Idris is the Nuwe Meester

UK thespian Idris Elba may have been a flop as Madiba on the big screen but marketers at Distell will be hoping he’s a better anthropomorphism of Oude Meester than Hollywood heavy Jamie Foxx who sunk without a trace after a lavish launch. Jamie’s days were always numbered after he kept the brand ambassador waiting outside his five star Cape Town hotel room for six hours. Don’t mess with marketers!

The OM wrapper for today’s Sunday Times Lifestyle must have cost the brand half a bar. Far more effective to have given everyone at Fine Brandy Fusion the freebee half-litre of Oude Meester Demant rather than just media and friends of the PR company, I would have thought. It looks like Belgian beer brewed by tonsured monks, but is much nicer.

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Nice to read Jacques van Zyl on Lismore Viognier in the ST food supplement. “I struggled to identify the scent – maybe bletilla or perhaps bauhinia. Something light and mauve, either way.” Flower power rools! I’d bumped into fragrant Sam O’Keefe who made the wine at Bascule Bar on Tuesday and can confirm Jacques’s orchid analogies. Things were not looking good for wine in food after Warwick’s excellent First Lady Cabernet was bashed for Mother’s Day. A rather transparent (and inappropriate) entry for the BrandHouse Responsible Drinking Media Awards, I’d have thought.

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If I was Warwick CEO Mike Ratcliffe, I’d have sued. Especially as on Page 3

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Jacques seems to have won a recent Franschhoekfranschhoekcellarwines Idris is the Nuwe Meester
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wine writer prize that was widely boycotted due to the presence of radio personality John Mayhem as judge after last year’s disgraceful fiasco. But are Standard Bank shareholders really happy to sponsor the ST wine page which has become advertorial space for Reg Lascaris who owns several fat Franschhoek brands and manages the Platter wine label guide for Diners Club (owned by Standard) where he warms a La-Z-Boy as a director.

There was a mini managerial earthquake at Distell last week occasioned by the arrival of Richard Rushton from SABMiller as CEO, with wine reorganized into mass market and posh stuff. A similar reorganization seems to be under way in the Africa beer division at SABMiller with the launch of Chibuku Super. The problem with traditional home-brew fermented maize beers is their propensity to explode like scud missiles (above) if left to their own devices.

As the Financial Times noted “Chibuku Super is made in a way that ‘arrests its fermentation’ and sold in plastic bottles. This gives the beer a shelf life of five weeks, up from five days for its forerunner, the standard Chibuku that SAB Miller continues to sell in cartons. The company thinks that the longer shelf life of Chibuku Super will transform Africa’s informal beer market by enhancing the product’s distribution potential across the continent.”

Distribution is the key to success in marketing alcohol in Africa – indeed everywhere – and this is something SABMiller has got right. In addition to selling $1 a litre non-exploding beer in plastic bottles, perhaps Distell should focus on $1 bottles of wine with an African footprint. Obikwa are nearly there. A revolution in African drinking habits is almost within Richard’s grasp.