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Date: Monday, 12 May 2014 14:35

On just-drinks last week:

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Date: Friday, 09 May 2014 16:55

It was the biggest swing in London since the '60s. 

Presented with the motion “The future for rum lies with connoisseurs not clubbers”, the audience at last night's Worshipful Company of Distillers debate looked odds-on to uphold it, after a pre-event poll showed a majority in its favour. An hour, and a second vote, later, though, and the room had turned.

To be fair to Ed Pilkington, Diageo's Western Europe marketing head and whose job it was to support the motion, he was up against it. His adversary on the night, former Bacardi man Chris Searle, only had to open his speech with the words “clubbers are many, connoisseurs are few”, and the debate, for my money, was over.

We were, after all, in the JP Morgan suite at the old Prudential insurance headquarters in the city of London, the financial capital of the world. Most of the 150-strong audience were analysts, brokers or people otherwise engaged in the pursuit of money.

Pilkington's attempt to persuade them that the niche world of collectors and spirits aficionados could support rum's growth appeared lightweight when compared to Searle's description of a huge clubbing consumer base that is getting bigger by the year. 

“Clubbers are aspirational, and going global,” Searle said. “And their numbers are compelling for the future of rum.”

For many of us in the audience, it was case closed.

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Date: Friday, 09 May 2014 16:54

As I'm sure you'd agree, powdered alcohol product Palcohol really doesn't need any more publicity. For what, at best, will likely be a niche offering - if it ever makes the market - it's attracted a lot of column inches.

But, if you haven't had your fill and feel like getting intoxicated on the rhetoric of the man behind the brand, you're in luck. Mark Phillips has posted a near-17-minute video (!) on YouTube, explaining everything you'd like to know about Palcohol. It's entitled 'The Truth about Palcohol'. He also addresses a few of the haters. 

You have been warned.

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Date: Tuesday, 06 May 2014 14:52

On just-drinks last week:

Finally, we’re very proud to announce the launch of a new column on just-drinks, looking at all things sustainable. Once a month, Ben Cooper will cast his eye over the sustainability landscape of our industry. If this is something you’d like to trumpet on behalf of your company, drop me a line and I’ll put you in touch with Ben.

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Date: Friday, 02 May 2014 17:04

In honour of the workers of the World, just-drinks will be closed this Monday, 5 May. Once we've toasted our fellow toilers, while morris dancing, naturally, we'll be back with you on Tuesday 6 May.

Power to the People!

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Date: Friday, 02 May 2014 16:16

Before the government introduced a new sugar tax this year, Mexico's soft drinks industry was one of the world's biggest.

Despite the rise, it's still pretty huge, largely because - no matter the price - Mexican's won't give up their soda.

What they are willing to give up in its stead was put in stark relief by Coca-Cola FEMSA CFO Héctor Treviño Gutiérrez this week. Consumers, he said, hit by across-the-board price jumps on household staples are “prioritising” soft drinks.

“They are not spending as much on other things like toilet paper."

Analysts, I hear, are unsure what this means for the bottom line.

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Date: Thursday, 01 May 2014 16:25

Even heavy metal legends like to protect their brand. 

Ozzy Osbourne, the former Black Sabbath frontman turned reality TV star, has taken issue with Baltimore brewpub, The Brewer's Art. Osbourne has hit the company with a cease-and-desist letter over its 'Ozzy' beer brand, the Baltimore Sun reported

What's in a name, you may ask. Well, the label on a can of Ozzy features pictures of bats. Osbourne, of course, is famed for once biting the head off a bat, live on stage

The Brewer's Art spun the whole saga into a nice bit of PR though, by asking its customers to rename the beer. Now, 'Ozzy' has become 'Beazly', after long-serving bartender Mark Barcus. 

Get your cans of 'Ozzy' before they become a collector's item, I guess. 

 

 

 

 

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Date: Thursday, 01 May 2014 16:25

Even heavy metal legends like to protect their brand. 

Ozzy Osbourne, the former Black Sabbath frontman turned reality TV star, has taken issue with Baltimore brewpub, The Brewer's Art. Osbourne has hit the company with a cease-and-desist letter over its 'Ozzy' beer brand, the Baltimore Sun reported

What's in a name, you may ask. Well, the label on a can of Ozzy features pictures of bats. Osbourne, of course, is famed for once biting the head off a bat, live on stage

The Brewer's Art spun the whole saga into a nice bit of PR though, by asking its customers to rename the beer. Now, 'Ozzy' has become 'Beazly', after long-serving bartender Mark Barcus. 

Get your cans of 'Ozzy' before they become a a collector's item, I guess. 

 

 

 

 

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Date: Tuesday, 29 Apr 2014 12:06

As the big beasts of the soft drinks world, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, both face challenging times it has led to the question 'Is American's love affair with soda over?' 

Here, the website Health Science Degree Guide, offers an infographic on the history of the category in the US and some current stats: 

 

Soda
Source: Health-Science-Degree.com

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Date: Monday, 28 Apr 2014 14:15

On just-drinks last week:

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Date: Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 16:28

A medieval fortress, a dead king on a pyre, and some juicy swear words.

No, it's not the new season of Game of Thrones. It is, unbelievably, a new TV ad from Carlsberg, for its newly-launched alcoholic lemonade Seth & Riley Garage. The ad in question has been garnished with language blue enough to make a sailor blush. 

As this is a family subscription global drinks news portal, I won't repeat the words used, but you can listen for yourself in the above clip (earphones in, of course).

In a statement to just-drinks, Carlsberg defended the ad, one of three in the series, saying that company marketing only ever targets consumers 25 and over and that the use of swearing in this particular ad is “not gratuitous and is in keeping with the theme of the films”.

The first point is clearly correct, and I'm never going to argue that drinking-age adults should be protected from hearing what is common currency in your average bar.

But what I would ask, is why did Carlsberg think the advert needed swearing?

It is, after all, supposed to be funny, and the campaign includes two other commercials that work just fine without it. 

Perhaps, though, the intention is to shock. Carlsberg has described Seth & Riley's Garage as its entry into the so-called 'hard drinks' category - some 'hard language' was possibly inevitable.

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Date: Tuesday, 22 Apr 2014 13:55

On just-drinks last week:

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Date: Friday, 18 Apr 2014 08:05

just-drinks is now closed for the Easter weekend.

We'll be back on Tuesday, 22 April.

Wishing you all a peaceful Easter.

Cheers

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Date: Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 17:18

As if winning 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the UEFA Champions League twice wasn't enough, it appears Sir Alex Ferguson was also a pretty canny wine collector.

The former Manchester United boss, who famously liked to invite opposition managers for a post-match libation, is selling off a stash of his vintage wines at auction, it was revealed today (16 April). The 5,000 or so bottles are expected to fetch around GBP3m through Christie's. 

Around 75% of the collection is reportedly vintages of French Burgundy Domaine de la Romanee-Conti. And according to Christie's international director of wine, David Elswood, the label is "the wine of the moment in terms of demand". 

No surprise really that Fergie, as he's affectionately known by some fans, was such a shrewd operator in this field too. Just a shame that some of the current Manchester United squad has not matured in the same way as his fine wine collection. 

*Disclaimer: The author of this blog is a Manchester United fan. From the pre-Fergie days mind. 

 



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Date: Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 16:19

A sign that the modern world's love of nostalgia is getting seriously out of hand appeared today with news that mead is the fastest growing category in the US alcoholic drinks market.

Admittedly, this bombshell came from the potentially partisan American Mead Makers Association.  But 130% growth last year, as the association flagged, is still impressive. As one mead maker said: “The last 300 years have been kind of rough for the business, but it's been picking up.” 

But that the dark ages' favourite flagon-filler is firmly back in fashion should be no surprise. Most mead, after all, is made using honey, and as the world's whisk(e)y producers have discovered over the past few years, consumers are very keen on that ingredient.

Strong growth for Brown-Forman's Jack Daniel's range has been built on its Tennessee Honey variant, while Diageo last month launched a honey-flavoured version of its J&B Scotch brand. 

Ads and packaging across the spirits categories are increasingly emblazoned with buzzing bees and dripping honeycombs as marketers make the most of a sweetener that manages to be both authentically sweet and wholly natural. 

Was it ever thus?

According to the American Mead Makers Association, evidence of honey in fermented beverages dates back more than 9,000 years. Which goes to show that, underneath all the marketing and branding, consumer tastes never really change. 

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Date: Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 16:19

A sign that the modern world's love of nostalgia is getting seriously out of hand appeared today with news that mead is the fastest growing category in the US alcoholic drinks market.

Admittedly, this bombshell came from the potentially partisan American Mead Makers Association.  But 130% growth last year, as the association flagged, is still impressive. As one mead maker said: “The last 300 years have been kind of rough for the business, but it's been picking up.” 

But that the dark ages' favourite flagon-filler is firmly back in fashion should be no surprise. Most mead, after all, is made using honey, and as the world's whisk(e)y producers have discovered over the past few years, consumers are very keen on that ingredient.

Strong growth for Brown-Forman's Jack Daniel's range has been built on its Tennessee Honey variant, while Diageo last month launched a honey-flavoured version of its J&B Scotch brand. 

Ads and packaging across the spirits categories are increasingly emblazoned with buzzing bees and dripping honeycombs as marketers make the most of a sweetener that manages to be both authentically sweet and wholly natural. 

Was it ever thus?

According to the American Mead Makers Association, evidence of honey in fermented beverages dates back more than 9,000 years. Which goes to show that, underneath all the marketing and branding, consumer tastes never really change. 

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Date: Monday, 14 Apr 2014 13:51

On just-drinks last week:

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Date: Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 15:11

Most marketing campaigns have familiar goals - an increase in sales, wider consumer recognition.

Others, such as the latest from Scottish beer brand Kestral lager - seek to change the entire lexicon of one of the world's most popular and venerable sports.

The Kestrel Brewing Company, owned by former Wells & Young's MD Nigel McNally, is asking golfers to call a hole-in-one - when the ball finds the cup in one shot - a “kestrel”. The company claims this would dovetail nicely with golf's other bird-based terms such as birdie, eagle and albatross, while also raising awareness of dwindling kestrel numbers in the UK.

To achieve this, Kestrel will launch a campaign in 250 UK golf clubs. But while I laud the brewer's lofty aims, let's hope bigger beer makers don't get ideas about other popular sporting terms. Otherwise, come the World Cup in Brazil this year we may all be watching players scoring the winning Budweiser. 

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Date: Thursday, 10 Apr 2014 15:11

Most marketing campaigns have familiar goals - an increase in sales, wider consumer recognition.

Others, such as the latest from Scottish beer brand Kestral lager - seek to change the entire lexicon of one of the world's most popular and venerable sports.

The Kestrel Brewing Company, owned by former Wells & Young's MD Nigel McNally, is asking golfers to call a hole-in-one - when the ball finds the cup in one shot - a “kestrel”. The company claims this would dovetail nicely with golf's other bird-based terms such as birdie, eagle and albatross, while also raising awareness of dwindling kestrel numbers in the UK.

To achieve this, Kestrel will launch a campaign in 250 UK golf clubs. But while I laud the brewer's lofty aims, let's hope bigger beer makers don't get ideas about other popular sporting terms. Otherwise, come the World Cup in Brazil this year we may all be watching players scoring the winning Budweiser. 

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Date: Monday, 07 Apr 2014 13:33

The latest just-drinks webinar is almost upon us. The hour-long presentation, which takes place tomorrow (8 April) at 1400 UTC, looks at the results of our industry confidence survey. We’d love for you to join us for the free-to-attend webinar, full details of which can be found here.

Meanwhile, on just-drinks last week:

Finally, on a personal note, I shall be running the London Marathon this coming Sunday (13 April). Here's why.

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