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BARS and pubs have not usually been the non-drinker's friend. Knocking back pint after pint of juice or fizzy drink quickly gets boring. But beverage manufacturers are now showing more sympathy for their plight. Many companies regard non-alcoholic drinks as the “biggest opportunity in the market”, says Frank Lampen, who runs Distill Ventures, which helps small producers with investment and advice, and is backed by Diageo, a British drinks giant.One of the fund's recent investments, for example, is in Seedlip, a British firm that makes distilled, non-alcoholic “spirits” flavoured with botanicals, and which last year launched in America. Low-alcohol beer, once maligned for its paucity of flavour, is also in fashion. Technological advances mean alcohol can be filtered out of the beer without ruining its taste; other breweries use “lazy” yeast, which produces less alcohol to start with. Over the past couple of years, non-alcoholic craft breweries, such as Nirvana Brewery in London, or...Continue reading
EVERY good horror-film director knows the secret of the “jump scare”. Just when the hero or heroine feels safe, the monster appears from nowhere to startle them. The latest stockmarket shock could have been directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The sharp falls that took place on February 2nd and 5th followed a long period where the only direction for share prices appeared to be upwards.In fact the American market had risen so far, so fast that the decline only took share prices back to where they were at the start of the year (see chart). And although a 1,175-point fall in the Dow Jones Industrial Average on February 5th was the biggest ever in absolute terms, it was still smallish beer in proportionate terms, at just 4.6%. The 508-point fall in the Dow in October 1987 knocked nearly 23% off the market.