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Analysis - Premium Scotch whisky on the rocks?

26 October 2009 | Source: Chris Mercer

Recent figures from drinks heavyweights Pernod Ricard and Diageo suggest that premium Scotch whisky sales are suffering in the economic dowturn.

Pernod Ricard's better-than-expected first quarter sales figures last week lifted spirits in the industry, apart from, perhaps, in Scotland.

Flagship premium Scotch whisky brands Chivas Regal and Ballantine’s reported sales falls of 7% and 15% respectively for the three-month period to the end of September. Volume sales fell by 17% and 13%.

Granted, half of Chivas' 8% volume decline in Asia was caused by a lack of deliveries to Japan, where the brand has moved from a distribution deal with Kirin Holdings to a Pernod in-house operation. But, the figures still make difficult reading.

Pernod rival Diageo did not give specifics on its 6% group sales fall for the first quarter. However, for Diageo's most recent full-year, to the end of June, like-for-like sales of premium Scotch brand Johnnie Walker slipped 6% in value and 11% in volume, compared to a year earlier.

While decline is not as stark as in Champagne, and does not appear to be entrenched, premium Scotch looks to be having a relatively tough time of it in the downturn.

Asia, driven by China, was the only sales growth region for Pernod Ricard in the first quarter, yet Scotch sales struggled even here.

"In China, the trend on Cognac is better than on Scotch," said Pernod's managing director for finance, Gilles Bogaert in the company's results call last week. Chivas Regal, he said, reported growth in the country, but this was largely at the expense of Ballantine's.

Some in the Scotch industry argue there is not a blanket trend on whisky sales in the downturn, however.

"There is disparity in the industry, between the big brands and smaller ones," according to Robert Hicks, who has worked in the Scotch industry for 40 years and is currently brand ambassador for Teacher's blended Scotch.

Fortune Brands, which owns both Teacher's and Laphroaig via its Beam Global Spirits & Wine division, last week reported mixed sales for the brands, with growth in emerging markets balancing out "soft volumes" in the UK.

From Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) figures, it is clear that Scotch is having a more turbulent time than it has done for several years. Scotch whisky exports fell by 5% in volume in 2008.

Although exports for the year rose by 8% in value to a record GBP3bn, they fell by 11% in value in the US, a key market. One senior industry figure last week told just-drinks that Scotch figures in Spain, another key market, have been "eyewatering" this year.

It is expected that 2009 figures will reflect more challenging conditions, according to the SWA. From what we know so far, this looks to be the case.


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UK: Diageo workers to vote on strike

30 October 2009 | Source: just-drinks.com editorial team

Diageo workers in Scotland are to vote on strike action in protest at the company's plan to cut around 10% of its Scotch whisky workforce in the country.

A preliminary ballot by the Unite trade union found overwhelming support for a vote on strike action among its members, the union said today (30 October).

Around nine in every ten workers at Diageo's Johnnie Walker packaging plant at Kilmarnock and the Port Dundas distillery in Glasgow said they favoured a strike ballot. Both plants are to be closed as part of the company's restructuring plan.

Strikes at the plants could seriously hamper Diageo operations.

If strikes go ahead, they will affect will also affect Diageo's Shieldhall plant, as well as Port Dundas and Kilmarnock.

A spokesperson for diageo told just-drinks today: "Whilst we remain open to dialogue with the trades unions, their actions in this escalation are both unnecessary and unhelpful."

"We fully understand the emotions which surround the restructuring decision and that this is a difficult time for everyone involved at Kilmarnock and Port Dundas.

"The package of measures that have been proposed by the company include both very generous redundancy terms and a highly supportive relocation package for employees wishing to stay with the company by moving to our site in Leven - where we're creating 400 new jobs."


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Stock up on Czech whisky

26th October 2009 14:38

Word has reached just-drinks ears that Stock Spirits, the UK-based company that operates mainly in Eastern Europe, is set to launch a Czech single malt whisky.

Stock Spirits intends to released "limited volumes" of the single malt whisky, matured in Czech oak barrels, a senior company bod told just-drinks at last week's TFWA expo in Cannes.

Stay tuned for more details on our news pages.


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UK: Scotch whisky protection measures set to become law

6 November 2009 | Source: just-drinks.com editorial team

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New legal regulations covering Scotch whisky have been lined up to become law later this month in the UK.

Scottish Secretary Jim Murphy confirmed yesterday (5 November) that the measures, which will include the outlawing of the bottling of single malt outside Scotland, will be passed into law on 23 November.

The regulations include:

The compulsory use of category descriptions, such as 'Blended Scotch Whisky';

Presentation rules, which are intended to promote understanding of every category of Scotch whisky, Single and Blended, to consumers;

Additional protection for Scotch from unfair competition and deceptive practices within a legal framework;

Rules to require the bottling of single malt Scotch in Scotland;

Protection for the traditional regional names associated with Scotch whisky production and clear rules on product age statements;

Introduction of an enforcement mechanism, with HM Revenue & Customs designated as the Scotch whisky verification authority;

Use of the word 'Pure' is to be banned, as it has led to confusion as 'Pure Malt' may come across as being superior - the term has been used to disguise the fact that the product is a blend of malts rather than a single malt;

A tightening up of the use of distillery and regional names.

"It is vital that we protect our key industries," said Murphy. "We cannot allow others to trade off our good name and to pass off inferior whisky as being produced in Scotland. These regulations will help protect whisky customers across the globe."

The move has been welcomed by trade body the Scotch Whisky Association. "Additional protection helps safeguard Scotch from unfair and deceptive practices," said SWA chief executive Gavin Hewitt. "The new labelling rules provide a unique opportunity to promote consumer understanding of Scotch worldwide. These regulations have the strong backing of the Scotch whisky industry."


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UK: William Grant & Sons toasts sales rise

3 November 2009 | Source: just-drinks.com editorial team

Glenfiddich to be a key focus

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William Grant & Sons, owner of Grant's Scotch whisky, has reported a strong sales rise for 2008, but warned of deteriorating fortunes for Scotch in 2009.

Net sales for the 12 months of 2008 rose by around 20% to GBP598.3m (US$981m), against GBP495.7m in 2007, according to accounts filed by William Grant & Sons Holdings Ltd this week.

Operating profits also rose, to GBP95m from GBP80m, while net profits for the year after tax increased to GBP94.6m from GBP71.9m a year earlier.

Sales of core brands, including Grant's, Glenfiddich and The Balvenie, were boosted by a "positive trading environment for Scotch whisky" during the year, William Grant said.

However, it warned of a turnaround in fortunes for the Scotch whisky sector following a deepening of the global financial crisis towards the end of the year.

"The industry started 2008 in buoyant mood, driven by a significant volume increase in 2007," said the firm. "However, during 2008, the economic situation deteriorated with export volumes of Scotch whisky falling over prior years," it said, adding that it expects to see pressure on premium whisky in the current year.

Results from other companies indicate that premium Scotch whisky has suffered in 2009.

In a statement released today (3 November), William Grant & Sons CEO Stella David said the group will "focus on building on the long-term value of Glenfiddich and other key brands".

During the course of 2008, William Grant & Sons said it completed several important initiatives, including the commissioning of its new malt distillery, Ailsa Bay.

Subsidiary group First Drinks Brands secured UK distribution rights to Remy Cointreau brands and also signed a joint venture with the French Cognac and Champagne group in France.

In addition, William Grant has begun distributing Stolichnaya vodka in the US, as well as in some European and Asian markets.


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just the answer - Ketel One

5 November 2009 | Source: Michelle Russell

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Back in February last year, the owners of the Ketel One vodka brand, the Netherlands-based Nolet family, announced a tie-up for the brand with Diageo. The deal not only signaled the end of Diageo's interest in the race to acquire Vin & Sprit's Absolut, but also gave the Nolets a helping hand with its premium vodka brand. Last week, Michelle Russell met with Bob Nolet, the vice president of Nolet Distillery and 11th generation family member.

just-drinks: What was the reason behind your decision to partner with Diageo?

Bob Nolet: Ivan Menezes, the president and CEO of Diageo North America, approached us and gave us the idea. He didn't talk about money because he knew we weren't interested in that but he talked about Ketel One, about the void in the portfolio of Diageo, and working to come together as a partner, to join the strength of Diageo with the family-run business of Ketel One.

It took us a year to come to the conclusion of what we actually wanted out of the partnership on paper. We did our homework and we did it very well because we are very happy with the partnership and we see that Diageo feels the same.

So, there was a big win for Diageo and the big win for us is the strength of distribution around the globe. Of course, the US is the most important market for us at this moment but we'd like to expand in more countries.

j-d: How are you finding the partnership? It must be a very different way of working for you now having joined with such a large business as Diageo?

BN: Before the deal, we had looked at Diageo as a big competitor. But, when we entered into the partnership, I found that Diageo has incredibly good people, incredibly skilled people and people that really knew what they're doing.

j-d: Do you worry that the family heritage of Ketel One might be diluted by partnering with such a major company like Diageo?

BN: No, not at all because it's a 50/50 and so we will always have 50% of whatever we do and that's for eternity. So no, because I know that Paul Walsh believes in brands with heritage, and it starts with him believing in that. So, all Diageo products should have heritage, or at least a story that's true and not a made up marketing story that you see out there a lot.

Bob Nolet, vice president of Nolet Distillery

j-d: Can you explain the ownership structure and who looks after what in the new partnership?

BN: The Nolet family, we own the rights to the brand, we own the distillery, we produce Ketel One and we sell it worldwide from our office in Amsterdam. In Ketel One Worldwide, we have placed the sales and marketing rights for Ketel One and Diageo has taken 50% of that.

j-d: What is your opinion on some of the extension opportunities available to a brand like Ketel One?

BN: I don't believe in limited editions. It's a nice consumer image maker but I don't really believe in them that much. You have to have a really good reason to do it, beyond taking a bottle and putting it in a box. We've never done it up to now because we've never found the right reason to charge more than needed. We're not a vodka status, we're genuine, so always, everything we do has to be genuine. So taking a crystal bottle and putting the same product in it - what's really genuine about that?

j-d: What about flavour extensions?

BN: We will be coming out next year with one flavour. We're not a brand that will have ten different flavours. We believe we should bring one, because it's an incredible product and consumers are wanting it. I cannot reveal what flavour it is but at some point next year there will be a new flavour.

j-d: How do you see the brand developing over time with the new partnership?

BN: Because of Diageo and their financial plans, we're interested in every day doing the right thing for the brand and then everything else will follow. But we will be growing over time and we will be going over the 2m-case barrier. That's what we are aiming for and if you do the right thing it will come, even with prices. We are perfectly positioned, we are not overly expensive. We are expensive but not to the ridiculous amounts that some are asking. So we are the right choice for a lot of people at this moment.


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Comment - China bounce boosts Pernod Ricard

3 November 2009 | Source: Chris Mercer

Martell XO Cognac

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Pernod Ricard's exposure to emerging markets, and particularly China, could have put the drinks giant on a shallower curve than some others in the sector in the economic downturn.

Asia, and by that we mean Martell Cognac sales in China, primarily led Pernod to report better-than-expected sales in its first fiscal quarter.

Asia was the only region to report organic sales growth (3%), with Americas, Europe and France down 2%, 11% and 3% respectively. China, said Pernod, drove a 13% net sales increase for Martell Cognac during the three-month period to the end of September.

As analyst group Sanford C Bernstein put it: "Premiumisation is not dead, it is alive and well, and sipping Cognac in China."

Pernod, which predicted cautious full-year operating profits growth at yesterday's annual general meeting, has spent 2009 talking up its exposure to emerging markets.

CEO Pierre Pringuet told just-drinks at a conference in Paris earlier this year that emerging markets could bring in half of the firm's recurring annual profits by 2020.

Emerging markets such as China, Russia, India and Brazil currently contribute around a third of annual profits.

From the most recent figures, it appears Pernod is already reaping some of the benefit of its push into new markets.


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UK: Diageo chief to visit Scotch whisky sites

9 November 2009 | Source: just-drinks.com editorial team

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The chief executive of Diageo was due to meet with union officials at the company's Kilmarnock and Port Dundas sites today (9 November) to outline reasons for the proposed closure of operations there.

In September, the drinks giant announced it was pressing ahead with the closure of the plants - affecting 900 workers across the two sites.

Last month, Diageo workers in Scotland announced plans to vote on strike action in protest at the company's plan to cut around 10% of its Scotch whisky workforce in the country.

A preliminary ballot by the Unite trade union found overwhelming support for a vote on strike action among its members.

Both plants are to be closed as part of the company's restructuring plan.

A spokesperson for Diageo told just-drinks: "Paul Walsh is fulfilling his commitment to visit employees at our Kilmarnock and Port Dundas sites.

"Paul will take the opportunity to listen to the views and concerns of those directly affected, and explain the company's decision to close the sites as part of the restructuring of operations in Scotland."


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UK: Scotch whisky industry to continue lobbying on minimum pricing

10 November 2009 | Source: just-drinks.com editorial team

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A vote in the Scottish Parliament has spurred on the Scotch whisky industry in its attempts to persuade the Scottish Government to drop plans for a minimum price on drinks.

Members of the Parliament rejected the plan in a non-binding vote late last week. The Conservative opposition party, which initiated the debate last week, said minimum pricing was "all but dead".

But, Labour, which as the second largest party holds the key to Parliamentary approval for the pricing plan, is still officially considering its position.

Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish health minister, is relying on the support of Labour's 46 MSPs to win the majority she needs.

The Scottish Whisky Association (SWA) told just-drinks today (10 November) that it welcomes last week's vote.

It said there is a "clear consensus" across the political parties that minimum pricing is "illegal" under European law and that there are concerns that such a measure would be ineffective in tackling alcohol harm.

David Williamson, a spokesperson for the SWA, said: "There was a clear understanding that such a measure would be damaging to Scotch whisky in some domestic markets, but it would also set a precedent that would have a wide-ranging impact on the export of Scottish whisky around the world …which would encourage other governments to put in similar trade barriers that would impact the whisky industry's ability to export on a serious basis."

He added that while The Alcohol Bill is expected to be published before the end of the year, the Scottish whisky industry would continue to make "representations" to the Scottish Government, so that when the Bill comes forward the minimum pricing proposals have been removed.

"The industry supports the vast majority of the measures that are likely to be in that bill, but we are opposed, in principal, to minimum pricing because it is illegal under European law and because of the damage that it would do to the industry overall," Williamson said.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Executive confirmed that minimum pricing will be merged into the upcoming Alcohol Bill, which will be introduced in the Scottish Parliament before the end of this year.

"That vote was relatively inconsequential in the grand scheme of things," he said.

"It was the Conservative Party's debating time and …it didn't go anywhere so minimum pricing together with all the other proposals will go into the Alcohol Bill to be introduced before the end of the year. Then the relevant parliamentary committees will be able to scrutinise it in full."

Last month, the European Court of Justice ruled that setting a minimum price on products is illegal.

just-drinks revealed recently that UK competition authority the Office of Fair Trading is opposed to minimum pricing.


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ITALY: Wild Turkey boosts Gruppo Campari Q3

11 November 2009 | Source: just-drinks.com editorial team

Campari bought Wild Turkey from Pernod Ricard

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Gruppo Campari has reported a rise in net sales for the first nine months of 2009, boosted by its acquisition of Wild Turkey Bourbon.

Net sales for the nine months to the end of September rose by 7.2% to EUR696.5m (US$1bn), compared to EUR649.6m in the same period of 2008, the Italian drinks group said today (11 November).

Wild Turkey Bourbon, which Campari acquired from Pernod Ricard earlier this year for EUR417.5m, contributed strongly to sales in the third quarter. Like-for-like sales for the nine-month period, excluding acquisitions, fell by 1.3%.

Pretax profits for the nine months rose by nearly 15% to EUR133.7m, with operating profits (edbitda) up 19% to EUR175.8m.

"Campari results in the first nine months of 2009 were satisfactory," said the Milan-based firm. "The existing business returned to positive organic growth in the third quarter of 2009 and the positive impact of acquisitions started to come through."

Destocking by distributors began to ease off in the third quarter, the group said.

"Going forward, we expect our organic performance to develop progressively more in line with the positive consumption trend of our key brands, thanks to a reduction in destocking effects in some key markets," said CEO Bob Kunze-Concewitz.


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Insight - Courvoisier cautious on Cognac recovery talk

9 November 2009 | Source: Chris Mercer

US remains tough, Russia, UK improving

Group to push mixability message in UK

Optimism on 2009 Cognac harvest

L'Essence de Courvoisier, circa GBP1,800, launched in September

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Courvoisier, the Cognac arm of Beam Global Spirits & Wine, remains cautious on talk of an economic recovery in its key US market, but the group is increasingly upbeat about the UK, Russia and Asia.

"Our main concern is the US," Courvoisier general manager and master blender Patrice Pinet told just-drinks at the group's headquarters in Jarnac, France, late last week.

"The US is where we sell 45% of our volume. We think it will get better, but will that be in 2010, or 2011? Nobody knows," said Pinet, who took the role in September this year.

Courvoisier sales by volume have fallen in double digits for the first nine months of 2009, Beam Global parent firm Fortune Brands said in its recent third quarter results.

The slip reflects a tough time for Cognac sales generally in the global economic downturn, despite continuing growth for some brands in China. Pinet's predecessor, Jean-Marc Olivier, told just-drinks in September that the Cognac category is down 14% year-on-year in volume terms.

However, Pinet said that Courvoisier is regaining confidence more rapidly in some other markets.

In Russia, an important emerging market for high-end Cognac and where distributor destocking has caused headaches for most drinks firms in 2009, Pinet said: "We think Russia will get better next year and we can return to volume sales of last year [2008]."

He said: "Distributors have found it difficult to get credit, and so they have been just running down their stocks. But, now they are getting lower and lower, and it should become easier for them to get credit in 2010."

The UK, where Courvoisier dominates the Cognac category with its VS variety, "is not such a problem for us", Pinet said.

Courvoisier is looking to get greater mileage from the stirring cocktail culture in the UK and is planning more bartender "education" events. Courvoisier Exclusif, priced at around GBP30, is being pushed as the cocktail Cognac within the group's portfolio, both for the on-trade and for a growing number of consumers choosing to drink at home.

The Courvoisier 500 network, a social network for budding entrepreneurs, is also in its third year in the UK. An event for new entrants to the network will be held in London early next month.

just-drinks understands that the company is looking to expand the format to the US, but that networks may be limited to big cities, possibly beginning with New York.

More than 95% of Cognac is exported, but export value sales for the spirit fell by around a quarter in the first six months of 2009 as recession gripped key markets, according to French wine and spirits export body Fédération des Exportateurs de Vins et Spiritueux (FEVS).

The sector, in a similar vein to Champagne, is regarded as highly cyclical and so susceptible to sharp reductions in consumer spending power.

Analyst group Sanford C Bernstein said in a recent note: "We believe that the key investment controversy for the next few years is: will industry volumes fall for a decade (like Japan in the 90s) or bounce-back (as in the 70s)? We are in the latter camp."

It added, however: "We are cautious on the prospects for the US because we expect premiumisation to be slow to return in the US."

There is optimism in the region on the 2009 harvest, despite hail storms in May and July destroying up to 80% of some growers' budding vines.

Cognac regional trade body, the BNIC, said last week that the 2009 harvest has taken place under "optimum conditions", but it warned of "volatile acidity" in some of the region's wines that will be distilled to produce Cognac.


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UK: Consumers pour GBP470m of wine down the drain

10 November 2009 | Source: just-drinks.com editorial team

UK households waste a collective GBP470m (US$778m) per year by pouring wine down the drain, according to a survey published this week.

Wine is the most costly drink poured down the sink, according to the results of the survey, published this week by the Waste & Action Resources Programme (WRAP), which works with the UK Government on recycling and waste reduction initiatives.

Altogether, consumers dispose of around GBP2.5bn of food and drink - about 1.8m tonnes - via the UK sewer system every year.

It is thought 1.5m tonnes of this could be avoided through better storage and planning, said WRAP, which based its findings on diaries kept by 355 households.

"Wine is likely to be wasted because too much has been served; only a very small amount was recorded as having gone off," said the group, which advised consumers to consider "freezing leftover wine".

Although wine is the most expensive drink disposed of, hot drinks, carbonated soft drinks, fruit juices and smoothies were four of the biggest contributors in volume terms to avoidable household waste disposed of via the kitchen sink.

"From this it appears that there is some agreement that 'it's ok to pour liquid down the sink'," said WRAP.


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UK: Diageo rubbishes public money claims

13 November 2009 | Source: just-drinks.com editorial team

Johnnie Walker packaging to leave Kilmarnock

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Diageo has poured cold water on suggestions that it acted inappropriately by receiving public money to expand the firm's Scotch whisky facilities.

Diageo has received GBP2.6m (US$4.3m) in public funding in the last decade to expand Scotch whisky facilities.

But, the drinks giant today (13 November) rubbished claims that the funding - from the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) - could be linked to current restructuring plans in Scotland.

The drinks giant said it was awarded a GBP1m RSA grant in 1999 to contribute to its GBP5.2m upgrade of the Johnnie Walker packaging plant in Kilmarnock. In 2001, the group was granted GBP1.9m in public money to help it build a GBP12.5m bottling line at Leven, Fife.

In September this year, Diageo confirmed that it would close its Kilmarnock plant in May 2012, as well as the Port Dundas distillery at Glasgow. Packaging operations will shift to an expanded Leven facility, with a net loss of 500 jobs.

A vociferous campaign against the plans was waged by Scotland's Government and trade unions.

A spokesperson for Diageo said today: "It is deeply regrettable that an attempt has been made to link two totally unrelated projects, which are more than eight years apart, for political ends."

"Diageo is totally comfortable that all obligations placed on the company in relation to these grants have been met," said the group, adding: "In the last five years alone, Diageo has spent or announced capital expenditure of GBP600m in Scotland."

An alternative business proposal on Kilmarnock, put to Diageo earlier this year by the Government and unions, would have required public funding and was rejected by the company as not viable.

In an interview with just-drinks in August, Diageo CEO Paul Walsh said: "If you look at our business in Scotland, we've got three plants. We need two."


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UK: SWA defends new Scotch whisky rules

16 November 2009 | Source: just-drinks.com editorial team

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The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has defended new regulations covering Scotch whisky against criticism from some corners of the industry.

New regulations on what can be called bona fide Scotch whisky, which will include the outlawing of the bottling of single malt outside Scotland, will be passed into law on 23 November.

The regulations include additional protection for Scotch from unfair competition and deceptive practices within a legal framework and rules to require the bottling of single malt Scotch in Scotland.

However, the Guardian newspaper reported today that Loch Lomond Distillery, in Scotland, may be forced to "cut jobs and abandon efforts to reduce energy use" because of new rules defining how traditional malt whisky is made.

A spokesperson for the distillery was unavailable for comment when contacted by just-drinks today.

It is understood that Loch Lomond, which produces around 20m bottles of whisky a year, produces its malt mash in a single still rather than the traditional practice of using a copper pot still.

Loch Lomond Distillery, based in Alexandria near Glasgow, told the Guardian it has been producing malt using a single-still method that cuts CO2 emissions by "thousands of tonnes" every year.

However, a spokesperson for the SWA said that the suggestion the product at Loch Lomond is in any way a more environmentally friendly spirit is "simply nonsense".

He added that the method used by the distillery was "not traditional practice" within the industry and was merely a "shortcut".

"The industry itself launched an environment strategy back in June this year and it has been praised by the Scottish government as a pioneering strategy as we look to make sure that the industry continues to take a look in the whole area of environmental sustainability. But the suggestion that this practice is in some way more environmentally friendly is a red herring," the spokesperson told just-drinks.

He added: "The [Loch Lomond] spirit can still be used, it can be sold as single grain Scotch whisky and indeed it can be used within a blended scotch whisky. But it simply can't be sold as single malt Scotch whisky because it isn't single malt Scotch whisky and it wouldn't have been made in line with traditional practice for that product.

"It's important to understand, these are landmark new Scotch whisky regulations and they will cover every aspect of the making, bottling and the selling of Scotch whisky. They have the support right across the Scotch whisky industry and they have been the subject of detailed discussions with the UK Government over the last five years so we look forward to them coming into force over the next few weeks," the spokesperson insisted.

"They'll bring major benefits to the industry as a whole. They'll provide robust legal protection for Scotch whisky from imitation products and it'll make sure that consumers receive clear and consistent information on bottle labels."


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INDIA: Diageo gets customs visit

18 November 2009 | Source: just-drinks.com editorial team

Diageo India under scrutiny

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Diageo India's head offices have been visited by customs and revenue officials in the country.

A spokesperson for Diageo told just-drinks today (18 November): "We can confirm that the Diageo office in Mumbai, India, was visited on Tuesday (17 November) by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence."

He added that "discussions are now taking place with our local management team".

The drinks giant, owner of Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky, declined to comment on the purpose of the visit or the discussions.

A report in India's Economic Times newspaper cited unidentified sources as saying that the company is under investigation for possible tax evasion.

In July, Indian business publication Livemint.com reported that Diageo faced a write-down charge in its full-year results in connection with an internal inquiry launched by the firm into mismanagement of funds in its India business.

At the time, the drinks giant said it would "not comment on speculation or rumour".

Diageo India net sales fell by 3% in the group's most recent fiscal year, the 12 months to the end of June. "Inappropriately high stock levels across many brands at 31 December 2008 were destocked in the second half," said Diageo in its 2009 annual report.

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(Το βάζω εδώ μια και δεν θέλω να ανοίξω και άλλο νήμα

και λόγο τις επαγγελματικής μου σχέσης με την ενλόγω εταιρία)

Εδώ και λίγο καιρώ δημιουργήσαμε την παρακάτω σελίδα


για το World of Whiskies εκτος του ότι μπορείτε να δείτε σχεδόν όλοι την γκάμα το καλύτερο είναι

το preorder ώστε όσοι πετάτε από αεροδρόμιο με μαγαζί μας να βρίσκετε το whisky που θέλετε.

Είναι ακόμα work on progress αλλα ευπρόσδεκτα τυχόν σχόλια


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Εικόνες από τη πορεία-διαμαρτυρία για το κλείσιμο του εμφιαλωτηρίου στο Kilmarnock

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Που είναι οι μολότωφ σε μπουκάλια Τζώνι; =@ =@ =@

Τι ξενέρωτοι...

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Ρε παιδιά μου έκανε εντύπωση όμως...πολλή μούγκα όλα τα fora, οι whiskoσελίδες κτλ...πολλή μούγκα για ένα τόσο

σημαντικό γεγονός!!

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Ποσο πίσω ψάχνεις μια και η διαδήλωση (μια από τις πολλές δράσεις) έγινε προ έξη μηνών.

Ίσως βεβαια πολλοί το πέρασαν στο ντούκου λόγο ότι είναι blend και Diageo

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Restaurant asks diners to sign legal form before eating traditional Christmas pudding

07 December 2009 by Redleaf PR

Diners at a London restaurant owned by Stellenbosch winemakers Gary and Kathy Jordan and former Johannesburg restaurateur Neleen Strauss, are being asked to sign a legal form before they eat its traditional Christmas puddings, just in case they swallow a silver charm by accident.

Neleen, who opened High Timber, a 'wine dining' restaurant in the heart of London's financial centre earlier this year, was warned by some of her regulars customers in the legal profession, that the complex Health and Safety regulations in the UK made serving a traditional pudding with lucky charms practically impossible?unless diners signed a legal indemnity before tucking in.

(Traditionally in England, small silver charms were baked in the plum pudding. A silver coin would bring wealth in the coming year; a tiny wishbone, good luck; a silver thimble, thrift; an anchor, safe harbour.)

"Yes, it's crazy that we have to do this," said Neleen, "but when you've got half a dozen lawyers who are regular customers looking after your interests, you can't ignore them. I had to take their advice."

"Bureaucrats and pen pushers here seem to spend the whole of the year coming up with ways of how to take fun out of traditional things.

"But if I have to get my customers to sign a form before they eat our delicious Christmas pud, then that's what I'll do. It's good to keep traditions alive, even if we have to jump through hoops to do it."

The form customers have to sign states:

I the undersigned realise that by eating this Christmas Pudding at High Timber restaurant, London, I could bite into a lucky silver sixpence or silver charm.

I absolve entirely High Timber from all blame or liability should I come to any harm including but not limited to a chipped tooth, or any injury as a result of swallowing it.

I eat this Christmas Pudding in the full knowledge there may be silver items within.

Signed.............................................. Print Name..............................


:o:o Only in the U.K :whistle:

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Long but intresting reading... :good:

Focus - The search for value in the spirits market

3 December 2009 | Source: Ben Cooper

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We all know that Diageo and Pernod Ricard have held all before them in the spirits sector for a number of years. But a new report from Rabobank has shed light on how they have done it, and what the rest of the market needs to do even to come close to keeping pace with the industry's giants. Ben Cooper reports.

In the spirits market, the truism that 'the rich get richer, and the poor get...' appears as apt as it does in the world at large, a fact confirmed by a new report from the Food and Agribusiness (FAR) arm of Rabobank.

The report analyses the financial performance of western spirits companies between 2001 and 2007 to find which companies have increased value - defined in terms of the relationship between capital investment and EBIT - and how. According to the report, Value Creation in the Western Spirits Industry, there are two 'giants' of the sector.

Rabobank calculates that, in 2007, the 'EBIT pool' of the western spirits market - North America and Europe - was EUR7.9bn (US$11.95bn). Diageo and Pernod Ricard accounted for 48% of the industry's revenues, but for 57% of the EBIT pool.

Positing that the two 'giants' of the spirits sector have "gradually gained a very powerful position in the market, which will be decisive for the industry as a whole", is hardly telling us something new. But what the report has to say about the rest of the market is decidedly more illuminating.

It classifies Bacardi, Brown-Forman, Campari and Beam Global Spirits & Wine rather unflatteringly as "ambitious followers", which are "profitable but facing limitations". The four companies in the ambitious followers segment account for 22% of total revenues and 25% of the EBIT pool. Next come "single-brand heroes" and "local heroes". The rump of the sector is referred to as "tired heroes".

The report identifies four major drivers acting on all sectors of the spirits market: shifting consumer demand; increasing retailer power; increasing impact of legislation, and increasing competition and consolidation. While the report's review period only goes up to 2007, it states that the recession has subsequently affected consumer demand, changing a trading up dynamic to one of trading down, and also driving consolidation.

So what does Rabobank believe the future holds for the various cohorts within the spirits market? With the strongest brands already owned by relatively few companies, "future growth can only be realised at the expense of other players", the report states, adding that "this process alone will accelerate consolidation".

Not surprisingly, it forecasts continued the hegemony of Diageo and Pernod. But while the report says 'further value creation can be expected' by the big two, it expects both to face increasing challenges from monopoly legislation as they seek acquisitive growth. This may result in diversification in order to continue to increase value.

The report's authors anticipate that acquisition activity will be concentrated in the ambitious followers segment, as they bid to close the gap on Diageo and Pernod. That, however, is easier said than done. "The profit pool not already captured by the giants is limited, as is the number of obvious targets. It will remain a challenge to make the acquisitions required without diluting shareholder value."

With regard to single-brand and local heroes, the report suggests companies will use their strong cash flows to fund smaller acquisitions in other categories. It also notes that, while this means that some of the single-brand and local heroes will effectively follow in the same direction as ambitious followers, other companies have gone in the opposite direction. Both Constellation Brands and Remy Cointreau, it says, have given up their positions as ambitious followers and have preferred to focus on a narrow range of premium brands.

The category that appears to be destined to suffer most is, not surprisingly, the tired heroes. This segment accounts for 23% of total spirits revenues, but only 7% of the EBIT pool and a "negligible" share of the net profit pool.

Brands in this part of the market suffer constantly from a lack of investment, particularly when such investment is required by a change in legislation, or during a shift in ownership from one generation to the next, when transfer of capital needs to be financed, the report states. They are also often most at risk of being de-listed by retailers.

Some of these companies have managed to eke out better fortunes by repositioning themselves as niche brands, focusing on emerging markets, or positioning themselves as 'cost leaders'. Another strategy has involved consolidation, the bringing together of a group of tired brands, but this strategy is described as a "financial tightrope act". EBIT margins are higher, and return on capital employed is "acceptable", but at the expense of high debt.

These "changing tired heroes" aside, the future for most tired heroes "means milking tired brands, thus managing a gradual decline, and trying to prolong their existence with small innovations. Their options to create value are limited... The long-term prospect for most tired heroes is poor."

Notwithstanding the particular challenges facing the tired heroes, one striking feature of the spirits sector as a whole, the report concludes, is that the prime objective for spirits companies in general is to acquire premium brands with established distribution but unexploited brand value.

The size of the brands - and therefore the size of the acquisition - is limited by the financial clout of the acquiring company. But, it adds, "pearls" are now thin on the ground in the spirits sector and only the leading powerful companies have the capacity to add value to the premium that has to be paid for them, which also signifies that further consolidation is inevitable.


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Ευτυχώς την γλιτώσανε :good::drinks:

JAMAICA: Fire hits J Wray & Nephew site

3 December 2009 | Source: just-drinks.com editorial team

J Wray & Nephew says supplies not disrupted

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A fire has seriously damaged two rum ageing warehouses and a cooperage owned by J Wray & Nephew Ltd, owner of Appleton Estate rum, in Jamaica.

Fire fighters and volunteeers took several hours to contain the fire, which broke out at 17:30 local time on 1 December at the J Wray & Newphew cooperage in Kingston, Jamaica.

There has been serious damage to the cooperage and to two small ageing warehouses, the firm said today (3 December).

But, the rum producer said supplies will not be disrupted.

"The effect of the fire will not in any way affect the company's finished goods stock or production facilities, which are isolated from its bulk ageing facilities and as such will not cause any interruption in the supply of J. Wray & Nephew products in either the short or long-term," said David McConnell, managing director of J Wray & Nephew's global marketing division.

The group has ageing facilities spread across Jamaica in order to reduce risk to supplies.

Financial cost of the fire remains unknown. "J Wray & Nephew is currently reviewing the extent of the damage to the property, which is insured," said the firm. No human injuries have been reported.


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Λίγο παλιό αλλα αρκετά ενδιαφέρον

EDITORIAL Issue 499 November 23, 2009

The Scotch whisky industry may have been the benefactor of unprecedented investment over the last five years or so, but 2009 has seen a wave of consolidation across the sector.

Since Diageo announced plans to cut roughly 10% of its workforce in Scotland, we have now seen streamlining moves from the likes of Whyte & Mackay, Edrington Group and Pernod Ricard-owned Chivas Brothers.

Last week was the turn of Edrington, which is to close its Tamdhu distillery and maltings on Speyside, and Chivas, which is to sell off its bottling site in Newbridge.

Is this all down to the global economic downturn? In partly, yes it is. Premium Scotch whisky sales have struggled in 2009 and a decline in exports is expected, as just-drinks has previously reported. Edrington said last week that its restructuring move was "in direct response to the global economic recession".

However, none of these companies is so short-sighted as to focus solely on near-to-medium-term economics. Diageo's forward planning on Scotch stretches up to 25 years into the future in some areas. What we are witnessing, then, is a period of readjustment in Scotch, as companies examine how to profitably meet estimated future demand.

And that means taking some tough decisions, as last week confirmed.

Another gloomy saga worsened last week, with the owner of Threshers off-licences in the UK, First Quench, announcing another wave of store closures.

It would seem we are in the fall-out zone. Christmas can't come soon enough, I'll wager.

Elsewhere on just-drinks last week, we talked to the head of Pernod Ricard's Irish Distillers unit, Alexandre Ricard, about his current adventures and potential future hi-jinks.

One to watch, perhaps?

Until next time...

Olly Wehring, Managing Editor

Web: www.just-drinks.com

Email: editor@just-drinks.com

Twitter: just_drinks

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