Coke to distribute beer in NZ market

Coca-Cola Amatil will distribute a range of beers on the New Zealand market as a step into the Australian brewing industry.

But opponents say New Zealand doesn't need any more alcohol.

Coca-Cola Amatil will distribute Canadian-based Molson Coors' range of beers in New Zealand including Coors Light, Carling, Caffrey's and Cobra.

The move is part of a larger plan by Coca-Cola Amatil to re-enter Australia's billion-dollar brewing industry by 2014.

At the company's annual general meeting this week, investors were told of Coca-Cola Amatil's six-step plan.

The company says it will start distribution for Molson Coors in New Zealand "from mid-2012" with a plan to re-enter the Australian brewing industry two years later.

Alcohol Healthwatch director Rebecca Williams last night said: "We need more alcohol like we need a hole in the head."

"Any new brand will be accompanied by aggressive marketing strategies," Ms Williams said.

"Alcohol is causing a significant problem already and we're grappling with getting the best answers."

Coca-Cola Amatil told investors this week it would enter New Zealand's market with "international partners", the first being Molson Coors.

A Molson Coors spokesman in the UK said it was the first time the company's beers were to be sold in New Zealand.

Coca-Cola Amatil is the Australian-based bottler and distributor of Coke and other soft drinks.

The company's six-point plan to break back into the Australian brewing industry includes new strategic partnerships with Fiji-based beer brands.

The company believes there is more than A$1 billion ($1.29 billion) a year to be made in the Australia and Pacific region and a further A$200 million in the premium beer market.

- APNZ

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