just the Answer

just the Answer

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



"It is for drinks producers to be the most committed partners of governments to tackle the harmful use of alcohol" - Interview, Henry Ashworth, CEO of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking - Part II 7 Dec 2017

In November, just-drinks grabbed some time with the CEO of the drinks industry-funded International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, Henry Ashworth. The first part of our resultant interview, which can be found here, saw Ashworth explain what the organisation does and how it defines success. Here, in part two, we discuss IARD's relationship with the World Health Organisation and tackle the thorny issue of pricing as a tool in responsible drinking's arsenal.


"Companies will put aside commercial differences when it comes to tackling the harmful use of alcohol" - Interview, Henry Ashworth, CEO of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking - Part I 6 Dec 2017

Last month, just-drinks sat down with the head of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, Henry Ashworth. The trade-funded organisation poached Ashworth from UK drinks industry watchdog The Portman Group in January. Here, in part one of a two-part interview, Ashworth explains what IARD does, what its ambition is and why its members are forsaking the quest for competitive advantage in the responsible drinking area.


"If there's one rum brand that can legitimately play in the super-premium segment, it's Mount Gay" - Interview, Raphaël Grisoni, MD at Mount Gay for Remy Cointreau 5 Dec 2017

Earlier this year, just-drinks met up with the head of Rémy Cointreau's Mount Gay rum brand, Raphaël Grisoni. During our time together, Grisoni described Mount Gay's position within the French group, highlighted the challenges facing the rum category and suggested the end is nigh for umbrellas in cocktails.


"When people come to Pinterest, they are at a point where they are interested in a product, service or category" - Interview, Pinterest UK & Ireland country manager Adele Cooper 28 Nov 2017

Online pinboard Pinterest is designed to help consumers plan. The platform allows users to 'pin' images for everything from wedding ideas to cocktail recipes. Earlier this year, the site crossed the 200m user mark - with the average age of a user over 18. Earlier this month, just-drinks deputy editor Lucy Britner spoke to the company's UK & Ireland country manager, Adele Cooper, to find out how drinks brand owners can make the most of Pinterest.


"It's a slightly false choice to say that it is us or Jameson" - Interview, William Grant & Sons CEO Simon Hunt and Tullamore Dew global brand director Caspar MacRae 1 Nov 2017

Last month, William Grant & Sons opened a new grain distillery and bottling plant at its Tullamore Dew site. The ceremony, held on a rainswept afternoon in central Ireland, was one of the final stages in William Grant's Irish whiskey venture, launched when it bought the Tullamore Dew brand in 2010.


"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.


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