By: Olly Wehring
The just-drinks leader, written by the just-drinks leader.
Yesterday afternoon, here in London, the UK's Wine and Spirit Trade Association hosted its annual conference. Headlining the show was Sir John Hegarty, co-founder of the Bartle Bogle Hegarty advertising agency and best known for creating the Levi 501 ads and the 'Vorsprung Durch Technik' tagline for Audi.
Heineken's announcement earlier today of an approach by SABMiller confirms what some observers have warned in recent months: The 'Mega-Merger' is most definitely on.
Today's official opening of the new Guinness production facility at the brand's St James's Gate site in the centre of Dublin stands in marked contrast to how the plot's future looked less than ten years ago. It is refreshing to see – for whatever reason - a plc the size of Diageo bowing to a brand's provenance, even if such nods are a rarity these days.
While it was a predictable bit of business, William Grant & Sons' purchase of Drambuie – announced yesterday – still carries a slight element of surprise to it for me.
One of the things I noticed quite early into my career covering drinks was just how many so-called 'industry veterans' there are. One of my regular lines quickly became that people seldom leave our industry, presumably because it's so much fun.
Earlier this month, after Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co and Rhone Capital tabled a joint-bid for Treasury Wine Estates that prompted the wine company to open its books, I posited that the move would not trigger a bidding war.
The struggles go on for Carlsberg who, in its half-year results yesterday, indicated that things in Russia – where it is market leader – look set to get worse before they get better.
Late last week, Pernod Ricard's Chivas Brothers division launched an online campaign with its Ballantine's Scotch whisky brand to create a whisky emoji.
With Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co returning to Melbourne with an improved offer for Treasury Wine Estates, and the Australian wine company not slamming the door this time, the future for Treasury looks pretty sealed down.
The news this week that Krzysztof Trylinski is stepping down at Belvedere brings the curtain down on a professional chapter that has been nothing if not colourful.
Changing a company's name – or a brand's name, for that matter – is a dangerous game. But, in this Search Engine Optimisation age, sometimes the need to change is so great that the risk has to be taken.
Finally, after almost 20 months, Diageo has got what it initially wanted in India. The company today (2 July) confirmed it now holds the majority of shares in United Spirits. This achievement, however, has cost way more than Diageo initially expected; to the tune of around US$1bn.
If this year's Silly Season needs a start date, I'd say it is 27 June. The annual silent period that sees newspapers scrabbling around with space to fill began at the end of last week.
I'll admit to being a little perplexed following the latest announcement by Diageo: Not so much by the announcement itself, but more by its timing.
Whenever you give a business journalist the opportunity to ask a senior drinks executive – particularly one who works in spirits – a question, you can be pretty certain this will be that question:
- Scottish Independence and Scotch Whisky
- Comment - Heineken's 'No' Cuts SABMiller Options
- SABMiller spurned by Heineken: The start of the en
- Irish whiskey eyes a slice of Scotch's global pie
- Can the New World Learn a Lesson from the Old?
- Diageo's Special Releases 2014
- LIVE BLOG: Industry responds to Scotland 'No' vote
- Diageo ups Johnnie Walker Formula One presence
- William Grant opens Tullamore D.E.W. distillery
- Rabobank warns of "mountainous task" for Scotch