Comment - Spirits - A Word with Woodard
By: Richard Woodard
Resident columnist and spirits know-it-all Richard Woodard provides his monthly take on the latest in the global white spirits industry.
15 October 2013
Returning to the just-drinks fold in the guise of our white spirits commentator, Richard Woodard kicks off his latest stint with us with a look at Bacardi's recently-announced global marketing push for its Grey Goose vodka brand.
14 November 2013
Category definitions are an on-going minefield in parts of the spirits industry. Gin, rum and Tequila have all suffered from muddled thinking. But none compare to what absinthe has experienced. Here, Richard Woodard wages war on the red-tape wretchedness that surrounds the category
24 February 2012
They may be linked by little but geographical origin, but cachaça and Tequila have quite a bit more in common that one might initially believe. It's just that, according to Richard Woodard, you've got to really look for the link.
26 January 2012
When Pernod Ricard said last week that it is updating the packaging for - and raising the price of - Plymouth Gin, there was a run on tonic water at Richard Woodard's local shop. It's taken a while, but the brand is back, and Woodard would like to celebrate.
15 November 2011
A new generation of Russian vodka brands is struggling to get its voice heard, the moneyed Russian Standard aside. Richard Woodard thinks some collective bargaining might do the trick.
11 October 2011
Innovation in the spirits industry is 'a good thing'. But, Richard Woodard is worried that, of occasion, some spirits companies run the risk of disappearing up their own still pipes when they over-innovate.
26 August 2011
Diageo's Paul Walsh isn't short of people telling him what to do with his company's money. So, on the back of a strong set of full-year results, Richard Woodard decided to have a nose around the Diageo stable to see what is still missing.
21 July 2011
Ladies are all the rage in the drinks industry, it would appear. With product launches in beer, soft drinks and spirits targetting the fairer sex, it would appear that the female of the species is in the spotlight. But, Richard Woodard is unimpressed - and he's got Diageo in his crosshairs.
12 July 2011
The Japanese are coming! Granted, Japanese whisky has been available in export markets for quite some time, but, according to Richard Woodard, the country's distillers would do well to take a fresh look at their marketing messages, to try to get consumers aware of their existence.
19 May 2011
The recent launch of a gin brand here in the UK has riled traditionalist gin fans. Richard Woodard believes the fuss is merited – calling a gin-like spirit gin is sure to get people's juices flowing, concedes Woodard. But, hey, why not call it a vodka and have done?
19 April 2011
A change in permitted terms for Irish whiskey in the US has been turned from a problem into an opportunity by the market leader, Pernod Ricard's Irish Distillers. Whilst Richard Woodard is happy to applaud the unit's handling of the matter, could this not be used as a springboard, he asks, for the category as a whole to really hit the gas?
17 March 2011
A recent product extension in the Scotch whisky category has caught Richard Woodard's eye this month. While the move is certainly a positive in its use of innovation, it also shows how difficult it is for such innovation to make a breakthrough in the category. It's also got a rubbish name, says natural brunette - albeit with silver flecks - Woodard.
17 February 2011
Diageo's results last week spelt out one strong message, as far as M&A nut Richard Woodard is concerned. Let's watch him clap his hands and jump up and down as he tells us what he heard.
20 January 2011
A down-in-the-dumps Richard Woodard is a Richard Woodard best-avoided. But, the spirits giants of this world can bring him out of his stupor. And, all it would take is a little bit of spending.
17 December 2010
The spirits industry, like all sectors in the drinks world, has its fair share of snobbery between categories. The current black sheep is vodka. But, Richard Woodard argues, the clear spirit that tastes of nothing has done more to draw consumers into spirits than it is given credit for.
11 November 2010
The launch of two age-statemented Cognacs by Courvoisier late last month has turned the spotlight on to the sector's classification groupings. Confusing, sure, but, is knowledge really power? Richard Woodard isn't so sure.
23 September 2010
Scanning some of the reaction to last week’s news that William Grant & Sons is selling its recently-acquired Irish liqueur brands to Gruppo Campari, the first word that springs to mind is “blarney”.
24 August 2010
Minimum pricing has been the talk of the town this year for alcoholic drinks. In Russia, a nation built on vodka, the Government has moved beyond its introduction of a minimum price for its national spirit and is mulling doubling the current limit. Richard Woodard argues, however, that a country as at ease with the black market as Russia, could struggle to cope with the fallout of such a move.
27 July 2010
It must be madness, but Richard Woodard is in buying mood. Considering the state of the world's finances, his timing could be well off. But only Hine-sight will show whether he is a genius, or a fool...
29 June 2010
Some journalistic questions are not so much serious enquiries as a ticking of the boxes – you ask because you have to, but you already know what the answer’s going to be.
25 May 2010
Okay, I’d better admit this straight off: I don’t like trade fairs. Call me crazy, but the idea of spending two or three exhausting days deprived of daylight, digestible food and the company of people who aren’t in the drinks trade isn’t one that has me skipping down the aisle of a DLR train.
29 April 2010
Following our discussion of premiumisation in the spirits industry with Diageo's CMO earlier this week, Richard Woodard queries a new, Scotch whisky addition to the price bracket. Is premiumisation a victory of style over substance? Or does it satisfy a genuine consumer desire? The answer, of course, is both.
25 March 2010
Cognac has caught the eye of high-profile bartenders around the world, but producers need to add a little more style to their substance if they are to win over new, cocktail-loving consumers, argues Richard Woodard following a visit to the International Cognac Summit.
25 February 2010
It’s already been christened, in typical journalese, the “Rum Wars”. It’s prompted angry exchanges in the Caribbean, questions on Capitol Hill and, most recently, a vitriolic attack by the world’s biggest drinks company on one of its rivals. So just what is going on with Diageo’s new Captain Morgan distillery? Richard Woodard picks apart Captain Morgan's current adventure.
26 January 2010
Diageo’s recent court victory in the Vodkat “passing off” case has brought the world of spirit regulations into the headlines. But, according to Richard Woodard, two more low-profile announcements have arguably even more long-term significance for the category at large.
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Comment - Spirits - A Word with Woodard