The beverage business blog from Olly Wehring
If you would like to offer your comments, opinions, suggest topics or just have a good rant, please feel free to email: Olly Wehring.
Coffee, beer, rum, Scotch – all in a day's work
21 Jul 2010 16:32
On paper, it looked like an excellent plan. If I was going to be in London for one meeting, why not arrange more, and fill the day?
I'm paying for it today.
First up yesterday morning was a coffee with David Hume, brand communications director at William Grant.
David was most excited about the firm's purchase of C&C Group's spirits and liqueurs earlier this year. Of the additions to William Grant's stable, he's hoping for great things from Tullamore Dew, so watch this space. Also, he and I are looking to nail down CEO Stella David for an interview next month. Get your questions in now.
Next, lunch with the communications manager at Carlsberg UK, Adam Withrington.
Once a peer of mine, Adam has turned gamekeeper after spending his formative years writing for The Publican.
He appears to be enjoying life on the other side of the fence. My favourite of his stories since turning to the dark side is when it came to checking the spelling on some Carlsberg 'phonebox posters for the World Cup: Cape Town is 6,000 miles in that direction, while Cock (sic) was only 250 metres in that direction.
After lunch, off to say hello to Joy Spence, the master distiller at Appleton Estate in Jamaica.
Joy is in the UK for a week and it was good to see her again, the last time being in Kingston five years ago. She was most complimentary about the just-drinks redesign so, Joy, I apologise if my hug was too tight.
Finally, a whisky tasting and dinner with one of the more colourful characters in the Scotch industry, Ardbeg's brand ambassador, Bill Lumsden.
We were taken through the Ardbeg range – one of my favourite whiskies – and Bill was his usual informative self. The highlight of the six Islay single malts was Corryvreckan, named after a whirlpool – the world's second-largest - just off the Scottish mainland. I'm proud to say I got the better of Bill's expertise. I mean, do you know if they measure whirlpools by depth or diameter?
To duty free or not to duty free?
13 Jul 2010 10:42
A query from a just-drinks member. Any ideas, folks?
"I was recently at Schipol and Barcelona airport duty free shops. The signage on the liqours stated the prices were for 'ALL DESTINATIONS'. In the past, there was inside Europe pricing and outside Europe pricing.
My question is what taxes are included in the prices? VAT/local Dutch or Spanish alcohol taxes?"
Answers to news@just-drinks, please.
Naughty Ads - A Breach of the First Amendment?
30 Jun 2010 13:27
I received an email late yesterday (29 June) from a company called Star Industries in the US. Star, which is headed up by a chap called Martin Silver, is the owner of, amongst other drinks brands, Georgi Vodka.
Silver made a speech yesterday outside the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City bus depot, protesting at the MTA's decision to pull two adverts for Georgi Vodka from its buses.
Apparently, the ads were removed “in response to numerous complaints filed by religious groups”, Silver said, countering: “This is a blatant violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The First Amendment grants freedom of speech to individuals and companies with the exception of pornographic materials.
“Take a look at the ads that have come under attack,” he continued. “Both women are clothed. No inappropriate body parts are shown, and in the case of the African American woman, she is cradling her knees so her chest is completely covered. These ads are clearly not pornography.
“Running these ads is our Constitutional right,” Silver concluded. “We must fight back against this obvious breach of the First Amendment.”
Well, here are the 'offending' adverts – whose side are you on?
Coca-Cola to the (Football) Rescue
24 Jun 2010 17:08
All the talk in the UK yesterday (23 June) morning revolved around how people were going to get to watch England's crunch World Cup match against Slovenia in the afternoon.
A vital 90 minutes of football taking place during the working day – how on earth could one wangle this?
Thanks, then, must go to Coca-Cola GB for inviting me to watch the game with them at the South African High Commission in London.
It's still work, thank you very much.
This is the Day
23 Jun 2010 11:44
Today, Wednesday 23 June, looks like being the biggest day for our industry around the world in recent times.
Meanwhile, in South Africa, the World Cup has thrown up four vital matches involving the national teams of Australia, the US, Germany and England. Consumption opportunities abound, as football fans look to cheer on their boys, then celebrate or commiserate where appropriate.
Granted, in the US, the timing of the games encourages breakfast beverage manufacturers, but a drink's a drink for the sake of this missive.
Finally, here in the UK, the daddy of the country's music festivals - Glastonbury - opened its gates this morning. Around 175,000 fans are set to attend the four-day outdoor festival – one of the world's largest – in the south-west of the country this weekend. The overwhelming majority of them will have decanted their drinks of choice into plastic bottles and wheel-barrowed them on to the site. The rest will rely on the multitude of bars and cider buses on site for their quaffing needs.
So, allow us here at just-drinks to wish you all a successful day – in years to come, maybe we'll all look back at 23 June 2010 and say: “I was there.”
What price premium II?
22 Jun 2010 17:32
You may remember, earlier this year, I asked Diageo's chief marketing officer for his company's definition of the term 'premium'.
In what I've unconsciously decided to turn into a riff, I asked the same question of Mathew Bird, head of marketing for wine at Pernod Ricard UK, last night.
Sipping on my absinthe-infused cocktail, I looked deep into Mat's eyes: “What's Pernod's definition of 'premium', then?” I sighed.
Well, according to Mat, in the UK wine industry, Pernod sets the premium level at GBP6 (US$11.90) to GBP8 per bottle.
Another one of these, as and when.
Mmmm... Donuts... Apple Pie... Cookies...
28 May 2010 09:58
If you're about to have your elevenses, then enjoy your snackette while perusing this - a list of the '20 Worst Drinks in America'.
The list highlights the country’s most calorie-and sugar-laden drinks in the US today, ranging from flavoured waters and juice imposters to beers and margaritas.
While I'm sure the images are meant to prompt disgust, they're only making me hungry. But that's probably because I'm an hour away from both breakfast and elevenses.
Heineken Settles Down for the Best Day of Sport Ever
21 May 2010 13:14
It's Friday afternoon, and the weekend has almost landed.
I'll wager, however, that one drinks company is looking forward to this weekend a touch more than the rest of us.
Heineken is gearing itself up for an advertising perfect storm scenario tomorrow (22 May). For the first time, the finals of Europe's elite rugby and club football tournaments reach their respective climaxes on the same day.
The European evening of sporting green kicks off in Paris at 1800, when the two French teams of Biarritz and Toulouse fight it out for the rugby union Heineken Cup. Then, less than three hours later, the spotlight switches to Madrid where Bayern Munich take on Inter Milan for the football Champions League, of which Heineken is a major sponsor.
Days like this really must be a marketer's wet dream.
Shame the flight between Paris and Madrid cancels out attending one of the games, huh.
LIWF & Distil – All the Fun of the Fair – Day Three
20 May 2010 16:13
We're into the home straight here in London, with this year's wine fair set to close its doors within the next hour. The final day is traditionally the quieter of the three, and this year has been no exception.
But what of Tuesday and Wednesday? Well, the numbers look a bit like this:
Tuesday: 6,367 visitors, an increase of ten (that's ten visitors, not 10%!) on last year.
Wednesday: 4,445 visitors, down a little on the 4,704 of 2009.
Visitor numbers, therefore, have been pretty flat thus far, down by only 0.2%.
That's the quantity, but what of the quality? Only time will tell, and we'll get back to you on that one when the dust has settled.
LIWF & Distil – All the Fun of the Fair – Day Two
19 May 2010 12:21
We're into the business end - day two of the London International Wine Fair is in full swing. Yesterday saw the usual grizzling here at ExCel: Getting here's a nightmare; Food and drink is extortionate; The queue for the cloakroom is outrageous; The spirits section is shrinking.
What is forgotten every year is that, these grizzles are pretty immoveable.
They're here every year and they're part of the experience. And they always, ALWAYS disappear by the second day. As usual, the vibe in the hall is positive and business-like.