just the Answer

just the Answer

Once a month, we put a drinks executive on the spot with a bout of quick-fire questions.



Is the Conviviality, Bibendum PLB deal the future of the UK drinks trade? - Interview, Conviviality CEO Diana Hunter 4 May 2016

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. 


"People are asking, where have you been?" - Interview, Chapel Down MD Mark Harvey 3 May 2016

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.


How craft beer can succeed in the premium on-trade - Interview, Harviestoun Brewery MD Toby Knowles 26 Apr 2016

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.


"A lot of companies are just selling labels in China" - Interview, Concha y Toro's CEO for Asia, Cristian Lopez 23 Mar 2016

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.


How Germany's rock stars help the wine industry - Interview, ProWein head Michael Degan 21 Jan 2016

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.


How to turn a domestic spirit into a global brand - Interview, Montenegro Group CEO Marco Ferrari 26 Nov 2015

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.


Digital marketing and the search for "brand warmth" - Interview, co-founder of Nation, Tom Kile-Hartshorn 3 Nov 2015

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. 


Where next for Diageo's Distill Ventures? Interview, co-founder Frank Lampen 26 Oct 2015

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.


The changing face of the global on-trade - Interview, co-founder of Bar Convent Berlin, Helmut Adam 9 Oct 2015

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.


How do you make consumers the centre of your business? Interview - Pernod Ricard global business development director Conor McQuaid 6 Oct 2015

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.


What plans does Brown-Forman have for Irish whiskey? - Interview, Brown-Forman chief brands & strategy officer, Lawson Whiting 30 Sep 2015

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.


How is the Rugby World Cup working out for Heineken? - Interview, Heineken's global activation director, Hans Erik Tuijt 28 Sep 2015

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.


How bright is Irish whiskey's future? - Interview, Walsh Whiskey Distillery founder, Bernard Walsh 25 Sep 2015

It's almost two years since Walsh Whiskey Distillery sold a stake to Italy's Illva Saronno, resulting in a healthy cash injection that is funding the construction of a new distillery for the Carlow-based Irish whiskey producer. Earlier this month, just-drinks met Walsh Whiskey's founder, Bernard Walsh, to talk about the category in general and the future for Walsh in particular.


Why did Mast-Jägermeister buy Sidney Frank Importing Co? - just The Answer 10 Aug 2015

Last week, Mast-Jägermeister, the German owner of the Jägermeister herbal liqueur, took control of its US distributor Sidney Frank Importing Co. Part of Mast-Jägermeister's new strategy to control distribution in its core markets, the acquisition was otherwise noteworthy because of the important role Sidney Frank has played in Jägermeister's global rise.With Jägermeister sales in the US under pressure, Mast-Jägermeister is looking to move away from its famous brand's reputation as a party shot and embrace the new craft spirits culture. But, as Mast-Jägermeister executive board member Michael Volke told just-drinks from New York last week, not completely away.


just the Answer - Illva Saronno CEO Augusto Reina 28 May 2015

At almost 75 years old, Augusto Reina could be taking it easy on an Italian beach somewhere. Instead, he's suited, booted and every bit the man in charge. Fresh from a trip to Ireland to check on the progress of his company's joint venture, the Walsh Distillery, he's sitting in his Florio Marsala winery on the north-west coast of Sicily, ready for the big launch: Disaronno Riserva.


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