Starbucks introduced voice ordering to enhance customer experience

US-based coffee firm Starbucks introduced voice ordering capabilities to its Starbucks mobile iOS app and Amazon Alexa platform to enhance customer experience.

The service enables customers to order and pay for items prior to arriving at the Starbucks store. An extension of Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay, customers can now order coffee using the app’s My Starbucks feature.

Powered by artificial intelligence, My Starbucks allows customers to either speak or text to convey personal preferences and modify the order.

Scotch Whisky Association applied for GI status in New Zealand

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) applied for geographical indication (GI) status in New Zealand to strengthen the legal protection of scotch.

GI is a sign associated with quality and reputation used by wines and spirits. If the application is accepted by the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office, the name ‘Scotch’ could only be used for a whisky that has been authentically produced in Scotland, in accordance with UK law.

To be authentic Scotch whisky, the drink must be made with raw materials such as water, cereals, and yeast, as well as be matured in Scotland for at least three years in oak casks. In this way, the GI scheme offers legal protection to domestic and international wines and spirits companies to help protect consumers against fake products.

Nestlé to enhance Eau Claire plant’s production capacity

Nutritional products manufacturer Nestlé intended to enhance the manufacturing capacity of its Eau Claire facility in Wisconsin to meet increasing demand.

Nestlé’s factories in Wisconsin currently manufacture more than 200 products, including infant formulas, medical nutrition products, and drinks such as Gerber Good Start, Peptamen, and Boost.

The firm intends to invest in enhancing the production capacity and optimise assets at the facility to meet consumer needs.

Divinia Water expanded production facility in Idaho, US

Bottler of cellular and deuterium depleted water Divinia Water expanded its production facility in eastern Idaho.

The facility will become operational in mid-April.

The extra room, additional equipment, new hires, and commercial-sized technology are expected to give Divinia an advantage of producing 100 times the current output.

CÎROC intended to expand flavoured Vodka with French Vanilla

Alcoholic beverages company CÎROC was set to expand its flavoured vodka portfolio with CÎROC French Vanilla.

CÎROC global brand director Natalie Wills said: “We’re always seeking to bring new, fun, and luxurious celebratory experiences to our consumers.

“CÎROC French Vanilla is going to do just that, its intensely indulgent and versatile flavour profile lends itself incredibly well to the hottest trending cocktails, perfect for celebrating.”

Tequila sales increased in the UK, said WSTA report

A report by UK-based Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) revealed that the sales of tequila in the country steadily rose in 2016.

According to the marketing report, UK consumers used tequila in cocktails or as a sipping spirit, rather than drinking shots with salt and lime.

WSTA’s CEO Miles Beale said: “The UK has seen a boom in Tequila sales over the last two years, up £46 million to £173 million in 2016, an increase of 37%.

“The trend is moving away from shots and strongly towards high-quality cocktail combinations and increasingly sophisticated sipping products. In addition, there is a growing popularity of craft cocktails being enjoyed in bars and then recreated in our homes.”

Anheuser-Busch planned to invest $2bn in US breweries

US-based brewery Anheuser-Busch announced plans to invest $2bn in its breweries by 2020, with the first instalment of $500m in 2017.

The company anticipates that this capital expenditure programme will strengthen its US operations and support local and state economies, in addition to creating nearly 17,000 jobs in the country.

The investment is also expected to drive the company’s growth strategy and help establish new collaborations with other beverage companies such as Teavana.

PAI and bcIMC planned to acquire beverage firm Refresco for €1.6bn

A consortium of French PAI Partners and Canada-based British Columbia Investment Management (bcIMC) entered a conditional agreement to acquire Dutch beverage firm Refresco for a total of €1.623bn.

As per the terms of the deal, €20 will be paid per ordinary share of Refresco.

The offer is reported to be 22% above Refresco’s average closing share price since the announcement of the Cott bottling deal in July 2017, and 41% higher than the firm’s closing share price in April in the same year.

Heathrow Airport and Chase partner to launch GB Gin

The UK’s Heathrow Airport and Chase Distillery created airport-exclusive product GB Gin.

The gin flavour was created as part of a six-week-long gin festival celebrating the spirit. As part of the new partnership, 10,000 dark green bottles of Heathrow Exclusive GB Gin by Chase Distillery were retailed at the airport.

The bottle features a union flag and prominent GB marking. Heathrow’s retail and service director Chris Annetts said: “Gin is a quintessentially British drink and a really popular choice for our passengers and the Gin Festival is a great way to celebrate this fantastic spirit.

“We’re really excited for passengers to try this unique gin; combining British craftsmanship with the finest ingredients from our much loved global destinations. We hope our passengers enjoy the new, distinctive flavour as much as we have enjoyed working with Chase Distillery.”

WSTA said spirit duty revenues top beer in the UK

The UK’s Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) reported that an increase in gin sales by 12% in 2016 helped spirits overtake beer.

The country’s HM Revenue & Customs earned an additional £225m in revenue from spirit drinkers due to a freeze in spirits duty in the 2016 budget, which took the Treasury’s total spirits duty to more than £3.38bn.

As part of the budget, beer duty was also frozen and led to a contribution of £3.32bn.