Why Asahi Acquired A Contract Brewery

Food & Drink

Asahi, the Japan-based brewing company most famous for its Super Dry beer, has acquired Octopi Brewing, a contract beverage production and co-packing company based in Waunakee, WI. The acquisition by Asahi is through Asahi Europe & International, which, in addition to Super Dry and other Asahi brands, makes such iconic brands as Pilsner Urquell (Czech), Kozel (Czech), Grolsch (Dutch), Peroni Nastro Azzurro (Italian) and Fuller’s (English).

Asahi had made known its intention to acquire assets in the United States and the Octopi transaction comes after years of searching. Despite Asahi being Japan’s largest brewing company, its acquisition of Octopi lags those by its Japanese competitors. Sapporo acquired California’s Stone Brewing and Anchor Brewing, in 2022 and 2017, respectively, while Kirin acquired Michigan’s Bell’s Brewery in 2022, Colorado’s New Belgium Brewoing in 2019 and a 25 percent stake in New York’s Brooklyn Brewing in 2016.

“We’re really excited,” says Victoria Segebarth, Asahi’s Managing Director for EMEA and the Americas. “It has been a long-standing ambition of Asahi to grow our business in America while reducing our environmental impact by brewing beer locally.”

While Sapporo and Kirin both acquired well-known American craft beer brands, Asahi decided to acquire the Octopi contract brewing and co-packing company, which primarily makes beer and beverages under contract for other companies. “Ultimately, Octopi was the best fit for what we want to achieve,” said Segebarth. “It is a modern facility and it is located perfectly for us to brew beer to serve both the American and Canadian markets.” Asahi has announced plans to become carbon neutral across its wider supply chain by 2050 so brewing brands closer to export markets will aid in that ambition.

Asahi plans to invest in the facility and begin producing Asahi Super Dry and Kozel at Octopi. The brewery will continue to make the products Octopi is currently manufacturing under contract. Octopi operations will continue under Octopi’s current leadership.

“One of the great things about this acquisition is the opportunity for growth,” said Segebarth. Asahi plans to accelerate the growth of its brands in America including new packaging formats and will be in a better position to respond to market trends faster. In the future, the Octopi facility might be further expanded to accommodate the production of Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Grolsch.

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