Japanese brewery buys cocktail maker

Asahi Group Holdings has struck a deal to buy New Zealand beverage group Independent Liquor for $1.3 billion, giving the Japanese brewing giant a ready-to-drink cocktail maker to add to its stash of assets in the Oceania market.

Japanese brewers have been on an acquisition spree, using the strong yen to pick up foreign companies and to counter slowing sales in their home market. Beer sales within Japan have fallen 15% in the last decade.

Asahi bought all outstanding shares of Flavoured Beverages Group, the parent company of Independent Liquor known for its “Woodstock Bourbon” and “Vodka Cruiser” brands, from private equity firms.