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.
Pedicab, (Cono) Sur?
06 Sep 2010 17:41
Here in London, we're in the grip of another transport strike, with action by RMT and TSSA union members affecting underground services in the capital today and tomorrow.
Pity Wines of Chile, then, whose tasting this coming Wednesday (8 September) could suffer from the knock-on effects of the industrial action.
How's that for timing?
Help is at hand, though. Vina Concho y Toro's Cono Sur wine brand is laying on pedicabs free of charge, to take visitors from Victoria overland train station to the tasting at the Royal Horticultural Society.
No doubt, this is a nice touch. Even if Victoria is also the nearest underground station to the Royal Horticultural Society anyway.
If you'd like to take advantage of Cono Sur's offer, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Lucy Richardson on 07584 474293.
Bank Holiday Madness
27 Aug 2010 09:16
A quick heads-up to our global readership: The UK has told us we cannot work this coming Monday (30 August).
We're not allowed to ask why, either.
Back at the coal-face on Tuesday.
Me? I'm off to Berlin, for some doughnuts.
Going to the chapel and we're...
20 Aug 2010 11:48
I'm actually off today - not that you'd notice, let's be honest.
Those of you who have been with just-drinks since the earlier days will remember Dean Best, our news editor from 2005 until early 2007. When he left just-drinks he didn't have too far to travel, taking up the role of editor at sister site just-food, where he remains to this day.
See? He's still close to our hearts - and our desks.
Today, Dean will be getting married to his belle, Karen McAteer.
I'll be sure to raise a glass to Mr & Mrs Best on your behalf.
Bill Hicks - Ever the Advertising Prophet
28 Jul 2010 13:25
Writing up the story today (28 July) about 901 Silver's new advertising campaign reminded me of the late, great Bill Hicks.
Take a look at the first advert - be quick, because I don't think it'll be around for too long.
As I (too) gasped and shrieked "You can't do that", I remembered Hicks' take on what would be the zenith of advertising (headphones on if you're in the office, mind).
Don't buy that, buy this - or the Iberian lynx is for it
23 Jul 2010 16:22
We had a press release come through earlier this week that has been troubling me a tad.
The Portuguese Cork Association, APCOR, sent out a statement on Wednesday (21 July) aimed at debunking what it claims are widely-believed myths about natural cork.
That's right, folks. It's stopper-time again.
Anyway, the three myths are:
- “Trees are cut down in the production of cork so it's better for the environment to buy other closures.”
- “Screw caps are the most environmentally friendly closure.”
- “Corked wine is still an issue of wine using natural cork stoppers.”
I'll leave myth number three, because it's boring. But the first two clearly show that the cork producers are going for the green card.
“According to Conservation International,” the release goes on, “the cork oak forests are a top diversity hotspot and have some of the richest and most threatened reservoirs of plant and animal life on Earth e.g. the Iberian lynx.”
Then, adding the final layer with a trowel, Jose Tavares from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is quoted as saying: “For centuries, the production of cork has helped to retain cork forests, one of the richest wildlife habitats in southern Europe. A range of species from eagles and Iberian lynx to songbirds and reptiles find a vital refuge in these forests, and a reduction in the use of natural cork threatens the existence of these special species and also a magical and vibrant landscape.”
Now, hold on there. Is this not the equivalent of holding a gun to a puppy's head and saying: “Buy cork, or the puppy gets it?"
It's the emotional blackmail that makes me squirm.
More importantly, however, do you know if a bottle of wine has a natural cork stopper or a synthetic stopper when you're buying it? I don't.
And I'd HATE to get home and open the bottle only to find out that I've unwittingly killed an Iberian lynx.
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.”