New shoots

08 February, 2018

Finally getting its own craft segment, vodka is taking cues from wine and championing the terroir of its base as a flavour provider. Shay Waterworth grows the theory.

Brands Report: Pisco

16 January, 2018

There’s an exciting new entrant in this sector, reports Shay Waterworth

Brands Report: Irish Whiskey

08 January, 2018

The growing Irish Whiskey category gets its first page to itself this year. Hamish Smith explains why

Diageo’s Bulleit holds both top spots for the third year running. Shay Waterworth reports

There is an astonishing level of consumer confusion in an increasingly proliferated wine industry, according to wine consultant Mike Paul.

Three Amigos

26 March, 2014

Some new faces have appeared on the Jalisco horizon but is Tequila Town big enough for all of them? Hamish Smith takes a wander over yonder

G’Vine gin’s Connoisseur Programme 2013 includes the chance to become the brand's ambassador.

Profile: Mikaël Silvestre

29 October, 2012

World Cup finalist, UEFA Champions League, FA and League Cup winner… and now rum brand owner. Christian Davis tackles French international footballer Mikaël Silvestre

Blossom Hill, one of the UK’s most popular wine brands, is receiving its largest ever advertising support, including £2.2m on media alone.

Jacob’s Creek, the leading Australian wine brand, is to sponsor the UK’s leading chat show.

Treasury Wine Estates has appointed John Grant as managing director of its Beringer Brand Business Unit.

Heineken has announced it will take the US distribution of its global-leading cider brand, Strongbow, in-house from next year.


14 August, 2012

Armagnac is arguably the closest spirit to wine in terms of provenance, raw materials and the outlook of the growers, producers and brand owners. Christian Davis reports


14 August, 2012

Gin is trading on the complexities of its flavour profile to cash in on the cocktail boom. Patience Gould finds a booming super-premium sector

Accolade Wines has unveiled a new look for its Echo Falls Californian wine brand in key European markets, including the UK, Netherlands and Spain.

Inver House Distillers, the Scotland-based spirits arm of International Beverage Holdings has reported a 28% increase in turnover for the year ending December 2011.

Diageo, has launched Chinese white spirit brand, Shui Jing Fang, onto the UK domestic market.

Żubrówka Biała has gained inclusion into The Millionaires’ Club 2012 after becoming CEDC’s second biggest brand and the world's 83rd largest selling spirit in 2011.

Diageo, the world's leading premium drinks business, has announced that it has reached agreement with Ypióca Agroindustrial Limitada to buy cachaça brand, Ypióca, and certain production assets.

Concha y Toro, the largest wine producer in Latin America, is committed to developing and improving the Californian wine producer, Fetzer, which it bought from Brown Forman in March 2011.

The Philippines-based Emperador brand is the world’s number one selling brandy after more than doubling its volume sales during 2011.

Central European Distribution Corporation (CEDC) has extended its links with Gallo Vineyards to include the distribution of Barefoot wines in Poland.

Beam Inc., the new owners of Cooley’s the Irish whiskey brand, says it has signaled its intent to build the Kilbeggan brand in the US by importing the largest case shipment ever of the blended whiskey for the St Patrick’s Day (March 17) celebrations this weekend.

Chivas Brothers is to launch a limited edition golf pack for its Ballantine’s 17 and 21 year old blended whiskies.

Danny DeVito’s Limoncello is about to be rolled out to international markets, following its US launch in 2011.

William Grant has released Glenfiddich’s first-ever vatted ‘vintage reserve’, the 1974 Glenfiddich Vintage Reserve which the company claims was selected by a global panel of 16 experts.

Angostura has crowned US bartender David Delaney Jr as the winner of the 2012 Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge.

Johnnie Walker has taken first place in Brands by Value, a list of the world’s 50 most valuable drinks brands.

Pernod Ricard’s CEO Piere Pringuet has spoken out about Havana Club’s flat half-year sales growth, branding its performance “disappointing”.

The Spencerfield Spirit Company has launched a Perthshire Raspberry edition of its Edinburgh Gin brand to the UK.

Pernod Ricard has launched a new expression of its Martell cognac to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Martell Cordon Bleu. Cordon Bleu Centenary limited edition has launched in Asia duty free.

Pernod Ricard’s super premium gin, Beefeater 24, is now available in 50 markets worldwide.

Altia buys Xanté

23 January, 2012

Altia Plc is buying the Xanté Company and the Xanté spirits brand from the Swedish Tilander family.

Diageo has completed the acquisition of the Meta Abo Brewery in Ethiopia for US$225 million.

UK: Grupo Codorníu has made four appointments. Carolyn d’Aguilar and Susannah Bearne move internally to roles in the marketing department while Jake Crimmin and Tom Barton join the UK sales team.

Billed as its super-premium expressions, Beam has released Teacher’s 25 Year Old and Teacher’s Highland Single Malt to global markets.

Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte achieved its highest volume sales in 2011, says the brand’s Caroline Defaut.

The rise of craft beer in the US can benefit Peroni Nastro Azzurro, says the lager's global brand director Andrew Walker.

on 17 November, 2011

We’re all interested in ‘what’s going to be next?’ Well I returned recently from New York where, courtesy of Pernod Ricard/Irish Distillers I witnessed the launch of Jameson Select Reserve Black Barrel. Apparently the brand kicked off in the US in Brooklyn so the new limited edition ‘dialled up’ Jameson was launched there and at the moment it is only available there...

UK: Diageo GB is re-positioning its Bell’s blended scotch whisky brand via a £1.35m TV ad campaign.

Online spirits retailer Master of Malt has released Rumbullion, an “old-fashioned“ rum under its Professor Cornelius Ampleforth brand.

Pernod Ricard's new intenational brand development director says that it's number one Irish whiskey brand, Jameson, is on course to meet it's forecast of hitting 1.4 million cases in the US  within the next year.

International wine producer Sogrape has acquired 100% of UK wine agency Stevens Garnier. The company previously owned 38% of Stevens Garnier and financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Beam Inc has announced a new commercial structure in its Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) region.

Drinks group Sazerac has unveiled a line of flavoured vodkas under its Wave brand for the US market.

New look Martell VSOP

12 October, 2011

Martell’s new look for its VSOP, which was recently launched in the Singapore and Malaysia domestic markets, is now being rolled out throughout the world.

Constellation Brands has purchased the remaining 50.1% of Italian wine brand Ruffino from MPF International. 

Diageo, through its Johnnie Walker brand, has launched a social media project to get communities involved in either technology, arts or business projects.

Martini targets next generation

28 September, 2011

Martini has set its sights on recruiting a younger generation of consumers with a new global campaign entitled Luck Is An Attitude.

SPI Group has agreed a new distribution deal with Velier, for the entire Stolichnaya portfolio in Italy.

Pernod Ricard is pinning hopes of further growth on the US, central and South America to undermine Diageo’s position as the number one drinks company in the world.

Pernod Ricard has unveiled Absolut Gustafson at the TFWA in Cannes, a new limited edition for global travel retail.

Diageo has announced plans to step-up its multi-million dollar strategic partnership with social media website Facebook.

Japanese whisky brand, Nikka, has named the second finalist of its international cocktail competition, The Nikka Perfect Serve.

Absolut reports 6% growth

02 September, 2011

Absolut Vodka, part of the Pernod Ricard group, has revealed that its annual sales value and volume grew by 6% during the period July 1 2010 to June 30 2011. 

Poliakov goes red

22 August, 2011

French vodka brand Poliakov has extended its line in the European on-trade to include a ‘red fruit’ liqueur.

Bacardi USA has announced plans to trial a new gin, Bombay Sapphire East, in the US on and off-trade.

Diageo has launched a global, multi-media marketing campaign for its Captain Morgan rum-based brand.

UK: Glenfiddich has launched the 2011 Glenfiddich Malt Mastermind competition. The aim of the game is to find the “trade’s most passionate malt enthusiasts”.

Scotch brand Highland Park has introduced Earl Haakon, the third and final bottling of its limited edition Magnus Series.

Bacardi Brown Forman Brands has launched a new vodka under the Eristoff brand.

Pernod Ricard has announced a joint venture with Tequila Avión to produce and promote the ‘ultra-premium’ tequila brand Avión.

Pernod Ricard brand Olmeca has announced a partnership with tequila ambassador and Mexican restaurant-bar owner Tomas Estes.

Diageo has launched a £15m global campaign for its Tanqueray gin brand.

Campari's Italian aperitif brand Aperol is going from strength to strength according to its owners.

Scotch whisky Auchentoshan is looking for entries to The Auchentoshan Switch, a cocktail competition that offers bartenders transatlantic internships.

Rémy Cointreau has completed the sale of all the shares in Piper-Heidsieck-Compagnie Champenoise to the EPI Group (Européenne de Participations Industrielles).

Brown-Forman has acquired the Maximus vodka brand from Altia. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

A de Fussigny Cognac has announced the launch of four new vintage expressions at Vinexpo in Bordeaux.

Australian winery Brown Brothers has appointed Rachel Herrig as brand manager to “drive the brand’s development in the UK and Ireland”.

Diageo has launched a Johnnie Walker campaign at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport. The Step into the Circuit campaign is centred around the brand's Formula 1 sponsorship.

Diageo GTME, the global travel and Middle East division of the world’s largest drinks company, has unveiled its latest initiative to grab a greater slice of the travel retail alcoholic liquor market.

Portugal: The Blandy Group has regained control of the Madeira Wine Company (MWC) from Symington Family Estates. Symington will still retain a minority share in the business, but intends to concentrate on its Cockburn port brand, which it purchased last year.

New World brands continue to dominate the global wine sector and now constitute 13 of the top 15 wine brands, according to a recent study.

Finlandia vodka, part of Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands, has unveiled a new global packaging design dubbed ‘melting ice’.

DQ makes UK comeback

30 March, 2011

Swedish vodka brand DQ has re-launched to the UK, following the restructuring of parent company Nordic Spirit.

Canada: Brick Brewing Company has acquired the Canadian rights to the Seagram Coolers brand from Corby Distilleries. The transaction closed upon signing.

Scotch brand Chivas Regal and designer Vivienne Westwood have collaborated to launch a new limited edition whisky.

The Supreme Court of Spain has ruled in favour of Pernod Ricard and the Cuban government in the Havana Club trademark dispute with Bacardi.

Diageo has announced a new global brand director for Guinness. Oliver Loomes has been appointed to the role, following Brian Duffy’s promotion to global category director for beer.

Czech beer Budvar bucked a 12% decline in Czech beer exports in 2010 to record growth of 4%.

Brand Phoenix has been appointed distributors for Angove Family Winemakers in the UK off-trade.

Brown-Forman, the major US drinks company, has announced a strategic review with a view to offloading its Californina-based wine assets.

Jameson hits 3 million cases

08 December, 2010

Jameson has reached three million nine litre case sales (MAT ending October 31). According to the brand, growth in the US, Jameson’s largest export market, contributed to its milestone success, with one million cases sold.

Diageo intends to grow Captain Morgan into a "global mega brand", according to Ed Pilkington, the group’s global category director for vodka, gin and rum.

Central European Distribution Corporation (CEDC) is to purchase the global rights for Kauffman vodka.

Diageo has initiated discussions to take over 50% of Guatemalan rum brand Zacapa.

Whisky liqueur brand Drambuie has created a cocktail to celebrate the announcement of Prince William’s engagement to Kate Middleton.

Ukrainian brand Nemiroff has begun producing vodka in the Republic of Belarus.

New York is tough

19 October, 2010

New York is tough for a small company trying to get its brand listed and stocked in the city, according to the chief executive of Xanté, the Swedish company with the eponymous cognac and pear liqueur brand.

Altia has signed an agreement to acquire cognac brand Renault from Pernod Ricard for a cash consideration of €10m.

Pernod Ricard has agreed a six-month sponsorship deal with UK TV channel Dave for its Australian wine brand Jacob’s Creek.

US: Diageo has launched a Swedish vodka in the US market.

Cognac brand Courvoisier has undertaken a global repackaging of its VS label, starting with the UK and US markets.

Ballantine’s has unveiled its first seasonal limited edition whisky entitled Christmas Reserve.

Licor 43 targets UK growth

30 September, 2010

Spanish liqueur brand Licor 43 is targeting UK growth, after up-scaling its marketing operations with the appointment of a brand ambassador.

Concha y Toro, the largest wine producer in South America, has announced a deal with the Manchester United for its wine brands to become the official wine of the world famous football club.

Chivas Brothers has launched a winter version of its Beefeater gin brand.

Pernod Ricard Espana has completed the sale of its shares in Ambrosio Velasco to Diego Zamora for a total price of 32.4 M€ in cash.

The Glenglassaugh Distillery Company has launched a range of “Spirit Drink” products. The aim is to give malt whisky fans the opportunity to sample the evolution of the spirit that will eventually become whisky.

UK: Russian Standard Vodka has launched an on-pack music promotion. Consumers will have the chance to win free tickets to music gigs as part of the Russian Standard Vodka Originals brand campaign.

Pernod Ricard has created a new brand company for its wines and made several organisational changes to its overall structure.

Travel Retail: Pernod Ricard has revamped the packaging for its Ballantine’s blended Scotch whiskies. The revised prestige range first appeared on shelf in Asia Duty Free and includes Ballantine’s 17 Year Old, Ballantine’s 21 Year Old and Ballantine’s 30 Year Old.

Diageo has redesigned its Smirnoff 21 packaging. The new bottles have launched in the UK and will roll out across the world from August.

Pernod Ricard has sold its shares in Ambrosio Velasco to Diego Zamora for €33.1 million (excluding debt).

Pernod Ricard has decided to dump the Montana brand name and re-name New Zealand’s flagship Sauvignon Blanc, Brancott Estate.

The Edrington Group has appointed Matthew Turner as brand controller for Highland Park.

US: Heaven Hill Distilleries has launched the 21st flavour of its Burnett’s flavoured vodka brand.

Diageo has announced the return of its Arthur’s Day celebrations for stout brand Guinness.

Smirnoff has retained its position as the world’s leading alcoholic drinks brand according to The Power 100, 2010, the annual survey of the world’s leading drinks brands published by brand valuation and strategy consultancy Intangible Business.

The Edrington Group has appointed a new brand controller for its newly acquired scotch whisky Cutty Sark.

Australia: Wine exporter Beelgara has appointed Jaap Sonnemans as its new European market manager.

Appleton Estate Jamaica rum has launched a new website –

Australia: Diageo has announced it will secure the marketing and distribution rights to tequila brand Jose Cuervo in Australia, officially effective April 1 2010.

Coors launches cold cans

04 March, 2010

UK: Coors has launched a cold-activated can for its Coors Light brand.

First Cape wine is launching lower-alcohol (5.5% abv) extension of its First Cape brand.


David Williams

Vineyard vs winemaking

What is the most important component of a wine brand? What makes it what it is, or, put another way, what can it not do without?

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