just the Answer
Once a month, we put a drinks executive on the spot with a bout of quick-fire questions.
Last month, just-drinks deputy editor Lucy Britner visited Brauerei C&A Veltins in Meschede-Grevenstein, Germany. The family-owned company used the visit to announce marketing activity to mark 500 years of Germany's purity law, the Reinheitsgebot. While there, Lucy sat down with export manager Udo Bruns and UK agent Steve Holt to discuss the role the law plays in today's 'craft culture', the rise of no- and low-alcohol offerings in Germany and why Veltins is only brewed in one place.
Best known as a vintage Cognac specialist, privately-owned Hine last month released Bonneuil 2006, an expression that does not carry one of the category's traditional VS, VSOP or XO descriptors. As China - the most important market for Cognac in recent years - moves away from the XO-and-above Cognac segment, and the idea of 'craft' drives interest in the category's smaller houses, Hine's new international sales director, Per Even Allaire, tells just-drinks how the company plans to make the most of the new world order.
Earlier today, Rabobank published a note looking at the likely effects on the drinks industry of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. Francoise Sonneville, senior analyst for beverages at Rabobank and the note's author, spoke to just-drinks yesterday.
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.
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