Blog: Diageo - Who will buy my baijiu?
Olly Wehring | 31 May 2012
Amongst the sideline talk at this year's Capital Markets Day from Pernod Ricard yesterday, check this, from a China Daily reporter.
Talk over dinner last night turned to baijiu, the domestically-produced white spirit and national drink of China. The category accounts for a staggering 99% of spirits sales in the country, with imported spirits – annual volumes of a still-healthy 5m cases – making up the final per cent.
What was Diageo's thinking in getting involved in baijiu, the reporter asked me. Could the company be keen to grow the Shuijingfang brand in China, or is Diageo looking to introduce baijiu to export markets?
I proffered the possibility that Diageo is hoping to use Shuijingfang as its way in to the Chinese consumer, before looking to turn him on to the likes of Johnnie Walker.
“No,” the reporter fires back. “That will never work.” The baijiu consumer is such, due to a mixture of compulsion and national loyalty, I'm told. A Chinese civil servant, for example, - of which there are a few - will buy baijiu and baijiu alone when it comes to spirits.
I'm hoping Diageo knew this before it made its play for Shuijingfang.
Unless, of course, baijiu's going to get its own gondola end in Wal-Mart and Tesco some time soon?
Whisk(e)y companies spend a lot of money and effort ageing their products for that premium taste....
PepsiCo created a stir last week with the news it is testing a product called Caleb's Kola, with some in the media claiming it was the beginning of a new “craft soda” category....
SABMiller's bid to widen the appeal of beer is very much in evidence at its latest 'House of Peroni' - with beer cocktails and a bigger bottle for the Italian lager brand on offer. ...
Here's a round-up of the big stories on just-drinks last week, featuring PepsiCo, SABMiller, the Scotch whisky category and the US wine market....
- Analysis - Remy's Cognac "dead-cat bounce"
- Comment - How Hand-Made is Tito's Handmade Vodka?
- Heineken to stay "active player" in beer M&A - CFO
- Diageo's future brighter than present suggests
- Focus - Heineken's Q3 Performance by Region
- Moët Hennessy unveils first Travel Retail outlet
- United Spirits sees Q1 net loss
- Beam Suntory, Edrington part ways in Travel Retail
- Diageo puts Beckham centre stage in Haig Club ad
- Smirnoff Ice gets India launch