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People in drinks: what the industry had to say this week

People in drinks: what the industry had to say this week

In a new column drinks central, we round-up what the drinks industry had to say about the hot topics that made headlines this week

From Scott Hadley discussing Asahi's spirits portfolio expansion, to CUB's Chris Maxwell on learning from failure and Huon Hooke's outspoken views on recent wine show results and Brad Banducci apologising for Endeavour Drinks Group customers being double-billed, here's what the industry had to say about the latest drinks news ...

>> Asahi Premium Beverages started distributing four spirits brands
- Vodka O, Tequila Blu, Canadian whisky Spicebox and VDKA 6100 - it acquired from ASM Liquor on Monday. Chief commercial officer Scott Hadley said: “These brands will give APB an important position within the full strength spirits category.This will mean we can offer our customers an even broader range of alcohol beverages.” (Read more)

>> Beam Suntory revealed RTD case volumes were up by 13% in the six months to June 30, 2017, with canned highball products growing “significantly”. Suntory's senior MD, Shinichiro Hizuka said: "We are actively expanding overseas with the 'highball' style of drinking that originated in Japan, through the promotion of Jim Beam Highball. Currently, we are strengthening activities in various Asian countries, and the number of restaurants and bars handling this product is increasing." (Read more)

>> BWS/Dan Murphy's customers were hit by double-billing error with CEO Brad Banducci saying: “We are outraged on behalf of our customers that this has happened and it raises a series of important questions about the effectiveness of certain processes in the financial system. It is not acceptable that our customers have been charged twice, causing them stress, inconvenience and, in some cases, financial hardship." (Read more)

>> The booming global rosé market lead to a bold claim by Rodolphe Boulanger, vice president of beer, wine, and spirits at online grocer Fresh Direct, who told Bloomberg: “There’s been a decoupling of rosé from the rest of wine; its own alcohol category." When Boulanger started at Fresh Direct in 2014, there were only four rosé brands for sale. Now the outlet has over 90 rosé brands to offer. “The level of innovation and new product launches surprised us,” he said. (Read more)

>> Five Australian rosés were awarded medals at the 2017 Rosé Masters with Judge Beverley Banning MW commenting: “I liked the Provence wines a lot. The sparkling rosés were also generally very good. There were one or two delicious wines from Adelaide Hills and King Valley, Australia.” (Read more)

>> A wine critic slammed "bizarre results at wine shows"  - The Real Review's Huon Hooke noted: "The 2017 Melbourne International Wine Competition was apparently judged by a gaggle of monkeys. How else to explain the bizarre results? The St Andrews Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (AUD $6 at Coles) won a double gold medal. I tasted the wine and frankly, I would not have awarded it a bronze medal. I scored it 83 (bronze is 85-89 in most shows)." Hooke also questioned the winner of best cabernet sauvignon at The Sydney Royal Wine Show 2017. (Read more)

>> AVL discussed huge potential in the Chinese market with Neil McGuigan suggesting winemakers must have the Chinese palate in mind, not their personal preferences of winemakers. He added: “We’ve entered the market at a time when the Chinese consumer is drinking one litre a head per year, compared with mature markets where consumers drink 20 litres a head per year,” McGuigan said. “If China gets to those volumes there won’t be enough wine in the world to keep up with demand. But let’s just say they get to seven (litres a head). For the long term this is exciting for our business.” (Read more)

>> A top beer exec talked about learning from failure at the AdNews Media + Marketing Summit. CUB consumer connections director Chris Maxwell revealed his 'epic fails' during his 20 years at CUB, including the 'Big Ad hangover', a VB backlash and an ad called Skytroop: "We literally spent $3 million on production on this ad. It’s the most expensive ad we’ve ever made and is a ridiculous number – we don’t spend that much on media for many of our brands. We’d have to spend $20 million on media just to make it work but it was a crazy kind of time. The fail in that is that your forgetting what you’re doing. You’re forgetting that you are there to sell boxes of beer and not win Cannes Lion awards. The big learning we’ve taken on board is that your role as a marketer is to know your consumer and to produce communications that nudge them in a certain direction.” (Read more) 

>> A Wollongong entrepreneur has created "smart kegs" he hopes will revolutionise brewing. Michael Burton explained: "Binary Beer takes the guesswork out of beer supply chain management to ensure that taps never run dry. We’re developing smart kegs that report how much beer is left and how the beer is being stored, no matter where they are in the field." (Read more)

>> Exchange for Change appointed a CEO for its NSW container deposit scheme. Peter Bruce said: “We want this scheme to be a success and for all stakeholders to have a voice. We will be working to the highest levels of integrity to help deliver the government’s littering targets while running a cost-effective scheme. We look forward to supporting a well-run, effective container deposit scheme for NSW. As Scheme Co-ordinator we will work closely with Government to get the scheme up and running, and give the public a great incentive to recycle bottles and cans.” (Read more)

>> Heineken revealed its shifting dollars from TV to Google and Facebook as the digital platforms become the new preferred way to reach mass audiences. Nourdin Rejeb, Heineken’s global manager for digital, said: “We’re seeing in some cases digital spend is overtaking TV spend like a lot of brands because we’re realising that’s where consumers are spending most of their time,” Rejeb said. “That’s not to say TV isn't important to us because it is; it's just that the increase is definitely going to the digital." (Read more)

>> Diageo's diversity journey was explored by human resources director Mairead Nayager, who said: "When I started at Diageo in 2006, our executive committee consisted entirely of men. There were only a handful of women in senior leadership roles. Today, as a result of our determination and targeted initiatives, including gender-equal intakes in our career development programmes, 36 per cent of our board are women. Our executive committee, which runs the company day-to-day, has 40 per cent female membership. We also have six different nationalities on this team who speak multiple languages and have lived and worked in dozens of countries across the globe. The change in our senior leadership has transformed the way we do business." (Read more)

>> Mentors had a mid-point check-in for the inaugural drinks Mentoring Program 2017 with program facilitator Bianca Havas telling attendees that seeing an "aha!" moment when a mentee reflected on their learnings and effectively embedded change in their behaviour was "the mentor's gift out of the process." (Read more)

>> Young NZ winemakers discussed challenging the old guard, with Lauren Swift, head winemaker at Ash Ridge Winery, revealing a lot of winemakers did not speak to her when she first arrived on the scene: "I've been here for nearly five years now and people are just starting to acknowledge me and go, 'Ok, well, she's obviously going to stay here in the industry for a while, so maybe we should be nice and get to know her. Hawke's Bay is very traditional, so they are not too into change." (Read more)



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