Alcohol and the F&B Industry – A Global Perspective

About the Episode

The history of alcohol in the U.S. is varied and influences the F&B sector nationwide. International business advisor and beverage industry expert Alain Barbet gives a global perspective on the alcoholic beverage industry and trends in the U.S. The discussion includes views on alcohol around the world, differences in attitude and consumption in Europe vs. the U.S., differences in regulations and distribution within the U.S., the impact of premiumization, and the megatrend of craft food and beverage products.

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In this Episode

0:53 What is the history of alcohol distribution in the United States, and how is it managed currently?
3:40 What are the three tiers of the alcohol distribution system?
6:08 How does the U.S. compare to other countries with regard to the sale and distribution of alcohol?
8:16 What is the role that alcohol plays in society and in business, specifically in the U.S.? What impact does this have on the distribution of alcohol?
13:02 What are some of the differences in the consumption of alcohol around the world?
17:25 Regarding international distribution, what are the tariff levels imposed on alcohol?
19:20 What is the concept of premiumization, and how is it applied in the alcohol sector?
25:30 How much difference is there from state to state in the U.S. in regulations on the sale and distribution of alcohol?
34:37 Why is cannabis under FDA regulation while alcohol is under the regulation of the Bureau of ATF?
40:01 Is alcoholism on the decline, or is it not talked about as much in the media?
46:38 What is the megatrend of craft products, especially beer, wine, and spirits?
49:10 Where will the future head for the sale of alcohol within the United States?

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Acronyms or Terms Used in This Episode

  • On-premise – anywhere a person can purchase and consume alcohol without buying a full bottle, such as in a bar or restaurant.
  • Off-premise – when alcohol is purchased somewhere and then taken to be consumed elsewhere.
  • FDA – U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • Bureau of ATF – U.S. Government Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

Meet Our Guest

Alain Barbet

Alain Barbet

Managing Director of Hugo Ventures, LLC

Alain Barbet is presently the , an advisory and investment firm he founded in 2009. Hugo Ventures partners with new and existing companies to provide strategic guidance and access to capital resources. He serves as an advisor, investor, and board member with several established and formative-stage companies.

Alain was a Senior Vice President at Fiserv between 2013 and late 2022 when he retired from the company. Before that, Alain’s career spanned 15 years in leadership roles in the Beverage industry, first with Pernod-Ricard, then with the Spirits Division of Palm Bay International, and then with Berentzen Gmbh.

Alain is a dual citizen of France and the United States and holds an MSc in Management from Essec business school in Paris. He is also a Columbia Business School alumnus.

In 2011, Mr. Barbet was awarded the title of Chevalier (Knight) in the Ordre National du Mérite, a national order under the oversight of the French Legion of Honor, given by the President of France to individuals having served the country through outstanding civil or military achievements.

Location Location: New Jersey

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