December 2008 management briefing

Most certainly the biggest story in the spirits industry, like virtually all other industries, was the economic downturn that struck the world this year. Despite the claims of many spirits companies, that they offer "affordable luxury" with their products, trading down seems to be here to stay for the foreseeable future. For the wine industry, 2008 was not a year of huge deals and seismic shifts in the corporate landscape. Instead, the downturn made its presence felt, accentuating the pressures already affecting businesses all around the world. Whilst in years to come, many observers will look back on 2008 as a watershed for the global brewing industry. After an already sustained period of consolidation, the trend appeared to reach its zenith this year, with what could safely be termed a 'mega-consolidation'. And in looking for issues which have dominated the soft drinks pages over the last year, one need really go no further than, yes, you've guessed it, the state of the global economy. Review the year that was, with just-drinks' top contributors, sector by sector.

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