Nothing says America like an ice-cold can of lavishly marketed, insipidly flavored beer. That’s the calculation of AB InBev, the Belgium-based conglomerate that owns Budweiser, the brand that once towered over the US beer landscape like a giant beer-can balloon at a fraternity tailgate party. Earlier this month, AB InBev replaced “Budweiser” with “America” on the front of its 12-ounce cans and bottles sold in the United States, while also adorning the label with quotes from the Pledge of Allegiance, “The Star Spangled Banner,” and “America the Beautiful.” You’ll be able to pop open an icy America until the November election, after which Bud packaging will revert to normal.
Yet the gimmick, lampooned by John Oliver and celebrated by Donald Trump, is unlikely to lift Budweiser’s long–sagging US sales. And Bud Light, still America’s favorite beer and InBev’s crown jewel, is also fading in popularity. That’s why AB InBev is pursuing a megamerger with South African and UK rival SAB Miller. The $100 billion deal, which won approval by antitrust authorities in the European Union Tuesday, would give the combined company about 30 percent of the global beer market by volume, analysts say, making it the source of about one of every three beers consumed on Earth. Brands include Bud (or, um, “America”), Stella Artois, Beck’s, Corona, and Leffe.
But the buyout isn’t about Europe or the United States at all—AB InBev’s bold Bud rebrand aside. Indeed, to pass antitrust muster in Europe, the combined company had to agree to “sell almost the whole of SABMiller’s beer business in Europe,” Reuters reports. The United States and Europe are “mature”—i.e., slow-growing—beer markets. The real action right now is elsewhere. As Reuters puts it, AB InBev is “looking to boost its presence in Africa and Latin American countries to offset weaker markets such as the United States, where drinkers are shunning mainstream lagers in favor of craft brews and cocktails.”
‘It was first brewed in honour of Winston Churchill. Today “Spesh” or, as it is often referred to in headlines, “tramp juice“, is most commonly associated with getting drunk incredibly cheaply. Now Special Brew – which at 9% ABV contains 4.5 units of alcohol per can – will become less potent in 2015. Brewer Carlsberg says that it will sign up to a UK government-led pledge that no drink should contain more than four units, a man’s maximum recommended daily intake.’
‘The variety of the craft-brewing wave sweeping the US makes drinking beer more fun than ever. Maine’s Flying Dog Brewery brews a beer from local oysters, and the Delaware-based Dogfish Head uses an ancient beer recipe they dug up from 2,700-year-old drinking vessels in the tomb of King Midas.
But as this trend spreads, there’s another revolution going on that’s concentrating most of the world’s beer into the hands of just a few mega-corporations. These kings of beer are riding the wave of craft brewing enthusiasm, buying up smaller breweries, and duping customers along the way.’
- Who Really Owns Your Craft Beer?
- Carlos Brito: (Brew)master of the Universe
- Are We in Danger of a Beer Monopoly?
- Beer Map: Two Giant Brewers, 210 Brands
- US sues to block brewery takeover
- Big Beer dresses up in craft brewers’ clothing
- One Company Will Soon Control Half of the U.S. Beer Market
- The Plot to Destroy America’s Beer
‘Ankle tags that detect if someone has consumed alcohol will be fitted to offenders as part of a scheme designed to cut down on violent drink-fuelled crime.
The “sobriety tags”, which will be worn around the clock, will enforce abstinence by measuring a person’s perspiration every 30 minutes and testing to see if it contains alcohol.
If any trace is found, an alert will be sent to the offender’s probation officer and they can then be recalled to court, where they could face sanctions such as a fine or be re-sentenced.’
‘The report provides country profiles for alcohol consumption in the 194 WHO member states, looking at the resulting impact on public health and policy responses. And it reveals that the harmful use of alcohol causes 3.3 million deaths a year worldwide. Europe is the region with the highest consumption of alcohol per person, making up the entire top 10.’ (The Independent)
More wine is drunk per person in the Vatican City than in any other country in the world, according to the latest statistics released by the Wine Institute.
The figures show that residents of the Vatican consume 74 litres of wine on average – roughly equivalent to 105 bottles over the course of a year.
That’s around double the amount drunk by the average person in France or Italy as a whole, and triple the quantity consumed in the UK.
With sixty employees at Lancashire brewery Thwaites facing the axe as the firm looks to relocate, workers appear to have hit back – by altering the neon ‘THWAITES’ sign on the town centre building to read ‘TWATS’.
The sign is mounted on a giant tower and is visible across Blackburn and much of East Lancashire.
With a majority of Americans now in favor marijuana legalization, President Barack Obama is now saying weed is no more dangerous to individuals’ health than alcohol.
In an interview with the New Yorker’s David Remnick published Sunday, Obama said while he believes marijuana is “not very healthy,” the drug isn’t as harmful as some insist.
“As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol,” Obama told Remnick.
When asked if he believes marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, Obama said it is less damaging “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer.”
“It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy,” he added.
A study in the August edition of The Journal of School Health finds that the generations old theory of a “gateway drug” effect is in fact accurate for some drug users, but shifts the blame for those addicts’ escalating substance abuse away from marijuana and onto the most pervasive and socially accepted drug in American life: alcohol.
Using a nationally representative sample from the University of Michigan’s annual Monitoring the Future survey, the study blasts holes in drug war orthodoxy wide enough to drive a truck through, definitively proving that marijuana use is not the primary indicator of whether a person will move on to more dangerous substances.
The introduction of privately-run ‘drunk tanks’ should be considered to reduce soaring levels of alcohol-fuelled disorder, police chiefs have suggested.
Launching a campaign aimed at highlighting alcohol harm, Chief Constable Adrian Lee, the head of Northamptonshire Police, said the police service should not have to be responsible for the increasing number of revellers who require medical treatment after drinking to excess.
Instead Mr Lee, the national policing lead on alcohol harm, said intoxicated individuals should be escorted to a cell managed by a commercial company and charged for care they receive the morning after.
[…] Keeping someone in police a cell overnight can cost at least £385, more than a night at the Ritz hotel would cost. Under current law police can issue £80 fines for being drunk and disorderly.
His comments come amid a Government-wide review of all contracts held by Serco and G4S, two of the country’s biggest private providers of public services.