CUB CEO reflects on portfolio growth and sustainability initiatives in 2023

February 15, 2024
By Cody Profaca

Danny Celoni, CEO at Carlton & United Breweries, reflects on a prosperous year gone by that saw significant growth for a large portion of its portfolio.

“2023 has been an exciting year for us and we’re proud and very thankful for the great partnerships and collaboration we’ve created with our amazing customers in both the retail and on-premise channels. Together we’ve delivered very strong results in a way that has brought incremental value to the categories we participate in together.

This year at Carlton & United Breweries our core focus was to turn a really good company into an absolutely GREAT company. A company focused on being consumer and customer obsessed, creating value, expanding categories and developing an innovation pipeline that brings incrementality to the categories we operate in.

As a team, we re-orientated our centre of gravity behind being customer centric and humble in how we operate. We have proactively leaned in and listened to our great customers to deliver what’s important for them in a way that creates mutual value whilst also landing exciting products and initiatives that has consumers coming back to spend their hard-earned dollars in our industry. We have orientated behind being hungry for growth, delivering BIG scalable and sustainable initiatives and moving fast with a bias for action in order to deliver for our customers.

From a portfolio perspective we have reinvigorated and energised our organisation behind driving growth in the beer category again. We have doubled down on investment on our core brands while driving innovation in them to fuel growth in both the retail and on premise environment. A great example is Victora Bitter Xtra at 6% ABV, which has brought new excitement to a classic beer. Our hunger for growth saw us relaunch Powers in Queensland, creating mutual growth or us and our customers as beer lovers flocked back to this beloved Queensland drop.

We’re happy with the progress we’ve seen, yet at the same time we are hungry to fuel more momentum in this space.

Within the craft beer, we have refocused on creating scale in craft beer in a way that’s sustainable and continues to drive premiumization within the category. Our craft partner Balter is the no 1 craft tap beer nationally. But they are not complacent, with the new Balter Cerveza proving a hit with beer lovers since it launched mid-year. 4 Pines Japanese lager has been another hit this year.

Within RTD, our great marketing innovation teams have deployed focus behind category growth and expansion. The team have brought new and exciting innovation to the category with Vodka Cruise Double, Hard Solo – soon to be renamed Hard Rated – the Brookvale Union RTD range and, more recently, Great Northern Ginger Beer. What also excites me is seeing some of these great innovations launch on tap so that our consumers can enjoy these in the on-premise environment. These have been key in driving incremental value for our great on-premise customer partners.

Carlton & United Breweries is anchored in a long history of standing on the shoulders of giants: the predecessors who pioneered great products with our customers, such as VB and Carlton Draught. Tracing our origins back to the mid-nineteenth century, together we’ve helped shape the Australian brewing industry, with a continuous growth mindset. 

What excites me and our team is that it feels like we’re only just getting started. We have a massive passion to be and feel like an extension and a true part of our customers’ businesses while bringing new thinking, innovation and very large scale initiatives that mobilises Australians behind our industry. We have a passion to listen, learn and achieve sustainable growth focused on creating an exciting industry that has longevity. And we have a passion to embark on this journey with our customers, consumers and stakeholders across the industry.

CUB drinks are made at over 10 sites across the country, including Australia’s largest brewery at Yatala, QLD and the oldest at Cascade in Hobart (1832). CUB, as a proud part of Asahi Beverages, continues to challenge our own thinking on how we will evolve this to ensure we drive efficiencies, ease of doing business, flexibility in what we can manufacture and ultimately continue to deliver on time in full every time seamlessly for our customers.

2023 has been a year of great recognition from our customers of our teams. We are very thankful for the relationships we have developed together and the collaboration we drive in partnership to make great things happen in our categories and industry. This year I was so proud when CUB & CUB Premium Beverages were jointly awarded Supplier of the year at the Drinks Association’s 2023 Australian Drinks Awards. For us this is a testament to the fact that we need to continue to show up for customers in a way that makes a difference. We are so thrilled for all the recognition also from our suppliers. This includes:

Coles Liquor: 

  • CUB won Beer Supplier of the Year 
  • CUB Premium Beverages won Product Launch of the Year – Vodka Cruiser Double Range 

Endeavour Group:

  • CUB won Large Supplier of the Year 


  • CUB Premium Beverages won National Supplier of the Year – Large 

Paramount Liquor:

  • CUB won Supplier of The Year


  • CUB Beer won Liquor Supplier of the Year +$3m
  • CUB Premium Beverages won Best Innovation across all categories for Cruiser Double


  • CUB won Best On-Premise Supplier 

GABS 2023:

  • Balter XPA, 2nd place in GABS Hottest 100 Craft Beers 

Australian International Beer Awards:

  • Mountain Goat won Champion Large Australia Brewery trophy
  • CUB won 114 medals across all our sites

However, I can assure our customers that we are passionate about stepping it up even further and taking it to the next level together.

CUB, as part of Asahi Beverages, is committed to ensuring Australians can enjoy great drinks and celebrate occasions in a more sustainable way that reduces the impact on our planet.

For example, at our Yatala Brewery in Queensland in 2021, we harnessed the Queensland sun and embarked on the largest solar project at any Australian brewery. 7,000 solar panels now cover 15,000 square metres. We’re now brewing the equivalent of about 150 million stubbies or cans each year using sustainable energy, which I know our customers appreciate. At our beloved Abbotsford Brewery in Melbourne, we’ve installed over 4,000 solar panels across 8,800 sqm.

In addition, Asahi and CUB is targeting net zero CO2 emissions across our entire supply by 2050. We aim to reduce Scope 1 & 2 CO2 emissions in our operations by 50% by 2025. Some of our interesting initiatives include tracking the sustainability of our barley farmers’ growing practices via direct procurement and the commencement of beer delivery via electric truck.

As we look back on 2023, we just want to say a big thank you to all our customers and key stakeholders to the great partnerships we have created together. We have the absolute privilege and are incredibly fortunate to be part of an industry that creates special moments in people’s lives. Whether it’s weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, or just a casual beer at the bar or around the BBQ, we help bring together individuals and communities, at places where friendships are forged, and the fabric of our culture is woven.

Beyond the fun it’s an industry that unites us, creating a sense of belonging and contributing to the overall enrichment of our communities. As hoteliers, retailers and suppliers we are so fortunate to be a part of this together. We are so grateful to be a part of it.

As we move forward we will continue to emphasize the importance of partnership and a collective genuine interest in thriving. Our industry is not just about individual success; it is about collaboration, support, and a shared commitment to creating amazing experiences through great occasions. I’m excited about our collective future and thankful for a strong 2023 that we have created together.

We look forward to an even brighter 2024.”

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