just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
In This Issue...
Here at just-drinks, we’re always chasing the drinks industry’s movers and shakers for the inside line – as you’d expect. While it’s been a very quiet summer for us, however, the last fortnight has given me the opportunity to bend the ears of some of the industry’s senior figures.
Late last month, I went to Paris to cover Pernod Ricard’s annual results. I also secured 20 minutes with the company’s chairman and CEO Patrick Ricard – an interesting time from beginning to end, starting with a flurry of Gallic shrugs, and ending in raised voices as we discussed a certain brand of rum. Keep your eyes peeled next week for the full, frank interview.
For the news from Pernod’s Paris press conference, click here.
Back in London, meanwhile, I met the head of Foster’s Group, Trevor O’Hoy, last week. O’Hoy was over meeting shareholders and took time out to meet with a few of Fleet Street’s finest (and me). Another fascinating character, his candour was refreshing and his humour was typically Australian.
Back to Pernod, news editor Dean Best took a trip up to Scotland last week to see how the company plans to “revitalise” Ballantine’s, having inherited the brand when it bought Allied Domecq last year. Pernod acknowledges that a lot of work needs to be done to revive the whiskey range. Brand director Peter Moore said Ballantine’s Finest, which accounts for 89% of the brand’s global volumes, had come to be seen as an “entry-level” brand, while Ballantine’s 12-year-old, he said, had become “a mess” under Allied.
As is the Pernod way, slick marketing focusing on the heritage of the brand will be central to the company’s strategy on Ballantine’s. And, despite two heavyweight Scotch whiskies in the same stable – Ballantine’s joining Chivas Regal - Pernod insists both brands can succeed as both are popular in different markets. Ballantine’s is huge in Spain, for example, while Chivas is making hay in China.
If Pernod does succeed in breathing life back into Ballantine’s in a sector where consumers are switching from blends to single malts, it will be one of its most notable post-Allied achievements.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
The integration of Baltic Beverages Holding’s ten Russian breweries is set to take the Baltika beer business into a new period of development, as Russia’s leading brewer seeks to benefit from the efficiencies in sales and distribution the integration will bring. Dean Best reports.
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