Comment - Spirits - A Word with Woodard

By: Richard Woodard

Comment - Spirits - A Word with Woodard

Resident columnist and spirits know-it-all Richard Woodard provides his monthly take on the latest in the global white spirits industry.

Comment - Spirits - Brand Loyalty? Let's Be Friends

27 March 2014

The aim of all brand owners is to secure consumer loyalty above all competitors. But, as Richard Woodard suggests, this might be an unattainable - and hence unrealistic - aim.

Comment - Spirits - Tequila: Is Diageo Left With the Scraps?

11 February 2014

Following a flurry of activity in the Tequila sector last month, has Diageo finally returned to the point it had previously reached when it handled Jose Cuervo? Richard Woodard compares then to now.

Comment - Spirits - Where Next for Flavoured Vodka?

14 January 2014

Flavoured vodka may have hit a bump in the US, but there's a major opportunity in global markets for the sub-category, argues Richard Woodard.

Comment - Spirits - Can Absinthe Make You Mad? No. But Selling it Might

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

Comment - Spirits - Bacardi's Grey Goose Campaign: Frankly Speaking

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.

Comment - Spirits - Cachaca: Be Wary of Tequila's Lead

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.

Comment - Spirits - Plymouth Gin: West is Best

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.

Comment - Spirits - Russian Vodka Needs its Own Red October

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.

Comment - Spirits - When Innovation Goes Crazy

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.

Comment - Spirits - Diageo Eyes the Big Prize?

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.

Comment - Spirits - And, For the Lady?

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.

Comment - Spirits - Turning Japanese? I Really Think So

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.

Comment – Spirits – When is a Gin Not a Gin?

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?

Comment - Spirits - Irish Whiskey: Green Shoots Keep on Growing

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?

Comment - Spirits - Scotch: Hoist by its Own Petard?

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.

Comment - Spirits - Beam Global Would Help Diageo Breach the Chinese Wall

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.

Comment - Spirits - Bye-Bye Caution, Hello Buy?

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.

Comment - Spirits - Vodka: Ain't Supposed to be Good, Supposed to be Bought

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.

Comment – Spirits - Confusing Cognac: Time to Act Your Age?

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.

Comment - Spirits - Tullamore Dew: If You Build It...

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”.

Comment - Spirits - Russia's Vodka Black Market Could Get Blacker

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.

Comment - Spirits - Hine-Sight's Fine Sight

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...

Comment - Spirits - The Glenlivet and the Art of Timing

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.

Comment - A Word with Woodard - Distil Standing?

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.

Comment - A Word with Woodard - Premium without the premium

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.

Comment - A Word with Woodard - Cognac must mix substance with style

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.

Comment - A Word with Woodard - Rowing with Captain Morgan

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.

Comment - A Word with Woodard - Spirits laws: The time is now

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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