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Five Miunute Read – May 2004

You might notice a smart new look to your favourite business magazine this month as we’ve spruced up for spring, and in anticipation of our second birthday next month! But never fear, all your favourites are still in their usual place, so we start off with around the world, as normal which this month stops off in Sweden to see what measures the government is taking after a complete ban on alcohol advertising has been lifted by the EU; then it’s over to the UK to take a gander at the brewing industry as mumblings over the Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy Report begin, and the closure of the Scottish Courage Tyne brewery in Newcastle brings bad news for employment in the area. Finally, the sunnier climes of the continent beckon as we make a quick visit to France to find out what’s been happening at Rémy Cointreau, then on to Spain to ponder on the results of some slightly disappointing wine export figures from last year.

In news we take a long hard look at Allied Domecq’s interim results and celebrate with the Scottish whisky industry as they enjoy a record set of figures from last year. Then there’s a new look for Vladivar vodka, and a foray into the risky world of RTDs before finishing with a new, news in brief section full of tasty titbits. Next up, it’s product news where we sample a new rum from Venezuela; take a gander at the new-look Mentzendorff has given its unique Kummel liqueur; celebrate the launch of a new Chilean brand from Raisin Social, and end up with some yummy juices from the New Covent Garden Food Co.

Dave Broom joins us for his regular slot and this month he’s all in a tizz about Thresher’s changes – or is it Spar? And after that it’s a quick jaunt to join Chris Orr with Paul Duffy, Pernod Ricard UK’s big cheese in the Big Interview. Talking of big cheeses, we get the low-down on the biggest earners in the business (go on, we know you’re just dying to know whose got a package worth £48m!), and then we move to the on-trade as Hugo Arnold discusses building up restaurant chains. How and why? And is it always a good move to roll your restaurant proposition out over several premises?

This year’s London International Wine & Spirits Fair takes our attention next. Patrick Schmitt gives us a brief intro into the big news, with information on the venue, events, the most exciting of the stands and, most importantly, where to eat and drink. Then we have a preview of a stack of new products to be seen for the very first time at the show. There’s a whole host of exciting new wine brands – three new rosés from Reh Kendermann and a Black Rosé from Blueridge; new Chilean brands from Freixenet (Terra Nova) and Bottle Green (PKNT); and new looks for Chapel Hill and Trio to name but two. After that, James Murray, the exhibition’s new director, gives us his predictions for this year’s show; Patrick Schmitt takes a look at the Scandinavian market and it’s diary time as Robyn Lewis gives the run-down of events over the three days of the show.

Chris Orr has journeyed down under to give us the gen on Australia, while Dave Broom has been busy looking at the spirits market just so you’ll be right up to date with any developments, or lack of them. Over in France, Patrick Schmitt has been busy investigating why the French seem to find it so hard to build wine brands.

Meanwhile, in marketing this month Jon Rees contemplates the American beer market which, surprisingly, isn’t as bland as you might think. And the resurrection of absinthe is the subject of our marketing interview (it wasn’t an easy job for the man concerned). In retail Robyn Lewis talks to Corney & Barrow about how a 200-odd year old wine merchant remains in business and what swans have got to do with it all.

In our on-trade section, we bid a fond farewell to Nick Tarayan as he writes his last column for us, on one of his favourite subjects, Pinot Noir. Chris Orr talks to the new management behind Café Rouge and finds out why lowering average consumer spend has been so lucrative for them. Also, the iconic vodka brand Stolichnaya gets a good going over in brand builder, while Andrew Hawes of Mentzendorff shares his 40th birthday and fishing obsession with us all in Q&A (thanks Andrew).

In the new pink finance section there are facts and stats from Liv-ex, a summary of the currency market by Joanne Hart and Canadean take a long, hard look at the UK spirits market.

Finally, we welcome Chris Losh to the fold as he starts his new regular column, last drop, with a swipe at the British government’s obsession with binge drinking.

© db May 2004

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