Posts tagged with "The Wall Streeet Journal"

Beer here?

January 21, 2019

What will fans drink at baseball games next summer? Something tells us that fraternity boys are still buying kegs—but overall, Americans are increasingly laying off the booze; especially, the beer.

In response to the growing trend toward nonalcoholic drinks, the world’s biggest brewers and liquor companies are innovating beyond their traditional inventory and rolling out teas, energy drinks, and nonalcoholic spirits, The Wall Street Journal reports.

According to the Journal, new data show that U.S. alcohol volumes dropped 0.8% last year, slightly up from the 0.7% decline in 2017. Beer got hit the hardest, with volumes down 1.5% in 2018, compared with a 1.1% decline in 2017. Growth in wine and spirits slowed, as well, according to data compiled for the news outlet by drinks market analyst IWSR.

The fall in alcohol volumes reflects “a growing trend toward mindful drinking or complete abstinence, particularly among the Millennial cohort,” Brandy Rand, president of IWSR’s U.S. Region told the newspaper. Wine grew by 0.4%, down from 1% the year before; while spirits climbed 1.9%, compared with 2.2% in 2017. IWSR’s figures are based on products shipped.

And speaking of Millennials, could alcohol (and weed) vaping be a factor? While The Wall Street Journal doesn’t cover this game-changer in its report, the vaping industry is now a multi-billion dollar business, with teens and Millennials among the fastest-growing groups of users.  According to recent research by the FDA, over 1.3 million youths are vaping. 2017 saw the largest spike of any substance use in the United States in the past 50 years. E-cigarettes are now at epidemic level of use in the United States.  

In response to the changing marketplace and the growing disinterest in alcoholic drinks, producers are beginning to diversify:  Molson Coors Brewinghas turned to kombucha, Budweiser brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev  sells a spiked coconut water, and Smirnoff maker Diageo wants teetotalers to start mixing cocktails with a pricey, alcohol-free gin alternative, says the Journal.

IWSR forecasts low- and no-alcohol products in the U.S.—still a small slice of the market—to grow 32.1% between 2018 and 2022, triple the category’s growth over the past five years.

Industry executives say drinkers are increasingly concerned about health and that younger generations socialize differently from their parents, drinking less.

“Twenty years ago we didn’t have coffee shops open late, and pubs and bars open for coffee,” Ben Branson, CEO of nonalcoholic distilled spirit maker Seedlip (which is part owned by Diageo) told the news outlet. “People are favoring experiences over ‘let’s go drink on a night out.’”

AB InBev last year created a new global position, head of nonalcoholic beverages, to lead its efforts to diversify. Nonalcoholic drinks—including energy drinks and nonalcoholic beers—already make up more than 10% of the Bud brewer’s volumes. In 2017, it acquired San Francisco-based Hiball, a producer of organic energy drinks.

What’s more, says the Journal, AB InBev recently began selling Budweiser Prohibition brew—a nonalcoholic version of its flagship beer—in Columbus and Detroit. Nonalcoholic beer volumes nationwide. are expected to climb 9.3% over the next five years, according to research firm Euromonitor.

The beer company also has stepped up its efforts to woo consumers defecting to wine and cocktails. Its craft-style breweries in Oregon, California and New York have served as incubators for new, boozy versions of coconut water, matcha tea and agua fresca, a Mexican fruit-juice drink. And the brewer plans to later this month launch a spiked seltzer brand, Bon & Viv, which it will advertise alongside its beers at the Super Bowl.

“People are looking for something that tastes good but also allows them to live well,” Chelsea Phillips, head of marketing for AB InBev’s Beyond Beer division in the U.S., said in an interview with the Journal.

Research contact: saabira.chaudhuri@wsj.com

‘Haute’ cuisine: American Airlines teams with Zoës to offer tasty meals in coach

September 25, 2018

Rarely are the words, “fine food” and “flying” mentioned in the same sentence. In fact, if you sit in coach, the airline meals on offer are usually flat, flavorless—and utterly grody.  But maybe, just maybe, all of that is about to change.

American Airlines announced on September 24  that the company is teaming up with  Zoës Kitchen, a Mediterranean-inspired fast-casual dining chain based in Plano, Texas, to introduce a new food-for-sale menu for customers seated in the main cabin (coach)  that “will offer delicious, light and healthy choices onboard,” the carrier said in an official release.

The new menu, designed in collaboration with Zoës’ Head Chef and Vice President of Culinary Innovation Antonio Iocchi, includes items unique to American Airlines, as well as exclusive Zoës dishes—among them,  signature hummus and The Grüben sandwich.

The new items will be available for purchase on most domestic flights longer than three hours, beginning on December 1.

“Zoës mission to deliver goodness from the inside out and their ‘simple, tasty, fresh’ offerings made it an easy decision to partner with the fast casual, healthy restaurant group,” said Janelle Anderson, VP of Global Marketing for American Airlines. “Our customers have asked for lighter tasty food choices. This collaboration with the expert chefs at Zoës provides an innovative, fresh approach to on-board offerings.”

“Together with American, we are excited to elevate the inflight dining experience and deliver goodness to millions of customers by offering our chef-inspired menu items, in a fresh, new way,” said Kevin Miles, CEO of Zoës Kitchen. “Our goal in our restaurants is to provide delicious, wholesome food, inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean and for our guests to feel good and motivated to live life to the fullest after dining with us.”

A fuller list of the new menu items includes::

  • Breakfast Sandwich: Turkey bacon, egg slices, and tomato topped with baby arugula on a waffle brioche bun with Calabrian pepper aioli;
  • Continental Breakfast Box:  Belgian waffle, hazelnut spread, and fresh berries;
  • The Grüben: Zoës signature sandwich with sliced turkey, Manchego cheese, crunchy Mediterranean slaw, and feta spread layered on marble wheat bread, and served with a Zoës chocolate chip cookie;
  • Chicken Wrap: Grilled chicken wrap with mozzarella, roasted tomatoes, arugula, and artichokes, served with a Zoës chocolate chip cookie; and
  • Hummus Duo: Zoës signature hummus duo, including their classic flavor topped with Kalamata olives and basil pesto hummus, served with pita bread, cucumber, and carrots.

Along with the new Zoës options, American will continue to offer its own fruit and cheese plate and breakfast platter. Throughout 2019, American and Zoës will continue to collaborate and introduce additional items in coach, as well as domestic first class service.

According to a report by The Wall Street Journal, other carriers also have revised their in-flight offerings: Alaska Air revamped its menu over the summer to highlight West Coast produce; United Continental. has added a bread pudding made with Chobani yogurt; and Delta will update its in-flight menu on October 1 on North American flights of 1,400 miles or more.

Research contact: mediarelations@aa.com