Today, Asahi Europe & International (AEI), the international arm of Asahi Group Holdings, has announced the acquisition of Octopi Brewing, a prominent contract beverage production and co-packing facility situated in Waunakee, Wisconsin.
This strategic investment is designed to expedite Asahi's global aspirations for Asahi Super Dry, Japan's most popular beer, marking the first production of this iconic brew in the United States.
Octopi Brewing, with its modern facility established in 2014, specializes in producing a diverse range of beverages, including beer and ready-to-drink products. The state-of-the-art packaging lines accommodate various styles and sizes of bottles and cans, providing maximum flexibility.
The establishment of a North American production facility positions Asahi for expanded sales in the U.S. and Canada while contributing to notable sustainability advantages, including emission reduction. This move aligns with Asahi's commitment to achieving carbon neutrality across its broader supply chain by 2050.
Paolo Lanzarotti, CEO of Asahi Europe & International, expressed, “Local production in North America has been an ambition of ours for some time because of the benefits it will bring." He emphasized the shared growth mindset and commitment to meaningful connections with partners, communities, and the planet.
Victoria Segebarth, Managing Director, EMEA & Americas at Asahi Europe & International, stated, “By making this investment, we are taking a major step forward in accelerating the growth journey of our global brands, expanding awareness, reach, and access across North America through existing and new on and off-trade partners.”
Over the next year, Octopi will be integrated into AEI's U.S. subsidiary, Asahi Beer USA, producing key global brands such as Asahi Super Dry and Kozel for the North American market, along with a broader portfolio for distribution and sale in Canada. Octopi will continue its co-packing operations, with its current leadership team remaining under Isaac Showaki, President of Octopi Brewing.
To ensure adherence to the high standards of Asahi Super Dry, Asahi will invest additional capital to meet the required technical standards. Japanese brew masters will supervise the production in the U.S., following the same rigorous standards, recipe, and brewing process applied in Asahi's existing breweries.
Asahi Super Dry, introduced in 1987, stands as Japan's best-selling beer and a global symbol of modern Japan. Brewed to authentic Japanese standards, this premium beer offers a crisp, clean, and quick finish. Asahi Group Holdings, Ltd., headquartered in Tokyo, is a global leader in food and beverage production, boasting a diverse brand portfolio, including premium beers such as Asahi Super Dry, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, Kozel, Pilsner Urquell, and Grolsch.
With this move, Asahi obviously aims to gain market share in the U.S., where its much smaller Japanese competitor Sapporo holds a leading position. According to its own statements, Sapporo Premium is "the #1 selling Asian beer brand in the U.S." The Tokyo-based beverage maker has been importing beer to the U.S. since 1964 and has become a popular offering at restaurants. Sapporo U.S.A was established in 1984. The company owns the Sleeman Brewery in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and Sapporo Brewing Company in La Crosse, Wisconsin, U.S. In 2017, Sapporo purchased the California-based craft beer maker Anchor Brewing, San Francisco, California (inside.beer, 4.8.2017), which it has now announced to sell or close (inside.beer, 11.7.2023). In June 2022, Sapporo bought Stone Brewing, one of the largest craft beer brands and the 18th overall in size in the United States, from its co-founder Greg Koch. (inside.beer, 27.6.2022)