Carlsberg, Heineken finally get S&N

After more than three months of negotiations, Scottish & Newcastle agreed a takeover offer from European rivals Carlsberg and Heineken.

S&N, Britain’s largest brewing company, produces Newcastle Brown and many other brands, including Foster’s and Kronenbourg 1664 beer.

Carlsberg of Denmark and Heineken will divide Scottish & Newcastle’s assets between them and share the bill, with Carlsberg taking a slightly larger part. Heineken will obtain the British business, and Carlsberg will take full control of Russia’s largest brewer, which it owned with Scottish & Newcastle.

Analyst point out that Carlsberg’s interest in the Russian market – where it and S&N shared a partnership – was a driving force behind making the deal.

The takeover will give Heineken access to Britain’s cider market, which is growing 18.6%. It will also get Scottish & Newcastle’s businesses in Ireland, Portugal, Finland, Belgium, the United States and India.


Lost Abbey, Full Sail offer new beers

Lost Abbey CarnivaleFrom Lost Abbey: The brewery in San Marcos, Calif., will celebrate a Venetian tradition with a New World twist, throwing a party and at the same time releasing a new beer.

Carnevale di Lost Abbey on Feb. 2 draws inspiration from Carnevale di Venezia, during which citizens of Venice dress up as paupers, princes, ladies, lovers and fools, and gather in the Piazza di San Marco to dine, drink and dance. Lost Abbey will transform its brewery into a Venetian piazza, offering party-goers food, music and Lost Abbey’s award-winning ales. The party starts a 6 p.m. Admission is free for those in costume, $10 for those not.

Carnevale ale, a blonde saison accented with American hops, will debut at the party.

From Full Sail: The Oregon brewery is rolling out Slipknot Imperial IPA (7.8% abv, 80 IBU) this month as part of its Brewmaster Reserve series. It follows with Top Sail Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Porter in February, continuing its vintage barrel aged series.

Full Sail will celebrate three years of aging beers in bourbon barrels by pouring all three at events Feb. 7. That will include the bourbon-barrel-aged 2004 Imperial Porter, barrel-aged 2006 Black Gold Imperial Stout and this year’s 9/85% barrel-aged Top Sail Imperial Porter. The special tapping will take place at 5 p.m. at the Full Sail Tasting Room and Pub in Hood River, and at Full Sail’s Riverplace Brewery in Portland.


Wickwar’s porter Britian’s Champion Winter Beer

Wickwar Brewing Company of Gloucester won Supreme Champion Winter Beer of Britain 2008 during the Campaign for Real Ale’s National Winter Ales festival in Manchester.

Station Porter (6.1% abv) bested Robinson’s Old Tom and Hop Back Entire Stout for the top award. Wickwar describes the beer as “a rich, smooth dark ruby brown ale.”

Old Ales & Strong Mild Category
Gold – Purple Moose, Dark Side of the Moose (Porthmadog, Gwynedd)
Silver – West Berkshire, Maggs Magnificent Mild (Thatcham, Berkshire)
Bronze – Highland, Dark Munro (Birsay, Orkney)

Gold – Hop Back, Entire Stout (Salisbury, Wiltshire)
Silver – Spitting Feathers Old Wavertonian (Waverton, Chester)
Bronze – Spire, Sgt. Pepper Stout (Chesterfield, Derbyshire)

Gold – Wickwar, Station Porter (Wickwar, Gloucestershire)
Silver – E&S Elland, 1872 Porter (Elland, West Yorkshire)
Bronze – Acorn, Old Moor Porter (Barnsley, South Yorkshire)

Barley Wines
Gold – Robinson’s Old Tom (Stockport, Cheshire)
Silver – Durham, Benedictus (Bowburn, Co Durham)
Bronze – Mighty Oak, Saxon Song (Maldon, Essex)


Anderson Valley celebrates 20th anniversary

Anderson Valley Brewing

Anderson Valley Brewing has planned a serious party to celebrate its 20th anniversary. Festivities begin at 2 p.m. on Feb. 2 with tours, carriage rides and disc golf. Beer tasting and hors d’ oeuvres begin at 4 p.m., followed by a four course dinner at 6 p.m. Admission is $65 per person. For more information and to purchase tickets, call 707-895-2337, ext. 23, or visit the AVBC website.

Anderson Valley will also release its 20th Anniversary Imperial India Pale Ale on Feb. 2. This special brew comes in bottles and cases printed with a unique, colorful sunrise label. The 20th Anniversary Imperial Pale Ale is a limited edition batch.


Fuller’s spilled for the good of cinema

If you wait until about the two-minute mark of this promo for “National Treasure: Book of Secrets” you’ll see Nicholas Cage maneuvering a Mercedes through the streets of London as kegs of Fuller’s London Pride drop off the truck in front of him and explode.

The car chase scene took a reported nine weeks to film due because the film crew’s access to London streets being limited to weekends. More than 40 cars were destroyed in creating the chase scene . . . and countless pints of London Pride were lost.


Carlsberg, Heineken move on Scottish & Newcastle

After three months of battles, Scottish & Newcastle has agreed to enter discussions that would result in Carlsberg and Heineken taking over the UK brewing giant.

The Times Online reports:

S&N agreed to open its books after the pair increased their bid for the third time to 800p a share, ending a three-month takeover stand-off.

The group’s chairman, Sir Brian Stewart, had fiercely held out against the Dutch and Danish suitors, but sources said the two sides entered talks this week.

Heineken and Carlsberg first approached S&N in October. S&N owns the Newcastle Brown, Kronenbourg and Strongbow brands, but the center of interest is Baltic Beverages Holding, the fast-growing Russian and Baltic brewer that S&N jointly controls with Carlsberg on a 50-50 basis.


A-B takes Clamato Cheladas national

Budweiser CheladaAnheuser-Busch has taken its Budweiser & Clamato Chelada and Bud Light & Clamato Chelada national.

The name Chelada is a shortened form of the Spanish word michelada which loosely translates to “my cold beer.”

A-B successfully tested the products in several markets, following the heals of the spectacular success of Miller Chill. The drinks blend Bud and Bud Light with Clamato Tomato Cocktail, made by Cadbury Schweppes Americas Beverages (CSAB).

A press release suggests, “best enjoy Budweiser & Clamato Chelada and Bud Light & Clamato Chelada, gently rotate the chilled can once before pouring. Then, serve cold, or pour over ice, into a traditional goblet-style glass and garnish with a slice of lime or celery stalk. Salting the rim of the glass or adding a dash of hot sauce to the beer allows adults to further customize Chelada. The beers also pair well with traditional Latino dishes such as ceviche, chicken enchiladas and tamales.”


A-B considers controversial ads

Adweek reports that Anheuser-Busch is considering running advertisements that tout beer over liquor as an alcoholic beverage of choice.

The notion of promoting beer as a drink of moderation is hardly new. Following World War II, the Brewers Foundation commissioned popular magazine artists to produce a series of 115 paintings using the theme “Home life in America” and showing folks socializing at home with beers at hand.

These portraits appeared as advertising in all the popular publications, noting “perhaps no beverages are more ‘at home’ on more occasions” than American beer. Each included the tagline, “Beer belongs … enjoy it.”

However, the A-B messages would be controversial because “they play up the regret factor of a one-night stand following an evening of consuming too many shots and cocktails.”

In the spot from the woman’s perspective, she wakes up in “Darrellville”—the bedroom of a hairy-chested man in a robe who invites her to “come here and nibble me.”

Both spots conclude with screen text: “Minimize the surprise. Stick with beer.”

Bob Lachky (vp of global industry) acknowledged that the message is risky and has the potential to offend anti-alcohol activists and stir a hornet’s nest within the liquor industry.

The effort should not be viewed as a unilateral attack on the liquor industry. It would be a part of A-B’s two-year-old “Here’s to beer” initiative.

Adweek reports that A-B has not yet decided if it will release the ads.


Imports fuel growth for Anheuser-Busch

Anheuser-Busch’s announcement that beer shipments increased in 2007 and in the most-recent quarter sent its stock soaring. Prices rose 5% after the report.

Although A-B’s shipments increased by 2% during the year most of the growth was in imports. A-B’s core brand shipments increased by 0.3 percent.

The overall growth was “due to the success of our initiatives to broaden the company’s beer portfolio,” said August A. Busch IV, chief executive, in a statement. The wider portfolio and a planned increase in marketing to accelerate core beer sales “position Anheuser-Busch for growth in volume and earnings” this year, he said.

Sales from distributors to retailers grew 1.3% for the full year and fourth quarter of 2007, adjusted for the number of selling days. But after acquired and imported brands were subtracted out of the equation, sales of core brands actually fell.

“Momentum remains elusive for A-B,” said Mark Swartzberg, an analyst with Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., in a research note Monday. “Core brands have yet to produce sustained growth.”