Positive outlook for industry says Diageo MD

Taking a year’s sabbatical to drive around Australia with his young family to see a bit of the country was the plan for Angus McPherson at the end of 2019. By May 2020, those plans were on the backburner and he was sitting in the managing director’s chair at beverage multi-national, Diageo, and dealing with a pandemic outbreak that changed the way the company had been doing business.
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Glen Grant wins Scotch Whisky of the Year for fourth year in a row

Glen Grant once again is awarded top honours for its category in the latest edition of Jim Murray’s perennially anticipated Whisky Bible – the world’s most-influential Whisk(e)y guide. Glen Grant 18 Year Old, the rarest variant in the Glen Grant single malt range, has once again been named “Scotch Whisky of the Year”, “Single Malt of the Year” and “Best Single Malt Scotch Aged 16-21 years” by the esteemed whisky writer and reviewer, taking home the top prize in the category for a stunning fourth year in a row.

After sampling 1,200 whisky entrants for the 2020 edition of his influential guidebook, Jim chose this winning expression to represent his number one rated whisky from Scotland. Building on last year’s remark that the 18 Year Old single malt “carried the banner for Scotland,” and “displayed Speyside Whisky in its most sparkling light,” Murray this year that that he could find no faults in the liquid, and called it, “As usual, sublime,” adding that he “didn’t think it possible. But this distillery has just upped its game. Though, perhaps it does have two new challengers now: The Glen Grant 15 and The Glen Grant Rothes Chronicles Cask Haven.”

Reinforcing that the entire range of casks is exquisite, The Glen Grant Rothes Chronicles Cask Haven (a Global Travel Retail exclusive) has been awarded “Best No Age Statement”.

READ MORE: Food and Beverage Award winners announced

Calling this particular expression “technically perfect” Murray explains it as “a malt which takes ‘understatement’ to a new level,” and remarked that it leaves the drinker “spellbound as its secrets slowly unfold. To do descriptors barely do it justice.” Cask Haven joins the already-decorated Glen Grant 15 Year Old this year, which takes the prize for “Best Single Malt Scotch Aged 11 to 15 Years” in its category. Additionally, The Glen Grant 10 Year Old wins in the “Best Single Malt Scotch Aged 10 Years and Under” category for a remarkable 7th time.

Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible is the world’s biggest-selling and most influential annual whisky guide. Industry renowned, the compact guide contains roughly 4,500 detailed, professionally analysed and easy to understand tasting notes on the world’s leading and lesser known whiskies. Each whisky is tasted by Murray himself and graded with an overall score out of 100.

Founded in 1840 by brothers John and James Grant in Rothes, in Speyside, Scotland, Glen Grant boasts a remarkable, double distillation process, which sets its award-winning single malts apart from the competition. Introduced over a century ago by the ingenious James ‘The Major’ Grant, these hand-designed, tall, slender stills and distinctive purifiers capture only the finest vapours. Still used to this day, the result is a refined and seductively smooth taste for which Glen Grant is renowned.

Dennis Malcolm, Glen Grant’s Master Distiller, commented, “To be awarded ‘Scotch Whisky of the Year’ for a record fourth year with our 18YO is an incredible honour. Unprecedented! With all of the remarkable whiskies that come from our corner of the world, we are thrilled to share this news, in addition the accolades again this year on our 10 and 15YO expressions. To add, we couldn’t be more pleased that an exclusive offering like Cask Haven is recognised for the complex, beautiful liquid that it is. We take so much pride in creating our unique expressions, and we’re delighted and humbled to see that the consistent quality of these beautiful products continues to be recognised by industry legends like Jim Murray.”


Spirits from the USA head to Australia

The Distilled Spirits Council of the US, the national trade association representing leading producers and marketers of distilled spirits in the United States, has just confirmed that it will participate in the 2018 Drinks Industry Show.

Event Director David Paterson, of organiser Exhibitions & Trade Fairs, said, “This is exceptionally exciting news. The Distilled Spirits Council will showcase iconic American Whiskeys such as Jim Beam Bourbon, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, Wild Turkey Bourbon, Bulleit Bourbon, among others.”

“On top of that, this latest announcement means the Council will be bringing, and exhibiting, a number of distilleries from America that are looking to break into the Australian market. It is a fantastic opportunity for Australians to taste new, boutique American product, offering a unique opportunity for buyers to be the first to taste many in Australia.”

To give the extended numbers of American exhibitors an appropriate platform, the 2018 Drinks Industry Show will have a dedicated American Pavilion on the show floor, with several distillers having a stand. These include:

Corsair Artisan Distillery: founded in 2008, Corsair “sets its marks where it all started”, becoming the first craft distillery in Nashville since prohibition. Its innovative, adventurous spirits have won more than 800 medals at national and international spirits competitions.

House Spirits Distillery: this pioneer of America’s craft-distilling resurgence believes in being distilling’s equivalent to “minimalist cooking”, making its spirits from scratch and crafting each of its award-winning products with an intense and passionate pursuit of perfection, using the best natural ingredients, treating them with care, and allowing them to express their unique character.

Red Eye Louie’s Vodquila: is a special blend of ultra premium vodka and imported super premium tequila. The vodka is made from multiple grains and distilled six times, while the Tequila is made from pure blue agave plants and distilled in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. Vodquila’s super clean taste and rich aroma is achieved by blending these bases in small vats, macerated together at a high temperature to achieve a perfect blend.

As well as meeting and engaging on the show floor, buyers can look forward to an exclusive master class on day two, hosted by the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. and showcasing the very best in American spirits. Places will be issued first come, first served, so get in early to avoid missing out.

David Paterson said, “Whiskey and bourbon sales continue to rise in Australia. Research has shown Australians drink around 19 million glasses of whiskey a month, which is some three million more glasses than in 2009. In 2006, Australians aged over 65 were the most likely to drink whiskey, and those 18-34 were least likely, but now, the proportion of drinkers of these beverages in the younger group has been steadily growing, year on year. This makes the Distilled Spirits Council’s decision to exhibit at the 2018 Drinks Industry Show very timely.”

Robert Maron, Director of International Affairs, Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., said, “The American whiskey sector is dynamic and includes internationally recognised brands and new distillers. There is an American whiskey for every palate; from a sweet Bourbon Whiskey with hints of caramel, to a smooth Tennessee Whiskey with charcoal notes, to an American Rye Whiskey with a spicy and peppery finish.

“Within each category, there is an American Whiskey for every adult consumer’s taste preference and price point. Last year, U.S. spirits exports to Australia were valued at $127 million, up 12 per cent as compared with 2016, and in 2017 American Whiskey accounted for approximately 80 per cent of the total in terms of value. So, clearly there is an interest in American spirits and the American Whiskey, making Australia an ideal market for our new distillers to explore.”

Alcohol companies target the 20% of Australians who drink 75% of the alcohol

Researchers have known for a long time that alcohol consumption is quite concentrated in a small part of the population. They argue about the exact distribution, but there is substantial agreement that, so long as alcohol sales are not heavily restricted, consumption is distributed in a quite predictable way. That is, there are many light and moderate consumers, along with a long tail of those drinking at heavier levels.

In Australia, the top 20% of the drinking-age population in 2013 consumed around three-quarters of all the alcohol consumed. The top 5% consumed more than a third.

The concentration of alcohol consumption among the heaviest drinkers has actually increased in recent years. The top 10% of consumers accounted for 49% of the consumption in 2001, and this had increased to 53% in 2013.

The heaviest-drinking 20% of the population reported consuming a daily average equivalent to 43 grams of pure alcohol – a bit over four standard drinks. This is a substantial underestimate of their actual drinking.

The total amount of drinking reported in such surveys is calculated to be about 55% of the alcohol sold in Australia, so their actual daily average is likely to be about 7.8 drinks. This is nearly four times the low-risk limit of two standard drinks per day recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

The dangers of alcohol

If you drink enough alcohol, you get intoxicated, making you unfit for a lot of everyday activities. This includes, for instance, driving a car, most kinds of work or looking after children. Apart from these issues of injury and social functioning, alcohol also carries longer-term health risks.

At an average of four drinks per day, the chances of dying of an alcohol-related cancer or other chronic disease are four in 100 for men and 4.5 in 100 for women. At 7.8 drinks a day, the chances are about five in 100 for men and eight in 100 for women.

Adding in risks of dying from alcohol-related injuries more than doubles the risk for men, and increases the risk for women by more than 50%. Just considering the risks of health and injury harms, alcohol is by far the riskiest commodity that a majority of us regularly consume.

The current guidelines “to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol” set upper limits calculated on lifetime death risks from drinking. These are around four times the rate National Road Safety Strategy aims for as an upper limit of lifetime rate of deaths from traffic collisions. They contrast, for instance, with the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guidelines on water safety, which aim to keep the risk of death from contaminated drinking water below one in a million.

Alcohol marketing

Those in the business of selling alcohol have long known about the skewed distribution of alcohol consumption in the population. In meetings among people in the industry, those at the top end of the distribution are called the “super consumers“, and they are vital to maintaining or increasing sales.

If all the “super consumers” reduced their drinking to the two-drinks-a-day average recommended by the NHMRC as an upper limit, it has been calculated, based on self-reported consumption, that alcohol sales would fall by 39%.

In its public face, the alcohol industry takes the line that it is only seeking to protect and promote “responsible drinking”: how to “drink properly”, minimising risks of harm.

But, in its internal discussions of the need for retailers to “identify and target super consumers”, the industry is acknowledging a large part of its sales are to drinkers who are taking substantial risks with their own lives and the lives of those around them. If all drinkers in Australia were to drink within the government guidelines for low-risk drinking, the alcohol market would shrink substantially.

If governments want to reduce alcohol-related harms, they can’t rely on the industry’s commitment to responsible drinking. It’s directly against the industry’s interests for the heaviest drinkers (who make up the majority of their sales) to drink less.

Given this inherent conflict, policymakers should focus on well-evaluated policies such as reduced late-night trading hours for pubs and nightclubs and smarter taxation of alcoholic products. Most importantly, governments should be sceptical of working in partnership with an industry whose interests are diametrically opposed to public health.

The Conversation

Robin Room, Professor and Director, Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, La Trobe University and Michael Livingston, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at The Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, La Trobe University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

New Scotch whisky rolled out in Australia

Launching in Melbourne this month ahead of its global rollout, Pure Scot is the first Australian-owned whisky distilled traditionally in the southern Lowlands of Scotland.

Pure Scot Blended Scotch Whisky is the perfect balance of provenance and progression. Contemporary and fresh – combining unique Bladnoch Single Malt, robust island malts, aged Speyside and Highland malts and select grain whiskies.

The expertise and passion of Pure Scot’s master distiller Ian Macmillan is reflected in every drop – delivering a crisp, smooth, authentic taste – adaptable to many drinks and occasions. Evoking 200 years of heritage, Bladnoch Distillery – home to Pure Scot – has resided on the Bladnoch River since 1817.

Pure Scot is the vision of successful Australian businessman David Prior, bringing a modern interpretation to a category steeped in provenance, but in a younger and more accessible way.

"It's a highly adaptable, versatile, contemporary-tasting product, not smoked, it's really for the younger consumer,” Prior said.

Former CUB boss John Murphy, who has teamed up with Prior says Pure Scot hopes to lure new consumers – mainly in the 25 to 30 year bracket – into the Scotch whisky category by reinventing Scotch as a social drink, rather than a elitist beverage.

"The beauty for us with Pure Scot is we don't have to be protecting and defending. We can come in and actually blow the hell out of this thing. We don't have to worry about those rules. We can play with any rules. We can talk to customers and consumers differently," Murphy said.

Australian Botanical Spirit released with home-grown ingredients

An Australian first has been launched this week with Vantage Australia’s first botanical premium spirit range.

Australia had yet to put out a signature spirit on the map, encouraging Vantage Australia to release a spirit that was reflective of the Aussie outback and drew inspiration from its native flora.

Vantage Australia adds a twist of natural bushfoods to create a blend that blurs the lines between sweet and dry tastes whilst also giving life to old classics.

Both the 700ml bottle and the one litre bottle have Australian inspired artwork, with the latter capturing the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and renowned city landscape.

A 1 litre icon series has been created to foster travel retail/duty free sales whilst creating a unique point of interest to drive domestic market sales.

Vantage Australia: The spirit of a Nation is in keeping with consumer sentiment that appreciates spirits of higher quality in the luxury/super-premium categories, offering an exclusively Australian indulgent experience and a growth category for the trade and will be well supported.

First Fairtrade Certified Goji Liqueur available for the summer

Noble Spirits has released the Goji Spritz: a summer cocktail that is low in sugar and will return partial profits to farmers and local development programs. This is made with FAIR Goji, a Fairtrade Certified Goji Liqueur.The Goji Spritz is set to be launched by FAIR Goji at Vino Paradiso over the weekend, as part of a repackaging campaign for a ‘Sustainable Summer’.

According to Australian based spirit and wine importer Noble Spirits, “Australian consumers are becoming much more discerning and concerned about what they drink. There is clearly an increasing demand for more authentic drinks that bring a positive impact to the people or to the community.”

“Everything in the Goji Spritz is made from organic high quality raw materials, gluten-free, Fair Trade certified. It is a high quality spritz that offers cranberry, cherry and plum that add a unique element to modern cocktails,” the importer said.

FAIR Goji has received positive feedback from consumers and mixologists, with expectations from the company to be the latest source of inspirations for healthy, fresh and unique cocktails. 

Mextrade joins Sesión as exclusive distribution partner

Sesión tequila is joining forces with the distributor of Mexican tequila and mezcal, Mextrade. 

The partnership means Sesión's genuine 100 per cent Blue Agave tequila is now available in all the top bars and restaurants across the country, delivering a unique chance to savour the complex flavours of an artisinal, small batch tequila made using traditional techniques.  

Founded by local Mexican entrepreneurs with a passion for hospitality and the best Agave-based spirits, Mextrade sources only from family-owned brands who have been working in the field for generations. 

Today, Mextrade is the premier distributor of 100 per cent Agave Tequila and Mezcal in Australia and works exclusively with some of the best known brands of Agave distillates across the globe. 

Passionfruit Pink Lady – Cheeky Rascal Cider

Product Name: Passionfruit Pink Lady
Product Manufacturer: Rebello
Launch date (must be in the last 3 months to be eligible): new product labelling in last few months
Ingredients (as listed on the packaging): Pink Lady Apple Juice (Fermented), Fermented Passion Fruit
Cane sugar, Sulphites
Shelf Life: 18 months
Packaging: 500mL amber bottles in 15 bottles per case
Country of origin: Australia
Brand Website: https://www.rebellowines.com.au
Describe the product: Made with Victorian grown pink lady apples and real passionfruit, Passionfruit Pink Lady was created as a limited edition range to the Cheeky Rascal Cider family on the back of Cheeky Rascal’s loyal followers who it canvassed asking them to identify fruits they’d like to see blended with cider.

BDC launches the Master Distillers’ Collection rum

The Bundaberg Distilling Company (BDC) has released the Master Distillers’ Collection (MDC) Black Barrel – Distilled 2005 rum. 

This premium rum celebrates the Bundaberg Black legacy, exhibiting the richness, depth and character that are the staples of the Bundaberg Rum Black Barrel range and is set to launch at The Spirit of Bundaberg Festival in October.
MDC Black Barrel – Distilled 2005 rum has spent the last decade ageing in American White Oak and was finished in small, heavy charred barrels. The result is an enticingly sweet rum that has been barrel matured for longer than last year’s MDC Black Barrel – Distilled 2004, making it smoother whilst retaining a deep red lustre that is reminiscent of the glow of burning cane fields of yesteryear. 

The result is a premium, full character old aged dark rum featuring notes of deep caramel and sweet raisins, making this a well balanced treat for the palate.
The type of barrel is key to the rate at which a rum matures and the number of different barrels used by the BDC, results in the Master Distillers’ Collective (The Collective) regularly undertaking checks of the ten year old reserves on site to assess which batch is maturing best.
Senior Brand Manager for Bundaberg Rum, Duncan Littler, comments; “The Collective is dedicated to creating premium rums that embrace and celebrate the rich and diverse history of rum. MDC Black Barrel – Distilled 2005 has been barrel matured for longer creating a delectable rum, even smoother than its predecessors in the range.”

Available in 700ml bottles, each MDC Black Barrel – Distilled 2005 (40 per cent ABV) also carries a unique number.


Substation No. 41 Rum

Product Name: Substation No. 41 Rum

Product Manufacturer: Substation No. 41

Launch date: 14 July 2015

Shelf Life: No expiry date if left unopened

Packaging: 700mL bottle

Country of origin: Australia

Brand Website: www.danmurphys.com.au

What the company says: Substation No. 41 Rum has been commissioned by the rum artisans at Substation No. 41 Rum Bar.

Made in Australia, Substation No. 41 Rum is a golden dark rum aged for a minimum of two years in oak barrels. The result is a discerning, premium rum excellent for sipping neat, mixed with Ginger Beer, or as a versatile cocktail ingredient.


Smirnoff launches premixed frozen vodka pouches

Diageo’s Smirnoff vodka is continuing to invest in its flavoured premixed vodka range with the launch of its new line of frozen drinks – Smirnoff Frozen Pouches.

The new range is available in a range of flavours including lemon, raspberry, apple and mango using the classic Smirnoff 21 vodka as a base.

Smirnoff Marketing Manager, Andrew Oughton says that the new range challenges traditional pack formats and flavours in the pre-mix category.

“The new range is sure to provide a quick, easy and delicious way to enjoy frozen drinks this summer,” says Oughton.

“Simply pop them in the freezer for eight hours and then squeeze the drink into a glass when you’re ready to serve. The delicious range of flavours means there’s sure to be a Smirnoff Frozen Pouch to suit all tastes and occasions during the warmer summer months.”

The Smirnoff Frozen Pouches range are available nationwide from 3 November, and come in 250ml pouch serves at 4.7 percent ABV or 0.9 standard drinks.


David Beckham partners with Haig to release single grain Scotch whisky

English soccer player, David Beckham together with British entrepreneur Simon Fuller have partnered with Haig to release a ‘distinctive and sophisticated’ new single grain Scotch whisky, Haig Club.

According to Kathy Parker, senior vice president of Haig Club, the rise of single grain Scotch whisky is long overdue, and that the launch of Haig Club represents an exciting new direction for the whisky scene.

"Haig Club is designed to be different," says Parker. "Historically, single grain whisky has been in the shadow of single malts and blended Scotch, but Haig Club represents a new direction in Scotch whisky, which brings single grain Scotch to the forefront.

“The rise of single grain whisky has been both predicted and eagerly anticipated by whisky experts in recent years and with Haig Club we are thrilled to give this 'hidden gem' the attention and appreciation it deserves."

The spirit is crafted at Scotland’s oldest grain whisky distillery, Cameronbridge in Fife and Parker says that working with partners like David Beckham and Simon Fuller has enabled the Haig brand to ‘break new ground’.

“Both David and Simon are renowned for shaking up every sector in which they work and this has been no exception,” she says. “We believe that people around the world are going to love what we've created together – we can't wait for them to try it."

"I am incredibly proud to have been part of the creation of Haig Club" said Beckham. "I think we have made something really special. For me it has meant understanding how whisky is made and enjoyed and then working with some incredible people to write a new chapter for Haig."

Haig Club is now available in bars, restaurants and retail stores in the UK and will be rolling out in the next few weeks in China, South Korea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and the US, expanding to additional markets in the near future. The brand will also now be available in duty free shops globally following its exclusive release period in the UK and a limited number of duty free stores earlier this year.