just the Answer

just the Answer

Once a month, we put a drinks executive on the spot with a bout of quick-fire questions.



"You could argue that we are stupid to sell in Travel Retail; for us it is the right environment" - Interview, Edrington MD for Global Travel Retail, Igor Boyadjian 10 Oct 2017

In early-October, Edrington officially unveiled its new Global Travel Retail range for its The Macallan single malt Scotch whisky brand. The Macallan Quest Collection differs from its predecessor, the 1824 range, by having four SKUs instead of three. At the Tax Free World Association exhibition in Cannes, just-drinks sat down with Edrington's MD for GTR, Igor Boyadjian to discuss the reasons for the four tiers, why Edrington could exit the GTR channel and how digital is expected to transform transactions.


"To say that we're thrilled is an understatement" - Diageo's head of whisky outreach, Nick Morgan 9 Oct 2017

Earlier today, Diageo announced plans to invest GBP35m (US$46m) in reopening two of its Scotch whisky distilleries that have been closed for 34 years. Work is set to begin on the Port Ellen and Brora sites - Port Ellen still houses a maltings unit, while Brora is next to Diageo's Clynelish distillery - in the coming months, ahead of becoming operational by 2020. Shortly after the announcement, just-drinks spoke to the group's head of whisky outreach, Nick Morgan, about the news.


"We have never seen anything like this level of enthusiasm for American whiskey" - Interview, Heaven Hill Brands president Max Shapira 20 Jun 2017

Later this year, US spirits firm Heaven Hill Brands will see both a new Bourbon and a new vodka production facility become operational. Yesterday, just-drinks sat down with Heaven Hill president Max Shapira at Vinexpo in Bordeaux to talk about family ownership, the Bourbon boom and the company's investment in vodka.


"More Chinese people like wine - they want to know more about it" - Interview, Alan's Wines & Spirits chairman Alan Wang 12 Jun 2017

Alan Wang is the founder of Alan's Wines & Spirits, which has 86 off-premise sites across China. just-drinks sat down with him during the 2017 China Food & Drinks Fair in Chengdu, where he spoke about the changing face of the Chinese consumer and reveals what he looks for in wine before allowing it on his shelves.


"I've never seen anything before that has affected us as much as Brexit" - Interview, Australian Vintage CEO Neil McGuigan - Part I 6 Jun 2017

Late last month, just-drinks met up with the CEO of Australian Vintage, Neil McGuigan. The wine company hit the headlines earlier in May, as it secured a Chinese partner through a stake sale. In part one of our two-part interview, McGuigan discusses the thinking behind this, as well as considering the importance - or otherwise - of the UK market for Australian Vintage, particularly as the country - and the company - deal with the fallout of last year's EU referendum.


"Highland Park was a brand that lacked emotion" - Interview, Edrington's Highland Park brand director, Jason Craig 3 May 2017

Last week, Edrington unveiled a new whisky range, new packaging and a new brand position for its Highland Park single malt Scotch whisky brand. The Orkney-based distillery has created a back-story for Highland Park around the islands' Viking heritage. just-drinks sat down with Highland Park brand director Jason Craig at the launch in Denmark to find out more about the thinking behind the re-launch.


"Do you go and buy Chivas Regal at Lidl? I don't think so" - Interview, Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits' CEO, Jean-Noël Reynaud 5 Apr 2017

In 2013, Belvedere entered administration after falling into debt thanks to its purchase of the Marie Brizard liqueurs brand. Four years later, the French spirits company - renamed Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits - is debt free. What's more, its William Peel Scotch whisky has just become the top-selling spirits brand in France. Couple that with an entry into China and you have a company back on the up. just-drinks spoke to Marie Brizard's CEO since 2014, Jean-Noël Reynaud, about how he has turned the firm around by shunning premiumisation, as well as the benefits of Brexit. We also asked: Whatever happened to Bruce Willis?


"The way to drive dark spirits is to make them accessible. And accessible means mixed" - Interview, Fever-Tree founders Charles Rolls and Tim Warrillow 21 Mar 2017

When premium mixers firm Fever-Tree launched its IPO in late-2014, shares were priced at GBP1.34. Today, following the release of 2016's results, Fever-Tree's shares are trading at over GBP15. Late last month, just-drinks sat down with the company's founders, Charles Rolls and Tim Warrillow, who still own 21.8% of the company, to explore the reasons behind Fever-Tree's success.


"I feel that this is my company" - Interview, Bacardi CEO-in-waiting Mahesh Madhavan- Part I 7 Mar 2017

Earlier this week, Bacardi unveiled its CEO succession plan that will see Mahesh Madhavan, the current regional president for Asia, Middle East & Africa, become regional president for Europe ahead of replacing Mike Dolan in April next year. In the first of just-drinks' exclusive two-part interview, Olly Wehring speaks to Madhavan about his career to-date, and looks at the mechanics of the succession plan.


"How do we make Bacardi relevant to Millennial consumers?" - Interview, Bacardi CEO-in-waiting Mahesh Madhavan - Part II 7 Mar 2017

In this, the second part of just-drinks' exclusive interview with Bacardi's next CEO, Mahesh Madhavan, shares his thoughts on the group's spirits portfolio and tells us what he believes he will inherit when he takes the top job next year.


"Gin as a category is hot and Bulldog is a hot brand" - Interview, Gruppo Campari CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz 1 Mar 2017

Yesterday, Gruppo Campari posted strong sales and an adjusted profits leap for 2016. Speaking to just-drinks following the full-year results announcement, CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz discusses plans for newly-acquired Bulldog gin, a move away from flavoured vodka and the path to premium rum in the US.


"In other companies, the product is more important than the organisation. In Berry Brothers & Rudd, it's the other way around." - Interview, Dan Jago, CEO , Berry Bros & Rudd - Part II 24 Feb 2017

Former Tesco wine director Dan Jago took over as CEO at UK-based Berry Bros & Rudd in 2015 and has since overseen a period of overhaul at the near-320-year-old wine and spirits group. Late last month, just-drinks met up with Jago at BBR's London headquarters. In part I of the interview, Jago discussed new changes to the company. In part II, the CEO talks about how he has no desire to chase the Millennial market, and reveals what keeps him awake at night.


"We have really instilled a discipline within the organisation" - Interview, Michael Clarke, CEO, Treasury Wine Estates - Part I 14 Feb 2017

Earlier today, Treasury Wine Estates reported another strong set of figures, with half-year sales jumping by almost a quarter and net profits more-than-doubling. Following the release of the results, just-drinks spoke to CEO Michael Clarke about the numbers, and how he has managed to turn around a company that less than three years ago took an impairment charge of almost US$250m.


"The worst thing you can do in luxury is send inconsistent brand messages" - Interview Tareef Shawa, Pernod Ricard luxury & customer relationship management director 12 Jan 2017

Tareef Shawa joined Pernod Ricard in 2014, bringing with him luxury credentials from American Express's invitation-only Centurion division, as well as seven years at LVMH's Louis Vuitton as director of global client development. Speaking to just-drinks in London this week, the group's luxury & customer relationship management director discusses the concept of luxury, its role within Pernod and how to quantify the success of luxury events.


"Unless there’s change, companies like ours won't be able to enter into the Travel Retail channel" – Interview, Loch Lomond Group GTR head Andre de Almeida 6 Dec 2016

Andre de Almeida had been William Grant & Sons' director for European Travel Retail for four years when he decided earlier this year to take up the role of Global Travel Retail head at Scotch whisky specialists Loch Lomond Group. That was in July, and now the Brazilian-born de Almeida, who moved to Scotland when he was 15, faces one of the biggest challenges of his career - establishing Loch Lomond as a player in the GTR channel.


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