Ahead of this month’s ‘Spirits Strategies & Innovation’ conference in London, Just Drinks caught up with one of the speakers at the event, De Kuyper Royal Distillers’ global marketing director Albert de Heer.

How did hard seltzer’s reputation fall apart? The phrase ‘First slowly, and then all at once’ doesn’t quite cover just how quickly the category went from shooting star of the beer industry to virtual pariah.

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The juxtaposition of happy and sad – The demise (so far) of COVID and its economic repercussions – could drive a consumer to drink. Wine category commentator Chris Losh discovers, however, that wine is worst-placed to capitalise.

The pandemic has fuelled the meteoric rise of on-demand delivery for consumables – but is the habit here to stay? Last month, Just Drinks met up with Marco Nardone, the founder & CEO of UK-based alcohol on-demand service Wineapp to hear about getting to know the consumer through technology, the entry barriers to becoming a wine aficionado and the company’s future IPO ambitions.

Just Drinks consolidates the M&A activity in the global drinks industry during September, a month that saw a triple-header from Pernod Ricard, Odwalla find a new home and Kirin snap up a craft brewer in Australia.

When it comes to post-pandemic performance, the consumer packaged goods sector has emerged relatively weakly in the second quarter of this year.

The consumer packaged goods industry is seeing changes in cloud investment across several key metrics, according to an analysis of GlobalData figures.

On Just Drinks’ news pages:

Constellation Brand has enjoyed a healthy three months to the end of August, with the quarterly showing pulling half-year sales up by 14%.

Just Drinks thinks: XXX [Editor Olly Wehring]

Constellation Brands is to reformulate its US hard seltzer portfolio after a slowdown in the category forced a stock write-down.

Monster Beverage Corp has released the debut flavours in the True North Energy Seltzer portfolio in the US.

Just Drinks thinks: Monster’s marketing has always been an adrenaline-fuelled assault on the senses – surfing, skateboarding, BMX-ing, all activities enabled by the ‘energy’ aspect of the energy drinks category – caffeine. True North appears to mark a departure from that image – highlighting instead the array of B-vitamins and four herbal extracts beginning with the letter ‘G’ – rather than the caffeine hit. Is this an energy drink or a wellness supplement? Monster may be taking a gamble on consumers wanting a middle-ground. [Reporter Rhodri Morgan]

Consumers today are better prepared to absorb price increases, according to PepsiCo’s CEO.

Just Drinks thinks: PepsiCo is confident consumers will continue to buy its snacks and drinks even as prices rise. That may change quickly as households are bombarded on all sides by increased bills. Suddenly, a six-pack of Pepsi will not seem so important. [Deputy editor Andy Morton]

The Coca-Cola Co is transporting manufacturing equipment by vessels that usually transport coal and iron ore, as the prices of slots on container ships skyrocket.

Just Drinks thinks: The Coca-Cola Co is not shipping cans of Fanta or Coke in bulk carriers. Not yet, anyway. The situation shows the pressure on global supply chains, however, and the need for procurement managers to improvise. Further creativity may be required – reports later this week suggest the company is not the only one turning to bulk freight to carry equipment, resulting in a lack of space even on this back-up option. [Deputy editor Andy Morton]

Non-alcoholic spirits company CleanCo has lined up its US entry with Demeter & Co.

Just Drinks thinks: A clever bit of timing here from CleanCo. Two purple patches for the alcohol industry – gangbusters on the home-bar in initial lockdowns then on-premise re-openings in recent months – are followed by sober October, a popular occasion of abstinence in the UK that carries over to the US. Oh, and dry January is just around the corner, too. [Reporter Rhodri Morgan]