March 2, 2009
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
A quick demo of O4’s mobile field solution in action.
Greetings from Cuba! While the world and his wife continue to wallow in the misery that is our planet's economic plight, yours truly has managed to get away from it all for a while, play tourist in the Caribbean, and pretend everything's okay back home – for a week, at least.
I'm heading back from Havana as I type, having spent the last six days in this fascinating city as a guest of Havana Club, Pernod Ricard's rum joint venture with the Cuban state. You may have seen a couple of stories (http://www.just-drinks.com/article.aspx?id=96505) (http://www.just-drinks.com/article.aspx?id=96504) from j-d's man in Havana late last week.
You're all going to have to wait a little while longer, however, to read my interview with the managing director of Havana Club International. His response to my suggestion that the company may look to line up an alternatively-named brand for the US market – for if and when the country's embargo is finally lifted – should brighten your day, at least. Indeed, with changes to the leadership in both the US and Cuba in the last 12 months, what's not to say that the days of the embargo are finally numbered?
The interview will run on just-drinks later this week.
Meanwhile, back in the darker corners of the world, the US economy has reported its worst quarterly performance for more than 25 years ( http://www.just-drinks.com/article.aspx?id=96527 ).
There was gloomy news, too, in the UK as alcoholic drinks industry bodies released a report predicting mass job cuts over the next four years ( http://www.just-drinks.com/article.aspx?id=96489 ). Wine sales are also struggling to maintain momentum in the country (http://www.just-drinks.com/article.aspx?id=96477)
In beer, SABMiller demonstrated that it still has the cash to splash on acquisitions, by announcing that its joint venture in China, CR Snow, will buy three breweries (http://www.just-drinks.com/article.aspx?id=96498&lk=wps). The brewer is, however, cutting jobs at its subsidiary in Poland (http://www.just-drinks.com/article.aspx?id=96519)
Australia's government has moved to expand its tax on RTD alcoholic beverages, to include malt and wine-based drinks (http://www.just-drinks.com/article.aspx?id=96494&lk=wps). The whole tax may yet be brought down in the country's Senate, however. (http://www.just-drinks.com/article.aspx?id=96509&lk=wps)
In soft drinks, Cott Corp said that it was glad to be done with 2008, but things look brighter for the group in 2009 (http://www.just-drinks.com/article.aspx?id=96515).
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
Both China and the US have in different ways been exciting growth markets for the drinks sector in recent years but for obvious reasons neither is quite what they were. Chris Losh looks at how both markets are faring in the downturn and assesses what we can expect from each in the year ahead.
The beginning of a new year once again sees the publication of the Euromonitor International industry outlook from just-drinks, which takes stock of the current state of play in the spirits, beer, wine and soft drinks sectors and looks ahead to what promises to be an exciting and busy year across all four categories. The expected activity in our industry, however, will play out against a background of economic gloom, which looks set to contaminate all areas of all businesses.
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