Asahi completes Miller Brand acquisition as Kirin buys Brooklyn Brewery stake

Japanese brewer Asahi has completed its £1.3 billion acquisition of Miller Brands UK, giving it control of premium European beer brands Peroni, Grolsch and Meantime.

(Photo: Peroni)

(Photo: Peroni)

The deal, which first came to light in January, follows the acquisition by the brands’s former owner AB InBev of rival beer group SABMiller that completed today, and will see the creation of a new arm, Asahi UK. This will strengthen the brewery’s beer portfolio in key European markets, particularly the UK, according to managing director of Asahi UK Gary Haigh.

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“Our Super Premium Brand portfolio is powered by a seamless distribution network, expert customer marketing and sales capability – this means we can extend and grow Asahi’s ambition in the UK,” Haigh said.

He pointed out to Peroni Nastro Azzurro as a key driver in the growth of the UK Super Premium sector, which accounts for more than a quarter of the London beer market, and is now worth £1.3 billion overall.  Other beers in the portfolio include Pilsner Urquell, St Stefanus and Kozel.

“With the backing of the Asahi Group we will be able to continue our strategies for the brands, building on their success and allowing our customers to benefit from meeting the demands of UK consumers for high quality beer brands,” he said.

President at Asahi Group Akiyoshi Koji said the formation of Asahi UK and the investment marked a “significant step-change” for Asahi Group Holdings’ European operations.

“I am convinced that by working together, we will be able to grow our business and serve our customers and consumers even better, ” he said.

Kirin Holding moves into New York beer scene

Meanwhile fellow Japanese beer brand Kirin Holdings have bought a 25% stake in the New York beer specialist, Brooklyn Brewery Company, according to Bloomberg.

The Kirin Brewery Company said it was working to strengthen its Ichiban Shibori brand as well as actively expand craft beer. As part of the move, it is rolling out a new joint-venture with the Brooklyn Brewery Company in January, funded 60% by Kirin, to boost the global sales of the Brooklyn craft beer range from next year.

The two companies said they would utilize the assets of both companies and “work to make beer more appealing and further energize the craft beer market in Japan and Brazil”.

Bloomberg reported the acquisition would help stem falling beer consumption in Japan.

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