January 25, 2010
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
The 30th London International Wine Fair and Distil. 30,000 wines and spirits for tasting. Over 30 seminars, debates and masterclasses for learning. 30,000 wine and spirits trade professionals meeting.
We spent the past week keeping a watchful - and rather intrigued - eye on events at Anheuser-Busch InBev's breweries in Belgium.
The mainstream media naturally lapped up fears of a Stella Artois shortage across the country and the notion of workers bringing operations at the world's largest brewer to a halt. By the end of the week, however, the stand-off drew to close as A-B InBev and unions announced a deal.
The brewer has agreed to discuss its job cuts plan more thoroughly with the unions, but - as we said on Friday - neither side can escape the fundamental problem.
Demand for beer is falling across Western Europe (and Eastern Europe, if Heineken's announcement earlier today is anything to go by) and brewers increasingly need to switch resources to faster growth markets – with, arguably, lower costs - such as those in Asia, Latin America and even Africa.
Whilst this kind of shift is certainly not new in our industry, nor is it anywhere near over.
In other news last week, Diageo's victory over the producers of Vodkat in the UK, Intercontinental Brands, generated quite a few column inches. The ruling lends vodka extra protection, Diageo was keen to point out, akin to Champagne, Sherry and Cognac.
Diageo has been the beneficiary of good fortune in the legal sphere when it comes to vodka. Back in 2007, remember, the company was celebrating a ruling in Europe, which allowed the production of vodka from non-traditional ingredients.
Features-wise, click here for the first just-drinks interview of 2010, with the head of Whyte & Mackay, John Beard. Then, click here for the first comment piece from the editor of Brewers' Guardian, Larry Nelson.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
All-new research from just-drinks provides the latest global market analysis and forecast figures for the premium beer market. Discover what the future holds for this category and where the growth opportunities lie.
The latest global review of tequila from just-drinks is now available. The 22,000 word report contains 41 data tables and establishes the leading brands and their strategies. Through this report you will identify where the future growth opportunities lie.
In the first just-drinks interview of 2010, we sit down with John Beard, CEO of Whyte & Mackay, and ask him about his first nine months in the hotseat, his company's relationship with its Indian owners and where he sees opportunity for growth going forward. Go on, take a guess.
There would be little point denying that the poor global economic climate was the major story of 2009 across all drinks sectors. In spirits, US market growth for the major players Diageo and Pernod Ricard had started to slow before 2008 had ended. In wine, we heard that Australian wine exports had fallen in value terms during 2008 for the first time in 15 years; and that US domestic wine sales saw the first annual fall since the last major recession in 1993. In beer, Diageo shelved plans to build a new brewery for its Guinness brand in Ireland, whilst in soft drinks, the story of the year has arguably been the takeover by PepsiCo of its two major bottlers. just-drinks' leading writers round-up a tumultuous year in this month's briefing.
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