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Interview

"This is very much a craft brand within the portfolio" - just-drinks speaks to Moet Hennessy's founder & brand director for Eminente Reserva rum, Camille de Dominicis

24 February 2021 | Olly Wehring

Having announced the addition of a Cuban rum to its portfolio last year, Moet Hennessy has added more details to the roll-out of Eminente Reserva this month. Following the news, just-drinks caught up with brand director Camille de Dominicis to hear more about the group's venture into Pernod Ricard and - more recently - Diageo territory.... read more


"We have to be able to have honest dialogue" - just-drinks speaks to Moet Hennessy NA diversity & inclusion head Dr Atira Charles and Hennessy US senior VP Jasmin Allen

18 February 2021 | Rhodri Morgan

In December, Moët Hennessy announced the appointment of Jasmin Allen to senior VP of the company's flagship Cognac brand in the US, followed swiftly by the hiring of Dr Atira Charles as head of diversity & inclusion in North America. The hires saw two women of colour take executive positions at one of the spirits industry's biggest names. Earlier this month, just-drinks sat down with both Allen and Charles to reflect on the issue of diversity in corporate America, a year of social unrest and the continued importance to brand identity of cultural resonance.... read more


"Most people just want to talk about China at the moment!" - just-drinks speaks to Treasury Wine Estates CEO Tim Ford

17 February 2021 | Olly Wehring

The release today of six-month results provided the opportunity for just-drinks to catch up with Treasury Wine Estates' CEO, Tim Ford. During our London-to-Melbourne call, Ford explains how TWE is benefitting from the COVID pandemic in Europe, is looking to sell off brands in the US, is preparing for a 'new normal' in China and wasn't bluffing - honest! - when the company mulled demerging Penfolds.... read more


"We're not shying off" - just-drinks speaks to Diageo CEO Ivan Menezes

29 January 2021 | Olly Wehring

Following on from Diageo's half-year results this week, just-drinks caught up with CEO Ivan Menezes to learn more about the group's 1% rise in sales from the six months to the end of December.... read more


"Was Coca-Cola the right company to buy Zico? In hindsight, probably not" - just-drinks speaks to Zico founder Mark Rampolla

19 January 2021 | Andy Morton

Mark Rampolla founded Zico Coconut Water in 2004, building the brand into a major force in soft drinks and introducing a generation of consumers to low-sugar, functional waters. The strength of the brand was underlined in 2013 when The Coca-Cola Co bought Zico for an undisclosed fee. Last year, in a sharp reversal of fortunes for the brand, Coca-Cola announced Zico was one of about 200 brands earmarked to be discontinued as the group implemented a major cost-cutting programme. Last week, in yet another twist for Zico, Rampolla's investment company, Powerplant Ventures. acquired the coconut water from Coca-Cola, returning Rampolla to the brand he created. Yesterday, just-drinks spoke to him about his journey back to Zico, what changes he has seen in the beverage industry while away and why Coca-Cola is not the best company to build emerging categories.... read more


"The longer something goes on, the more permanent it becomes" - just-drinks speaks to William Grant senior category director Ian Baines about post-COVID trends

15 January 2021 | Andy Morton

Earlier this week, William Grant & Sons launched its latest annual report on global alcohol trends. Today, just-drinks spoke to the company's senior category manager, Ian Baines, to dig deeper into what the post-coronavirus world will look like.... read more


"There are things Monkey 47 can do and there are things Monkey 47 cannot do" - just-drinks speaks to Alexander Stein, founder of Monkey 47 gin

8 January 2021 | Olly Wehring

Earlier this week, just-drinks caught up with Alexander Stein, the founder of German gin brand Monkey 47. Since selling the brand to Pernod Ricard almost a year ago, Stein has been concentrating on a new spirits brand, which is set to launch later this year.... read more


"We really didn't change anything, the consumer did" - just-drinks speaks to Brown-Forman US & Canada president John Hayes

17 December 2020 | Olly Wehring

Earlier this week, Brown-Forman announced details of a partnership approach for its Jack Daniel's Country Cocktails brand extension in the US with Pabst Brewing Co. The news comes six months after the group rolled out in the country a three-strong Canned Cocktails line from its flagship trademark. just-drinks caught up with Brown-Forman's president for the US & Canada, John Hayes, to find out more about the company's Pabst tie-up for Jack Daniel's 28-year-old flavoured malt beverage stable.... read more


"It's okay to fail, but do it fast and do it cheap" - just-drinks speaks to Atom Labs global head of NPD, Rosie Milsom

14 December 2020 | Rhodri Morgan

UK drinks company Atom Brands is the third arm of Atom Group, a consortium of drinks businesses that also includes online spirits retailer Master of Malt and sales network Maverick Drinks. In 2018, the group was bought by Anheuser-Busch InBev, marking another step on the company's journey from producing just 24 bottles of gin a week in 2012 to an estimated half-a-million bottles in total this year. Last week, Atom Brands revealed Atom Labs, an NPD platform tasked with developing spirit ranges based on customer feedback from Master of Malt data. The company can go from idea to execution in just six weeks, allowing it to test what works on Master of Malt before committing fully. Products that have already come off the Atom Labs assembly line include Jaffa Cake Gin and Burnt Ends, an American whiskey designed to pair with barbecued food. Speaking to just-drinks after the launch, Atom Group's global head of NPD, Rosie Milsom, talks about how Atom Labs aims to disrupt the spirits industry through trial and error, COVID's impact on the project and A-B InBev's hands-off approach to ownership.... read more


"There will be a reframing of consumers' creativity around this year's socialising" - just-drinks speaks to Natasha Curtin, global VP for Bombay Sapphire

27 November 2020 | Rhodri Morgan

Like many spirits brands, Bacardi-owned gin Bombay Sapphire has had to re-evaluate its marketing strategy this year. Through activations such as virtual tastings and experimentation, Bacardi has been encouraging consumers to express their creativity through the likes of mixology and art. Earlier this week, just-drinks spoke to Natasha Curtin, Bacardi's global VP for Bombay Sapphire, about the challenges the brand has faced in 2020, the impact of recurring lockdowns on consumer habits and how the gin is promoting artistic expression across the festive season.... read more


"China is certainly a worry" - just-drinks speaks to Treasury Wine Estates CEO Tim Ford

5 November 2020 | Olly Wehring

Earlier today, Treasury Wine Estates held its AGM. just-drinks took the opportunity to catch up with group CEO Tim Ford to learn more about the latest news out of China and Ford's recent transition into the role, vacated by Mike Clarke earlier this year.... read more


"Carbon neutrality will be basic hygiene factor stuff in ten years time" - just-drinks speaks to Eden Mill founder Paul Miller

25 September 2020 | Andy Morton

Earlier this month, just-drinks spoke to Eden Mill founder Paul Miller about the alcohol industry's re-tuned focus on sustainability and how the company's plan to open a carbon-neutral distillery in St Andrews serves as a model for the future.... read more


"The rest of Europe is so primed for hard seltzer" - just-drinks speaks to Loon Water co-founders Fabio & Francesca Bruni

23 September 2020 | Andy Morton

Loon Water founders Fabio and Francesca Bruni talk about the difference between the US and UK markets, why distillers risk brand dilution with big-name launches and where the global hard seltzer category goes from here.... read more


"We're living in a world of the unknown" - just-drinks speaks to Umi Patel, CMO for PepsiCo Beverages North America north division

11 September 2020 | Andy Morton

Earlier this week, just-drinks spoke to Umi Patel, CMO for PBNA's north division, about tailoring experiences for fans of different teams, why PepsiCo is front-loading its marketing spend and the enduring appeal of the fan can.... read more


Beam Suntory's On The Rocks purchase opens door to non-alc - Interview, CEO Albert Baladi

4 September 2020 | Andy Morton

For the CEO of one of the world's biggest spirits companies, Albert Baladi, has a lot of positive things to say about non-alcoholic cocktails.... read more


"Health and safety is not incompatible with business continuity" - just-drinks speaks to Chivas Brothers CEO Jean-Christophe Coutures

3 September 2020 | Olly Wehring

Earlier this week, Pernod Ricard reported a 9.5% fall in sales from the 12 months to the end of June. Editor Olly Wehring spoke to the CEO of Pernod's Chivas Brothers division shortly afterwards, to hear how Jean-Christophe Coutures rates the performance of the group's Scotch whisky division in fiscal-2020.... read more


"Having a big uncle or auntie over your shoulder is priceless" - just-drinks speaks to Beavertown Brewery founder & Heineken partner Logan Plant

26 August 2020 | Andy Morton

What is it with Heineken and musicians? The Netherlands-based global brewer has been more particular with its craft brewery investments than, say acquisition-happy Anheuser-Busch InBev. But two of its biggest - Lagunitas and London's Beavertown - were both founded by frustrated rockstars.... read more


"Consumers have embraced cocktail making like they have cooking and baking" - just-drinks speaks to Beam Suntory CEO Albert Baladi

30 July 2020 | Andy Morton

Beam Suntory, the international spirits arm of Suntory Holdings, today posted a 3% fall in first-half sales, a result that could be viewed as excellent amid a global pandemic. Speaking to just-drinks yesterday, Beam Suntory CEO Albert Baladi talks about the company's coronavirus resilience, the emergence of the "home premise" and whether Japanese bar helmets will become a global must-have.... read more


"COVID has accelerated many categories and RTDs is one of them" - just-drinks speaks to Rima Sawaya, senior brand manager for Pernod Ricard's Kahlua

16 July 2020 | Andy Morton

just-drinks speaks to Kahlua senior brand manager Rima Sawaya about where Pernod Ricard is taking the brand in the COVID era, as well as the hard seltzer effect on spirits and the odds of seeing a non-alcoholic Kahlua RTD.... read more


"What we have right now is an unsustainable trading model"- just-drinks speaks to Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association

16 July 2020 | Olly Wehring

Late last year, Emma McClarkin was appointed chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association. Within four months of taking the helm, the coronavirus pandemic prompted the outright closure of the UK on-premise channel. Speaking exclusively to just-drinks today, McClarkin talks us through her tenure so far and how - or if - her members have survived lockdown. She also considers what the 'new normal' will be like for the country's pubs and brewers.... read more


Coca-Cola's Costa Coffee global expansion - just-drinks speaks to Prodromos Nikolaidis, Coca-Cola HBC's group coffee director

27 May 2020 | Andy Morton

just-drinks speaks to Coca-Cola HBC's group coffee director, Prodromos Nikolaidis, about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected the company's roll out of the Costa Coffee platform, the prospect of a new battleground in Coca-Cola's rivalry with PepsiCo and whether we will see a Costa-branded Coke.... read more


"By 2025, nootropic drinks will be worth over US$7bn - that's a conservative estimate." just-drinks speaks to Angela Kahn, co-founder of Tesla Nootropics Group

27 May 2020 | Rafaela Sousa

In 2013, Angela Kahn took on a new idea to replace coffee and energy drinks for a healthier choice. Kahn left her job as VP & global brand director at the British Petroleum Company (BP) to start her own business, Tesla Nootropics Group (TNG), which was formed in 2016.... read more


"'Watershed moment' is the right term to use" - Charlie Merrells, chief strategy officer for Amazon agency Molzi - CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL

20 May 2020 | Andy Morton

Charlie Merrells left his job as Amazon's UK category head for beer, wines and spirits days before the coronavirus lockdown hit the country. He could hardly have picked a more tumultuous moment for retail as the pandemic pushed consumers - many for the first time - towards the e-commerce channel. In his new role as chief strategy officer for Amazon agency Molzi, Merrells is tasked with navigating companies through the new sales environment. Many of these firms have also been pushed towards the channel for the first time because of the coronavirus. In an interview with just-drinks this week, Merrells talks about what the rush to online has meant for beer, wines and spirits, the mistakes companies make when selling on Amazon and whether new trends for direct-to-consumer will outlive the pandemic.... read more


"There might be deals to be made" - New York craft brewers warn of coronavirus impact

7 May 2020 | Andy Morton

The head of the trade association for New York state's craft brewers has warned that the coronavirus could herald a new wave of consolidation as it hands more power to larger operators.... read more


"Company leaders really need to take a battlefield approach" - just-drinks speaks to Ross Colbert, KPMG Corporate Finance MD of global beverages - Part II - CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL

7 May 2020 | Olly Wehring

In the second part of just-drinks' exclusive interview with Ross Colbert, the MD of global beverages at KPMG Corporate Finance, we drill down into the coronavirus effect on the global drinks industry. Ross expands on his comments in part one about how consumer behaviour is adapting and also considers how the rest of 2020 will pan out.... read more


"Zero-based budgeting hasn't been successful in building brands" - just-drinks speaks to Ross Colbert, MD of global beverages at KPMG Corporate Finance - Part I

5 May 2020 | Olly Wehring

Late last week, just-drinks caught up with Ross Colbert, the MD of global beverages at KPMG Corporate Finance in New York. In the first part of our exclusive two-part interview, Ross looks at how the drinks industry's M&A landscape has evolved, what the coronavirus will do to company valuations and the rise of the 'hybrid consumer'.... read more


China bounce-back a tonic for spirits - Zamora CEO Emilio Restoy - CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL

30 April 2020 | Andy Morton

The alcohol industry is looking to China for indications of how the market will react after coronavirus lockdown measures are lifted. As China's on-premise reopens, one premium spirits & wine supplier with a exposure to the market is encouraged by what it is seeing.... read more


"Who knew we'd launch in the middle of a pandemic?" - just-drinks speaks to Jade Padua, co-founder of new CBD beverage company G&Juice

23 April 2020 | Andy Morton

The whole world may be in lockdown, but despite the coronavirus pandemic the drinks industry refuses to stop. An example is G&Juice, a Californian, hemp-derived CBD beverage start-up whose plans for the release of its first products were thrown into disarray by COVID-19. Meetings with leading retailers and distributors scheduled for Expo West were lost when the Anaheim trade show was cancelled at the last minute, potentially cutting off G&Juice's route-to-market at a crucial stage. Undaunted, the three women at the helm of G&Juice have reassessed their plans, turning to smaller outlets in California that were calling out for stress-busting CBD products in a time of national emergency. Yesterday, just-drinks spoke to G&Juice co-founder & CMO Jade Padua, currently in lockdown in her home city of Toronto, Canada, about reacting to the cancelled Anaheim show, the positives of launching during a global pandemic and what US food safety authorities have in store for CBD beverages.... read more


"This is one of the biggest opportunities to change the way we recycle plastic" - just-drinks speaks to Suntory Beverage & Food Europe chief R&D officer Roberto Vanin

15 April 2020 | Andy Morton

Last week, just-drinks spoke to Suntory Beverage & Food Europe's chief R&D officer, Roberto Vanin, to discuss the implications of a new enzyme that can break down plastic in a matter of hours.... read more


"There's a link between Brexit, the tariff war and COVID-19" - just-drinks speaks to SpiritsEurope director general Ulrich Adam - CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL

8 April 2020 | Olly Wehring

In the drinks industry, the coronavirus pandemic has turned the spotlight on to trade associations, with members searching frantically for answers to their many questions. In our latest coronavirus special interview, just-drinks hears from Ulrich Adam, director general of SpiritsEurope, who discusses how his organisation is coping with COVID-19.... read more


"This will sort out the sheep from the lambs" - Cramele Recas founder Philip Cox - CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL

7 April 2020 | Andy Morton

The coronavirus pandemic will be "painful but not deadly" for the global wine industry, according to the founder of Romanian winery Cramele Recas, with financially-unstable wine companies facing the greatest threat.... read more


"We're working seven days a week on sanitiser" - British Honey Co banks on coronavirus strategy shift - CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL

3 April 2020 | Andy Morton

Honey spirits maker British Honey Co has rapidly turned alcohol sanitiser into a new long-term revenue generator to help soften the economic shock of the coronavirus outbreak.... read more


"If you're a very small gin distillery, I think your days are numbered" - Mangrove MD Nick Gillett - CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL

27 March 2020 | Andy Morton

The head of UK high-end spirits distributor Mangrove has spoken of his fears for the spirits industry as the coronavirus crisis deepens, warning that large distillers with production tied to one location may have issues sourcing bottles.... read more


"We're living through very anxious times" - just-drinks speaks to Distilled Spirits Council CEO Chris Swonger - CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL

25 March 2020 | Andy Morton

As distillers in the US come to terms with an on-premise channel in shutdown and an uncertain economic future, just-drinks spoke to the head of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Chris Swonger, about the potential impact of the coronavirus.... read more


"No one wins. I don't see any company coming out of this up" - just-drinks speaks to Wine & Spirit Trade Association chief executive Miles Beale - CORONAVIRUS SPECIAL

20 March 2020 | Olly Wehring

As the coronavirus COVID-19 throws the UK into confusion this week, just-drinks speaks to the chief executive of the country's Wine & Spirit Trade Association, Miles Beale, to hear his view on a tumultuous few days - with no immediate end in sight.... read more


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