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It’s Miller Time for Grolsch

BY Tara Smith

LONDON London-based beer giant SABMiller on Monday announced its offer of $1.2 billion for Dutch brewer Grolsch, which is still sold in bottles with a ceramic stopper.

SABMiller, whose brands include Miller Lite in the United States, is betting beer drinkers will be willing to pay more for the Dutch beer, brewed in Enschede, Netherlands. The company is following in the consolidation trend of other big beer groups, including Amsterdam-based Heineken, which added diversity in its portfolio by acquiring local or niche brands and applying its marketing and distribution clout to serve the brew to a wider audience. “Grolsch fills an important gap in our portfolio, which lacks northern European brands,” SABMiller Marketing Director Nick Fell told analysts during a conference call.

Although Grolsch has wide global name recognition, 75 percent of its sales are still in the Netherlands, meaning there is a lot of potential for the brand in the international market. Grolsch shares with Heineken a certain Dutch flavor not found, for instance, in American beers. SABMiller will try to market Grolsch in places like Colombia where upwardly mobile beer drinkers want a beverage that conveys status but doesn’t challenge their taste buds too much. “We see significant potential across Africa and Latin America, where the premium market is still in its infancy,” SABMiller’s chief financial officer, Malcolm Wyman, told analysts.

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Emerald snack food brand wins award

BY Adam Kraemer

STOCKTON, Calif. Diamond foods’ Emerald brand has received a prestigious award for its product innovation, creativity in merchandising, marketing, promotion and consumer insights during 2007.

Progressive Grocer magazine honored Emerald with a Category Advisor award in the Salty Snacks category. This award is bestowed on companies with outstanding products, marketing and sales in their respective categories. Companies were judged in the areas of innovation, ability to successfully introduce new products, merchandising and promotional strategies. Other criteria included quantitative and qualitative evidence of the positive results of their efforts, both for retailers and the total category as a whole.

The current ad campaign, which included a Super Bowl spot, advertized Emerald almonds as an antidote to sleepiness, and featured the late Robert Goulet. “We’re honored to receive this award for the second year in a row,” said Andrew Burke, senior vice president of marketing, Diamond Foods. “We’re committed to partnering with retailers to drive innovation and category growth in the Snack Nut category behind the Emerald brand.”

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Hershey’s Arline to retire after 26 years

BY Allison Cerra

HERSHEY, Pa. Hershey Co. senior vice president and chief people officer, Marcella Arline, announced she will be retiring after 26 years of service, the company said Friday.

Arline will continue in her role during the transition to assist David J. West, President; the management team; and the board of directors.

“Throughout her career, Marcella has shown an unmatched dedication to the community, the company and, most importantly, the people of Hershey,” said Richard Lenny, chairman and chief executive officer. “Her leadership has had a tremendous impact across the company, in manufacturing, quality and regulatory compliance and human resources. Marcella has led the development of our employees and leaders and has been instrumental in building our superior organization. Her energy, judgment and commitment will be greatly missed.”

Arline considered retiring under the company’s 2005 early retirement plan. She agreed to remain with the company to help lead several initiatives, including Hershey’s global expansion, recruitment and leadership development, and planning and implementation of the Global Supply Chain Transformation.

Arline was appointed to be the company’s senior vice president and chief people officer in 2004 and was responsible for human resources, corporate communications, compensation, benefits, security, flight operations and facilities management for the Corporation.

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