20060329

Another Aussie brew hits the U.S.


The commercials tell us Foster's is Australian for beer, but it obviously isn't the only word for the brew. Try Boag's.

The flagship brand of Boag's Brewery, located on the island of Tasmania off the southeast Australian mainland, is being introduced to the American market on a phased-in basis.

Boag's Premium Lager is a European-style beer made from pilsner malts, fermented at a low temperature, then given an extended maturation period.

Boag's, at 5% alcohol by volume, has won gold medals from the International Monde Selection for eight consecutive years and was voted Best Australian Premium Beer by Australian retailers for three consecutive years. It is available in 12.68-ounce (375ml) longneck green bottles, and retails for $6.99 to $7.99 for a 6-pack.

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20060327

Sales campaign with no advertising added


Item in the latest issue of Advertising Age magazine:

"Blue Moon beer is going national. Pass it on."

Since American craft brewers as a whole saw sales increase by 9% last year, the niche is getting special attention in the highly-competitive industry that has been experiencing a general downturn.

Molson Coors Brewing Co. is seizing the opportunity to shore up its sales figures by launching a national rollout campaign for its Belgian-style wheat beer, but doing it by word-of-mouth rather than through a traditional advertising campaign. The theory is that because Blue Moon, a 10-year-old brand, has seen three straight years of double-digit sales growth without advertising, why bother now?

Anheuser-Busch, which is trying all sorts of things to improve its sales, including hooking up as the U.S. distributor for hot foreign beers, recently launched its own Belgian-style wheat beer called Spring Heat Spiced Wheat.

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20060325

The oldest of old breweries


It is well known to historians, of beer and otherwise, that the ancient Egyptians were among the first brewers, if not the first. However, few people knew just how ancient.

A Polish archaeological excavation team appears to have cleared that up by unearthing the largest and oldest brewery in Egypt, an operation in use in the Nile Delta well before the country's first monarch.

Farouq Hosney, Egyptian minister of culture, announced this week that the site discovered in Tall al-Farkha, in the northern province of Dakahliya, on March 8 dates to about 3500 B.C., a period known to Egyptologists as Naqada II D and C.

The archaeologists, who have been working in the area since 1998, also discovered a cemetery with 33 graves belonging to middle and lower class ancient Egyptians. The head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities announced that the Polish mission also discovered a deposit of 65 items inside a small pottery jar dating back to the beginning of the 1st Dynasty, among them hippo ivory figurines of humans, animals, boats and game pieces.

Miniature stones and several vases also were found, along with golden foils used in covering two wooden statues whose lengths ranged between 35 and 70cm, believed to have been the oldest of such a type.

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20060313

And Tiger, too


My previous post mentioned Anheuser-Busch's decision to partner with Harbin lager beer from China and Grolsch, a Dutch beer, to distribute them in the U.S.

Well, add Tiger Beer of Singapore to that portfolio.

Effective May 1, Tiger will have access to Anheuser-Busch's network of nearly 600 independent wholesalers. Tiger already is sold in 60 countries.

Tiger is a bottled pale lager beer brewed by Asia Pacific Breweries (APB), a joint venture between Heineken and Fraase & Neave of Singapore.

It made its debut in 1932 and its primary market is Pacific Asia, mostly in Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam. Its strongest U.S. presence at the moment is in New York, Miami, San Francisco and Boston, according to the company.

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20060310

Anheuser-Busch hopes foreign imports help


Anheuser-Busch has released Harbin lager beer, its own Chinese import.

The first markets getting the brand are Los Angeles and Hawaii, with a gradual nationwide rollout scheduled for the remainder of the year. It's the second sole-U.S. distribution deal for a foreign beer announced by Anheuser-Busch. The first was Grolsch, a Dutch beer.

The U.S.'s biggest brewer is increasing its selection of imported beers to tap into the high-end market. Beer sales are flat overall, with imports and microbrews accounting for most of the industry's growth.

Anheuser-Busch did not give a specific earnings outlook for the year, but said it continues to expect earnings per share to increase from its "normalized" profit last year of $2.31 per share, which excludes one-time items but reflects stock-option expenses. Analysts, on average, are looking for earnings of US$2.37 per share for the year, according to a poll by Thomson Financial.

The company's fourth-quarter profit plunged 39.5 percent from a year ago, hurt by lackluster domestic beer sales. The company said its wholesalers' sales rose 2.9 percent through mid-February. It added that its international segment, notably in Mexico and China, is making "substantial contributions" to its earnings growth.

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20060307

Brewskis may be on thin ice


LAS VEGAS -- The reports have been coming in with great regularity, and the outlook is shaky for beer brewers and suds fans alike. Sales are off, even in such beer havens as Germany and the U.S.

The latest song of woe was sung by Norman Adami, chief executive of Miller Brewing Co., in a speech delivered at the Nightclub & Bar Show here,

Adami said the beer industry is at a "critical crossroads" after enjoying a dominance in the alcoholic drinks industry as high as 61%. He blamed a "sameness in message, sameness in look and sameness in our products."

He pointed to such dated ideas as mass-advertising campaigns with lots of bikinis and bad jokes in a time when consumers had begun looking for more sophisticastion.

"We were promoting sameness and increasingly going low-brow. It is as if we were promoting beer as the official beverage of the knuckleheads," Adami said.

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