Here are the ten most-popular articles by just-drinks regular spirits commentators in 2017

Here are the ten most-popular articles by just-drinks' regular spirits commentators in 2017

With the end of the year looming, just-drinks takes a look back at 2017. Here are the 20 most-read comment pieces written by our spirits observers - including Ian Buxton, Neil Ridley and Richard Woodard - over the last 12 months.

20. How Scotch whisky can flash its innovation credentials

The Scotch whisky sector has long had an awkward relationship with the research & development department. Category commentator Neil Ridley, however, believes the two sides have plenty in common - and much more than we'd realise.

19. Spirits leads the latest invasion of Africa

In March, Diageo handed the microphone to the head of its operations in Africa. Brown spirits expert Ian Buxton was among those of us who listened in.

18. What can the spirits industry learn from Brown-Forman?

Following on from just-drinks' analysis of Brown-Forman's performance over the last five years, Richard Woodard considers the takeaways for the wider spirits industry.

17. Millennials are not the only fruit for Absolut

The saga of Absolut's travails in the US continues, with the mooted recovery in the Pernod Ricard-owned vodka brand's fortunes proving more elusive than the company had hoped. Are Millennials to blame? Richard Woodard reports.

16. How successful will Diageo be with its latest Irish whiskey play?

When Diageo announced its exit from the Irish whiskey category in 2015, through the divestment of the Bushmills brand and distillery to Casa Cuervo, many observers were left confused: Why would the world's leading spirits company want to exit a spirits sector that was very clearly on the cusp of a boom?

15. Constellation Brands and Brown-Forman? Keep it in the family

Did someone have their cheeky hat on in May, or had Constellation Brands got a bit too big for its boots? Reports linking Constellation with Brown-Forman could only have been one of these two, and editor Olly Wehring thought he knew which one it was.

14. What can the spirits industry learn from Remy Cointreau?

Following on from just-drinks' analysis of Remy Cointreau's performance over the last five years, Ian Buxton considers the takeaways for the wider spirits industry.

13. Why craft owes more to multinational brands than we're made to think

In wanting to trumpet their credentials, craft spirits brands still owe much to the bigger, more-established brands in the segments. Richard Woodard believes beating up the big boys leaves craft brands open to charges of biting the hand that feeds them.

12. How much longer can US whiskey maintain its stellar growth?

It's been one of the success stories of the Century so far. Ian Buxton looks at US whiskey to see if an end to the category's explosive growth will break anytime soon.

11. How can Cognac bridge the gap between China and the US?

To coincide with the release of just-drinks latest Spirits Essentials coverage, Richard Woodard considers the dangers facing the Cognac segment if it continues to operate solely at the extremes of China and the US.

10. Has history taught Remy Cointreau nothing?

We've all marvelled at Remy Cointreau's turnaround since the days of what we termed its Bain de Sang just over three years ago. After the bottom fell out of the Cognac market in China in 2013, we watched with consternation as group CEO Frédéric Pflanz fell on his sword in early-2014, only to be followed less than three weeks later by Remy Martin head Patrick Piana. Since then, under the watchful eye of Valérie Chapoulaud Floquet, the company has bounced right back. Indeed, as our look at the group's five-year performance illustrates all too well, Remy Cointreau is back on the up.

9. Why the past isn't all it's cracked up to be, for younger consumers

Nostalgia is a gloriously strange beast at the best of times. When it comes to marketing, however, brand owners would do well to consider the consumer's complicated relationship with the past. Neil Ridley investigates.

8. The Highball - Japan's biggest contribution to the Scotch whisky category

There can be little debate about the role the Highball serve has had in Scotch whisky's performance in Japan. The serve - comprising whisky, water and ice - is Japan's most famous drink, as well as the country's biggest contribution to modern drinking society.

7. How spirits brands can connect with the 'Modern Bartender'

Nidal Ramini, the head of brand advocacy at Brown-Forman's northern Europe division, takes a closer look at the relationship between drinks companies and the hugely-important on-premise channel.

6. Why the spirits brands of the past should be wary of the future

When your brand is steeped in history, how do you make it relevant to the consumers of today, without diluting that long-held cachet? Richard Woodard considers the dilemma facing the likes of Gruppo Campari's Grand Marnier and Remy Cointreau's Cointreau brands.

5. Why big spirits firms are willing to pay for potential

Richard Woodard takes a closer look at why the world's largest spirits firms are investing in relatively small brands. 

4. Are Millennials too young for brown spirits?

Ian Buxton considers the sector's efforts to entice the Millennial consumer into the fray.

3. Has the race to premiumise made spirits forget the mainstream?

It's the last thing the English language needs, but could a companion term to the verbally-ugly 'premiumisation' pass into everyday use in the years to come? Is 'mainstreamisation' – a neologism arguably even more hideous than the p-word – here to stay? Richard Woodard thinks so.

2. Why is the spirits industry failing to push innovation beyond the top-end?

Ian Buxton considers an opportunity that - so far - has been missed by the category. For all its investment in cocktail competitions, he asks, why is the spirits industry failing to mass-produce the innovation it is so keen to encourage?

1. What can the spirits industry learn from Diageo?

Following on from just-drinks' analysis of Diageo's performance over the last five years, Richard Woodard considers the takeaways for the wider spirits industry.

For the full list of just-drinks' Top Tens for 2017, click here