According to The Beer Institute 52% of all beer was in 2010 sold in cans in the US but only
3% of the craft beer segment came in cans. Craft brewers or microbrewers prefer bottles and kegs, or has preferred. According to an article in Packaging Digest we can now distinguish a shift towards the use of beverage cans.
More craft brewers than ever are now filling beer in beverage cans for several reasons. The distribution of canned beers opens up new channels like convenience stores and arenas. Also financial and logistical aspects are weighed in.
Still the consumers of craft beers are traditionalists and have gotten used to the idea of drinking from bottles. Using bottles is often an obvious choice for the small brewer with a challenging cash-flow looking for a used filling line. The use of co-packers opens up for alternative packaging solutions. Is this a trend or will the scepticism from consumers hold the can back.
Yesterday Rexam announced that sales the first 6 months this year has been up 2% and that operating profit is up by 25%, all organic and compared to the same period last year. With a new CEO you have to show the share holders, and any other bystanders, that the shift by the helm worked very well indeed.
And it did, cash is flowing and the so important segment beverage cans are also growing by 2%. Beverage cans are the backbone of Rexam with some 2/3 of the business. Speciality cans are said to be one of the drivers of the 2% recording. Generally cans are a growing packaging segment, growing in South America and East Europe, stable in North America and West Europe and a very uncertain matter in Russia. This is obviously a concern when you are leading the market in that particular place.
Nevertheless, speciality cans are back which is a good sign as such. It indicates that confidence in the market among customers is back to a degree.
A few plants have been sold and a few people have been made redundant and now Rexam is floating. The share price is still remarkably low but time will tell what is right there.
On the plastic side closures, in particular beverage closures, are dragging while personal care packaging is up.
So far so good for Rexam this year.