NEWS ROUNDUP

Cott Acquires Concord Beverage has acquired the retailer brand business of Concord Beverage, including its Concordville, Pa., bottling plant, and the "Vintage" brand of seltzer products.Concord Beverage is an independent, stand-alone, retailer brand bottling operation. Cott also announced a strong third-quarter 2000 financial performance, its seventh straight profitable quarter."This is a double victory

Cott Acquires Concord Beverage

has acquired the retailer brand business of Concord Beverage, including its Concordville, Pa., bottling plant, and the "Vintage" brand of seltzer products.

Concord Beverage is an independent, stand-alone, retailer brand bottling operation. Cott also announced a strong third-quarter 2000 financial performance, its seventh straight profitable quarter.

"This is a double victory of significance to our company," said Frank E. Weise, president and chief executive officer, in a prepared statement. "The acquisition of the assets of Concord Beverage provides us with a solid base of new customers in the Northeast U.S. market, increased market share and the highly regarded 'Vintage' brand of seltzer water. We expect the acquisition to be accretive to earnings in the first full year."

The acquisition is expected to add 40 million equivalent cases or $80 million annually to Cott's sales in the United States and will include important new supermarket customers not now served by Cott. It will also add approximately 10% to Cott's bottling capacity in the United States. The acquisition price is $72 million, of which approximately half has been paid from cash on-hand and the balance has been financed.

"We were particularly gratified to be honored by Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, which named Cott Beverages USA a 'Supplier of the 2nd Quarter 2000' for sales increases, product excellence and value, customer service, on-time delivery and innovation," Weise added.

"We were also pleased recently to add two of the United Kingdom's most important retailers to our group of preferred customers: Tesco, with a range of organic drinks, and Marks & Spencer."

Cott, a leading retailer brand beverage supplier, has major manufacturing facilities in its three core markets of Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Leading Brands & Energy Brands Enter Agreement

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- Leading Brands, an independent, fully integrated food and beverage brand management company here, has entered into an exclusive license agreement with Energy Brands, granting the royalty-free right to use the "Go-Go" trademark in connection with the sale, distribution and marketing of Go-Go Sexy Energy drink.

Energy Brands' Go-Go is the market leader in establishing the herbal energy drink category in the United States. Go-Go is a low calorie, lightly carbonated energy drink. It provides a noticeable feeling of increased energy and alertness through a secret formula that combines a synergistic combination of herbs, including Siberian ginseng, damiana, yerba mate, muira puma, astragalus, gingko biloba and guarana. Go-Go Sexy Energy is targeted at the techno-generation, 15- to 25-year-old market who are on the go. It comes in trim, 8.4-ounce cans featuring a provocative "Japanimated" girl.

The licensing agreement gives Leading Brands the first right of refusal to manufacture and package any current or future Go-Go products in Canada.

Grocery Channel Sells Most Sports Drinks in Summer

NEW ORLEANS -- ACNielsen U.S., an operating unit of ACNielsen Corp., released data that shows that, while the convenience channel leads all other retail channels in sales of sports drinks for most of the year, the grocery channel leads during the crucial summer months. The information, gleaned from ACNielsen's Convenience Track service, was presented here during the annual convention of the National Association of Convenience Stores.

ACNielsen found that the grocery channel is gaining momentum in the $1.6 billion category. Sports drink sales in the grocery channel have outpaced those in the convenience channel during five warm-weather, four-week periods this year compared with three such periods last year. Sales in the grocery channel have also been growing faster than those in the C-store channel in all four-week periods since April.

An analysis of ACNielsen information for the 12 weeks ending Sept. 2 attributes sales gains in the grocery channel to the popularity of new package sizes, especially 20-ounce eight-packs.

As would be expected, ACNielsen Convenience Track data shows that local markets where sports drinks do especially well are, for the most part, in the Sun Belt. On the basis of a Category Development Index, which compares actual sales in a market to what would be expected given the overall size of the category and the population of the market, San Antonio leads the way with a CDI of 224. That means sales of sports drinks in San Antonio are 124% higher than would be expected. Rounding out the top five CDI markets are Birmingham, Dallas, Orlando and Phoenix.

Foster's Restructures North American Beer Business

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Foster's Brewing Group here recently announced it has signed new agreements with its North American partners, the Miller Brewing Co., Milwaukee, and Molson, Montreal, Canada, to deliver greater focus and growth opportunities for the Foster's brand in the United States and Canada.

Following the exit of Molson from the U.S. distribution company Molson USA, in Toronto, Foster's has negotiated a new joint venture partnership with Miller, to strengthen the marketing, sales and distribution of Foster's in the United States. Under the terms of the new partnership, Foster's receives an increased equity holding -- 49.9% -- in the restructured joint venture with Miller, to be known as Foster's USA LLC, in exchange for its interest in Molson trademarks in the United States.

Marketing of the Foster's brand will more than double under the new Foster's USA partnership, "giving the brand the support and drive it needs to continue its climb towards becoming the leading premium import brand in the U.S.," according to Richard Scully, Foster's Brewing international managing director.

"All the indicators tell us Foster's is a very hot brand," said Richard, Strup, Miller Brewing Co. senior vice president, corporate strategy and international. Strup said Foster's has achieved 60% growth in the past five years and is one of the most profitable beer brands in the United States.

Mondavi and Rosemount Partner in Wine Venture

OAKVILLE, Calif. -- Robert Mondavi here and Rosemount Estates of Hunter Valley, Australia, have announced the signing of a letter of intent to form a 50/50 joint venture company which will produce and market two new wine lines worldwide -- one from Australia and the other from California.

The first wines, in the luxury and super-premium segments, will be produced from the vintage 2000 in California and the vintage 2001 in Australia. Sold under proprietary brand names that will convey the participation of both Robert Mondavi and Rosemount, all wines will be made under the joint direction of winemakers Tom Mondavi and Philip Shaw of Rosemount.

Neither partner sees any changes in current distribution arrangements for its existing brands as a consequence of the joint venture.

German Wine Distributor Offers Trip to London

FRANKLIN PARK, Ill. -- Schlink Haus, a German wine distributed by Wein-Bauer here, has joined with Virgin Atlantic Airways and Skyway Luggage to sponsor the "Great Vacation Getaway," which will award a trip for two to London as the grand prize. The nationwide contest will also give five second-place winners Skyway Luggage three-piece sets.

The promotional campaign, including radio and in-store marketing, began Sept. 15 and runs for 90 days at an estimated 25,000 retailers, including grocery stores, in 20 top U.S. markets.

Sam Adams Winter Classics 12-Pack Arrives

BOSTON -- In the spirit of the holiday season, the Sam Adams brewers here -- the Boston Beer Co. -- bring back two old favorites, Old Fezziwig and Cranberry Lambic, in the Sam Adams Winter Classics 12-pack. The Winter Classic 12-pack also features Samuel Adams Boston Lager, Winter Lager, Boston Ale and Pale Ale. All six brews are gold-medal winners in beer tastings around the world. The Winter Classics 12-pack, containing two bottles each of the six brews, will be in stores in mid-November.

Old Fezziwig is a spiced ale brewed with caramel and chocolate malt, pureed ginger, orange peel and Saigon cinnamon, while Cranberry Lambic is made with cranberries and a blend of nine spices.