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Five Minute Read – August 2002

The news section kicks off with Via’s plans to build a customer-directed production base in Chile, while we also highlight the IWIF’s second swoop on UK wine distributors. The results of the WSA’s cork taint study provided a fillip for cork producers. News In Brief has Penfolds’ new chief winemaker, new Wine Doctor listings in Australia, Interbrew’s court date with the UK media and new pubs targeted at journalists.

In Around The World In July, we look at the events of the past month in the world of drinks, from SABMiller’s pulled rights issue to lawsuits between Asahi and Sapporo.

Product News features new launches from TerraMater, PLB and Miguel Torres, extensions to the BRLHardy and Patriarche brand stable, and good news for hop-heads.

In our financial pages, the grim fortunes of the stocks in The Drinks Business Index are explained in detail. Only three of the companies tracked in our Global Share Watch made gains in the period – Constellation, Holsten and Taittinger. Meanwhile, Interbrew and Scottish & Newcastle received mixed reviews for their earnings numbers in our round-up of what the brokers say, while this issue sees eight new entries in the mergers and acquisitions table.

Sally Easton MW reports on the proceedings at the recent IMW Symposium in Vienna, and readers write on issues as diverse as chocolate cake and what makes for a perfect tasting on the Letters Page.

Roberto Alonso loves his brand, Faustino, and gives us some reasons to enthuse as well, from an explanation of the labels to the fact that no-one exports more gran reserva Rioja.

Jon Rees guides us round the big advertising stories for the month, from the re-launch of Kronenbourg to the split of ad man Frank Lowe and Heineken after two decades of refreshing the drinking audiences other beers can’t reach.

Retail Watch takes a well-deserved daytrip to France, and reports on the mini-industry of cross-Channel trade to track prices there. And in the first piece of Drinks Business research, we learn that half of shoppers cannot name a brand of wine, even if allowed to offer grape varieties or general regions.

The Story So Far this month looks at the long, complex deal that finally saw SAB buy Miller from Philip Morris to make it the second-biggest brewer in the world. Matthew Goodman explains the inside action on the deal, and what SABMiller could do next.

Jeremy Hunt, in the second of his Outside Drinks columns, talks with Red Bull’s managers. The brand, after a few false starts, discovered one of the Holy Grails of FMCG marketing – creating your own sector, and defending it. What can
the alcoholic beverage industry learn from Red Bull’s experience?

Paul Francis has a big mandate at Lion Nathan – grow the Australian wine portfolio to secure a return on the $150m plus investment made so far on it. Still, Paul, this month’s Big Interview, likes a challenge, and as the photographer found out he has a fiercely sunny disposition too.

Our cover feature this month is the complex, multi-disciplined world of logistics. It may be an unsung industry, but without it we would not have a wine, beer or spirits trade. Automation, supply-chain integration, systems management – science and protocol is taking over, and it should be to the benefit of all involved.

Rob Griffin, our correspondent in the spirit world, takes a look at gin, for so long the support player to vodka but a sector that is starting to warm up with new launches, re-brands and fresh interest.

Our first of two company profiles for August is E&J Gallo Winery, with a particular look at the history of the parent company and a focus on the European operations. It is, Matthew Guarente finds out, a company at the crossroads; history, in a broad sense, has shaped it, but now it finds itself on the verge of new markets, new products and with a dynamic new generation of Gallos to run it.

The humble beer can is the subject of this month’s Anatomy of… From its 1935 origins through mutilations of senior politicians, the tinnie is soon to make a new leap forward – the first self-chilling can.

Joanne Hart looks at the issue of drinks companies and their commercial relationship with a sector that comprises more than half the drinks market – women. She concludes that marketing departments still have a lot of work to do.

In Back to the Future, Susan Low investigates the survivors, the resurrected and the dead and buried in a survey of what has happened to the biggest brands of yesteryear.

Our second company profile is Morrison Bowmore, the fastest-growing distiller of single malts. Nina Mehra asks what it is like to be owned by Suntory, and what the drinks giant has planned for the group.

Diary of a Producer this month features John Keeling, brewing director at Fuller’s Chiswick Brewery in London. He’s been busy putting the finishing touches to a new brew, and trying to convince people to talk about beer in the way wine writers talk about wine – which does not mean with a slur. On the phone is Eric Culp, an American journalist based in Frankfurt, who says consolidation among German brewers in inevitable.

On the magazine’s equivalent of the back seat of the bus, Jonathan Goodall holds forth about small bottles; as you might imagine, he is not a fan.

© db August 2002

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