A-B Beyond Beer marketing VP, Lana Buchanan, on the horn this week, hoping she’d already had an afternoon cocktail and would spill the beans on some of the promising new brand launches and partnerships (so many partnerships) that we’ve been hearing about.  She was ready to talk about some key … Continue reading “A-B Leveraging Big Partnerships with The Wine Group, Margaritaville and More for ’21”

Dear Client:  There are a few theories about what has gone on with Bang Energy this week:   They “fired” PepsiCo as their distributor, although in reality they just put them on notice and have subsequently been reaching out to a few of their former beer distributors to take them back. They have announced to retailers that … Continue reading “The Big Bang Theory”

Dear Client:  BBD has just intercepted a note to retailers from a Bang regional account manager, alerting its customers of a big new 2021 launch: Bang Hard Seltzer.  “Very exciting news coming from VPX Sports/Bang Energy,” it said. “We will be launching a Bang Hard Seltzer in late Q1 – Q2 of 2021  We … … Continue reading “Bang Planning Hard Seltzer for Q2 2021”

Dear Client:  Well, that was quick. Yesterday, Bang released a terse statement: they are terminating their “exclusive distribution partnership with PepsiCo,” which you may remember was only established a few months ago, in April.  (See BBD 04-28-2020) Bang gave notice of terminating Pepsi as its exclusive distributor on October 23, 2020, “citing multiple issues and … Continue reading “Bang To PepsiCo: “You’re Fired” (Or Are They?)”

Dear Client:  You heard it here first: Expect a rash of Ranch Water and other tequila/agave-themed seltzer offerings in 2021. It’s the next big seltzer trend.  And it makes sense: The first hard seltzer wave sought to emulate the vodka seltzer craze, with a more accessible, ready-made product. But there are only so many “riffs” … Continue reading “A-B Jumps into the Ranch Water Game”

Dear Client:  Want to know how the total bev alc landscape is looking heading into the home stretch of the year? Nielsen has you covered. The firm sent out a note right before the weekend hit, highlighting the latest bev alc growth in the off-premise, where things stand in the on-premise as well as with … Continue reading “The Best of Times, The Worst of Times”

Dear Client:  Sparkling Ice — the top non-alc flavored sparkling water brand — has just announced the launch of their new hard seltzer line, Sparkling Ice Spiked.  Soda sleuths may know that Sparkling Ice is owned by a 33-year-old private beverage company, Talking Rain, headquartered in the Pac Northwest. The company has grown into a … Continue reading “The Top Non-Alc Seltzer Brand is Getting Spiked”

Dear Client:  Yesterday morning brought news that Mark Anthony Brewing (apparently a subsidiary of Mark Anthony Brands, calling itself the fourth largest US brewer) is busy working on another big, hairy capex project, having just erected plants in New Jersey and Arizona this year. Execs declined to share how much production will be in-house vs. … Continue reading “More on Mark Anthony’s Big Capex Bet”