DIgestif Blog

It's a safe bet that a recovery of the Asian market was on the New Years 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

Diageos 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 withhere, I spent the month leading up to Christmas visiting some of Englands finest pubs and bars

When doomed British mountaineer George Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Everest, his now legendary answer was because its there

As the new year gets underway theres 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 companys Danish origins.

on 25 November, 2016

I was never top of the class atmaths 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 hes ever seen, youd 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), im often asked if id like to try my hand at making the stuff myself.

Its like a dream. Five years ago we didnt have a whisky. Now were pouring to enthusiastic drinkers at the whisky show in London. Its hard to believe were here.

on 13 October, 2016

Its that time of year. Summers 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, its up there with the World Remaindered Books Conference, or the Reconstituted Meat Product Exhibition

on 20 September, 2016

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

I should really know better. Its the same old story every four years. Its 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 waysthat 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 firstChristmas press release on July 25.

Its 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 worlds largest premium drinks company expressed satisfaction at the companys 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 againstmy betternature and political persuasion, but I have to admit that I love new stuff

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

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 its always the same

Have you noticed just about every alcoholic drink has its own designated day? Whats 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? its a question that can take on an almost existential quality when, lets say, youre wrestling with the 3am demons in a hotel room with wafer-thin windows overlooking a roaring piphique 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), 6300.photo.2.jpgtitled 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

Its 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 passform 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 cant say I was all that familiar with the Prisoner Wine Company

on 12 May, 2016

THERES 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. Its what youve 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 BibendumPLBby 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 industrys decision makers for much of the century.

on 06 April, 2016

Theres 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 wasnt just happy, he was positively beaming and not just because hed 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 UKNational 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, damnedlies... 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 ABOUTtravel 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 Englishmans top spot.

on 29 January, 2016

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

on 21 January, 2016

Its a bit of a labyrinth to get in but like an Egyptologist finally breaking into a pharoahs tomb, its 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 arent the first words that spring to mind when it comes to describing the city of Glasgow.


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David Williams

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