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.
China's economy "overheating"
14 Jan 2010 15:29
China's economy is in danger of "overheating", according to a report on global risks published today (14 January).
The report, published annually by the World Economic Forum and a host of top insurance firms, warns that China's economy is more fragile than many believe.
"China's economy is in the process of overheating," Daniel Hoffmann, chief economist at Zurich Financial Services, told a press conference in London to mark the launch of the report.
China may have largely survived the financial crisis and global recession, but has largely done so by domestic credit growth, says the report, which describes the Chinese economy as a "key risk" to global economic stability.
For more on the risk report, click here.
FEMSA deal to spark Modelo move?
11 Jan 2010 15:28
Today's news that FEMSA Cerveza has jumped into bed with a multinational brewer could spark action in the Grupo Modelo/Anheuser-Busch InBev war of attrition.
Modelo is the largest Mexican brewer, but FEMSA is a close second, with 43% market share.
Heineken's foreign money flowing into FEMSA is likely to raise the pressure on Modelo.
We're willing to wager that this makes a deal between Modelo and A-B InBev more likely, and sooner rather than later.
Both companies are locked in a dispute over ownership. Modelo claims that A-B's non-controlling 50% stake in its business cannot pass straight to the new A-B InBev conglomerate. The last we heard, arbitration proceedings between the two sides are due.
I wouldn't bet on it getting that far.
Merry Christmas and here's to a prosperous New Year
24 Dec 2009 10:34
Well, the lid is nearly on 2009. And, my goodness, what a year it's been. Our industry has had a rollercoaster 12 months, and I'm sure many of you will be looking forward to a soothing break over Christmas and New Year, before we look to hit the ground running in 2010.
On the note of the Christmas break, today (23 December) is our last day at the office until 4 January next year. So, let me take this opportunity to wish all of our readers a very merry Christmas and happy New Year. Many thanks for your continued support throughout 2009, we are looking forward to reporting on news of that much anticipated recovery over the next 12 months.
Here's to a prosperous 2010, naturally. Goodness knows, we'll have deserved it.
A clear answer to the festive sore head
23 Dec 2009 10:40
Ah, the traditional sounds of Christmas – those intolerable seasonal pop songs played over and over in shopping centres, warnings of the UK transports system's imminent collapse from the cold and the annual debate in offices the world over about how to avoid, cure or battle the festive hangover.
Well, you'll be pleased to know that this debate can now be put to bed, at least where two drinks are concerned.
Drinking whisky will result in a worse hangover than vodka, according to research carried out by scientists at the US's Brown University.
Molecules known as "congeners" are to blame, it seems, and whisky has more of them than vodka.
However, just in case those of you who usually toast in the office Christmas party with Laphroaig thought you might have the answer to the miseries of being at your desk the next day, the research goes on to warn that sticking to vodka all night rather than whisky would not improve your performance at work the following day.
I can vouch for that.
Help to go green in Scotland
09 Dec 2009 14:52
Calling all drinks companies with production operations in Scotland (and that's quite a few of you).
If you're looking for assistance in green-ing up your facilities in the country, then read on.
A third round of the Scottish Biomass Heat Scheme (SBHS) was announced by Jim Mather, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism in the Scottish Parliament last month.
The SBHS supports small- and medium-sized businesses across Scotland to install woodfuel heating for space or process heat and hot water. “We believe the food and drink industry can experience quick financial payback from converting to woodfuel ('spend to save') while substantially reducing their carbon emissions,” a spokesperson said.
If you would like to apply for support for a biomass project, get in touch with the Regional Biomass Advice Network. Contact details for your nearest adviser can be found here.
Further information, application forms and guidance notes can be found here.
The closing date for applications is 12 February 2010.
The first prediction for 2010
08 Dec 2009 17:57
I know we're not even halfway through the last month of 2009, but having spent the last week reviewing the year for you, dear reader (watch this space over the coming days, it'll be worth it), it's time to look to the future.
So, here's my tip for the biggest new drinks category of next year.
You heard it here first.
Yes, but... HOW MUCH?!
27 Nov 2009 16:24
The British Beer & Pub Association is certainly to be applauded for its latest attempt to drum up some love - and custom - for the UK on-trade. The video below has been launched on Youtube today (27 November).
It is difficult, however, to feel too fond of the on-trade in this country, when, of occasion, it lets itself down, as it did in our eyes yesterday.
Last night, at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue in London, yours truly treated himself and Ms just-drinks to a can (that's, a can) of Guinness and a glass (plastic) of red wine. Total cost? GBP11 (US$18.15).
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, m'colleague was enjoying a concert at Koko in Camden. He wasn't, however, enjoying his can (again, a can) of Kronenbourg, for which he had to stump up GBP4.20.
Now, I'm not the biggest fan of cheap drink promotions - it's all a bit tawdry, isn't it? - but a captive audience is clearly giving some on-trade outlets the excuse to charge what they wish.
And that really shouldn't be on.
Views sought on Alcohol Bill
27 Nov 2009 16:07
The Scottish Health and Sport Committee today (27 November) called for views on minimum pricing following the introduction of the long-awaited Alcohol Bill yesterday.
The committee has said it welcomes evidence from individuals as well as organisations and professional bodies and intends that evidence received will inform its consideration of the Bill at ‘Stage One’.
Following consideration of the written submissions received, the committee said it will agree a programme of oral evidence sessions and may request further written evidence as required.
The closing date for receipt of submissions is 20 January. Those interested in submitting their views can visit the Health and Sport Committee webpage for guidance on how to do so.
Britvic on the prowl
25 Nov 2009 15:29
Soft drinks group Britvic is "ready to go" on acquisitions, according to the company's finance director.
But where will it go and when? One analyst told just-drinks today (25 November) that the company likely has a specific target in mind and will probably look to pounce within four months.
Scandinavia and the Netherlands would be obvious foreign targets, with the group already selling its Robinsons and Fruit Shoot brands there.
What price a Christmas bonus for Britvic's portfolio?
Heineken calls time on S&N
23 Nov 2009 13:25
The name Scottish & Newcastle (S&N) today disappeared from brewing in the UK, following its official name change to Heineken UK.
The group, formed in 1960 by the merger between Scottish Brewers and Newcastle Breweries, was bought and carved up by Heineken and Carlsberg in April 2008 for a total sum of around GBP8bn.
Heineken took S&N's UK business and, after keeping the name for more than a year, has today officially changed it to Heineken UK, complete with a new website.
The S&N name will continue to be used by the company's pub management business, which has become the Scottish & Newcastle Pub Company, reflecting the development of this part of the business.