Europe cuts down on drink but we’ll still pay for a decent pint

Marc Sidwell
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YOU would think the state of the economy would have driven us all to drink a bit more, but Heineken argued yesterday that this was one of the factors to blame for its disappointing revenue from western Europe.

Still, Heineken is shrugging off its European doldrums, citing wider economic issues. Instead it’s focusing on the big picture of emerging market growth with its new agreement to acquire Asia Pacific Breweries.

There’s danger in a strategy that blames and rides the broad economic currents. It may miss specific opportunities to be found even in a generally weak market. For comparison, look at Adnams, also reporting yesterday. Given its tiny relative scale, the brewer has to make the best of current market conditions at home. And while Heineken’s group beer volume rose 3.3 per cent, Adnams’ take home beer business grew volumes 13 per cent. Customer service and an excellent pint of Ghost Ship still counts, as well as the big picture.