Celebrating Britain's 101 Most Influential Asians 2020

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Ivan Menezes


ONE of the major challenges currently facing alcoholic beverages giant Diageo, and its adroit CEO Ivan Menezes, is how to respond to “premiumization” within the sector.

With millennials, in particular, drinking less but seeking a more refined experience, the London-headquartered $17 billion corporation, is thinking outside the box and looking beyond retail.

With world-famous brands such as Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Gordons Gin, Captain Morgan, Baileys Irish Cream and of course, Guinness, under its umbrella – London and New York-listed Diageo is exploring increasingly novel ways to leverage such household names.

Branding continues to be the company’s bread and butter, with Gordon’s Premium Pink Distilled Gin recently awarded the 2019 Supreme Brand Champion title. However, the company is also offering its customers a taste of authenticity and craftsmanship through distillery tourism.

In June 2019, Diageo launched the Roe and Co Irish Whiskey distillery experience located in Dublin’s iconic St James’s Gate Guinness Power Station. Visitors will be treated to a fully immersive experience on the 75-minute tour, taking in all the flavours and ambience of a fully operational distillery.

The six-storey Guinness Storehouse in Dublin currently brings in €361m to the Irish economy each year and last year, Menezes was in Scotland to announce a £150 million investment in scotch whisky tourism. A major chunk of this is to go towards a vast visitor centre in the middle of Edinburgh, bringing to life the story of Scotch Whiskey, first distilled by a certain John Walker in Kilmarnock in 1820. The centre will complement a total of 12 Diageo visitor experiences.

From a macroeconomic perspective, uncertainties around Brexit and the prospect of a trade war between the US and China might sound like the initial thunderclaps of a perfect storm.

Not so, according to Menezes, who is bullish about the organisation’s ability

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