Quote, unquote: World Whiskies Conference – Day One

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"I think standard Scotch has a serious problem in the West…the big brands seem a shadow of their former selves…so if five-year-old Scotch is going to make it anywhere it's going to be in the emerging markets" - John Wakley, L&B Advisors

"Why bother trying to save something that isn't worth saving? Cheap whisky - let it go the way of Rover" - John Wakley

"Be as united as possible don't let the anti-alcohol lobby divide and rule you. Complacency is the major enemy. Don't just think the tobacco industry got it wrong and that you are different and safe and be self righteous about it because you are not. It's beginning to happen already. Learn the lessons from others, in particular the tobacco industry, who were themselves in denial for many years" - Wyndham Carver, secretary general, Imported Tobacco Products Advisory Council

"The key message is beware the "passive smoking" of spirits. It has been passive smoking which has been the beacon around which the anti-smoking lobby have rallied and done a great deal of damage to the industry. What is the "passive smoking" of drinks generally? Is it abuse, binge drinking, anti-social behaviour or is it drink driving or a combination of these? There is already momentum in the press that you need to manage" - Wyndham Carver

"What are trying to do is showcase the positives of beer in moderation. We need to change people's drinking behaviour. We have a major thing to do to change the whole culture within the industry"- Paul Hegarty, head of communications, Coors Brewers

"Convincing retailers not to use alcohol as a loss leader - this is the area we've had least success with" - Paul Hegarty

"The dilemma is that no brand owner can ignore the supermarkets because of the volumes, yet they are killing the brand equity" - Ian Bankier, chairman, The Whisky Shop

"Is bourbon going to be a factor in the international spirits industry? The answer is yes. It seems they have so much confidence in the product that they can stick it in a can with a non-branded cola and in the case of Jim Beam and cola sell millions of cases" - John Wakley

"What Irish whiskey really needs is to expand the category (it's only one twentieth the size of Scotch) rather than individual brands, and this deal (Diageo's acquisition of Bushmills) might just do it. Generally I am very optimistic about Irish whiskey and with the world's two largest spirits companies with the two largest Irish whiskey brands, its really up to them to fail, but with margins superior to most five-year-old Scotches they certainly have no excuses to do so" - John Wakley

"Whisky has been out of fashion for too long and there are signs that the pendulum is swinging back" - Ian Bankier

"Single malt whisky is about where wine was about 20 years ago" - Ian Bankier

"When it comes to Asia much is made of the fact they often take Western technology, copy it and make it better, but what they cannot copy is heritage - and whisky has that coming that out of its ears. In short I would rather own a high-end whisky brand than a high end vodka brand. Look at the mess surrounding Stoli. Who owns it? Where is it produced? Latvia, maybe? One day the consumer is going to wake and decide he or she has been made a fool of in this fashion for white spirits and never go back" - John Wakley
"Why do we as an industry enter this field of innovation with such trepidation? And why also do we have so few visible successes of innovation? Out there, there are consumers looking for innovation in everything, including whisky. Each brand in the Diageo stable is obliged to have an innovation platform going forward" - Charles Allen, global director whisk(e)y portfolio brands, Diageo

Sectors: Spirits

Companies: Diageo

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