Diageo Bets Big On Both Baijiu and Edible Straws

By Neat Pour Staff |

Diageo is having a busy week. The spirits mega conglomerate made a couple big moves: one to help the environment and one to help their share of the booming Asian market. Diageo first announced that they will be rolling out a line of edible, flavored straws over the next couple of weeks. Then, the company put ink a deal to purchase a controlling stake in Baijiu giant Sichuan Shuijingfang (SJF) Company.

The Straws

Bars, restos, and municipalities are not the only actors getting in on the sustainable straw game. Diageo, the world’s largest spirit company is now pushing their own edible, flavored straws. Available in a host of flavors, the sippers come packaged with the brand’s eight-year-old premixed (a.k.a. ready to drink) cocktail range.

The straws are intended as “zesty” garnishes of sorts for the canned beverages. Gordon’s will be the jewel of this new edible straw empire. A lime-flavored straw accompanies a premixed Gordon’s gin and Schweppes tonic. But, there’s more… different flavors are available to pair with a pink gin and tonic, and a gin and slimline tonic variant is available for the calorie counters.

However, Diageo didn’t stop with the gin. A pre-made Pimm’s and lemonade comes with a strawberry straw. Captain Morgan’s and cola is paired with lemon straw. Finally, there’s a chocolate one to compliment a Bailey’s and ice-coffee latte concoction. Smirnoff and cranberry requires a different type (key, maybe?) of lime straw.

As an added bonus, Diageo gets to beat their blood-rival Pernod Rocard to the punch. Both companies announced a commitment to push alternatives to single-use plastic straws earlier in 2018.

Unfortunately, the new sippers will only be available in the UK during launch. Distribution will begin on 31Dover.com (the British answer to Drizly.)

The move follows several high profile straw bans. Disney, Starbucks, and Marriott have both already announced plans to eliminate straws. Seattle just enacted a municipal prohibition on said single use plastics and both New York City and San Francisco are well on their way to passing similar legislation.

The Acquisition

Diageo is also trying to bolster their small presence in China, the world’s fastest growing spirits market. The conglomerate already owned a 39.71% stake in Baijiu powerhouse SJF, but the new purchase, tendered through Diageo’s wholly owned subsidiary Grand Metropolitan International Holdings (GMIHL) will increase their share to 60%.

The deal was first revealed on June 25th, but specifics about the purchase price remained in the air. Diageo has now confirmed that they will pay RMB61.38 ($8.92) per share for a total of 247,176,244 shares. 

The deal is expected to be complete by August 18. The transaction will not affect SJF’s publicly held status and the corporation will continue to trade on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

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