May 18, 2009
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
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The 2009 London International Wine Fair & Distil 2009 flew by in what felt like seconds last week.
Yet, given the dire state of national economies around the world, there was still enough time to gauge a slightly more subdued atmosphere at this year's show. For a start, visitor numbers were down slightly on 2008, according to initial estimates from organiser Brintex. But there was still plenty to report on and talk about, not to mention the odd after-show drinks bash (thanks to Kleine Salze, Stratford's and Constellation Europe for putting up with us).
Among the highlights was just-drinks' Chris Brook-Carter revealing the results of a survey of 50 top executives, looking at the UK wine market.
Nearly a third of respondents said that they were pessimistic about the prospects for the sector over the next year. Indeed, there is widespread concern among wine merchants that the UK is becoming a far less attractive place to do business amid tax rises, high retailer margins and recession.
After all, the argument goes, why ship your wine all the way to the UK, when you can shift volumes to other markets and hopefully, make some money?
It is an increasingly pressing issue for those involved in the UK wine business, and one that held its cloud over last week's event.
Other news from the fair... The head of Constellation Europe said the wine industry must pull together to face the gloom ... New Zealand Winegrowers unveiled its new European director ... a UK Minister gave her take on how the drinks industry can make its objections to duty hikes better heard ... and, finally, the Georgians are coming.
And I should know – I saw the Georgian Prime Minister at LIWF on Wednesday. And he looked like he meant business.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
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The period from 2006 to 2008 has been a relatively quiet one for the Champagne industry. But the peace has not lasted long.
The downturn has not surprisingly caused a dramatic slide in Champagne sales but the Champenois are less perturbed than some might expect, continuing to plan for long-term growth through the expansion of the vineyard area. But Chris Losh wonders whether extending the appellation is really the best way forward.
This month's briefing is the latest edition of The Power 100 – the world’s most powerful spirits and wine brands 2009. Now in its fourth year, The Power 100 highlights the key issues and trends in the spirits and wine industry. It also identifies which brands are increasing their equity using a unique measure defined by measuring brand score and volume data. Produced by our partner Intangible Business, we once again present this comprehensive round-up of who's where in the league tables of drinks brand power.
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