March 29, 2010
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
Quofore white paper download: Retail Execution for BRIC & Beyond
What are we to take from the resignation of Dane Hudson, CEO of Australian Vintage?
We are not generally given to cranking up the rumour mill here at just-drinks, but the timing of this announcement caught our eye last week. With Australian Vintage deep in talks with Constellation Brands over a possible merger of the two firms' Australian wine businesses, we find that Hudson's exit may offer a clue as to the timescale for a deal.
Talks are "continuing", according to Australian Vintage last week. Yet, both sides have let it be known in recent months that they see a deal as necessary for their future profitability in a tough Australian wine sector.
Australian Vintage is seeking control of the merged entity, which is likely to include Hardys. It is understood that not all of Constellation's wine arm downunder will be included, however. Hudson is to leave Australian Vintage in May and a permanent replacement will not be announced until the talks with Constellation have concluded, the firm has said.
Keep your eyes peeled.
In other news, a battle is brewing in Africa as Diageo and Heineken look to usurp SABMiller's regional dominance. The two brewers opened a state-of-the-art brewery in SABMiller's backyard market last week.
Last week brought worse news for alcohol in the UK, however. Duty tax has gone up, as expected, by 2% above inflation, prompting warnings of job cuts. Cider took the biggest hit, with a 10% above inflation rise.
Elsewhere, we reported on the near-collapse of Indage Vintners and PepsiCo's plan for healthier soft drinks in schools.
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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