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.
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.”
UK licensing changes - six months on
23 May 2006 16:38
Today, we celebrate the six-month anniversary of changes in the licensing laws in England and Wales. The changes were trumpeted with prophets of doom and gloom in this country’s press, who had a field day warning of blood in the streets. So, after half a year, what colour are our roads?
Well, you’ll be delighted to here that there is certainly no more ruby red in the roads than there was before and, although it is nigh on impossible to answer definitively whether the changes have increased or decreased our drinking problems, things seem pretty much the same round here.
According to Neil Williams from the British Beer and Pub Association: “There has been limited change in city centres. The new system is allowing people to stay in their favourite local pub longer on certain nights rather than traipse into town to go to a bar.”
I can concur with this. On nights out in (London) town, I’ve found it quite hard to find a pub around Leicester Square open past 11pm for a quiet drink (although the 'super pubs' are open, I tend to give them a wide berth). My local pub, however, is regularly open until around midnight most nights.
The real test, however, is still ahead of us. With the World Cup just over a fortnight away, and (hopefully) some long, hot summer nights ahead, we could be in for a boisterous few months over here.
For an in-depth look at the “Storm in a pint glass” from the BBC, click here.
LIWSF - Not again?
23 May 2006 14:40
I know, I know. But I promise this will be the last mention of the LIWSF for a while...
Those of you who attended the show last week and called round to our stand to check your emails may remember a prize draw with a year's free membership to just-drinks.com up for grabs.
Heartiest congratulations, then, to Garry Cummins from Bidgeebong Wines Australia Limited. Our subscriptions team will be contacting you shortly, Garry.
Now, let’s all get back to work, shall we?
The Week That Was
23 May 2006 11:36
Well, that’s that – at least for another year. The London International Wine and Spirit Fair drew to a close last week, and we here at just-drinks were both glad and sad to see the back of it. Glad because we’d spent the three days hairing around like bluebottles (my legs still ache three days later), yet sad that the opportunity to meet up with the great and the good of the wine and spirits industries, all under one roof, is over for another 12 months. Keep your eyes peeled for stacks of content from the fair in the coming days and weeks – we have some treats for you, believe me.
Now, I know that for many of you out there, our coverage of the Wine and Spirits Fair might not have been of much relevance. Those in soft drinks, water and beer will be quite happy, I’m sure, that we’ll now stop banging on about the event. It seems, though, that some of you have been busying yourselves in the meantime.
The announcement late last week that Anheuser-Busch bought the iconic US beer brand Rolling Rock from InBev woke us with a start after the rigours of the fair. At US$82m, the acquisition certainly wasn’t cheap, and is of concern to some as well. As one analyst said last week, with Budweiser’s market share likely to shrink in the double digits this year, does A-B need another full-calorie domestic brand in a state of secular decline?
The rising popularity of craft and imported beers suggests to many that the US brewer should be swimming with the tide, and not against it.
Coming to you live from LIWSF III
17 May 2006 14:23
Midway through day two (of three) here at ExCel, and the lack of hangovers on the floor is really quite refreshing – if those ‘drink responsibly’ tags can work on drinks executives… One ugly moment last night at the nearest bar, however, when someone had to be manhandled outside by two bouncers, however, suggests that the message hasn’t got through to everyone.
The good news is that the air conditioning has kicked in after yesterday’s sweat-fest. Apparently the main unit was hit by a lorry prior to the show – a lorry with Bordeaux number plates, I’ll wager.
Today’s highlights for us include a chat with the general manager of Argentina’s largest wine producer, Grupo Peñaflor. Jorge Arpi’s optimistic comments are in keeping with his compadres whom I met last month (did I mention I went to Argentina in April?). As for his frank comments on the global consolidation that, so far, has passed his home country by, well, you’ll just have to wait for my management briefing in July.
Meanwhile, I’ve stayed off the booze and plumped for what one attendee has described as “the Champagne of sparkling water” from Voss – a brutal plug, I know, but a man’s got to drink something.
Coming to you live from LIWSF II
16 May 2006 16:55
As day one here draws to a close, a brief window during which to sit down and reflect has opened. The fair looks and feels bigger than ever this year, and the crowds have been streaming round the hall for most of the day. A few gripes, however, have reached my ears as I’ve been doing the rounds.
For a start, it’s boiling in here - and it’s not even a warm day outside. So, here I am, dressed in my fineries, and – how can I put this – glowing a tad. It’s not just me, however, who’s suffering. One wine maker has told me that they’re having to store their red wines in the fridge. All the more frustrating, however, is that the air conditioning outlets are clear for all to see if they just look up.
Another grumble is the size of the spirits section this year, which, let’s be honest, is never that huge anyway. One journalist said it looks like it’s been bolted on to the rest of the show as a mere afterthought.
Then there are the usual travel issues (miles from anywhere) that rear their head. And don’t get me started on the wireless Internet that is so jam-packed that I can’t get online.
But on the bright side, the girl promoting Brazil’s generic wine stand is hugely impressive, and not for reasons you might imagine. Any 18-year-old not wearing a suit at a trade fair is going to stand out – least of all if they’re wearing a Brazilian football kit and playing keepy-uppy with a football as they do the rounds.
More tomorrow, but for now, I’m loosening the tie and tasting the wares.
Coming to you live from LIWSF
16 May 2006 13:48
Greetings from day one of three here at ExCel in London. The show has got off to a great start, with a terrific atmosphere throughout, and we’ve got the ideal viewpoint – upstairs at the press centre. The throngs are swarming and the wine is flowing, and we can see it all.
So far, we’ve attended a seminar looking at promoting French wine to consumers, we’ve had a one-to-one chat with Foster’s Wine Estates’ MD, Jamie Odell, and I'm about to talk to the CEO of Constellation Europe, Jon Moramarco.
Among the many familiar faces I’ve bumped into so far today has been John McLaren, the head of the California Wine Institute here in the UK. John is counting down the days until California overtakes France as the most popular wine region in the UK. “I’ve got the Champagne ready,” he tells me, adding that he thinks the overtaking manoeuvre is set to take place in the first quarter of next year.
“I’m not sure to celebrate with Champagne or Californian sparkling wine,” he tells me.
A pleasant dilemma, then, John.