Watch those big players

27 August, 2008
Page 3 
Drinks International comes to you this month with our annual Millionaires supplement , the research for which has this year been exclusively conducted by Euromonitor International.

The figures highlight the fastest growing sectors and brands, domestically, regionally and globally, as well as those slipping in popularity.

Among the chart toppers are two interesting new entrants to the Millionaires listing - C1 soju and Tuopai baijiu. If you thought vodka was the largest spirits category in the world you'll be surprised to learn that it's actually baijiu.

More than 520 million 9-litre cases of baijiu are sold annually (according to Vin & Sprit figures) while vodka is the runner-up at a mere 497 million cases. Baijiu is produced mainly in the Sichuan province of China, where some producers suffered losses in the recent earthquake that devastated the area (see News Analysis, page 18).

While current export sales of baijiu are negligible, who knows what will happen now some of the world's biggest brand owners ( Diageo, Vin & Sprit and LVMH) have become stakeholders in these brands?

There is a growing concern, however, that consolidation in the drinks industry is creating brand-owning giants with too much market control to the detriment of many characterful boutique brands.

On the news pages you'll read about concerned beer-drinking consumer groups in Europe regarding the move by InBev - already the world's largest brewer - to take over Anheuser-Busch, which would give the new company a 25 per cent share of the world beer market.

You can keep up to date with these and other industry developments on drinksint.com.

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Christian Davis

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