June 2, 2008
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
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The end of May has also brought to an end my jet-setting... for the time being, at least.
Last week, it was Russia – if it's Tuesday, it must be Moscow – with Pernod Ricard. The wine and spirits giant invited a load of us journo-types – and analysts – out to the country to discuss its “Luxury in a Bottle” strategy, and to look at how captive a market Russia is to the premiumisation trend. Sure enough, we saw a lot of very plush bars and very clean supermarkets, selling some very decent bottles of spirits at very, very high prices. Next to the bottles of Chivas Regal, Johnnie Walker, Bacardi et al, however, was a raft of vodka brands available for mere cents compared to dollars.
While vodka is certainly the market to penetrate for spirits companies in Russia, I fear Pernod may have to look elsewhere to generate returns on its Absolut acquisition.
We got some face time with both Pernod's current CEO, Patrick Ricard, and his successor-in-waiting, Pierre Pringuet, so brace yourself for a double-interview later this month. Clicking here and here, meanwhile, will give you some tasters of what they had to say.
A further fruit of my travels appeared last week, in the form of an interview with AmBev. Take a look here to read the thoughts of the brewer's zone president for Latin America North, Luiz Fernando Edmond.
Speaking of InBev, the rumours that the global brewer is lining up a bid for Anheuser-Busch didn't come as too much of a surprise, did it? Talk amongst the journalists in Russia suggested that the leak has been purposefully dropped by someone with a vested interest in the matter. Naturally, both InBev and A-B have nothing to say on the whole matter at this point, but I'm reliably informed that someone in the banking community – on the side of one of the two companies – knew exactly what they were doing feeding us the news.
Visit here for further musings on this somewhat murky matter.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
The entire South African wine world is exhibiting at Cape Wine 2008 from 23-25 September. Over 300 wineries will show over 4000 wines. Cutting edge seminars and fabulous winery events make this an unforgettable trade show. Celebrate our new vintage with Spring in Cape Town.
AmBev, InBev’s Latin American operation, had a tough first quarter, hit by higher costs and poor weather in Brazil. Earlier this month, Olly Wehring met with Luiz Fernando Edmond, zone president for Latin America North at AmBev, who spoke about the challenges in the home market, the progress and potential of other Latin American countries and the opportunities both for InBev’s international brands in Brazil and for AmBev’s Brahma brand in the US.
This month's briefing is the 2008 edition of "The Power 100", published by leading consultancy Intangible Business, which looks at the key issues affecting the wines and spirits industry and identifies the brands which have performed well - and those that have experienced difficulties over the past year. This annual report, into the most powerful spirits and wine brands in the world, takes into account the consumer's perception of brand strength and its financial performance, using a robust methodology. A panel of leading international drinks experts are asked to score each brand on a variety of measures and these scores are combined with hard volume data to create a league table of the most powerful international drinks brands in the world.
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