SB’s most-read stories in February
From corporate reshuffles to award-winning agave spirits, we’ve looked back at the most-read stories published in the shortest month of 2023.
Last month, The Spirits Business readership was keen to learn the data figures behind the world of Scotch exports, and showed a keen interest in what our editorial team deemed the biggest product launches of the previous month.
Furthermore, one particular round-up caught the attention of our readers in February, generating almost as many clicks as the second and third most popular stories together.
Keep reading to find out which other stories ranked in our top 10 most read in February.
10. Bacardi buys majority stake in D’Ussé
Bacardi’s acquisition of a majority stake in rapper Jay-Z’s Cognac brand caught our readers attention, making it the 10th most read story on SB online for the whole of February.
Bacardi and Jay-Z have been embroiled in a lawsuit over the value of the brand in recent months, however the Bermuda headquartered company came to a ‘long-term’ agreement with the singer to take majority control of the ‘multi-billion-dollar’ brand. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but this deal will see Jay-Z retain a ‘significant ownership stake’ in D’Ussé.
9. Brown-Forman shakes up team
Jack Daniel’s owner Brown-Forman revealed at the end of January that Montgomery E Wilson, its vice-president and director of global travel retail (GTR) Americas, APAC (Asia Pacific) and IMENA (India, Middle East and North Africa), would be retiring after 30 years at the company.
The company also announced several new appointments and a restructuring of the firm, which would be applied to the travel retail business arm of Brown-Forman, with the company to be organised into three geographical regions: Americas, EMEAI (Europe, Middle East, Africa, India) and APAC.
8. The Tequila & Mezcal Masters results 2023
We revealed the results of the 2023 Tequila & Mezcal Masters at the beginning of February, and our readers were intrigued to learn who came out on top.
The two judging panels put the categories through their paces to find the brands worthy of being awarded a coveted Master medal, with one brand in particular wowing the judges enough to be crowned the competition’s Taste Master.
7. Top 10 Scotch whisky export markets by volume
Our readers were keen to learn which country took the top spot in the list of Scotch whisky’s biggest export markets by volume.
Volume-wise, the number of 700ml bottles exported from Scotland in 2022 rose by 21% to 1.67 billion in total, and the first time since 2000, France was knocked from the top of the podium – but who usurped it?
6. Top 10 Scotch whisky export markets by value
Of course, what’s more interesting that Scotch’s biggest export markets by volume? Scotch’s biggest export markets by value, of course. At least that is the case according to SB‘s readership, who made this the sixth most read story of January.
In value terms, Scotch exports were worth £6.2bn (US$7.5bn), an increase of 37% on the previous year, but which country took pole position for the most valuable export market for Scotch in 2022?
5. Top 10 spirits launches in January
We shared our top 10 spirits launches in January, from a Cognac celebrating Lunar New Year, to a whisky series that travels through London’s West End.
We also included VK’s latest sugar-free innovation, and Gravity Drinks’ adult-only Easter egg, which dialled up the indulgence levels 10-fold.
4. Diageo workers plan protests in Scotland
Johnnie Walker owner Diageo found itself in hot water in February, as engineers from its Leven plant in Scotland held a protest outside its Princes Street visitor experience in Edinburgh over a pay dispute.
The 10 Diageo engineers at the firm’s bottling plant in Scotland kicked off a series of 48-hour strikes in January. The latest industrial action was held from 3-6 February, with further strikes planned for every weekend until 3 April.
3. Macallan debuts James Bond experience
To mark the release of a whisky range created to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the James Bond film franchise, The Macallan launched an interactive experience at Harrods, London.
The James Bond-themed interactive experience is running for four weeks, and kicked off from Sunday 19 February. It features a timeline composed of illustrations and artwork showcasing the development of the Bond films, including a display of Little Nellie, the compact autogyro flown by Sean Connery in You Only Live Twice.
2. Chivas creates Ultis XX Scotch whisky
Pernod Ricard-owned Chivas introduced Ultis XX to the market in February, a blended Scotch whisky containing five single malts each aged for at least 20 years.
The liquid honours five generations of master blenders by combining Chivas’ signature grain, Strathclyde, with five of the brand’s single malts: Strathisla, Allt A’bhainne, Braeval, Longmorn, and Tormore.
The whisky was distilled exclusively in copper stills and presents aromas of juicy red apples, interlaced with raspberry jam, fresh vanilla pods and sweet butter toffee on the nose.
1. Top 10 Black-owned spirits brands
To mark Black History Month in the US, we compiled a list of 10 stand-out Black-owned spirits brands available on the market, from those that have partnered with celebrities, to the smaller, independent brands, and it was officially our most read story of the month.
Our round-up features the Black-owned brands that are performing exceptionally well, have stolen the headlines, or are simply ones to keep an eye on, be it for their ambitious plans or their commitment to pushing positive change in the industry.