February 22, 2010
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
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Consumers may have lost their taste for premium drinks of late in the US and Europe, but their counterparts in Asia continue to lap up high-end whisky and Cognac.
Last week, Pernod Ricard reported a widely-expected sales decline for its fiscal half-year, as did Diageo before it. Sales of premium spirits in Asia, however, driven in particular by China, have continued apace for both rivals.
Pernod saw sales of Martell rise by 3% for the six months, noting that Chinese consumers continue to quaff higher value expressions of the Cognac, as if the global financial crisis were but a momentary blip.
Diageo, meanwhile, has had to airlift into China extra bottles of luxury Johnnie Walker whisky, The John Walker, after a first batch was quickly snaffled by thirsty elites in the country - despite a US$3,000 price tag. just-drinks understands that the drinks giant expects China's premium Scotch whisky market to rise by 8% in value this year.
Despite the success, the figures suggest that it will take more than Asia to lift Pernod and Diageo in the second half. After a tough first six months, there is much work to do in the second half...
Incidentally, I'm scheduled to meet Pernod's recently-appointed deputy managing director for finance – or CFO, if you'd rather - Gilles Bogaert this week. If you have any questions for the man, drop me a line and I'll pose away.
Elsewhere, last week, we took plenty from the Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference in Florida. Click here to see what the likes of SABMiller, Danone and PepsiCo had to say at the event.
Our resident beer guru, Larry Nelson, also considered what the most recent sets of brewer's results said about the US beer market, and pondered why beer firms are so eager to go for lighter instead of tastier.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
The full speaker programme for the 5th World Whiskies Conference now available. Join us in Glasgow 20-21 April. Book on line (with early-bird rates to 26 March) and join the global whisky business summit.
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