Comment - Spirits (Brown) - Last Orders with Neil Ridley

Comment - Spirits (Brown) - Last Orders with Neil Ridley

By: Neil Ridley

Brown spirits aficionado Neil Ridley casts his eye over the latest goings-on in whisk(e)y, Cognac, dark rum et al.



What does rum need to do to recognise its potential? - Comment 12 Nov 2019

The much-touted 'demise' of gin is surely music to the rum category's collective ears. However, spirits commentator Neil Ridley argues the spirit must first find its way out of the Wild West and lose its 'sweet-toothed' perception before making a play for the hearts and throats of today's consumers.


Why single malt Scotch must ignore its core consumer - Comment 17 Oct 2019

Despite drawing criticism from certain quarters, the single malt Scotch whisky category must continue to strive for greater inspiration and innovation if it is to maintain its current trajectory, argues Neil Ridley.


Pernod Ricard breaks new boundaries with Chinese malt whisky distillery - Comment 12 Sep 2019

The recent unveiling of Pernod Ricard Asia's plans to produce China's first domestically-sourced single malt whisky is undoubtedly a landmark moment in brown spirits. Category commentator Neil Ridley considers whether Chinese whisky could become a contender to the other 'world whiskies'.


Why rye whisky is set to go global - Comment 15 Aug 2019

With its distinctly peppery, spicy flavour profile, rye whisky presents a challenge to the average consumer's palate, thinks Neil Ridley, but one that a new breed of whisky consumers appears keen to explore in more detail. So, why is the UK craft distilling scene getting excited for such an innovative, yet relatively extreme, spirit?


Why the next chapter for Scotch whisky has its challenges - Comment 18 Jul 2019

The recent rule changes in Scotch maturation introduced by the Scotch Whisky Association go some way to appealing to the creativity of today's forward-thinking distillers. However, is the general public ready for Scotch 2.0 or, for that matter, does the consumer even want it? Neil Ridley delves into the casks to see what's slumbering away.


Why brown spirits is behind the low- & no-alcohol curve - Comment 11 Jun 2019

With the booming trend of no-abv white 'spirits', Neil Ridley wonders whether the dark spirits sector will follow suit and who will be the first to really crack the potentially flavoursome formula.


Why the spirits category should look backwards to move forwards - Comment 16 May 2019

Can the recent reinvention of 'classic serves' help revolutionise dark spirits consumption for a younger, savvier audience in the on-premise? Neil Ridley looks to the past for inspiration.


Why being careful is not careful enough for spirits marketers - Comment 11 Apr 2019

As Edrington's The Macallan is forced to withdraw its major advertising campaign in the UK following a handful of complaints, Neil Ridley wonders if the rules surrounding the above-the-line promotion of spirits are turning us into a nation of naysayers and killjoys, or is there a deeper message here for the drinks industry as a whole?


Why the mainstream media is confusing spirits' target consumer - Comment 14 Mar 2019

When people talk about alcohol, a lot of them get quite excited. Some get over-excited. As for those people that work in the media... Neil Ridley explains.


How to win the marketing war in spirits - Comment 15 Feb 2019

Our brown spirits commentator, Neil Ridley, has had his passion for whisky reignited, thanks to a recent trip to the Scottish island of Islay. He's also concluded that a 'sense of place' is the most important weapon in a spirits' marketer's armoury.


What's coming up in brown spirits in 2019? - Predictions for the Year Ahead - Comment 15 Jan 2019

After the excesses of December, brown spirits commentator Neil Ridley takes a cursory glance into what 2019 is likely to bring, including a few shake-ups in the no-/low-alcohol segment of the category.


Why spirits marketing risks losing sight of the actual spirit - Comment 22 Nov 2018

As marketing activity becomes more digitally-focussed, visually-orientated and 'Instagrammable', are spirits companies losing sight of the importance of simply delivering a tasting experience? Neil Ridley warns that some brand owners run the risk of losing the plot.


Why the spirits category needs to rethink its future positioning - Comment 18 Sep 2018

Our spirits commentator, Neil Ridley, is all riled up. Again. This time, it's about the positioning at the higher end of the spirits category.


Are spirits brand owners driving Global Travel Retail customers to distraction? - Comment 23 Aug 2018

With the Global Travel Retail channel becoming such an important testing ground for new innovative expressions, have brown spirits brand owners found the perfect launch pad for NPD, or are they slowly but surely confusing consumers with mixed messages? Neil Ridley checks in for a nose around.


Who will buy Cutty Sark and Glenturret from Edrington? - Comment 17 Jul 2018

The opportunity to acquire an established, well-known Scotch whisky brand doesn't come along very often. So, you'll forgive our brown spirits commentator, Neil Ridley for being a bit excited right now.


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