Olly Wehring

The Week That Was

By: Olly Wehring - 23 May 2006 11:36

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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.

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