The beverage business blog from James Wilmore
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US senator aims fire at CSDs in TV interview
19 Feb 2014 19:59
Last week we reported on the California senator who is aiming to force soft drinks firms to put health warning labels on “sugary” drinks sold in the state.
Today, Senator Bob Monning has given a hard-hitting interview to US cable TV channel CNBC, explaining his motives by the proposed legislation and claims CSDs are the "leading threat to public health" in the country.
The full interview can be viewed here
Molson Coors' Sochi beer fridge: an idea with legs
12 Feb 2014 23:44
It must be high-fives all round among the marketing team at Molson Coors’ Canada unit.
The company’s beer fridge at the Sochi Olympics, which ingeniously only serves Molson Canadian beer to those athletes with a Canadian passport, via a scanning system, has garnered plenty of headlines - perhaps by some media outlets less inspired by the actual action at the Games.
The Canadian Olympic team helped coverage by tweeting its thanks from the group's official Twitter account.
But it’s not the first time the fridge has appeared. It was used by the brewer in a TV ad last summer, resulting in the second most watched viral video in Canada in 2013, I’m told. “As the video took off we committed to finding real world situations to seed the fridge,” a Molson Coors spokesperson said.
Apparently the chiller is in the athlete’s village for the duration of the Games.
A marketing idea that has legs, I'd say.
A new demographic for drinks firms feeling a bit ruff?
11 Feb 2014 00:44
An exciting new market is fast-emerging for drinks companies.
Thankfully, the demographic is not that discerning and unlikely to voice their opinions on Twitter. Yes... it's dogs.
Yappy Hour Vineyard's brands are apparently going down a storm in Miami's Doggie Bag cafe, according to Time magazine. Varities include "Bark-deaux," "Char-dog-nay," "Grrrr-lot," "Pinot Tail-io" and, for cats partial to the grape, "Mos-cat-o."
You'll be glad to hear the products aren't alcoholic, as it can poison animals.
I'll avoid making a joke about it sounding like a shaggy-dog story... doh!
Campari embraces Fear & Loathing with Wild Turkey tie-up
31 Jan 2014 17:18
Gruppo Campari is taking advantage of the received wisdom that its Bourbon brand, Wild Turkey, was a favourite of the writer Hunter S Thompson.
A stage version of the late hellraiser's seminal novel Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas made its debut last night in an underground space, The Vaults, near Waterloo, London. Campari has linked up with the show's producers, which include Thompson's friend Lou Stein, to promote the brand as part of a five-week run.
just-drinks was treated to cocktails related to the Fear and Loathing theme while taking in the play. Strangely, though Wild Turkey is mentioned in the book, it did not get a direct reference during the performance. However, John Chancer, who put in an excellent performance as the play's dual-narrator, based on Thompson himself, is seen drinking the Bourbon brand.
Being linked to a work so openly associated with drugs and general debauchery may seem a slightly high-risk strategy, bearing in mind the UK's powerful health lobby, but one that Campari must feel is worth taking.
Sammy Davis Jnr, Bill Murray offer Suntory ad heritage
14 Jan 2014 16:55
Will Suntory's US$16bn move to buy Beam see a change in how the Bourbon producer's brands are advertised?
I, for one, hope the Japanese firm can summon up a bit of its creative spirit from yesteryear and translate this across the Pacific Ocean. This mind-boggingly odd, yet wonderful Suntory ad from 1974, featuring Sammy Davis Jnr, is the kind of thing I'm thinking of:
But also, who could forget Bill Murray's fictional ad for Suntory in the 2003 movie Lost in Translation?
Think on ad bods. Think on.
The just-drinks Weekly Round-Up
13 Jan 2014 11:42
Diageo has been quick out of the blocks this year with the acquisition of high-end Tequila brand DeLeon, in partnership with Sean 'Diddy' Combs. My colleague Olly Wehring noted, however, that the brand is unlikely to be a replacement for Jose Cuervo.
Beam was also on the acquisition trail in the same category, taking co-ownership of 901 Tequila with musician and actor Justin Timberlake.
In beer, Anheuser-Busch InBev confirmed it was saying goodbye to its chief marketing officer in the US. Constellation Brands, meanwhile, continues to benefit from its deal with A-B InBev which saw it take full control of Modelo’s US beer business, Crown Imports.
In wine, a new just-drinks report looked at the challenge the European wine sector will eventually face from China in international markets, as the country’s production levels outweigh domestic consumption.
And CSD producers appear to be in for another bumpy ride this year from anti-obesity campaigners. A new UK-based group - ‘Action on Sugar’ - has been launched aimed at getting companies to cut the amount of sugar in their products by up to 30%.
Are MINTs the new BRICs?
07 Jan 2014 15:38
Move over the BRICs, the MINTs are here to freshen things up.
Yes, we have a fresh batch of countries that are set to emerge as powerhouses of the world economy, if they continue their current trajectory. Jim O'Neill, the economist who coined the acronym BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China), has come up with a new one: the MINTs - that's Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey.
The reason these countries are being talked up, O'Neill says, is because for at least the next 20 years they have good "inner demographics" - which means they'll see an increase in the number of people eligible to work, relative to those not working.
"If Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey get their act together, some of them could match Chinese-style double-digit rates between 2003 and 2008," says O'Neill, writing for the BBC.
Based on Goldman Sachs figures, Nigeria is set to see the biggest lift in GDP, rising from its current position of 39 to 13 by 2050.
Drinks firms are no doubt already on top of these trends. Anheuser-Busch InBev's takeover of Mexico's Grupo Modelo is the obvious example. But Turkey, for example, is far from an easier place for alcohol producers to operate at the moment after a regulatory clampdown last year.
For drinks producers, some of the MINTs may not be as fresh tasting, compared to other industries, for some time yet.
UK-based readers can listen to a BBC Radio 4 series on the MINTs here
Mexico's beer market under the spotlight
03 Jan 2014 10:19
How are things shaping up in the beer battleground of Mexico? CNN took a closer look at one of the world's biggest beer markets by volume, where Anheuser-Busch InBev, through Grupo Modelo, and Heineken, through its 2010 acquisition FEMSA Cerveza, are dominant.
In the video report, above, Heineken's Americas president Stefan Orlowski, who stepped into the role last July, notes that 1m consumers are entering legal drinking age every year, while he welcomes the fledgling craft brewing scene.
Last year, an anti-trust ruling meant the opening up of the market to craft brewers, after a complaint from SABMiller. However, the UK-headquartered brewer was not happy with the outcome.
Kopparberg goes to the dogs... but in a good way
19 Dec 2013 17:43
When in doubt, get the huskies out. That could easily be a PR mantra, for all I know.
But Kopparberg seems to have used the sled-pulling hounds to good effect in a new campaign for its namesake Swedish cider brand. London commuters have this week been pulled across Kennington Park to help them on their way to work.
The activity was all part of Kopparberg's campaign to launch its new Spiced Apple variant.
A few years ago, the UK prime minister, David Cameron, used some huskies in the Arctic to show just how much he cared about the environment. The images have come back to haunt him slightly, as questions have been raised about his green credentials.
I'm sure Kopparberg can avoid a similar back-firing.
The just-drinks Weekly Round-Up
16 Dec 2013 15:11
As 2013 draws to a close, we kicked-off our usual category reviews of the year. My global look at beer and cider is here.
Elsewhere last week, Carlsberg revealed it will have a new UK CEO from next month. Meanwhile, the region's brewers are ploughing on with a high-profile campaign to get people to drink more beer despite a TV ad getting banned.
Bacardi also ran into advertising hot water over the latest spot for its Dewar's Scotch whisky in the US. Just-drinks’ managing editor Olly Wehring looked at the lesson to be learnt from the episode.
Accolade Wines finally announced who its new CEO will be, more than a year since Troy Christensen vacated the position. Australian winemakers also revealed how they plan to get the industry back on track.