just the Answer
Once a month, we put a drinks executive on the spot with a bout of quick-fire questions.
Last month, UK producer Seedlip launched the second expression in its range of self-described "non-alcoholic spirits". Seedlip Garden follows the launch in November of the original Seedlip, which sold out three times in high-end London retailer Selfridges and has caught the attention of bartenders with its positioning as an adult-aimed, non-alcoholic base for cocktails. Seedlip founder Ben Branson says the spirit - a distillation of botanicals including herbs, fruit and bark - is a riposte to non-alcoholic drinks that depend too heavily on sugary fruit blends, and offers a solution to the problem of "what to drink when you're not drinking". just-drinks spoke to Branson ahead of the launch of Seedlip Garden about his early successes, interest from Bahraini royalty and why the industry needs to get on-board the non-alcoholic category.
Last year, Heineken secured a return to the European sports stage for its Amstel brand. Having called time on its ten-year sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League football competition in 2005, Amstel has just completed the first of a three-year tie-up with the slightly lower-profile Europa League football tournament. Replacing Amstel as Champions League sponsor? Why, it was - and continues to be - brand Heineken. Last month, Olly Wehring travelled to Switzerland to meet Walter Drenth, the group's senior global director for international brands, before being forced to endure his team's defeat that evening to Seville in the Europa League final.
The concept of selling wine online may not be a new one but, as more companies look towards 'home-trade' and the likes of Amazon and eBay enter the market, established players need to stay ahead of the game. Virgin Wines CEO Jay Wright tells just-drinks how his firm looks to grow it relevance in an increasingly-crowded market place.
Earlier this week, UK drinks company Conviviality agreed to purchase Bibendum PLB for GBP60m (US$88.5m), in what the country's Wine and Spirit Trade Association CEO Miles Beale called a "potentially seismic deal" for the industry.
The London Wine Fair, which opens today, will host a growing contingent of English wine makers keen to grab a share of a category that according to government figures has doubled production in the past five years. Many of them will be aiming to emulate the success of Chapel Down that, with its stock-market listing and equally-booming brewing operation, sits at the top table of English wine's new breed. In recently-released 2015 results, the company grew both sales and profits by more than one-third. The company also raised GBP1.7m (US$2.5m) in a crowdfunding project to build a new brewery for its Curious Brew beer brand.
Scotland, already well-known for the quality of its whisky, is carving out a reputation as a centre of craft beer excellence. According to Nielsen data, craft beer consumers in Scotland drink more per head than almost anywhere else in the UK, and every year an increasing number of new breweries open to accommodate this thirst. Last year, there were 93 breweries in Scotland, the Campaign for Real Ale, says, with 20 of them opening over the past 12 months.
Ask a Chinese person about Chile and they will immediately mention one thing - cherries. The country is famous in China for its red cherries, which people see as wholesome and healthy. Chilean wine, however, is quickly catching up in the recognition stakes. According to Wines of Chile, exports to China increased by 47% last year, and the country now ranks as the third-biggest market for bottled Chilean wine.
With just seven weeks left until the start of ProWein, just-drinks sat down with lead organiser Michael Degan to ask what makes the wine and spirits show one of the biggest draws on the alcohol calendar. Along the way, Degan reveals why the show is unlikely to get much bigger, discusses the possibility of adding beer to the mix and why German rock bands know their Riesling from their Spatburgunder.
Last year, Marco Ferrari left his post as CMO of SPI Group to lead Italian spirits and aperitif maker Montenegro Group. just-drinks spoke to him at the TFWA exhibition in Cannes in October to find out what it is like to go from managing a global brand such as Stolichnaya to a company with strong domestic brands and a global outlook. Ferrari also spoke about his ambitions for Amaro Montenegro, a herbal liqueur that is finding traction in the US.
Two months ago, Tom Kile-Hartshorn's digital marketing agency, Nation, won the right to handle Grolsch's global digital content and social media platforms.
Distill Ventures launched two years ago with a remit to fund new spirits start-ups. Since then, the Diageo-backed incubator has seen funding increase, as well as the first of its projects hit retail shelves. By the end of this year it expects to have committed GBP20m in total investments. just-drinks spoke to one of Distill Ventures' founders, Frank Lampen, at Bar Convent Berlin, about how Diageo paves the way to acquiring start-ups, and why exceptional liquid is only ever a beginning.
Bar Convent Berlin wrapped up on Wednesday, with record numbers of visitors and exhibitors to the on-trade show. just-drinks sat down with co-founder Helmut Adam to find out what changes the show's new partnership with Reed Exhibitions has brought and how alcohol companies are raising brand awareness in cocktail bars around the world.
Earlier this year, Pernod Ricard outlined plans to shift the "heart" of its business from its brands to its consumers. Speaking at his first of the company's annual Capital Markets Day briefings, new CEO Alex Ricard told analysts and journalists that consumers "don't think in categories" any more. But, what does this consumer-centralisation mean, and how does a company go about it? One of Pernod's executive team charged with implementing changes is global business development director Conor McQuaid. just-drinks spoke to McQuaid to get a better idea of Pernod's consumer-centric company strategy.
The owner of the largest US whiskey brand in the world has bought into Ireland to create a new whiskey brand. Can Brown-Forman make Slane Whiskey as successful as Jack Daniel's? What was the thinking behind the move? just-drinks spoke to Brown-Forman executive VP & chief brands and strategy officer Lawson Whiting at the company's ground-breaking ceremony to find out.
The Rugby World Cup is just over one week old and the event is dominating the television, radio and newspapers here in the UK. As one of the event's headline sponsors, Heineken hopes that this level of interest will continue, right through to the final on 31 October. Earlier today, just-drinks spoke to Heineken's global activation director, Hans Erik Tuijt, about the brewer's activities in and around the tournament, the balance of power between television and digital marketing and whether the host nation's continued presence in the event actually matters.
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