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Weekly Round Up, August 12, 2014

Published on Aug 11 2014 2:19 PM

Weekly Round Up, August 12, 2014

Four Irish graduates have been appointed by Tullamore Dew to work as brand ambassadors in the US. The four will arrive later this month for an 18-month programme combining an international business diploma and a work placement promoting Irish whiskey. “We are delighted to welcome these exceptionally talented recruits in to the Tullamore Dew team,” said Caspar MacRae, global brand director, Tullamore Dew. “This is a very exciting year for us with the opening of our new distillery this September and the brand going from strength to strength around the world.” The new distillery is due to open next month in Tullamore, bringing whiskey production back to the town for the first time in 60 years. The €35 million plant will produce around 1.5 million cases of triple distilled pot still and malt whiskeys per year.

A rival bid from Florida-based juice maker Cutrale Group and Brazilian investment firm Safra Group could scupper the creation of the ChiquitaFyffes conglomerate, it was reveled yesterday. Cutrale and Safra have offered $13 per share in cash for the Chiquita business, valuing the company at $610.5 million, adding that the deal is subject to the "termination of the Fyffes transaction agreement". The $1 billion merger of Chiquita and Fyffes, which was to be domiciled in Ireland, passed a major regulatory hurdle in the US in June, however the new offer on the table casts doubt as to whether the deal will go ahead.

Tesco Ireland has revealed that it raised €2 million for its chosen charity since 2012. The supermarket chain has just ended its partnership with Aware, which had been voted for by the firm’s 15,000 employees. The funds raised by Tesco Ireland’s employees and customers have been used to support Aware’s ‘Beat the Blues’ educational programme in schools across the nation. Funding has also gone to its 'Life Skills' programme, which aims to teach participants how to manage feelings of stress, worry or anxiety. “We are hugely appreciative to the colleagues, management and customers of Tesco for their support and dedication to raising funds for Aware over the past two years,” Aware clinical director Dr Claire Hayes said. Tesco Ireland corporate affairs director Christine Heffernan said, “Although our formal partnership with Aware has now come to an end, we will continue to work with them to support their fundraising activities going forward.” She added that the retailer will announce its next chosen charity in the coming weeks.

The €3.5 million Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny opened its doors last week. Situated in an old Victorian building on Parliament Street in Kilkenny, the attraction allows visitors to experience the origins of brewing at the St Francis Abbey Brewery on a journey that takes them from the Middle Ages to the modern day. “Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny has been modelled on the Guinness Storehouse, Ireland’s number one international visitor attraction,” Mark McGovern, manager, told Business & Leadership. “It is an engaging experience that will provide an interactive way of understanding the amazing history of an iconic brand and its brewing credentials. Gary Breen of Fáilte Ireland said, “We are delighted to welcome this fantastic new addition to the cultural city of Kilkenny. We believe that it will become one of Ireland’s leading attractions and further cement the South East on the Irish tourist trail.”

Volume sales of Guinness in North America dropped 6% in the year ending June 30, according to its manufacturer Diageo. Diageo claimed competition from craft beers and a weak demand in bars and restaurants were at the root of the decline. After a 2% fall in the previous year, Diageo is launching a fight back by launching a range of unconventional Guinness drinks, including Guinness Blonde American Lager. This will be brewed in Pennsylvania, using yeast from Dublin, and is expected to become a permanent part of the Guinness range. This is not the first time Guinness has 'gone blonde' in the US market. In the late 1980s, Guinness Gold was launched to great fanfare, but the lager never attracted a following and was discontinued within five years. 

Ireland’s largest sandwich maker, Freshways, has been revamped with a new brand identity. Under new management, the firm asked London-based agency wonderlandWPA to develop new branding that emphasised quality ingredients, local suppliers, taste and freshness. The new branding uses an “F” made up of many of the ingredients that go into the company’s sandwiches. This icon will appear across the range, which has also been segmented into four parts - Classics, Big Eats, Lighter and Chef’s Specials. Each of these will have its own identifier and graphics, in order to differentiate them from each other. The new branding will soon be rolling out onto more products, as well as the Freshways website and vehicle liveries.

Plans to build a €100 million shopping centre on the outskirts of Limerick City have been met with a formal objection from a group of local retailers. The Limerick City Business Association (LCBA) asked a planning consultancy firm to prepare a comprehensive objection to the proposed development near the Parkway Shopping Centre. "All the main retailers in the city have signed up to this," according to Helen O’Donnell, Chairperson, LCBA, talking with BreakingNews. Meanwhile, Councillor Kevin Sheehan, the Chair of Limerick City & County Council, has publicly supported the planned construction, though the ultimate decision is in the hands of the council's planning department.

90% of Mandate trade union members at Marks & Spencer (M&S) have backed new proposals to realign the Section Manager function. The proposals were made in the company due to challenges M&S is currently facing in the Irish market. In line with the proposals, Section Managers will be offered a voluntary redundancy package. If there are no volunteers then employees will be selected according to criteria agreed with the union. Section Managers also have the option of being reassigned to the position of Sales Advisor. Jonathan Hogan, Mandate Industrial Officer said, “As always, it is our intention to protect jobs and to protect terms and conditions of employment and we believe together with the members we have achieved the best possible outcome. [...] A number of stores were not impacted by the cuts such as Athlone, Blackrock, Clarion Quay, Drogheda, Killarney and Letterkenny. However, in the stores affected, and after successful and intense negotiations between Management and the Mandate National Negotiating Team, the headcount required was reduced to a minimum”.

© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Genna Patterson and Nathan Evans.

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