April 26, 2010
just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
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Last week's first-quarter numbers from Heineken underlined how important the FEMSA Cerveza deal is for the brewer's prospects.
Heineken shareholders approved the FEMSA deal last Thursday (22 April). Only 24 hours earlier, Heineken had announced that a three-fold beer tax rise in Russia, combined with ongoing stagnation in in key western markets, had led to a 5% drop in like-for-like beer volume sales for the first three months of 2010.
More breweries are set to be closed in these markets as Heineken looks to boost its operating profits by focusing on debt reduction and cost savings.
But, as the Dutch firm will be well aware, cutting costs is a defensive strategy. To secure further growth, Heineken needs to successfully integrate the FEMSA Cerveza business and capitalise on the potential for the Heineken brand in FEMSA's markets, particularly in Brazil.
Chances are, however, Anheuser-Busch InBev's AmBev unit may have something to say about that.
Also on just-drinks last week, our resident beer guru, Larry Nelson, confessed that he had fallen in love again – this time, with the craft brewers of this world. In Scotland, meanwhile, this year's World Whiskies Conference went on despite an Iceland-shaped cloud hanging over it, and delegates benefited from a leaner, meaner presence.
We're all set to move into top gear for this year's London International Wine Fair, and we're delighted to announce that we're down to host a debate at the event. As well as yours truly, we'll also have a panel of experts considering the 'State of the Nation' for the wine industry in the UK. Click here to book your free place.
We'd also like to hear what your company is planning for the wine fair, for inclusion in our annual LIWF daily diary. We're due to start running the diary from a week today, so email your company's news to email@example.com for inclusion.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
The London International Wine Fair is widely regarded as the key trade event for wine and spirits in the world today. Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2010, the Fair delivers a unique opportunity for producers, importers and buyers to focus on business.
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Chris Brook-Carter is on his way home from this year's World Whiskies Conference, returning, as he arrived, by train thanks to the now-infamous ash cloud. Seeing as it's a five-hour journey, he's got plenty of time to ruminate on what, historically, is a key date in the global whisky diary.
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