April 6, 2009
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
The London International Wine Fair and Distil. 25,000 wines and spirits for tasting. Over 30 seminars, debates and masterclasses for learning. 30,000 wine and spirits trade professionals for meeting. But only 3 days.
After repeated police warnings of anarchist riots through central London during last week's G20 Summit, the reality fell some way short of the billing. By midday on the day of the summit talks, a space for 6,000 protestors contained only a few hundred die-hards. One policeman told the BBC, in one of our favourite quotes from the week, that anarchists tend not to get up very early.
Fortunately, on the inside, leaders from 20 of the most powerful nations on earth managed to rouse themselves from their beds in order to administer one whacking shot in the arm for the global economy - largely orchestrated by Saint Obama and his Scottish terrier, Gordon Brown.
This week, however, it's back to the real world. While last week's meeting was crucial in many ways, all the immediate challenges remain. Even as the G20 sat down for morning coffee, the chief economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit warned that consumers will likely have to wait until 2011 before they see any meaningful economic recovery.
For the drinks industry, 2009 remains an even tougher prospect. This month will see annual Government budgets announced in Ireland (7 April) and the UK (22 April), with both expected to include some kind of tax rise on alcohol.
With both countries somewhat strapped for cash, though, expect alcohol to take quite a hit, I fear.
Elsewhere last week, we saw the end of, and then a new beginning for, Maxxium, the global sales and distribution alliance. As Remy Cointreau bade farewell on Tuesday (31 March), Wednesday saw the birth of the slimmed down – in partners, at least – organisation, with Beam Global Spirits & Wine and The Edrington Group now sharing the reins. We had a chat with the two new heads of Maxxium, which you can read about here.
Finally, no prizes to those of you who spotted our April Fool story last week. It's a real shame it's not going to happen, although after some whisky tastings in the past, many of which have gone on for far longer than they should have, I've felt that I had quite a bit of 'Undeniable Power'.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
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Yesterday (1 April) signalled both an end and a beginning for Maxxium, the global sales and distribution joint venture created by Beam Global Spirits & Wine, The Edrington Group and Remy Cointreau in 1999. In those ten years, the company has gained one partner – Vin & Sprit in 2001 – and lost two, with Vin & Sprit calling time last year, and Remy Cointreau pulling out yesterday. The two remaining members subsequently decided to pool their resources, rather than go it alone. Speaking to just-drinks, the MD for Beam Global's international operations, Donard Gaynor, and group sales and marketing director at Edrington, Bill Farrar, look back at the break-up process, and consider how the new Maxxium – of which they will be co-chairmen – will perform in the current economic climate.
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