Monday, February 28, 2011

The Not-So-Raw Rakı Deal

via wikipedia

UK based Diageo (Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, José Cuervo, Guinness, etc.) is acquiring Mey İçki in a deal valued at 2.1 billion USD. In Turkey. Yes. Yes, I said billion. For a Turkish company producing anise flavored alcohol.

Are you scratching your head? (Come on, even I was surprised at the figure!) The insanely popular Yeni Rakı (rock-uh) is only part of the reason.

Diageo apparently plans on investing in growth markets to add value for shareholders. The company cites the young, urban, rapidly growing middle class in Turkey as a main factor for choosing Mey. A second reason is that rakı is traditionally consumed with meze, the Turkish equivalent of appetizers or tapas. Can't do that with Johnnie Walker, so it's really an opportunity to pitch other Diageo owned alcoholic beverages to the Turkish market using already established channels. (Huh! A Trojan horse. Except they're using our horse. Hmmm... sneaky.)

Rakı drinkers have also gradually begun try the local vodka (Istanblue is a Mey brand) because people who drink one are likely to imbibe in the other, which is part three of the plan. Diageo wants to cross-sell rakı into Russia. Why not? Good rakı can burn the hair out of your nose just as fast as vodka can. (I can say this because I'm part Polish AND married to a Turk. ;))

Plus, have you seen the tourists in Turkey? Summer clubbing in a resort town is one of the best things in life for a young European. Diageo might like a bigger piece of that!

PS. Turks call rakı aslan sütü (lion's milk) because when mixed with water it turns a milky white and of course it has a bite. If you're writing a book about modern Turkey, you might want to have a scene with some rakı in it.
An aside: I'm not writing posts about alcohol for any particular reason. (*ahem* querying here.) These things keep coming up and I'm very happy Turkey is getting noticed. I just want to share the news. :)

Thought I'd post a couple commercials for you.

Here's a funny one, even if it's overtly made for a male audience.

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Old Kitty said...

I love learning about other countries' favourite spirits. Vodka (of course), ouzo (yum!!), cachaca (just discovered!!) and now RAKI!!!

I'm so intrigued with how it becomes lion's milk when added to water...!! Lovely!! Yay for Turkey! Take care

Southpaw said...

I love when you write about local stuff. Nice flavor--get it. ;)

Deniz Bevan said...

Interesting! I wish I liked rakı but I just don't like anything with a black licorice flavour.
And I don't even get to use it in my novel - imagine, writing about Istanbul without mentioning rakı, coffee or tea! 1492 was a difficult year...

Trisha said...

Where did your latest entry go?? You posted Labyrinth stuff! I wanted to gush about that :P

Carolyn Abiad said...

Sorry guys! Blogger has been making me crazy today. First comment issues and then I posted unintentionally. Labyrinths are Wednesday's topic. :)

LTM said...

whee! Fun stuff! I personally, can't stand the flavor of licorice, but I got a big giggle out of your nose comment followed by the Polish married to Turk. :D

sigh. This post is making me think of B.A.~ :D

Missed Periods said...

Well, if Diageo is looking to spend money and they're interested in Turkey's growing middle class, with your knowledge of Turkey, you should be able to come up with something to pitch them. I get 10%.

Jules said...

AAHH, clubbing, alcohol, and Tapas; man that has a potential story line :)

Trying to work my way up to Wednesday I had one of those trojan's yesterday afternoon laid on my PC.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

KatOwens: Insect Collector said...


Hart Johnson said...

2.1 BILLION is a LOT! So how close is that stuff in flavor to Ouzo? That is what it reminded me off (turning white when chilled). Now they will just have to remember to jump OUT of the horse.

...Then Galahad, Lancelot and I, jump OUT of the wooden rabbit...

Matthew MacNish said...

How in the world did I miss this one?


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