Olly Wehring

The World Whiskies Conference preview

By: Olly Wehring - 15 April 2008 12:43

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Today sees the start of the third annual World Whiskies Conference. just-drinks will be there in force and is even closing the first day by presenting the findings of its Global Malt Whisky Report.

just-drinks has been the media sponsor for this event since its organisers first mooted the idea almost four years ago. Despite some initial apathy from the industry we have long held that this should be an important date in the spirits industry’s calendar – particularly in a climate that poses so many threats, from the global economy to rising costs, not to mention the anti-alcohol lobby.

I am pleased to say that as an event, this year’s WWC seems to have come of age. Paul Walsh, CEO of Diageo and chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association, will be speaking right before Vijay Mallya, head of UB Spirits – surely that potential clash of world views is worth the admission price alone.

They will be followed, among others, by Tom Flocco, CEO of Beam Brands, and Rear Admiral Dr Peter H Cressy, president and CEO of DISCUS – and that’s just the first day.

This promises to be a fascinating couple of days. The drinks industry always prides itself on being fairly recession proof but the current economic crisis is the biggest test it has faced since the Tiger Economies of Asia crashed at the end of the 1990s. The WWC is the first of the year’s big drinks events here in the UK and gauging the mood of the sector will be an indication of how it is fairing so far.

Keep peeled to these pages for more.

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