Asahi shifts to no-alcohol beer after $20bn M&A splurge

Asahi wants to crack a market that has proved surprisingly resilient during the coronavirus pandemic: non-alcohol drinks. Asahi’s decision followed a $20bn splurge on beer brands including Peroni, Pilsner Urquell to Carlton Draught in recent years. But a consumer focus on all things “wellness” has been strengthened by Covid-19. Sales of low and non-alcoholic drinks rose during the pandemic even as pub closures have led to a global decline in beer sales. “Non-alcohol is a good all-around product,” Atsushi Katsuki, Asahi’s chief executive since March, said in an interview. “It helps to resolve social issues, it connects us with new users and it leads to our profitability.”

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