February 25, 2008
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
After a week like last week, it’s a wonder why anyone would be jealous of us Brits – and we’re assured that you all are, you know.
The drinks industry has been well and truly in the firing line, with the media, commentators, observers, government thinktanks and everyone’s mothers taking it in turns to take potshots in our general direction.
As I mentioned last week, the bottled water industry was the first to get it in the neck, following the broadcast of a documentary on the subject of water earlier in the week (you can watch it here, but be quick – you only have two days more). While the industry did come out fighting, it remains to be seen if the UK man in the UK street will understand the finer points of this argument.
Our regular columnist, Annette Farr, took a closer look at the programme, and you can read her deconstruction of what was, in my humble opine, a poorly-weighted look at this complex matter, by clicking here.
There was then the mixed news that the days of the sub-GBP5.00 bottle of wine are numbered. Australia’s drought and Europe’s rubbish summer have teamed up to begin forcing prices up. Those of us who are pure consumers of the stuff may well lament this development. However, it should bring a smile to those working in the wine industry who have long argued the need to drive more value into the category. The question remains, however, whether they can make these price rises stick with the buying public.
And finally, the alcoholic drinks industry as a whole is well and truly in the spotlight right now, following Tesco’s announcement that it wants to start a dialogue to move the price of alcohol upwards across the UK retail landscape. Although Tesco’s stance may surprise some commentators, other stakeholders in the binge-drinking debate immediately took up familiar positions.
Tedious though some of these arguments have become, it’s also pretty clear that these positions are in danger of becoming entrenched. The fear should be that the drinks industry now gets bogged down defending it’s own position and misses the opportunity to take the lead on this issue – and in doing so heads off calls for government intervention. As unfair as it may seem to us, I fear the anti-alcohol lobby is building dangerous momentum.
Remember, for a round-up of the top stories on just-drinks, we run our top ten countdown piece every Friday. Last week’s can be found here.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
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