Inbev UK is to phase out Eiken Artois and Peeterman Artois in the off-trade by next April to focus more resources on Stella Artois and its new 4% variant. The brewer had made a family of Artois brands a key part of its marketing over the past couple of years, but has decided to refocus on what it sees as core growth opportunities. The move could be seen as preparing the ground for the arrival of the Anheuser-Busch portfolio after its successful acquisition by Inbev UK's Belgian parent.
A good year for Marston's
Turnover in Marston's beer division grew 8.7% to £91.4 million in the year to
Oct 4, but operating profit slipped 7% to 16.1 million as rising costs squeezed margins. Total beer volumes increased by 5%, and volumes of premium ale by 17.5% following the acquisitions of Ringwood and Wychwood. The company said it had increased market share in the off-trade during the year. In the year ahead, its off-trade bottled ale portfolio will be focused on Marston's Pedigree, Marston's Old Empire, Hobgoblin, Wychcraft, Brakspear Oxford Gold, Ringwood Old Thumper and Jennings Cumberland Ale.
EHD to fill Amtrak's shoes
A bonded warehousing and distribution company, which delivers to London and the Home Counties, aims to step into the gap left by the collapse of Amtrak. EHD London has introduced a facility to repack wine from its original delivery packaging into specially designed recyclable cases made to withstand the rigours of transit. The repackaged bottles are then insured by EHD to be delivered by courier companies that do not make special allowances for wine. Find out more at ehdlondon.com.
ACS in minimum wage outcry
The Association of Convenience Stores has called on the Low Pay Commission to consider independent retailers as it consults on the National Minimum Wage rates for 2009-11. Chief executive James Lowman said: "Convenience stores have had to contend with inflation-busting increases in
the National Minimum Wage as well as coping with rising utility costs, bank charges and business rates, as well as other employment law changes that have brought costs . Now is not the time for further increases that would damage our sector."
Austria's bumper vintage
Austria has reported a bumper vintage, estimated at just over 2.8 million hl - well over the previous five years' average of
2.5 million hl. The country saw
variations from region to region, with Lower Austria battling fog and botrytis while Styria saw hail
at the end of the summer.
Inveralmond trades up
Inveralmond brewery in Scotland will be moving into bigger premises next year thanks to a rise in demand for its craft beers. Brewing equipment on the new site
- just a mile away from the original brewery in Perth - will be capable of increasing volume by more than three times that of the existing facilities .