Olly Wehring

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.

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Craft brewer (n)

27 Mar 2012 11:34

We all know roughly what is meant by the term 'craft brewer', but how many of us know exactly what the definition is?

Happy to help.

The definition of a craft brewer as stated by the Brewers Association:

An American craft brewer is small, independent, and traditional.

  • Small: Annual production of beer less than 6m barrels. Beer production is attributed to a brewer according to the rules of alternating proprietorships. Flavored malt beverages are not considered beer for purposes of this definition.
  • Independent: Less than 25% of the craft brewery is owned or controlled (or equivalent economic interest) by an alcoholic beverage industry member who is not themselves a craft brewer.
  • Traditional: A brewer who has either an all malt flagship (the beer which represents the greatest volume among that brewers brands) or has at least 50% of its volume in either all malt beers or in beers which use adjuncts to enhance rather than lighten flavour.
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Red Bull on the radio

23 Mar 2012 20:49

Last week, the creator of Red Bull, Chaleo Yoovidhya, passed away.

UK radio station BBC Radio 4 wanted to speak to someone about Mr Yoovidhya, and the soft drink phenomenon he played such a large part.

They chose me.

Aim for 24:09.

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The UK Government AKA Mythbusters

23 Mar 2012 10:49

So you can see what we're up against, here's what the UK Government has offered in defence of its proposal to bring price intervention into play to combat alcohol misuse in the country.

I particularly like their counter-argument to the "This is illegal" 'myth.

MYTH: Proposals are going to hit consumers in the pocket during difficult times and punishes responsible drinkers. 

FACT: 80% of alcohol purchases are made by 30% of the population, and this group are the main beneficiaries of discounted alcohol. The cost of a GBP0.40minimum unit price would be:

  • for the average drinker = GBP21 to GBP23 a year
  • for moderate drinkers (drinking within recommended limits of up to 21 units a week for men and 14 units for women) = GBP5 to GBP6 a year
  • for harmful drinkers (drinking far above the recommended limit – more than 50 units a week for men and 35 for women) = GBP105 to GBP135 a year.

MYTH: This is just another duty increase

FACT: No it’s not, a duty increase hits all alcohol for everyone; a minimum unit price hits cheap, harmful alcohol. To get the same positive effect on consumption, health and crime as a GBP0.40 MUP, we would have had to raise duty by RPI+9%.

MYTH: This is another attack on the poor 

FACT: People on low income are the least likely to drink alcohol at all - at the moment whenever a supermarket 'loss-leads' on alcohol, they are subsidizing heavy drinkers. Independent research by the IFS shows that cheap alcohol is bought by all income groups. The factor that most determines whether you are likely to buy really cheap alcohol is not your income, but how much you drink - the heaviest drinkers (and those who binge) are particularly likely to buy cheap alcohol, which is why we are targeting it.

MYTH: The Government is going to make money out of this – it’s just another tax 

FACT: The Government will not make anything out of this. Unlike in Scotland, we are not planning to link this to a supermarket tax. Instead, we expect supermarkets to put any extra profits they make towards lowering the price of other goods. Studies have shown that deep discounting on alcohol benefits the heaviest drinkers, and costs the rest of us money - so ending the 'loss leaders' on alcohol, and instead discounting other products, will make the average shopping basket cheaper - which we think is the right thing in tough times.

MYTH: A minimum unit price of GBP0.40 won’t have that much of an impact on reducing crime and health-related issues. 

FACT: There will be 170 fewer alcohol-related deaths in the first year, rising to 900 a year over ten years (7.7% fewer alcohol related deaths). There will be 50,600 fewer crimes a year; including 12,900 violent crimes. More than GBP80m will be saved in health and crime costs in the first year, rising to over GBP140m in the tenth year.

MYTH: This is another example of the Nanny State as you tell people what to drink and business what to charge. 

FACT: People who drink sensibly will feel very little impact from these proposals. In particular, we want to support local pubs - where people drink sensibly and enjoy themselves - and reverse the shift towards 'pre-loading' on cheap alcohol at home - which we know leads to more violence. We are working in partnership with businesses: it is essential that we tackle price. We can't do that through voluntary agreements because it's illegal for the supermarkets to make agreements on pricing together. So to tackle cheap alcohol, Government has to take action.

MYTH: This is illegal. 

FACT: It isn’t illegal. We believe coming down hard on cheap alcohol and its abuse is the right thing to do. International evidence shows that the price of alcohol is closely linked to how much is consumed, and we don’t believe we can tackle Britain's relationship with drink without doing something about excessively cheap alcohol. We make no excuses for clamping down on excessive drinking and drunken behaviour.

MYTH: Alcohol consumption is going down, why are you doing this? 

FACT: Alcohol consumption in general might be going down, but binge-drinking isn’t – among women it has been rising. We know binge-drinking results in crime, anti-social behaviour and visits to A&E at a cost of GBP21bn a year. Around 50% of all alcohol consumed is drunk during binge sessions - this isn't a marginal problem.

MYTH: Banning multi-buy offers would mean no more good deals on booze 

FACT: The Scots have had a ban on multi-buy offers since October 2011 and it doesn't mean you can't get good deals - a ban on multi-buys means that instead of '2 for 1' you offer 'half price'. This is actually better value for the customer because you can get the deal without buying two items. We don't want to stop people getting good deals - but we do want to stop shops 'pushing' people to buy more alcohol than they want.


In 2010 more than GBP42bn spent on alcohol in England and Wales alone. Alcohol has been so heavily discounted that it is now possible to buy a can of lager for a little as GBP0.18 and a two litre bottle of cider GBP1.69.

We estimate that in a community of 100,000 people, each year:

  • 2,000 people will be admitted to hospital with an alcohol-related condition;
  • 1,000 people will be a victim of alcohol-related crime;
  • More than 3,000 will show some signs of alcohol dependence; and
  • More than 13,000 people will binge drink.

In a recent study, 66% of 17 to 30 year-olds claimed to have ‘pre-loaded’ before a night out with pre-loaders two-and-a-half times more likely to be involved in violence than other drinkers.

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just-drinks done a press release

16 Mar 2012 12:58

This just hit the wires, people. Keeping you in the loop.

Editorial Team Gets Shake-Up at just-drinks

BROMSGROVE, England, March 16, 2012

just-drinks.com has recruited a new deputy editor and reporter.

just-drinks, the leading online information, insight and intelligence provider for the global drinks industry, has appointed James Wilmore to replace Chris Mercer as deputy editor. James, 35, has spent the last year as a freelance journalist for the likes of Caterer & Hotelkeeper, Harpers Wine & Spirit and Imbibe. He was previously deputy news editor at The Publican for six years.

Working remotely in London, he replaces Chris Mercer, who is set to go freelance. Chris will continue with just-drinks, however, as a regular commentator on the drinks industry.

Assuming the position from 12 March, James will head up the day-to-day news and feature output, as well as dealing with freelance pitches. He can be contacted at news@just-drinks.com.

Starting on 2 April, meanwhile, Andy Morton joins just-drinks as reporter. Andy, also 35, has just completed PMA Media Training's post-graduate diploma in magazine journalism. He has also held writing and sub-editing roles with Sydney Morning Herald, Shanghai Daily and Taipei Times.

Michelle Russell, formerly senior reporter with just-drinks, has been promoted to the news editor role at sister site just-food.

Working across all beverage sectors covered by just-drinks - beer, bottled water, soft drinks, spirits and wine - Andy will be based in just-drinks' head office in Bromsgrove.

Both James and Andy will report in to managing editor Olly Wehring.

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Carlsberg - Keepin' it real

02 Mar 2012 09:57

Well, it probably is!

Well, it probably is!

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will have seen that I was in Copenhagen yesterday, visiting Copenhagen's headquarters for the first time. The occasion was to celebrate the start of the countdown of 100 days to this summer's UEFA Euro 2012.

Carlsberg, a headline sponsor of the soccer tournament, even wheeled out its global ambassador, Peter Schmeichel, to meet Europe's press corp.

While in Copenhagen, we were treated to a tour of the city. Not only was I very taken with the place, I was as impressed by Carlsberg's more realistic approach to advertising in its home town.

After all, it really could be the best beer in Copenhagen. Couldn't it?

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Alan Lodge 1982 – 2012

21 Feb 2012 12:01

Many of you in our industry – certainly those of you operating here in the UK – will have met the news editor at peer-publication The Drinks Business, Alan Lodge. Over the last three years, I bumped into Alan on an almost weekly basis at various drinks events in London. Indeed, I could pretty much guarantee I'd see him, due to his reputation of attending the openings of envelopes.

Alan passed away over the weekend, suffering a brain haemorrhage. He was 29.

The Drinks Business' editor, Patrick Schmitt, has written an eloquent obituary for Alan, which can be found here.

Goodbye, Alan. Thank you for the fun times and thank you for the laughter. I'll toast you with an Ardbeg tonight.

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Brakspear: Tuesday's not taxing

16 Feb 2012 10:26

A quick heads-up, dear reader: I won't be at the coalface this coming Tuesday. No, I shall be in lovely, leafy Henley-on-Thames.

Ten pubs operated by Brakspear in Henley, which is about 30 miles west of London, are staging a ‘Tax-Free Beer Day’ on Tuesday. From opening the doors to last orders, the pubs will be selling pints of Brakspear Bitter for GBP2.00 (US$3.14) each.

“Beer duty, VAT (value added tax) and other taxes together add around GBP1.30 to a pint of beer (based on a price of GBP3.10), turning what should be one of life’s affordable pleasures into an irregular treat for many people and contributing to pub closures,” the company said.

I can see this kind form of protest catching on, you know.

So, on Tuesday, if anyone needs me, I’ll be in one of these.


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Diageo - That's not what 'bilingual' means!

09 Feb 2012 16:22

I know it's juvenile. I know it's immature. But...

I was a little confused today, at Diageo's H1 results presentation, when CEO Paul Walsh began talking about "bi-lingual marketing".

What's "bi-lingual marketing", I pondered. Well, according to Walsh, it's one of the methods Diageo is using to appeal to female spirits consumers; by using language that resonates with both men and women in the company's marketing.

Bi-lingual? Appealng to both men and women?

That's a different kind of bi-, surely?

Comments on this blog post

Bi-lingual marketing has a completely different meaning in the United States than in the UK, I believe. Marketing is itself its own art form in the U.S. where marketers are revered for their prowess of being able to craft effective marketing copy which speaks directly to a particular demographic, gender, denomination, age group. It's part of life in the U.S., a cost of doing business. If you want to complain about marketing, go right to the most despicable form of marketing there is...neural and subliminal marketing, the subliminal messages marketers, including and especially beverage companies are guilty of, which are designed to induce consumers to choose a product without choosing. Read SUBLIMINAL SEDUCTION. You can recognize it from the beverage on the cover --



Power Brands said at 4:42 am, May 31, 2012

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Happy birthday Bacardi

07 Feb 2012 11:33

Bacardi celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding last weekend, with a big old knees-up in Miami. As you can see below, lots of incredibly good-looking people were invited. But, don't bother looking for me: I couldn't make it (nor was I invited).

And, get this: Luis Fortuño, the governer of Puerto Rico - where Bacardi produces its namesake rum brand - has declared 4 February 'Bacardi Day', in acknowledgement of the role the company plays in the island’s economy.

You've got to admit, that's pretty cool.

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Super Bowl Sunday - A Taster from Anheuser-Busch

03 Feb 2012 16:11

Ahead of Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday (Go Giants!), brace yourself for the usual advertising hooplah between plays.

To whet your appetite, here are three teasers from Anheuser-Busch. Just, don't blink.

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just-drinks tagline

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