just-drinks.com editor's weekly highlights
In This Issue...
The uneasy impasse between Bacardi and Pernod Ricard flared up last week, as the ‘Havana Club War’ (as we’ve coined it) kicked off again.
Earlier this month, the US patent authorities blocked the Cuban government’s move to renew its trademark registration of Havana Club in the US.
Bacardi claims it legally owns the rights to the name having bought it from the founding family and last week announced that it was relaunching its own version of Havana Club, initially in Florida. The timing, Bacardi maintains, was coincidental.
The situation is one where both sides are as right or as wrong as the other. Where it goes from here is anyone’s guess, especially with Bacardi pushing for trademark registrations in other markets around the world, while Pernod insists that its rights to the name outside the US are safe.
“We bought the rights from the legitimate owners,” says Bacardi. “No court anywhere has ruled that they’re the rightful owner,” Pernod counters.
Who will win? I daren’t call it. But I’ll tell you who will lose if this isn’t handled deftly, and that’s the consumer. Two products with the same name will dilute brand equity for Pernod, while Bacardi will have a job on its hands explaining the differentiation.
And that’s good for no one.
Check back on the site later today for a synopsis on the Havana Club War, and how it all came about.
It wasn’t all barbed comments and legal threats in the drinks industry last week.
Coca-Cola Amatil and SABMiller have joined forces in Australia to tap into booming demand for premium beer in the country.
The deal may have surprised some but Coke Amatil boss Terry Davis has made no secret of his desire to move into alcohol as soft drink sales slowed Down Under. Furthermore, SABMiller has shown in the UK how it can drive its premium brands, particularly Peroni Nastro Azzurro, and was looking to replicate that in other mature markets.
The venture seems to tick all the right boxes. Coke’s nationwide distribution network, SABMiller’s marketing nous and three premium beers each with clearly marked brand propositions, mean both companies should benefit from the thirst among Aussies for imported beers.
Local brewing giants Foster’s and Lion Nathan will be eyeing the performance of the venture closely – and with more than a hint of trepidation.
For the latest on Havana Club, click here.
For further details on CCA and SABMiller’s tie-up, click here.
Many thanks, finally, to those of you who contributed to the ‘Drinks Companies v UK Supermarkets’ debate. Readers’ comments can be read – and added to – here.
Until next time...
Olly Wehring, Managing Editor
Having over-zealously planted red grape varieties over the past ten years, South Africa now finds itself with a glut of red wine, writes Richard Woodard. Meanwhile, there is insufficient capacity to meet rising demand for white varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and even the country’s “workhorse” Chenin Blanc.
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