Foster's Group Ltd and Lion Nathan Ltd are offering everything from rock concert tickets to a day at a cricket match to reverse a two-year slide in beer sales and win back drinkers who defected to pre-mixed spirits. \nAustralia's two biggest brewers, who control 97 percent of the country's A$8.5 billion (US$4.8 billion) beer market, are stepping up promotions during the crucial summer season, when they make a third of their annual sales. \nBeer makers "are obviously trying to do what they can to arrest the volume decline," said Mal Higgs, president of the Australian Liquor Stores Association, which represents 3,000 liquor retailers. \n"The industry is demonstrating its usual competitive nature." Beer consumption fell for a second year in the 12 months ended June 30 after tax changes pushed up the price of some brews by 9 percent and cut 10 percent from the cost of some pre-mixed cocktails. \nThat's led young drinkers to switch from beer to beverages such as Bacardi Ltd's Bacardi Breezer rum drinks, Diageo Plc's Bundaberg rum and cola in a can and Allied Domecq Plc's Malibu and cola. The pre-mixed-spirits market is growing at about 30 percent a year, and is now about 13 percent the size of the beer market. \nLion Nathan holds about 42 percent of the nation's beer market, trailing Foster's 55 percent share. Lion Nathan shares fell 2 cents to A$5.35 at the 4 pm Sydney close on the Australian Stock Exchange, and Foster's fell 1 cent to A$4.50. \nIn a bid to narrow the gap, Lion Nathan, the maker of Tooheys and Hahn beers, said it will increase advertising spending 40 percent during the holidays. The campaign "will be partly funded by cost-saving initiatives and by re-directing other" promotions, Lion Nathan Managing Director Andrew Reeves said. \nThe company, 46-percent owned by Japan's Kirin Brewery Co, is offering drinkers of Too-heys Extra Dry and James Squire beer the chance to win tickets to the Big Day Out rock festival, featuring the Foo Fighters. \nFoster's, the main sponsor of the one-day cricket tournament between Australia, England and Sri Lanka that started yesterday, is giving drinkers of its top-selling Victoria Bitter the chance to take a group of friends to a game, where they will get free beer and food, while watching the action from a sofa. \nIt's also increasing marketing of Crown Lager to mark the 50th anniversary of Australia's top-selling premium beer. \nA scorching start to summer bodes well for brewers. \nThe eastern half of the nation, home to four in five Australians, is likely to experience a hotter-than-average summer, according to weather forecasters. \nAustralia is in the grip of the worst drought in a century, and wildfires flared near Sydney earlier this month.
FORCED LABOR: Customs officials have seized a 11.8 tonne shipment of products made from human hair on suspicion they were produced by people facing human rights abuses Federal authorities in New York City on Wednesday seized a shipment of weaves and other beauty accessories suspected to be made out of human hair taken from people locked inside a Chinese internment camp. US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officials said that 11.8 tonnes of hair products worth an estimated US$800,000 were in the shipment. “The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation, and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
UPTICK IN NUMBERS: The Taipei deputy mayor said the city has services to assist new immigrants, but has established an office specifically to help those from Hong Kong The Taiwan-Hong Kong Services and Exchanges Office today officially opens, where it is to provide humanitarian assistance to Hong Kongers, after Beijing yesterday passed a controversial national security law for the territory. President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) expressed dismay over China’s passage of the law, saying that Beijing has broken its pledge to allow Hong Kong to maintain a high degree of autonomy for at least 50 years following its handover from the UK. “I feel extremely disappointed [about the law’s passage], which means China did not keep its promise to Hong Kong,” Tsai said in Taipei. Beijing’s “broken promise” also
‘SIGNAL TO ALLIES’: The US Navy’s exercises are not in response to those carried out by China, the commander of the strike group led by the USS ‘Ronald Reagan’ said Two US aircraft carriers were yesterday conducting exercises in the disputed South China Sea, the US Navy said as China also carried out military drills that have been criticized by the US Department of Defense and neighboring states. China and the US have accused each other of stoking tension in the waterway at a time of strained relations over everything from COVID-19 to trade to Hong Kong. The USS Nimitz and USS Ronald Reagan were carrying out operations and exercises in the South China Sea “to support a free and open Indo-Pacific,” the navy said in a statement. It did not say exactly