Quote, unquote: World Whiskies Conference - Day Two
Day two of the World Whiskies Conference took place on Friday (21 April) and the issue of corporate responsibility loomed large over the delegation again. The central theme of the day was unity, in particular the need for it if the industry is to meet its challenges head on.
Perhaps most pleasing was the lively debate sparked by the launch of just-drinks' Malt Whisky Report 2006. Malt whisky is one of the most dynamic categories in the industry but it is far from being free of controversy.
How should malt brands be marketed? Is it actually possible to market malt in terms of brands? Is the industry failing in its most basic function of communicating with the consumer? All these points were discussed and more.
Again for those unlucky enough not to make it to Edinburgh at the end of last week, here are a few of the best quotes from the day to give you an idea of what you missed out on.
"Responsibility is good business. Demonstrating leadership on responsibility is critical to commercial success. We need to highlight our public credibility because it's critical to future success" - Frank Coleman, public affairs, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States
"The message is drink better not more and the industry will prosper" - Frank Coleman
"The challenge for us all is that we are part of the solution. Far too often when we talk to politicians we find that they are unaware of what we are doing" - Campbell Evans, director of government & consumer affairs, Scotch Whisky Association
"Our challenge and duty is that we sell responsibly and work with the government and other bodies so that 'un-responsible' drinking becomes as unacceptable as drink driving" - Campbell Evans
"What makes the whisky category attractive is its significant size, clear growth potential, attractive new markets, its differentiation, a premium product and that it is a dynamic industry. All this translates into a profitable industry - Maria Castroviejo, industry analyst, Rabobank
"Is it possible to innovate in the whisky industry? Some people are trying to make whisky more orientated to younger age groups. I am not a marketing expert, but it seems something can be done" - Maria Castroviejo
"A big brand should have an attitude to life; be true to the brand and understand what makes it tick" - Martin Riley, international marketing director, Chivas Brothers
"Relaunching a brand - be consistent, be confident, be noticed" - Martin Riley
"The days of malt simply being a well-crafted product have passed. If all malt is equally well made then each brand needs to find its own way of attracting possible purchasers" - Dave Broom, author of the just-drinks Malt Whisky Report 2006
"The danger is that in shifting into the mainstream malt could become ubiquitous. Following a value for money, discounted strategy loses its specialness, its cool. Brands want volume, but not at the expense of exclusivity" - Dave Broom
"Malt needs to resist the temptation to devalue its premium credentials for short-term gain. It needs also to identify not just to the needs of consumers in each market, but the different needs of a range of consumer groups. There is no malt consumer, there are many - which is the greatest opportunity of all" - Dave Broom
"India is the world's largest selling whisky market. The whisky market is set to zoom to 180m cases by 2015" - Dr Mohan Krishna, marketing director, Cheers Spirits India
The need for a united front within the whisk(e)y industry on issues like responsible drinking is hitting home but, writes Chris Brook Carter, it is imperative that the industry works together on promo...
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