December 14, 2009
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
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It is hard to judge the material benefits from Heineken's deal with United Breweries in India last week.
Heineken has secured - but not increased - its stake in United Breweries and the company may be a large fish - controlling an estimated 50% of the Indian beer market - but the market is minuscule even in comparison to emerging beer nations.
"Probably the most significant aspect is Heineken's ability to exercise some influence on the future path of United Breweries,"said analyst group Sanford C Bernstein.
The potential for beer in India looks obvious on paper: the country's economy is growing in mid- to high-single digits and beer per capita consumption is one litre in a drinking population of around 500m, including an above average proportion of young adults.
India should be a big beer market, but no one is sure how long it might take to get there. State regulations are a thorn in brewers' sides, the country's on-trade is under-developed and beer is relatively expensive compared to spirits.
While Heineken appears well-placed to reap the rewards if it can maintain its partnership with UB, this is a long-term play. Meanwhile, if you can have a Heineken in your local bar, look out for UB's flagship Kingfisher beer brand coming soon, surely.
As 2009 draws to a close, we've got a special send-off for a year many of you have found pretty tough going. As in 2008, we're going to wrap up this year with our regular annual reviews of beer, soft drinks, spirits and wine between now and Christmas.
As well as the reviews, we're also going to run a series of top tens of the year, starting this week, looking at the most read comment pieces, features, interviews, news stories and reports of 2009.
After all that, I think we'll gladly say goodbye to the year with nary a cheery wave.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
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Coca-Cola has been criticised for making a misleading claim in an ad in the US over its policy towards selling soft drinks in schools. While the company has agreed to change the wording in the ad, Ben Cooper writes, campaigners are set to ramp up the pressure on both Coke and PepsiCo over the issue of selling full-calorie soft drinks in schools in an attempt to force the companies to adopt globally consistent policies in this area.
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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