December 1, 2008
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
Given the recent events in Mumbai, last week was perhaps not the best time to be a westerner residing in some of India's plusher hotels. Still, there we were – in Delhi and Jaipur – to visit SABMiller's Indian beer operations.
India appears to thrive on chaos, underpinned – very much like Russia, I've found - by a 'system' that is often indecipherable for the first time visitor. Yet – very much like Russia, again - there is an unmistakable sense of optimism about the country's future as one of the world's leading economic powers.
The potential for drinks firms is clear. The country has an estimated drinking population of 500m, roughly equivalent to the entire population of the European Union. Disposable incomes are clearly on the rise, as shown by the emergence of western-style bars such as 'F Bar' in Delhi, and hotel bars like the Sahara Star in Mumbai (GBP17 (US$25) for three Heineken's).
It is clear that many challenges remain for brewers, however. Most Indians earn a minimum wage that prices them out of the beer market, while state taxes and regulations seriously water down companies' profit margins.
Look out for a feature on the things we learnt in India later this week.
Back in the day-to-day world, Thanksgiving led to a hush from the US last week, leaving Europe and Japan to claim some column inches. In France, Pernod Ricard kept quiet on talk that it is considering the sale of its Tia Maria brand, while Remy Cointreau saw its first-half profits rise, thanks mainly to its Cognac and Champagne operations.
Over in Japan, it was a grim week for Sapporo Breweries, who was told by Diageo that it was being dropped in favour of rival Kirin Brewery for the importation of several Diageo brands after over 40 years.
Sapporo's long-running feud with hedge fund Steel Partners, which has been trying to up its stake in the Japanese company for over a year, has been top of Sapporo's agenda for a while. The current economic climate may nullify the matter anyway, but at lease the firm now has time on its hands to sort out this situation once and for all.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
Magners Cider was a phenomenal, but seemingly short-lived, brand success story. As C&C Group seeks to recover from the boom and bust experience that befell its cider brand, it is looking to its spirits portfolio, and specifically Irish whiskey Tullamore Dew, for growth. And even in these uncertain times, the company is bullish about the opportunities ahead. Chris Mercer reports.
Protecting local markets, traditional names and long-established production methods have long been important elements of the international drinks trading system. However in recent years, efforts have been made to bring some order and liberalisation to what was once a plethora of local laws that restricted trade on the one hand, and allowed cheap shoddy copies of drink classics, on the other. Here just-drinks examines the state of drinks production and marketing laws worldwide and examines how governments and international organisations are trying to balance protecting excellence with the need to allow free trade and competition within the sector.
We currently deliver just-drinks newsletters to : ##EMAIL##
To change the opt-in emails you receive, modify your address, or be removed completely, please use this link.
© just-drinks.com 2000-2008. All Rights Reserved.