Blog: Drinks makers toast thirst for luxury
Chris Mercer | 19 October 2011
Like retired colonels sipping Champagne on the deck of the sinking Titanic, there are plenty of consumers around the world who still very much have a taste for luxury.
If you're going down then you may as well go down in style. Sales results from Moet Hennessy and, to a lesser extent, Diageo have shown this week that plenty of consumers around the world still have a taste for premium spirits and Champagne.
A large proportion of those consumers may be in the so-called emerging markets, be it expensive Cognac lovers in China or Russians with a refreshed economy and a wallet bulging for bling. However, the US spirits market also appears to have continued its upward momentum in 2011.
Diageo said today (19 October) that spirits drove its net sales in North America up by 5% for the first quarter of its fiscal year, to the end of September, even though its volume sales slipped by 2%.
Will it last? Diageo's CEO, Paul Walsh, was careful to highlight that the company is "alert to any impact which the fragile global economy may have on trading patterns". Moet Hennessy, meanwhile, saw its momentum slow slightly from the first half of 2011 to the third quarter.
Some markets are clearly in trouble, particularly those in southern Europe. There does, though, seem to be a hardcore of consumers who are intent on carrying on regardless of the gathering global economic storm clouds.
Some people in India believe alcohol should be more difficult to purchase. Last month, the state of Bihar halted all alcohol sales as its chief minister made good on an election promise. ...
Greetings from Zurich. Here as a guest of Heineken's Amstel brand, I'm due to sit down later today with the group's senior global director for international brands, Walter Drenth....
Drinks companies spend a lot of money on trying to predict trends. At last night's Worshipful Company of Distillers City debate, any strategists in the audience got a bit of forecasting for free....
I'll admit to being partial to an Aperol Spritz now and again, more usually in the summer months, sitting outside, shades on, slowly turning more golden/rusty....
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