Our features and comment coverage that grabbed your attention took in expansion in Scotch, the rise of low and no, smart packaging, M&A and functional soda.

How Islay has been a victim of its own success

The recent history of Islay’s malt whisky distilleries could be seen to track the fortunes of the entire industry, Just Drinks columnist Richard Woodard wrote in October.

In January, James Beeson reported how, buoyed by broader moderation trends and a growing interest in cocktails and mixology, non-alcoholic spirits were finally having their moment in the limelight.

The wine trade in 2022 in six graphs

Just Drinks’ top picks from the International Organisation Of Vine and Wine’s (OIV) annual report on the global wine trade in 2022.

The growing US thirst for functional soda

With US demand for healthier sodas buoyant, in February Simon Creasey looked at what was driving the category.

A can of Culture Pop soda
Credit: @drinkculturepop / Facebook

How drinks brands are using smart packaging

Technology based on the almost 30-year-old QR code remains central to drinks brands’ efforts on smart packaging, Conor Reynolds wrote in February.

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Campari has plenty to ponder as M&A talk returns

A change in Campari Group’s voting structure has sparked fresh chatter about the spirits major’s possible M&A options, Richard Woodard mused in September. By December, Campari had made a move.

Diageo looks to add value to its rum offer with Don Papa buy

One of the earliest eye-catching deals of 2023 saw Captain Morgan owner Diageo add to its rum portfolio.

A bottle of Don Papa rum
Premium ‘sipping’ rums like Don Papa are growing in popularity. Credit: mmpixel91 / Shutterstock.com

Tilray has track-record to make success of latest M&A in uncertain US craft-beer category

In September, Stephen Beaumont explored Tilray’s move for a clutch of Anheuser-Busch InBev beer brands.

What does the exit of Ivan Menezes mean for Diageo?

In March, Just Drinks reflected on the legacy of Sir Ivan Menezes, and the possible in-tray of new CEO Deborah Crew. Sadly. Sir Ivan suddenly passed away in June at the age of just 63.

Opinion: How Diageo flourished under Sir Ivan Menezes

Specialists, majors gear up for alcohol-free gold-rush

Alcohol-free is starting to see serious long-term investment from non-alc specialists and established drinks companies, wrote Chris Losh in November.