DIgestif Blog

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. 

on 11 February, 2016

FOR SOMEBODY WHO WRITES ABOUT travel retail for a living I have to admit my purchases on the move are often rather modest. 

on 05 February, 2016

We all have our overused words. ‘Sorry’ inevitably takes this passive-aggressive Englishman’s top spot.

on 29 January, 2016

What does January have going for it? Not much in my experience – a sprinkling of quickly broken New Year’s resolutions, scrimping and saving after the Christmas festivities and, in the UK at least, grey skies and driving rain. 

on 21 January, 2016

It’s a bit of a labyrinth to get in but like an Egyptologist finally breaking into a pharoah’s tomb, it’s well worth the effort. The views are stunning and if my visit is anything to go by, the drinks and service are well worth experiencing as well.

on 15 January, 2016

Light, floral, sweet and fruity aren’t the first words that spring to mind when it comes to describing the city of Glasgow.

on 07 January, 2016

When the news emerged that Taittinger had become the first champagne house to take the plunge in the English wine business, the most immediately striking thing about it was how happy the natives were with the development.

on 23 December, 2015

THE STORY OF CHAMPAGNE Jayne v the Comité Interprofessionnel du vin de Champagne (CIVC) has all the makings of a film. Sadly, it wouldn’t be a fun frothy comedy like Champagne Charlie, that British wartime comedy that was named after the song inspired by the dandified founder of Charles Heidsieck.

on 17 December, 2015

So here we are again. At the back end of the year in the make or break season that will decide what sort of year our pubs, bars, clubs and restaurants are going to look back upon.

on 03 December, 2015

I would describe myself as a pretty traditional journalist, trained up to be suitably and sufficiently cynical and sceptical. Nevertheless, I cannot help but feel rather honoured to be yet again invited to a special tutored tasting with Johnnie Walker master blender Jim Beveridge.

on 03 December, 2015

Last month duty-free executives headed to the stunning Red Sea-based King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre for the annual Middle East & Africa Duty Free Association (MEADFA) Conference. Despite the spectacular setting, the mood there was likely to have been sombre.

on 24 November, 2015

An article in The New York Times exploring where to find the best duty free bargains in the Americas caught my eye recently.

on 20 November, 2015

What possessed me? I shouldn’t have done it. We’ve all been warned about going online at night, specially after a drink. I know where it’ll lead and how grubby and ashamed I will feel afterwards.

on 09 November, 2015

Business columnist Hamish Smith discusses whether Islamic countries could be the next growth engine of the drinks industry

on 06 November, 2015

It was during my first visit to Prowein in 2000 that I first came across the idea of discounters.

on 28 October, 2015

An early Monday morning, and the BBC radio newsreader has reached the final item of the 7am bulletin. As is the convention with any news story preceded with an “and finally”, the item is meant to signal a change of pace, offering some light relief. 

on 22 October, 2015

Monsieur Bates. Je suis ici!” shouts a leather-clad biker, gesticulating wildly outside the roar and bustle of the Gare du Nord on a sunny October morning.

on 15 October, 2015

A few years ago, on the day they banned cigarette smoking in the UK’s pubs, bars and restaurants, I was at a press conference with the new chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association.

on 02 October, 2015

Over the past year I have heard several people in the travel retail sector grandly refer to their business as the ‘sixth continent’, to underline just how important the channel has become to the drinks industry. 

on 25 September, 2015

After the "normalisation" of Cuban-American relations this summer, DI's business columunist Hamish Smith tells us when to expect the doors of bussiness to swing open and what it will mean for the rum industry

It’s not as stupid a question as it might first seem. It’s a spirit made from grain, yeast and water in the country of Ireland, right?

on 30 July, 2015

Despite some gloomy reactions among city analysts to Diageo’s full year results to June 2015, chief executive Ivan Menezes was very upbeat at his briefing to journalists and city analysts in a top London restaurant today (July 30).

Patience Gould puts in a good word for the multinationals who are promoting spirits and helping to bring them more into the mainstream

World’s 50 Best Bars academy member, Jan Warren, kicks off the first in a series of cocktail columns with a focus on the Daiquiri

Patience Gould looks at a titan of the vodka world and how its ‘handcrafted’ approach is appealing to the Millennial generation

on 13 March, 2015

Drinks International's editor Christian Davis on Jameson's bottle your own initiative.

Patience Gould gives the lowdown on some of the changes and improvements being introduced at this year’s Vinexpo

Drinks International's editor Christian Davis was at Pernod Ricard's roundtable. 

on 29 January, 2015

Drinks International's editor Christian Davis was at Diageo's half-year results briefing.

on 06 January, 2015

Patience Gould sees in the new year with a Sunset Boulevardier – and celebrates the latest from Chivas Regal

on 15 December, 2014

Or does it just need to be pumped up, asks Ian Harris – CEO of WSET

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