Japanese Asahi Acquires Auckland-born, Melbourne Coffee Company, Allpress Espresso
Asahi's New Zealand chief executive Andrew Campbell said the purchase, for an undisclosed price, was a perfect move to penetrate local coffee market.
Allpress was founded in 1986 by Aucklander Michael Allpress and sells roasted coffee beans, coffee concentrate, and canned iced black coffee to 1500 cafes, restaurants and food service businesses, with another 500 wholesale customers.
It's now huge presences in Australia, Singapore, Japan, and the UK. The price of the acquisition was not disclosed, but the deal is Asahi’s first major purchase since its $16 billion acquisition of Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) in 2019, which saw the Japanese brewer take control of nearly 50 per cent of the country’s beer market.
Asahi's current brands include Vodka Cruiser, Woodstock, Asahi Super Dry, Sommersby Cider, and Boundary Road beers, along with a range of non-alcoholic drinks including Charlie's, Phoenix Organics, and Juicy Lucy. It also owns the Independent Liquor distribution business.
“Asahi often gets feedback saying, you’ve got a great alcohol portfolio range, great non-alcoholic portfolio range, but do you do anything in coffee?” Asahi Oceania chief executive Robert Iervasi said.
Data from market analysis firm IBISWorld indicates Australia’s coffee industry is worth about $1.3 billion and has been consistently growing over the past five years, with demand for premium coffee fuelling this growth.
Allpress is a sizeable player in the market, with the company’s 2020 financial report revealing its Australian revenues totalled $23.6 million with profits of $653,000. The majority of the business’ revenue is from the 1500 tonnes of wholesale coffee beans it sells worldwide.
MrIervasi said Asahi will offer Allpress’ products to its existing customers in both the alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages space, along with continuing to operate the company’s own cafes. Allpress’ management and its 240 employees will also stay on at the business.
“It’s probably a little too early in the acquisition to say whether we might see a ready-to-drink alcohol coffee-based variant,” he said. “But the alcohol consumer has changed its preferences more so in the last two years than I probably would have ever seen before.”“So the opportunity to explore coffee and what that means is something we will evolve in the medium to longer-term, and it really comes down to the shift that we’re seeing in consumer and how we will satisfy that consumption.”