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Publisher’s Page: February 2014

Posted on  | January 23, 2014   Bookmark and Share
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The End of an Era

William Slone, Jody Slone-Spitalnik and Jason Glasser

To me, the passing of Edgar Bronfman represents the closing of another chapter in our history of industry founders and their families.

Unlike the multi-tiered, multinational corporations that so dominate our industry today, it all started with a number of dominant personalities. Men like Garvin Brown of Brown- Forman, Lou Rosenstiel of Schenley, and Sam Bronfman of Seagram’s.

I remember participating in a Seagram meeting when Sam Bronfman arrived unexpectedly. The young man seated at the head of the table rose to offer his seat. The immediate response from “Mr. Sam” was “Stay where you are son. Anywhere I sit is the head of the table.”

But as a second generation family member, Edgar, brought a softer, different style. Well groomed and engaging, he brought signifi cant growth to the company and began to diversify the family interests.

With the eventual appointment of his son Edgar Jr. the family focus shifted from alcohol to Hollywood and the iconic Seagram name faded into history.

William G. Slone, Chairman

Beam: Still BEAMERICA to Me

Despite the constant chatter surrounding Beam as an acquisition target, the news of Suntory’s purchase still came as a bit of a shock. And not only within the industry.

The nature of the deal—a master of the great American spirit, bourbon,gobbled up by a Japanese firm—drew kneejerk reactions from society at large. Even Conan O’Brien spoofed the news.

Seems like we’ve heard this before. Remember when an all-American beer company called Anheuser Busch was purchased by the Belgian firm InBev? It was 2008, and that deal was finally consummated after months of resistance. Heard anything lately about Budweiser being any less red, white and blue?

It has become almost automatic for observers to literally raise flags when an iconic American brand becomes part of a multinational fi rm. But such deals are par for today’s global course, and time after time.those initial cries of patriotism fade quickly. InBev clearly understood this with Budweiser and all of its sister brands. In the case of Beam and Suntory, they are already distribution partners in Asia and know each other well. Beam’s great American brands will no doubt continue to remain…great American brands.

Jason A. Glasser, Chief Executive Officer

Vive La France

This month, we’ve gone a little French. Our special report covers everything from selling French wine in the 21st century to the new Vin de France category and cocktails utilizing French ingredients. Take the opportunity to read about the new Bordeaux drinkers, the remix of Cognac culture and learn about French cider and beer. The report starts here.

Get inspired for St. Patrick’s Day; check out “Irish Comes of Age” to explore how Pernod Ricard has been revolutionizing the Irish whiskey category. “Up, Up & Away” examines the trend of rising cocktail prices nationwide and how operators are approaching the issue. If you are looking for something patriotic, “Message in a Bottle” profiles the latest innovation from Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines, The Great American Wine Company.

Jody Slone-Spitalnik, Chief Marketing Officer


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