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Canada goes small for growth

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

Worrying statistics and a time bomb

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.

Great white dopes

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

High rollers still spend big

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

A Tale of Two Industries

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

What lies ahead for duty free in 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. 

Oblix at the Shard

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.

A nail in whisky regions’ coffin

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

Champagne welcomed on English soil

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.

The curious case of Champagne Jayne

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.

Christmas could be a hard sell this year

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.

Di's Christian Davis on John Walker Private Collection

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.

Climate of discord shakes confidence

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.

The ‘sucker deal’ view of duty free

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

Virtual Insanity

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.

Last of the green markets

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

David Williams: don’t discount the discounters

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

David Williams on tastings: It’s not rocket science

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. 

Joe Bates: “Truth is to be found in adventure”

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.

Is the message getting through?

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.

Airports need to sort the basics

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. 

The Beginning of the Beginning

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

How would you define ‘Irish whiskey’?

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?

Menezes upbeat

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).

The trials and tribulations of getting your favourite tipple

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

Cocktail Corner: Lime, Sugar and Rum

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

Pure Gould on what it means to be handcrafted

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

Bottle Your Own Jameson

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

Pure Gould on Vinopolis closure

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

DI's Christian Davis on Pernod's roundtable

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

Menezes relaxed as Diageo splutters

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

Pure Gould on Sunset Boulevardier and Chivas Regal

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

WSET: China – has the bubble burst?

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

Patience Gould on tequila and Irish whiskey

Patience Gould assesses what’s going on as things shake up in the tequila and Irish whiskey categories

Pure Gould: Raising a glass to Bombay

Patience Gould witnesses an historic moment in Bombay Sapphire’s history – and raises her glass to the company behind the brand

Patience Gould on Make Mine a Martini

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

Patience Gould and the Margarita

Patience Gould is entranced by Cointreau’s literary offering – and its contribution to her new favourite drink, the Margarita

Private Collection on parade

Another one of those low key informal briefings this time revolving around the new Johnnie Walker expression: John Walker Private Collection 2014. As has become customary, held in London’s Soho, officiated over by Diageo’s head of whisky outreach, Nick Morgan and in the hot seat a jet and train-lagged master distiller, Jim Beveridge.

Pure Gould: Scotch and the EU

As the Scottish referendum looms, Patience Gould ponders the possible fate of the scotch whisky industry if EU membership is lost

Project Patrón

It’s hard to know what Diageo is really thinking. But sat at the trade tasting of Haig Club in London yesterday, I had a glimpse into its inner workings.

Wrong motion, right discussion

Hamish Smith was at The Distillers City Debate, where the future of rum was the topic of discussion

Warning: may contain nuts

Peter Holland explains how rum, above all other categories, is vulnerable to mis-labelling

Pure Gould: David Beckham and Blue Bottles

Patience Gould was unsure about Diageo’s latest approach to Scotch marketing, but is coming round to David Beckham and blue bottles

Pure Gould - the burgeoning of Gruppo Campari

Gruppo Campari has become a major force in the global drinks industry. Patience Gould looks back on its humble beginnings

J&B Urban Honey
The Battle of Flavoured Scotch

The flags of war are unfurled and hoisted, and the powerhouses of the spirits industry have readied their infantry. The battle of Flavoured Scotch can now begin.

Pure Gould: Global fortunes

Patience Gould has been following the fortunes of the drinks giants – and of the countries where they seek those fortunes

Don’t mention the World Cup

Last night in London kilts and headdresses collided as two very distinct worlds united. It’s hard to imagine there has ever been a more amusingly incongruous marriage than Scotland and Brazil.

Pernod’s interims

The Pernod Ricard team were in London today (February 18) to flesh on the bones for their half year interim results which were announced last week.

Diageo: Playing the numbers game

Playing the numbers game Diageo’s interim results for the six months to December 31 which were reported yesterday (January 30), make bleak reading.

Pure Gould: Whyte & Mackay

Patience Gould charts the ups and downs of Whyte & Mackay as the distiller once more goes on the market