Le Beast at LeWeb’08
I read recently in Off License News that American wines have now bested the French in terms of sales here in the UK. Sales have gone from 5% to 17% in the last ten years while in the same time period French wine sales have fallen from 35% to 17% . Good and bad news. The good news is we’re No. 2, behind Australia. The bad news is that the wines that are leading the way are the entry level (read Blossom Hill and others of their ilk) wines. Not the best we have to offer but hey, ever heard of “trading up”? Maybe now that UK consumers are becoming familiar with American wines, they might want to take the next step up.
So are the French just going to rest on their laurels? Apparently, yes. The French state secretary for the internet, Eric Besson was challenged by “Le Beast” recently about what he was going to do about wine advertising on the internet. I know, Le Beast sounds like a bad French knock off of a Hollywood blockbuster but Le Beast is real (well, he’s a furry puppet) and terroirizing (sorry, I couldn’t resist) the French bureaucrats who won’t let French winemakers or wineries advertise on the internet. In effect, they are not allowed to sell alcohol on the internet or have winery websites. Le Beast is the mascot/ambassador for the winegrowers of the Languedoc-Roussillon region who are fighting to change French internet alcohol laws and raise awareness of the region.
When the furry muckraker demanded to know why French winemakers were not allowed to advertise on the internet at the recent LeWeb ’08 conference held in Paris, Monsieur Besson replied that they did not have to advertise because, and I’m not making this up, “they (the wines) are so good, they don’t need to be advertised.” Like they say, with friends like that, who needs enemies?
Here’s hoping Le Beast gets through to those lunkheads in Paris. Check him out jousting with Secretary Besson here