just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
In This Issue...
I have just returned from a trip to Russia and Ukraine with the brewing giant InBev, and looking back at the week’s news it appears the emerging drinks markets have been keeping all the just-drinks team on our respective toes.
Having lived out in Russia four years ago, I’m staggered at how much the off-trade has developed. While the ‘Mom & Pop’ kiosk culture remains ubiquitous, the arrival of Western-style hyper- and supermarkets has exploded, presenting a clearly defined battleground going forward, not only for brewers, but indeed for all drinks companies.
It will be fascinating to watch the winners and losers unfold in this complex market across all drinks categories.
Back in the office it was India causing the biggest stir, what with us continuing to dig around UB Group’s efforts to buy Whyte & Mackay, while revealing the latest on the attempts of spirits group CL World Brands to break into the sub-continent.
Our chat with Yorrick Fonseca, CL World Brands business development director for the Indian market, was particularly interesting. That even a mid-sized firm is showing such an interest in India demonstrates the importance the drinks industry is putting on the country.
CL World Brands has its sights on becoming one of the world’s top 10 spirits producers, an ambition it stated when it bought a controlling stake in French vodka producer Belvedere last year. Its spirits portfolio, which includes Angostura rum and Hine Cognac, gives the company a solid foothold in markets where demand for premium spirits is healthy.
However, to break into the premier league of spirits producers, CL World Brands knows it has to team up with local players in emerging markets to bolster its presence in bigger volume products.
The fact it has, for now, shelved its plans for direct investment in India could indicate that suitable domestic players, with viable futures as venture partners in the country, are running out – food for thought for all across the industry who have yet to break into one of the key emerging markets worldwide.
For more on CL World Brands’ efforts to break into India, click here.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
The duty free business has recovered relatively quickly from the major disruption caused by the security scare in the UK in the summer, writes Joe Bates. And as the industry prepares for the annual Tax Free World Association travel retail trade show in Cannes next week, drinks suppliers have cause for cautious optimism with signs that their share of the market has stabilised after years of steady decline.
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