Leaders in the field

Looking across the categories, David Longfield reports on the Drinks International choice of the 12 most significant brand developments of 2007
27 August, 2008
Page 40 
It's been a Scotch-rich year. Some commentators have even ventured to suggest there are too many producers releasing too many super-premium specials, but everyone wants a slice of the premium pie and it's growing every year, led by the Asian and other developing markets.

In a year in which the clear leader in the Scotch malt whisky sector embarked on a complete overhaul and relaunch, producers such as Ian Macleod can consider themselves unlucky not to be in the DI Dozen awards for excellence. The company launched additions to its flagship Glengoyne malt range throughout the year, including repackaged 10, 17 and 21 Year Olds; new Shiraz Cask Finish and Vintage 1972 malts; and Burnfoot, a travel retail special .

The 2007 DI Dozen is dominated by Pernod Ricard brands - Chivas 25, Ballantine's and Beefeater gin from the Chivas Brothers group and Stolichnaya vodka. Timing-wise it's hardly surprising - it's now a little more than two years since the French giant acquired numerous major brands in the carve-up of the former Allied Domecq empire, and the company's devolved structure permits each brand to compete equally .

As a result, there are no Diageo brands in the Dozen this year. The world's biggest drinks company has, to an extent, been focusing on the long-term potential of developing Scotch whisky markets with a £100 million investment in its Scottish malt and grain distilling facilities. But there have been other highlights. Diageo Asia Pacific became the company's fourth global region in February, then J&B Rare began a £10 million global campaign, Start A Party, in April when the Johnnie Walker Blue Label King George V extension was also launched. A nd Johnnie Walker sales had, for the first time, exceeded 15 million cases in the financial year 2007.

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