Looking back, looking on

27 August, 2008
Page 18 
At the end of one year and the start of the next it's always interesting to look back on past events while considering future challenges and opportunities.

This new year we await with interest the outcome of the year-long and seemingly on-going speculation over the two massive drinks businesses up for grabs - Vin & Sprit and Scottish & Newcastle - and in which stable their respective brands will end up. (Don't forget you can keep abreast of all the daily news as it happens on drinksint.com.)

Every January Drinks International features its DI Dozen (see p 41-44). These annual awards for excellence recognise 12 drinks brands which, in the opinion of the DI editorial team, have made an outstanding difference in terms of marketing during the previous year. They also act as a barometer for the industry and highlight any prevailing trends.

As with last year's DI Dozen, our observation this year has been the continuing move towards premiumisation across all categories, but especially spirits. In white spirits vodka has been leading the march and is expected to do so for some years to come. But now, as bartenders and consumers start to question provenance and look for flavour differentiation in cocktails, gin is making a comeback with some brands seeing double-digit growth, albeit on a small scale compared with vodka and only at the premium end of the market (see p36).

Top quality tequilas, piscos, cachaças and rums from South America, Mexico and the Caribbean are also becoming increasingly fashionable in style bars, and this prompted Drinks International to hold, at the close of last year, a Latin American Spirits Challenge and a Rums of the Caribbean Challenge.

In this issue (p26) we feature the winning tequilas, piscos, cachaças and, in February, the very best rums from the Caribbean region.

We hope these and all the tastings and challenges we have planned for the coming months will help you discover something new and exciting in 2008.