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.
The Brewers' World Cup
13 Jun 2006 10:23
I’m pretty sure you don’t need me to tell you what kicked off on Friday and, whether you love or hate football, with your professional head on, I’m sure you can recognise the almost bottom-less potential the World Cup has to offer to your company.
The timing couldn’t be better here in the UK and across much of Western Europe, with the sun finally coming out and suggesting that (s)he’s here to stay for a while.
The age-old tradition of using beer as foot-fall creators in supermarkets is also back. One report last week from the UK said that beer sales were up 65% on last year as England fans prepared for the team’s first game on Saturday. Beer as a loss-leader is old hat, but when the price in the UK of one can as part of a multi-pack can cost as little as 40p during the tournament, the fear must surely be that brands are being cheapened.
Still on the brewer front, the World Cup throws up some interesting clashes. As the Official Beer of the World Cup, Budweiser has pouring rights in all 12 stadiums in Germany, but late last year buckled to public pressure and will now allow German beer Bitburger to be available at three of every ten taps.
The ongoing global struggle between Budweiser and Budvar takes footballing form today (12 June), meanwhile, when the USA play the Czech Republic. I’ve a great idea - why don’t the two sides agree that the result shall decide they’re legal wranglings once and for all?
DND - It's World Cup Month
08 Jun 2006 16:10
Starting tomorrow, for about four weeks, I, like millions of other men around the world, am not leaving the house. The lady has been advised, the boss has been told. It happens once every four years and, damn it, I’m not going to miss a second.
And I know I’m not alone, am I, gents?
So, hopefully this open letter won’t upset the Women of Wine, who have invited me to their summer party later this month, on the same evening that Holland are due to play Argentina. Thank you very much, but I shall be unable to attend.
Apparently, the Women of Wine have made a special exception this year and invited men along to their annual soiree.
Inviting them’s one thing, ladies, but actually getting them through the door during World Cup month? Well, I’d love to see THAT happen.
Only one bad apple at parliament cider meeting
08 Jun 2006 11:48
A security alert at the Houses of Parliament turned a successful cider meeting slightly sour yesterday as departing guests, growers and MPs were locked in for nearly an hour.
But for me, with tasting notes available for a wide range of ciders and perry, a warm welcome from my hosts, and a distinguished location in the Common’s Terrace Marquee, my glass was most certainly half-full rather than half-empty.
The meeting, hosted by the Parliamentary Cider Group and National Association of Cider Makers, highlighted a boost to the industry from a standstill in cider excise duty and a remarkable growth and commercialisation of the apple-based beverage.
Growers such as Gaymers and Bulmers, who makes Strongbow Sirrus, can now gain from the sudden appeal of Irish cider Magners by targeting drinkers in their early 20s. On the back of this, vintage ciders could see a resurgence and ‘wine ciders’ are being coined as another alternative, with some designed to accompany Indian and Chinese dishes.
After a few hours of enthusiastic tasting and deliberating, an alert arose at 6pm, however, when a protestor flung white powder onto the marble floor of the central lobby area, before being detained by the many armed police on the scene. While the powder was tested, possibly for anthrax, there was no through passage out of the building for aggrieved MPs, Peers, Lords and me.
Eventually the incident was resolved to no negative avail and the feared substance thought to be wheat powder.
Such scares will not hinder this biannual occasion, I'm sure, but tasters may be watching the clock a little more closely next time around.
Taittinger best in French hands
06 Jun 2006 11:50
Champagne corks were popping last week after it was announced that one of the most famous names in the region was to remain in family hands.
Last week, French bank Crédit Agricole finally bought Taittinger after a long-running and closely fought auction in a deal worth around EUR660m (US$846m). The bank was understood to have teamed up with Taittinger family members including Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, the firm’s deputy managing director and grandson of the company’s founder.
Crédit Agricole’s bid for Taittinger trumped seven other offers, including one from India’s UB Group. The Indian press bemoaned France’s “economic patriotism” for scuppering the UB bid, while a company spokesperson labelled the winning bid as “crazy”.
True, France has, let’s say, closely protected its companies from foreign predators. Think back to last year when the French government called for drinks and dairy group Danone to remain in French hands after rumours that PepsiCo was to table a hostile bid.
However, in the case of Taittinger, union officials were right to voice their concern over a successful UB bid. It had little to do with nationality but more to do with the Indian group’s complete lack of experience overseas, let alone in Champagne. True, the company has built a robust brewing and spirits empire in India but aside from a distillery in Nepal, UB does not have a presence abroad and it would have been a gamble to say the least for it to own the world’s sixth-largest Champagne house as its first significant overseas asset.
World Cup 2006 - how far is too far?
01 Jun 2006 15:23
With the World Cup drawing ever closer, I don't know how it is where you are, but here in England we're getting pretty carried away... again.
Two years ago, during Euro 2004, the streets here were hit by a flag epidemic, with nigh-on every car sporting its own St. George's flag. The impromptu-feel of the flags then has been taken away this time, however, with everyone and anyone trying to sell England 'fan-packs.'
A story from on-trade publication the Publican today confirms that some may be taking things too far.
A licensee in Manchester has painted his entire pub with a St. George's flag. His wife commented: "It's been worth it because the customer reaction has been great. People just want the tournament to start now."
I'd imagine their neighbours want it to end pretty quickly as well.
World Cup Tickets - We have a Winner!
01 Jun 2006 13:48
Our competition, in association with Budweiser, for two FIFA World Cup tickets has been running all week, but closed last night. We were deluged with entries (I exaggerate not), including entries from as far afield as New Zealand and Brazil.
But there can be only one winner, and that lucky football fan is...
James Sanderson, finance analyst at Constellation Brands Europe.
James and a friend will be in Nuremberg for England’s second group game against Trinidad & Tobago on 15 June.
Have a great time, James.
The correct answer, by the way, to the question ‘What is England’s FIFA World ranking’ is ten.
Our thanks go to Anheuser-Busch for their generous offer of the tickets. Keep your eyes peeled, meanwhile, for another competition we’ll be running to coincide with the start of the tournament next week.
Eau de Stella? XXXX? Kronenbourg?
31 May 2006 17:41
I went to a concert in London-town last night. In a room full of over-exuberant punters, most (if not all) of which were south of me in age, no matter how hard I tried to stay out of the melee, I couldn’t help coming home smelling rather pungently of beer.
Upon my return home, the lady was, obviously, none too impressed. But help, for me at least, may be at hand.
A scientist in Scotland has created a whisky-scented perfume. George Dodds, a biochemist from the Highlands, has named the scent ‘Spirit of Scotland,’ and expects to launch it later this year at a price of around GBP75 (US$140) per bottle.
The perfume, which has taken three years to develop, uses special ingredients to recreate the smoky, peaty scent of a wee dram.
I’m about to email Mr Dodds with a blueprint for my ‘beer-scented’ Cologne. If I can first convince the lady that my stench is a sign of sophistication, that is.
Drinking in the UK - it just gets tougher
30 May 2006 17:24
For many drinks companies, the UK is not only an exciting market to operate in, it’s also the most challenging and competitive. The power of the supermarkets, the sheer range of products available, the changing licensing laws - we’re nothing if not interesting, you must admit.
Two separate studies last week, however, suggest, that things could get that much tougher over here. While market analysts ACNielsen published figures highlighting a drop in wine sales for the two-month period to 22 April - the first time in over a decade that UK wine sales had fallen - another report showed that UK consumers were spending less on alcohol both in the on- and off-trade.
Throw in the introduction of legislation banning fizzy drinks in schools, and it begins to look as gloomy as our weather at the moment. It’s a cliché, I know, but the companies that will prosper in the UK going forward are the ones who turn these problems into opportunities. And round the corner is one of the best opportunities there is.
That’s right, the phenomenon that is the football World Cup is almost upon us, and every single drinks company on the planet will be hoping for a profitable four weeks starting on 9 June.
To get you into the swing of things, we’ve been running a members-only competition on the site to win two tickets to see England v Trinidad & Tobago play in Nuremberg on 15 June, courtesy of Budweiser, the tournament’s official beer.
The competition is still open, but not for much longer, so click here and answer one simple question. Who knows, it could be you heading to Germany.
As a postscript, a quick reminder to get your competition entries in quick. The draw will take place on Thursday (1 June) morning, so you have until midnight (GMT) to get your answers in.
We're Football Crazy
25 May 2006 13:06
Well, it’s nearly upon us, and I assume that many of you are as excited as we are. With two weeks to go until the biggest (and best, I’d say) sporting event there is, we’ve teamed up with Budweiser, the official beer of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™, to offer you, our lovely members, a piece of the action (if you’re not a member, click here - make sure you join before Wednesday 31 May to enter the draw).
We have two tickets for England’s second group game of the tournament against Trinidad & Tobago up for grabs. The match - England’s second in the group stage - takes place in Nuremburg on 15 June.
To enter the draw, all you need to do is e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with the answer to the following question:
What is England’s FIFA World ranking?
Closing date for entries is midnight (GMT) on Wednesday 31 May.
The draw will take place on Thursday 1 June. The winner will be announced on the just-drinks homepage.
Terms and conditions:
Winner must be a full member of just-drinks.com on the date of the draw.
Winner plus guest must be over 18.
Tickets are not transferable and cannot be resold.
Usual FIFA rules apply.
Winner must hold a valid passport valid for 6 months on return entry into the UK (if winner is UK-based).
No cash alternative.
Prize is two stadium tickets only. Travel, accommodation, insurance and spending money are not included.
Winner may be required to sign an affidavit.
Goodness! You made me jump.
24 May 2006 13:29
Anti drink-driving campaigners are upping the ante in the US. And this time, they’re following you all the way to the toilet…
“The men’s room offers one relatively untouched ad vehicle that just about everyone who enters it faces: the urinal,” a press release on my desk reads. Is anyone else slightly scared?
In Nassau County in New York, the police department has installed ‘Wizmark Interactive Urinal Communicators’ within the urinal and above the drain.
“The device automatically recognises the presence of a ‘visitor,’” it says here, “and after a brief delay - allowing the viewer to get properly positioned - proceeds to emit a very audible pre-recorded 15 second message stating: ‘Hey you. Yea You, having a few drinks? Then listen up! Think you had one too many? Then it’s time to call a cab or call a sober friend for a ride home. It sure is safer and a hell of a lot cheaper than a DWI. Make the smart choice tonight, don’t drink and drive.’”
Looks like the ‘visitor’ is standing in the right place before an invisible stranger shouts “Hey you.”