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Five Minute Read – July 2002

In the news, Concha y Toro retains its slot for the most popular import label in the USA for 2001. Figures released by US authorities show the brand, distributed by Banfi, held off the Australian charge, led by Lindemans, and competition from Italy.

Oddbins denied industry reports that it will slim down its listings of wines; a spokeswoman said “housekeeping” measures would mean a reduction, but that it was a long-planned exercise. Financial news in the past few weeks was good, then not quite so good: the FTSE Multinational Beverages Index rose 7.5% through April, then gave up more than half of those gains through May. The best-performing stock on our Global Stock Watch was Vranken Monopole, racking up 17% advances in May in local currency terms. In the Briefing section, the WSA calls for a degree of openness and pragmatism when it comes to wine labelling laws imposed by the European Union, while beer and football, not surprisingly, dominate the campaigns being launched by drinks companies’ marketing departments. If you have to have World Cup scores delivered to your mobile, Carlsberg has the promotion for you. Outside Drinks looks at how the managers of some of the most respected brands around retain that power – Federico Minoli reveals that being the president of Ducati is not that different from being the president of Beringer. John Ashmore, international marketing director of Cointreau, loves his brand – because it is both steeped in tradition and forward-looking. Retail Watch takes a spin around the multiple grocers and high-street retailers to find that very few outlets have any new ideas on promotions – and the power of the big wine brands is as secure as ever in gaining in-store visibility. Scotch may be a lot of things, but it isn’t the new vodka. Our focus on the industry shows it thriving at the premium end, but suffering in comparison to the white spirits – can new RTDs lift the sector? Champagne is having a problem of expansion too. Some traditional houses are pressing on with developing prestige cuvées, while others are putting more money into non-champagne sparkling wine. While their websites tout the associations with the parent company, these “diffusion lines” continue to develop their own identity. And so on to the World Cup – of drinks. The talents, vinous and sporting, of some of the lead contenders are appraised and we conclude two things – if you want to win the Cup, you need a drinks industry, and France are the team to beat both on and off the pitch. The world’s eyes are fixed on Japan and South Korea and Japan, but the drinks world’s eyes are rather more focused and in the same direction – Vinexpo Tokyo. Our guide to this unique, vibrant, often frustrating city points out that, with some attitude adjustment, you can make the most of your trip, enjoy the experience and find the ideal present for those staying at home. Remaining on the other side of the world, but moving south, we profile BRL Hardy. It has an impressive track record in financial terms, but now it needs to leverage the strength of its brands in a new market – the USA – with a new partner, Constellation. Long-term growth could be dependent on its success in doing that. 

© db July 2002

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