By: Olly Wehring
The just-drinks leader, written by the just-drinks leader.
Diageo's exit from its beer joint-venture in South Africa and Namibia comes at the same time as observers are considering what else the company defines as non-core to its business. The move suggests to many – and, initially, to me also – that beer is next on the group's non-core list.
It would be very easy to get carried away by the latest stirrings from Diageo over in the US. Indeed, when the Securities & Exchange Commission comes knocking, it would take a particularly ignorant person to not get carried away. But, is this as big a deal as it at first seems?
Yesterday's appointment news from Diageo has echoes of a similar HR switch at SABMiller two years ago - a question of perceived suitability.
I remember the occasion well: It was a warm, summer's day five years ago, when Pernod Ricard's Chivas Brothers division hosted me and many of my peers at its London offices to unveil a new marketing push for its Scotch whisky range.
The footballing world may be in turmoil today, but the drinks companies with more than a passing interest in the beautiful game seem determined not to be swept up by the latest scandal to hit FIFA. For now.
It's not every day that one can accuse the world's biggest spirits producer of being a bit stupid, but my peers in India are making hay today, doing just that. But, before wading in against Diageo and the call by its United Spirits unit in India for chairman Vijay Mallya to stand down, ask yourself this one question: What difference does it make?
Another day, another drinks executive stepping down “to explore new opportunities”. Usually, this is code for “is leaving to join one of our competitors in a slightly better-paid position”. But, with nowhere to go to yet, Andy Fennell's departure from Diageo is a strange one, especially as he has been held up internally as the 'next big thing'.
Nine months after Pivovarna Lasko hung out the 'for sale' sign, Heineken has emerged as the Slovenian firm's favoured suitor – or should that be saviour?
Many industry observers will have linked yesterday's major food M&A story with the ongoing rumbles around Anheuser-Busch InBev's widely-expected move for SABMiller. Shareholders of the two brewers clearly did the same, with the pair seeing their share prices fall markedly today.
I have to take my hat off to the Western European divisions of The Coca-Cola Co. By bringing together the marketing and packaging for the group's namesake brand together with its healthier brethren, the units will finally be able to indirectly say what they've been itching to say – but daren't – for at least the last few years.
The announced departure of a company's CEO on the same day as the reporting of a near-20% fall in full-year profits usually looks pretty black and white. But, there is far less of a sword-falling case to conclude when it comes to Carlsberg today.
My time in Chile, courtesy of Concha y Toro, is fast drawing to an end. Having reported on both the country's wine industry broadly, and the company specifically for the better part of ten years, this visit has put quite a bit of meat on the bones of my knowledge of all things Chilean. Such as:
Earlier today, I enjoyed a healthy debate on Twitter with one of my peers here in the UK. The journalist, writing in UK on-trade publication Inapub, was having a dig at 'Dry January', the concept of not drinking alcohol for all of the first month of 2015.
The announcement late yesterday that Cuba and the US have started on the road to normalised relations will be of particular interest to two spirits companies – one evicted from its home by the revolution, the other a co-owner of a rum because of the revolution.
Last weekend, the Wall Street Journal published a fascinating article that looks at the more recent performance – or lack thereof – of Anheuser-Busch InBev's Budweiser brand in the US.
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