AB InBev and Keurig Explore In-Home Booze Machine

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Home-beverage making could soon be getting boozier. Anheuser-Busch InBev today announced a joint venture with Keurig Green Mountain for the development of an in-home alcohol drink system that will include beer and liquor.

Keurig is known for its pod-based coffee-making system. The marketer made an ill-fated move into the cold beverage-making business with its Keurig Kold system, which Keurig announced last year would be discontinued less than a year after it was introduced.

In a statement today, AB InBev and Keurig stated that their partnership will "build on the Keurig Kold technology and system innovations and AB InBev's brewing and packaging technology, and evolve them within the realm of the full adult beverage category, including beer, spirits, cocktails and mixers." The target market is North America.

Bob Gamgort, Keurig Green Mountain CEO, stated: "We are excited to partner with AB InBev to develop a new system for the adult beverage category. We look forward to combining our capabilities and technologies to deliver innovation for consumers."

The CEO of the venture is Nathaniel Davis, who is currently global VP-innovation and development at AB InBev. Employees will come from current AB InBev and Keurig teams. The joint venture will operate from Massachusetts and Vermont, according to the statement.

No other timelines or details were given. Beer Business Daily today reported that "as we understand it the spectrum of ABI's portfolio should show up in such a system, from Bud Light to SpikedSeltzer. And it should involve some sort of home appliance, for which Keurig is of course known."

Beer Marketer's Insights noted that the deal "is interesting because it salvages some upside for Keurig Kold system that had sucked in tens of millions in development costs … before being abandoned by JAB as new owner." The publication also pointed out that the new pact "unites ABI with Starbucks rival JAB at time that ABI has also teamed with Starbucks on soon-launching RTD iced tea line under Teavana brand."

An investor group led by JAB Holding Co. early last year completed its acquisition of Keurig Green Mountain.

Keurig Kold was developed in partnership with Coca-Cola Co., which took an ownership stake in Keurig beginning in 2014 that peaked at 16%. Coke sold its stake after the JAB acquisition, recording a gain of $25.5 million, Coke reported.

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