The just-drinks Interview

The just-drinks Interview

Every month, just-drinks gives a drinks executive a grilling.



"Our mistake was we tried to be a functional beverage firm" - Interview, Kevin Klock, CEO of Talking Rain - Part II 16 Jun 2016

Talking Rain hit the big time with the success of Sparkling Ice. Growth for the sparkling flavoured water brand started in 2010, but Talking Rain had been around for more than two decades before then. In the second part of his just-drinks interview, CEO Kevin Klock talks about the lessons his company learned before its overnight success and how they informed his views on functional beverages. He also reveals which NBA superstar he invited to meet staff and the problems of competing for talent in an area dominated by global tech firms.


"A chunk of their hide is a good-sized business" - Interview, Kevin Klock, CEO of Talking Rain - Part I 14 Jun 2016

Talking Rain has grown sales from US$10m to $659m in just five years thanks to the success of its Sparkling Ice flavoured water brand. In the first of a two-part interview, just-drinks sits down with CEO Kevin Klock to discuss taking on Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, global cola fatigue and the glories of first-mover advantage.


"Half of our beer around the world isn't creamy with a white head" - Interview, Diageo's global head of beer, Mark Sandys, part II 14 Apr 2016

Much as the markets of Europe and the US tend to dominate the brewing headlines, Diageo's beer business also operates further afield from these craft playgrounds. In the second- of our two-part interview, Diageo's global head of beer, Mark Sandys, details the importance of Africa, the rise of Guinness in Korea and how the company is tackling new restrictions in Indonesia.


Why not just buy a craft brewery? - Interview, Mark Sandys, global head of beer, Diageo - Part I 12 Apr 2016

In the first of a two-part interview, Diageo's global head of beer, Mark Sandys, talks to just-drinks' Lucy Britner about craft breweries, the company's new Open Gate Brewery project and why innovation is a growing part of Diageo's beer


"The wine business is changing" - Interview, Accolade Wines CEO Paul Schaafsma - Part I 8 Mar 2016

In this month's just-drinks interview, managing editor Olly Wehring meets up with Paul Schaafsma, a wine industry veteran of almost 20 years, who moved up last year to become CEO of Accolade Wines.


"I find it hard to forgive and forget" - Interview, Renegade Spirits' Mark Reynier 23 Feb 2016

It is late afternoon on what has been a long day. But, Mark Reynier, formerly the head of Bruichladdich and now founder of Renegade Spirits, still has the energy to vent his grievances over the Irish whiskey industry he has inhabited for just over a year.


Craft brings spirits sector full circle - Interview, William Grant & Sons' chief commercial officer, Simon Hunt, Part II 4 Dec 2015

In the second part of this week's just-drinks interview, William Grant & Sons' chief commercial officer, Simon Hunt, discusses the growing role played by craft spirits, the group's core markets and future targets, and the thinking that allowed The Glenlivet to overtake Glenfiddich as the world's biggest-selling single malt Scotch whisky brand.


How to spot a trend, how to create a trend - Interview, William Grant & Sons' chief commercial officer, Simon Hunt, Part I 2 Dec 2015

Earlier this year, just-drinks sat down with Simon Hunt, the chief commercial officer at William Grant & Sons, in a restaurant just around the corner from the company's global headquarters in west London. Before looking at the group's footprint, strategy, brands, what-have-you, editor Olly Wehring has one question he is desperate to ask.


The Lidl effect on the changing off-trade landscape - Interview, Lidl's UK head of beer, wine & spirits, part II 13 Nov 2015

In part two of this week's just-drinks interview, Ben Hulme, Lidl's head of beer, wines & spirits in the UK, discusses how the company has worked to change its reputation with both its customers and its suppliers, the role that brands have played - and could continue to play - and Minimum Unit Pricing.


The Lidl effect on the changing off-trade landscape - Interview, Lidl's UK head of beer, wine & spirits, part I 10 Nov 2015

As is often the case when meeting a person widely held to be “one of the most important people in the drinks industry”, Ben Hulme doesn't appear to live up to such superstar perceptions. Since joining Lidl in 2010, Hulme has progressed from its graduate trainee scheme to become the German-headquartered supermarket chain's head of beer, wines & spirits - a position he has held since June.


The just-drinks Interview - Beam Suntory's EMEA president, Albert Baladi - Part II 4 Mar 2015

In the second part of just-drinks' interview with Beam Suntory's Europe, Middle East & Africa head, Albert Baladi talks about the company's gin presence, the Africa opportunity and the Travel Retail landscape.


The just-drinks Interview - Beam Suntory's EMEA president, Albert Baladi - Part I 2 Mar 2015

Formed just under a year ago, Beam Suntory is a “global whisk(e)y powerhouse,” in the words of Albert Baladi, the unit's Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) head. But, how have things progressed since Suntory's $16bn takeover of Beam Inc? What brands and regions are shining bright and where are the emerging opportunities? Here, just-drinks catches up with Baladi for his take on the present and the future for Beam Suntory.


The just-drinks Interview - Pernod Ricard's Outgoing CEO, Pierre Pringuet - Part II 12 Feb 2015

In the second part of just-drinks' exclusive interview with the outgoing CEO of Pernod Ricard, Pierre Pringuet, here he looks back at some of the deals that have shaped the company, and his role in their negotiation.


The just-drinks Interview - Pernod Ricard's Outgoing CEO, Pierre Pringuet - Part I 11 Feb 2015

This week sees Pernod Ricard switch its CEO, with Alexandre Ricard replacing Pierre Pringuet in the hot seat. With Pringuet retiring, just-drinks met up with him one last time to look back at his near 30-year career with the French wine and spirits group.


The just-drinks Interview - Con Constandis, Pernod Ricard Asia Travel Retail managing director 7 Jan 2015

The international spirits segment is undergoing a sea-change in Asia, from Cognac declines in China to Scotch weakness in South Korea. Those effects may be less severe in the Travel Retail channel but, as Pernod Ricard's Asia Travel Retail MD, Con Constandis, tells just-drinks, there is still plenty to keep the sector busy, from protests in Hong Kong to margin-squeezing airport operators. Not to mention lazy journalists...


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