November 23, 2009
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
The International Food & Drink Expo India 2009 is the must attend event for India's food, drink and hospitality professionals, who will have the opportunity to source new products and innovations as well as learning the latest developments in the industry.
The Scotch whisky industry may have been the benefactor of unprecedented investment over the last five years or so, but 2009 has seen a wave of consolidation across the sector.
Since Diageo announced plans to cut roughly 10% of its workforce in Scotland, we have now seen streamlining moves from the likes of Whyte & Mackay, Edrington Group and Pernod Ricard-owned Chivas Brothers.
Last week was the turn of Edrington, which is to close its Tamdhu distillery and maltings on Speyside, and Chivas, which is to sell off its bottling site in Newbridge.
Is this all down to the global economic downturn? In partly, yes it is. Premium Scotch whisky sales have struggled in 2009 and a decline in exports is expected, as just-drinks has previously reported. Edrington said last week that its restructuring move was "in direct response to the global economic recession".
However, none of these companies is so short-sighted as to focus solely on near-to-medium-term economics. Diageo's forward planning on Scotch stretches up to 25 years into the future in some areas. What we are witnessing, then, is a period of readjustment in Scotch, as companies examine how to profitably meet estimated future demand.
And that means taking some tough decisions, as last week confirmed.
Another gloomy saga worsened last week, with the owner of Threshers off-licences in the UK, First Quench, announcing another wave of store closures.
It would seem we are in the fall-out zone. Christmas can't come soon enough, I'll wager.
Elsewhere on just-drinks last week, we talked to the head of Pernod Ricard's Irish Distillers unit, Alexandre Ricard, about his current adventures and potential future hi-jinks.
One to watch, perhaps?
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
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At only 37 years old, Alexandre Ricard's swift ascent on the Pernod Ricard power ladder has turned heads in the industry. His latest role, as CEO of Irish Distillers, has coincided with strong growth for the group's Jameson Irish whiskey brand. Just-drinks deputy editor Chris Mercer catches up with the hotly-tipped Pernod protege during a fly-by visit to London.
In the last 12 months, just-drinks has had unprecedented access to some of the leading players in the beverage industry. This briefing collects all of these interviews - including the CEO of Diageo and the chief marketing officer of The Coca-Cola Company - in one place. In all, 15 of the world's most influential drinks players discuss their business strategies against the backdrop of one of the most tumultuous 12 months in recent history.
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