On just-drinks last week:
- Energy drinks producers in the US saw Massachusetts congressman Edward Markey call for a Federal Trade Commission investigation into their advertising claims. Markey's request is just the latest in a long line of travails for the soft drinks sub-category, the members of which will no doubt be glad to see the back of 2012.
- The alcoholic industry had its own share of grim news, first from Ireland, where a duty rise slapped an extra EUR1 (US$1.30) on the price of a bottle of wine. Beer, cider and spirits were all hit by a 10% increase in duty, as authorities in the country work to get to grips with Ireland's debt levels. Neighbouring Northern Ireland is well-placed to benefit from the subsequent cross-border trade, the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland warned.
- The approval of a threatened tax rise on beer in France, meanwhile, made it a lousy week for the brewers among us. With Belgium mulling a complaint to the European Union over the move, however, this may be one hike that could still get knocked into the long grass.
- Brown-Forman's H1 results gave the US firm the hook to elaborate on its plans for further Jack Daniel's brand extensions, following the launch of the Tennessee Honey variant early last year. Head here for a breakdown of Brown-Forman's major brands in the half-year, and stand by for just-drinks' interview with CEO Paul Varga later this week.
- The weekend saw reports that Diageo talked to Suntory earlier this year about a possible joint bid for Beam Inc. For my take on the claim, click here.