A growing domestic market and a trend towards premium beer in the UK and the US recently led Birra Peroni, part of Asahi Group Holdings Ltd., to upgrade their glass bottling capacity. Increased productivity, coupled with flexibility and sustainability, were an absolute must-have for the leading Italian brewery.
With 198 billion litres per year, beer is by far the largest category within alcoholic drinks worldwide, accounting for around 78% of the global alcoholic market. In the last few years, a handful of megatrends have shaped this industry: premiumisation, for example, is expected to remain relevant while consumers are also migrating more and more towards artisanal craftsmanship with long heritages in the brewing business. US consumers, for instance, have been showing consistent interest in premium beers with many choosing imported lagers, often over the more affordable domestic options. Drinking less but better has been the source of value growth in many mature markets with ethical living making its mark on the beer industry.
The category posted a 1.3% global total volume growth in 2018, with Italy presenting an even ‘greener’ trajectory (total volume growth of 2%) and reaching 1.7 billion litres. Domestic player Peroni, for example, launched a new special Nastro Azzurro lager in May 2018, intended to offer a drinking experience that goes well with food and could replace wine during meals. The product appeals ideally to Italians, who are mainly looking for original taste. Peroni Nastro Azzurro and the domestic brand Peroni combined for more than 20% of the market last year, thus sitting among the three most popular beer brands in Italy. This success, both in their home country and as an export good to the US and UK, paired with the fact that the drink they sell knows no seasonality, has prompted the need for increased production capacity at their Bari factory in Southern Italy. This one is the only site where they process both returnable and one-way glass bottles.
Premium lager beer in returnable and one-way glass bottles
In 1846, Francesco Peroni established his first brewery in Vigevano, near Milan. He called his beer Birra Peroni and it still bears his name today. Since then, the brand has welcomed growing demand, embodying Italian values of quality and craftsmanship throughout its history. With production sites in Rome, Padova and Bari, the company has been part of Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. since 2016. While Birra Peroni is especially popular in the Southern part of Italy, Nastro Azzurro is renowned around the globe with the most part of production intended for export. Since its launch in 2005, Peroni Nastro Azzurro has been synonymous with style. Last year, the brewery refreshed the bottle’s look and feel, giving it a clean, elegant and curved shape with a hexagonal logo. Peroni’s site in Bari now produces this high-quality premium lager in the redesigned bottle, next to the domestic brand Peroni.