DIgestif Blog

Looks can be deceptive

24 March, 2017

At the beginning of the year, British supermarket Sainsbury’s quietly introduced a new Chilean wine brand.

In November 9, 2016, an historic change happened in the us that could have far-reaching ramifications for the wine industry.

By even the soberest of assessments it’s been a crazy few weeks since Donald Trump began his presidency.

Few years ago I attended a press conference hosted by the new chairman and deputy chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association.

In the family

21 February, 2017

Like the Mafia and Royalty, the wine trade sets a great deal of store by the concept of family.

It's a safe bet that a recovery of the Asian market was on the New Year’s wish list of pretty much everybody who has a stake in the duty free retail business

Don't look now but there are stirrings of rebellion on the Twittersphere as online whisky lovers rail against escalating single malt whisky prices and say ‘enough is enough’

on 31 January, 2017

Diageo’s announcement that it is re-entering the booming Irish whiskey sector with a brand new brand, Roe & Co, caught most of us by surprise.

For reasons I won't bore you with here, I spent the month leading up to Christmas visiting some of England’s finest pubs and bars

When doomed British mountaineer George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Everest, his now legendary answer was “because it’s there”

As the new year gets underway there’s a lot of doom and gloom surrounding the travel retail liquor business

I was never top of the class at maths at school. The teacher only had to mention the dreaded ‘m’ word and start writing numbers on the board and my eyes would glaze over

Ringing the changes

08 December, 2016

Dom Roskrow tries to make sense of the last twelve months 

on 30 November, 2016

So, Danish brewer is spending £15m on revitalising its flagship Carlsberg Export brand (see news story) and at the core of activity is emphasising the company’s Danish origins.

on 25 November, 2016

I was never top of the class at maths at school. The teacher only had to mention the dreaded ‘m’ word and start writing numbers on the board and my eyes would glaze over. 

When Erik Juul-Mortensen tells you that business conditions in travel retail are as tough today as he’s ever seen, you’d better sit up and listen

The next big wine thing?

27 October, 2016

Like many people who work in what might be called the ‘non-productive’ side of the wine business (from sommeliers to merchants to writers), i’m often asked if i’d like to try my hand at making the stuff myself.

It’s like a dream. Five years ago we didn’t have a whisky. Now we’re pouring to enthusiastic drinkers at the whisky show in London. It’s hard to believe we’re here.

on 13 October, 2016

It’s that time of year. Summer’s finished, the holiday season is over and the drinks industry can look back at the global travel retail (TFWA Cannes) and look forward to Christmas.

Bigging up bulk wine

28 September, 2016

It's not exactly glamorous. Indeed, as tempting invitations go, it’s up there with the World Remaindered Books Conference, or the Reconstituted Meat Product Exhibition

on 20 September, 2016

This is most odd. I’m standing with two American gentlemen in the corner of a very swish steak bar staring at a surreal painting of what we’re being told is a ship exploding as it sails towards a lighthouse. I think.

I should really know better. It’s the same old story every four years. It’s sunny outside, the lawn needs mowing, the car needs a wash and upstairs in my office I have numerous articles and stories to be getting on with.

on 30 August, 2016

Jan Warren weighs up the myriad similarities between bartenders and cooks – and suggests mutual respect

Power to the co-ops

30 August, 2016

Considering all the different ways that wine gets to be made, the co-operative is the one that seems, at first glance, most out of step with the modern world

Every centimetre of shelf space has to pay its way in travel retail.

So here we go again – I got my first Christmas press release on July 25.

Do you have a recurring nightmare? Mine is very specific. I am speaking before an audience who are just staring at me in total silence. I finish my speech and everyone just stares. I ask for questions. Nothing. I start going red, and redder, and redder…

It’s all too easy to forget these days that blended scotch whisky remains top dog, accounting for more than 90% of the whisky sold worldwide.

on 29 July, 2016

The chief executive of the world’s largest premium drinks company expressed satisfaction at the company’s progress at a briefing to journalists and city analysts yesterday (July 28) following the announcement of its end of year results.

The schlock of the new

22 July, 2016

It may go against my better nature and political persuasion, but I have to admit that I love new stuff

Uncertain times

22 July, 2016

These are certainly uncertain times we are living in - 51.9% of those who voted in the UK referendum voted for us to leave the European Union

Every time I take an early morning flight from a UK airport in the peak summer travel period it’s always the same

Have you noticed just about every alcoholic drink has its own designated day?  What’s that about? Do the people who create these days think it makes a blind bit of difference in the way their target consumers treat the drink on its own special day?

What is the point of a wine trade fair? it’s a question that can take on an almost existential quality when, let’s say, you’re wrestling with the 3am demons in a hotel room with wafer-thin windows overlooking a roaring périphérique in the light-industrial banlieues of a Fench city.

on 16 June, 2016

A smattering of the great and the good of the UK wine trade turned up for a debate last Tuesday (June 14), titled ‘What direction should New Zealand winemaking take for the future’, sponsored by Villa Maria and arranged by its UK agent, Hatch Mansfield.

Brexit and travel retail

15 June, 2016

It’s the elephant in the room topic for travel retail.

EU – in or out?

09 June, 2016

This time next month we will know if the UK is in or out of the EU.

Shot down in flames

03 June, 2016

Question: Which of the following is NOT a valid style of music? Grunge, grime or grit? It is of course grit, grunge being a somewhat passé form of scuzzy rock and grime a beat-based style evolved from British garage music and jungle. We all knew that, right?

on 20 May, 2016

Before mid-April, when it was acquired by Constellation in a $285m deal, I can’t say I was all that familiar with the Prisoner Wine Company

on 12 May, 2016

THERE’S NO GETTING AWAY FROM IT – cognac has taken a pasting in duty free over the past couple of years.

on 05 May, 2016

The menu arrives. It’s what you’ve come to expect from the modern bar – banana butter fat washing, smoke-injected spirits, aromatic mists, lavender foam – except you are in Yangon.

on 04 May, 2016

The purchase of Bibendum PLB by Conviviality, operators of Bargain Booze, Wine Rack and wholesaler Matthew Clark, is another development in the continuing consolidation of the UK wine trade.

on 28 April, 2016

I know this sounds like the start of a joke, but I walked into a London pub the other day and asked for a pint of lime and soda.

China has dominated the thoughts of the travel retail industry’s decision makers for much of the century.

on 06 April, 2016

There’s no doubt part of the attraction of natural wine, both for makers and consumers, is the anti-establishment image.

on 01 April, 2016

The Irish ambassador wasn’t just happy, he was positively beaming – and not just because he’d spent the previous hour sampling a range of whiskeys and other irish alcoholic drinks at the embassy in london.

on 16 March, 2016

David Williams Author and Columnist for UK National newspaper, The Observer.

on 11 March, 2016

You need deep pockets to make a buck in travel retail these days. 

on 03 March, 2016

They say there are lies, damned lies... and statistics. You betcha. The other day I spent an hour helping a Canadian statistics company check its results for the UK drinks market.

on 19 February, 2016

The relationship between a writer and  a public relations person is a little like that between a great white shark and a pilot fish. 

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Patience Gould gets to grips with her new favourite read – and wishes she could ask the author some questions regarding the world’s current state

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