March 25, 2008
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
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The announcement last week by Foster’s and Lion Nathan that they are to halt production of certain RTD products acts as an indication of the kind of pressure drinks companies are under nowadays, particularly when it comes to so-called energy RTDs. The two Australian companies said the move is being made following “community concern” over alcoholic drinks which contain additives such as caffeine and taurine.
This is certainly a global pressure, highlighted by news earlier this month that Anheuser-Busch and Miller Brewing were feeling similar heat in the US. One pressure group went so far as to label caffeinated alcoholic drinks “alcospeed”.
While A-B stood up for itself, claiming the legal threat to its Bud Extra brand was little more than publicity-generating showboating, Foster’s and Lion Nathan clearly believe that ceasing production altogether is the best way to avoid such negative press.
I’m pretty sure that ‘they’ will find something else to damn the two companies for soon.
Elsewhere, changes in the Champagne region have also dominated the press in recent weeks. Again, the region is defending the changes, and we took a closer look at the case for this defence last week.
The soft drinks industry, meanwhile, saw the first major acquisition in the sector in 2008, with PepsiCo and The Pepsi Bottling Group lining up the purchase of a major stake in Russia’s Lebedyansky. The acquisition signals a shift of battlefield for Pepsi and Coca-Cola, not only into Russia, but also into the juice sector.
Colourful times on two fronts – that’s what we like to see here at just-drinks.
As for me, I spent last week jet-setting to the exotic climes of Dusseldorf for ProWein, and Glasgow for a look at Diageo’s Scotch plans. Now that I’m back at the coalface, I’m looking to put my feet up and dine out on two exclusives from my time in Scotland – one regarding J&B, the other concerning Tanqueray.
All this exhausting travelling and scoop-reaping has made me thirsty. What I’d give for a caffeine-infused alcoholic drink. Eh? Oh.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
Just in case you’ve not got round to booking a round-the-world business trip, taking in the best wine producing regions of France, Italy, Spain, Australia, Germany, the US, South Africa, Portugal, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and roughly 25 other producing countries…. We’ll bring them to you, in London, and for three days.
A delimited production area is both the main strength and weakness of a wine appellation, a guarantee of quality but a major obstacle to growth. Plans in Champagne, arguably the premier appellation of them all, to expand its production area have drawn severe criticism but Richard Woodard believes the criticism to be unfounded and borne at least in part out of envy.
In this month’s management briefing we round up some of the valuable findings from a selection of just-drinks’ recently published research. Last year saw us release some brand new titles and updates of our established reports, and with 2008 building up to be our busiest year for research to date, we’re looking forward to announcing some great titles shortly. Download this briefing and read extracts from some of our latest reports. Sectors focused on are vodka, brandy and Cognac, premium beer and functional health soft drinks.
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