Latest drinks industry interviews

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just-drinks uses its unrivalled access to the top industry executives to bring you interviews with the personalities shaping the news all year round.

Interview, Hine Cognac int'l sales director

Best known as a vintage Cognac specialist, privately-owned Hine last month released Bonneuil 2006, an expression that does not carry one of...

Interview II, Stewart Hainsworth, CEO, Halewood

Having set out his strategy for Halewood Wine & Spirits and its international units in the first of this two-part interview with just-drinks...

Interview, Halewood CEO Stewart Hainsworth

Since forming in 1978, privately-owned Halewood Wines & Spirits has quietly carved a niche in the UK's beer, wine, spirits and RTD categorie...

Brexit Interview - Rabobank beverages analyst

Earlier today, Rabobank published a note looking at the likely effects on the drinks industry of the UK’s decision to leave the European Uni...


"The on-trade doesn't realise it can up-sell on a Coca-Cola" - Interview, Seedlip founder, Ben Branson 28 Jun 2016

Andy Morton

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.


"Does real brand loyalty exist?" - Interview, Walter Drenth, senior global director international brands at Heineken 21 Jun 2016

Olly Wehring

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.


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

Andy Morton

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

Andy Morton

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.


How to stay ahead in wine e-commerce - Interview, Jay Wright, CEO of Virgin Wines 7 Jun 2016

Lucy Britner

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.


"People are scared because Anheuser-Busch InBev is a giant" - Interview, Birra del Borgo founder Leonardo Di Vincenzo 5 May 2016

Andy Morton

Last weekend, news broke of yet another craft brewery acquisition by Anheuser-Busch InBev. This time, however, it was not in the US but in Italy.


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

Lucy Britner

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

Andy Morton

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

Andy Morton

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.


"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

Lucy Britner

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.


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