The white spirits industry in the UK is the largest in Europe and is home to the biggest brands in the world. The sector is growing very sharply and has recorded a growth of nearly 30 % in the last five years. Britons can possibly speak with pride of one indigenous industry where the growth rate matches that of China! This significant spurt in drinking, while good for the sales figures and profits of the big alcohol companies is causing serious concern to responsible citizens as well as to alcohol control lobbies who fear an increase in alcohol abuse and related social problems.
This assignment examines the broad boundaries of the white spirits industry in the UK, the current business environment and issues of import to the industry, and the extent of research material available to conduct a far more detailed analysis of specific industry issues. The sources used for this assignment, some of which have been used for in-text citations have been listed in the bibliography at the end of the assignment. 1. Boundaries of the White Spirits Industry of the UK. The White Spirits industry is an important component of the alcohol industry.
While it does share production processes and markets with the wider liquor business, it has always been differentiated from other coloured spirits, wine and beer and considered to be a separate entity. An industry can of course be defined as “a set of organisations that produce similar products or services, using similar technologies and sell these into similar markets”. This definition is perhaps a trifle inadequate in todays essentially globalised, perpetually dynamic and technologically volatile business scenario.
There are a number of industries in which organisations use sharply different technologies and processes for the same end product and sell them into totally different markets. The mobile phone industry is one such stark example where technologies and markets are changing every day. Even for traditional and uncomplicated products like white spirits, the industry, apart from sharing similar production processes, is also bound together by specific legislation as well as by advertising and marketing restrictions that could be official or self imposed.
The white spirits industry has traditional production processes that are more or less similar for all industry members. However individual companies do have their own production norms and processes that are used to differentiate their products from their competitors. The industry deals with specific products. “The main `white spirits’ sold in the UK are vodka, gin, white rum and tequila. ” (White Spirits, 2006) Product boundaries are specifically demarcated. The product range does not however include spirits like whisky or rum nor does it include other alcoholic products like cream liqueur, wine or beer.
Very interestingly, white wine, even though it is colourless is not included in the range of white spirits. The market for white spirits is also specifically demarcated and the clientele is restricted to adults; sales of the product not being permitted to specific age groups. The industry also has specific advertising restrictions. Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Association have a certain amount of control on the industry and these also create boundaries.
Apart from these, it would naturally be assumed that references to the White Spirits Industry of the UK will include white spirits produced and sold inside the United Kingdom. Production and Sales volumes for the industry would thus be analysed with regard to the amount produced and sold within the UK. Analysis of sales and marketing efforts for the industry in the UK would certainly need to consider current and proposed anti alcoholic legislation in the UK as well as locally applicable advertising constraints.