Diageo sells Gleneagles, Spanish wine warfare, and more beverage bites

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Diageo has sold Scottish hotel Gleneagles
Diageo has sold Scottish hotel Gleneagles

Related tags Alcoholic beverage

Diageo announces the sale of luxury hotel and golf resort Gleneagles, while Heineken and Ball Packaging launch ‘groovy’ cans. Meanwhile, Spain’s annual wine fight takes place… read on for more news in this week's beverage bites. 

Diageo sells Gleneagles

Diageo has sold Gleneagles Hotel Ltd to a private investment group, it announced yesterday.

The Scottish hotel was opened in 1924, and in its last financial year generated revenues of £43.5m ($67.9m) and an operating profit of £2.6m ($4.1m). It has been wholly owned by Diageo since 1984. Gleneagles hosted the Ryder Cup last year.  

Ivan Menezes, chief executive, Diageo, said the hotel was not a core business for the company but its brands (and in particular scotch brands) will continue to feature at the hotel.

Ennismore, a real estate hospitality firm covering Europe and the US, leads the private investment group buying the hotel.

BrewDog USA

On Monday BrewDog, a Scottish craft brewery, formally announced plans for its North America headquarters and first production facility in the country.

The $30.4m brewery will be located in Canal Winchester, Ohio, and is due to be completed by August 2016. The first year will see production of 85,200 barrels, followed by increased capacity to 852,000 over the following years. BrewDog says 125 jobs will be created at the site.

Part of the finance will come from crowdfunding via Equity for Punks USA. This will also fund projects such as a craft beer hotel, custom sour beer facility, and distillation plant.

James Watt, cofounder, BrewDog, said “America has one of the world’s most eclectic, energetic beer scenes imaginable, and we’re psyched to pledge allegiance to the US craft beer revolution.”

UK peer issues powdered alcohol warning

A UK peer has urged ministers to ban imports of powdered alcohol from the US.

Lord Brooke says that, although powdered alcohol is not currently available in the UK, the internet will make its passage easy.

The government’s Psychoactive Substances Bill is under discussion.  Alcohol, along with tobacco and nicotine, would not be included in the legislation but Lord Brooke says the risk from powdered alcohol should be acted upon, reports the BBC.

Palcohol, from US company Lipsmark, has attracted controversy for its powdered alcohol, which can be mixed with water to make an alcoholic drink. However, it maintains that powdered alcohol should be treated no differently to conventional alcohol.

Palcohol was approved for sale in the US earlier this year​ by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), although individual states may choose to regulate sales.  

heineken grooved can
Heineken's grooved can

Groovy Heineken

Heineken and Ball Packaging Europe have collaborated to design a grooved can for the UK market.

The ‘groovy embossed can’ has horizontal grooved edges around the 33cl body, to offer consumers ‘an enhanced tactile experience’​ and provide a stable grip.

The bulk of the can is not printed, thus using the intrinsic reflective qualities of metal for visual effect.

The main target market is young adults, and Ball Packaging says they will like the can for being functional, progressive, and cool.  

Customs operation seizes 550,000 litres of alcohol

550,000 litres of beer, wine and spirits have been seized by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) at the Port of Dover in England.

A six-week operation aimed to crackdown on excise fraud and smuggling. HMRC says the exercise clawed back £1.3m ($2m) from evaded duty.

The 27 vehicles which were carrying the alcohol were destroyed to disrupt further illicit supply,  and three arrests were made.

HMRC officers worked with UK and French customs authorities to identify vehicles on the route from Calais to Dover. It says operations of this type take place regularly around the UK.  

‘Batalla de Vino’ – Spain’s annual wine fight

Haro, a town in the Spanish wine region of La Rioja, held its annual wine battle last weekend.

Thousands of people celebrate the feast day of the town’s patron saint, San Pedro, by throwing wine over each other. The tradition is said to stem from the rowdy feast days over several centuries.

haro wine festival
Batalla de Vino. Pic: Wikipedia

The event takes place early in the morning, at the end of a night of partying.  Water trucks, water pistols, back mounted spraying devices and buckets are all tools in the wine fight.

“No one escapes a soaking, but if you don’t feel like jumping in the deep end, steer clear of the locals,” ​advises travel guide Lonely Planet. “They have perfected the art of wine warfare and are only too happy to demonstrate their weaponry’s capabilities.”

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