The China Challenge
In November, I visited
Beijing, Nanchang and the mountainous area of southeast China. I could
write about many interesting people, places and cultural differences, but
the point that sticks in my mind in regard to beverages is China’s
water. As a traveler, I couldn’t drink the water, but I wasn’t
alone. Chinese can’t drink China’s water. Even in Mexico, local
people can drink the water even if travelers cannot. According to a
Euromonitor report called “Health and Wellness Beverages in
China,” only an estimated 14 percent of the water in China is
potable. Moreover, approximately two-thirds of China's cities face water
As I hear from more beverage and food companies of
their interest in the millions of Chinese consumers, I want to remind these
companies that China faces several large challenges as its economy
continues to grow. First, China has a Communist government. It may have a
capitalist economy, but I dare say you can’t visit without seeing the
government’s hand in companies, building projects, workforce and the
whole culture. Secondly, China may be one of the world’s
fastest-growing economies, but it is still a developing nation with some of
the worst air and water pollution and sanitation problems in the world.
China doesn’t have the resources to support the people and industries
it already has.
Chinese young adults are anxious to be like
“Westerners” – so much so that they even followed me
around Nanchang’s bustling Super Wal-Mart to see what I picked up.
China’s growing coffee, beer, soft drink and health drink
markets are a direct mimic of Western culture. Tea always will be king in
China, and trust me, they know tea. But bottled water will be the very
Las Vegas and Beaulieu Vineyard Wines will ring in the
New Year in classic Las Vegas style by attempting to break the Guinness
record for the world’s largest toast. Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B.
Goodman will join more than 12,000 revelers as they lift a glass of BV Wine
under the canopy of the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas on
Comedienne Kathy Griffin and Malibu Caribbean Rum are
challenging contestants to wear their holiday spirit on their sleeves.
Griffin hosts the “trim-a-person” extravaganzas in which
contestants are encouraged to dress themselves in holiday-themed
decorations, lights, wrapping paper, bows galore and more for the chance to
win free electricity for a year (up to $1,200) and other prizes. At contest
events hosted in select cities, Malibu Mistletoe Martini and the Malibu
Frosty Kathy Kiss will make their debuts.
Chivas concert series
Pernod Ricard USA’s Chivas Regal has expanded
its Chivas Life Concert Series to include multiple artists in various
cities throughout the United States. The new series format kicked off in
October with two concerts at famed New York hotspot SOB’s featuring
Grammy winner Julieta Venegas. The Scotch whisky’s concert series
will continue through May 2006, bringing award-winning Latin talent to
cities such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami and Houston.
A survey on the small
payment market, released at the Third Annual Micro and Small Payments
Conference in New York City, found consumers’ desire to use credit
and debit cards for small payment at the point of sale and online is on the
rise. An estimated 45 million Americans are willing to use credit or debit
cards for purchases of $5 or less, up 23 percent from September 2004.
Additionally, nearly 20 million Americans ages 12 and older have purchased
something online for less than $2 in the past year, up nearly 29 percent
over the same period and 350 percent from October 2003. The survey found
that consumers are interested in using credit and debit cards to pay for
coffee and beverages, fast food/corporate
cafeteria items and at vending machines/kiosks.
Blavod Extreme Spirits’ Terri Blaton joined
Faith Hill at the Nashville Chapter’s 2005 Recording Academy
Honors’ party. Blavod Extreme Spirits was the exclusive beverage
sponsor at the party. Guests received Blavod Black Vodka and Players
Extreme Caramel Infused Vodka in the event goodie bags. Blavod, Players
Extreme and Baroncini wine were served at the event.
Ready to ride
This racing season, Miller is “Built for Great
Taste Start 2 Finish” with its new stock car driver 2004 NASCAR
Nextel Cup Champion Kurt Busch. Point-of-Sale materials featuring Busch,
the new Miller Lite No. 2 driver, and champion Larry Dixon, driver of the
Don Prudhomme NHRA top-fuel dragster, will connect race fans to the Miller