2009 February

The search is on for the best vins de pays of 2009, with competition this year expected to be hotter than ever.

Vranken-Pommery has extended its POP Champagne brand with the launch of POP Earth.

Online wine retailer Naked Wines is giving a group of its customers the chance to choose five boutique Australian wines for its list.

Arniston Bay is launching a sparkling rosé wine in the UK.

Scottish microbrewer Brewdog is launching what it claims will be the first mass-market UK-made black lager.

Drinks industry leaders have warned that up to 75,000 jobs could be lost if the government presses ahead with plans to increase alcohol taxes over the next four years.

Vergelegen moves to PLB

25 February, 2009

PLB is to take over the UK agency for the highly-rated South African wine producer Vergelegen on April 1.

Greene King gets Red Tractor

24 February, 2009

Greene King has become the first brewer to be given Red Tractor accreditation for all of its beers.

Smirnoff launches 50cl bottle

24 February, 2009

A 50cl Smirnoff red bottle is being trialled in the cash and carry and convenience sectors from March.

Once-in-a-lifetime wine lots are being auctioned off at Berry Bros & Rudd for Wine Relief.

More wine drinkers are becoming aware of Fairtrade products, even if the number of people buying them is not significantly increasing.

Gallo has grown its UK sales to more than 5.3 million 9-litre cases over the past year, despite tough trading conditions, the company has announced.

Carlsberg has posted some bullish results – suggesting it may have got the better part of the bargain when it divided up the Scottish & Newcastle business with Heineken.

Heineken hit by UK beer slump

19 February, 2009

Heineken has admitted that it does not expect the Scottish & Newcastle business to contribute to its profits for four years.

Police in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, have asked all off-licences in the town centre not to sell alcohol to anyone under 21, in a bid to stop drinks getting into the hands of under-age drinkers.

Harveys in Fashion Week link

18 February, 2009

Harveys sherry is sponsoring the fashion label PPQ’s participation in London Fashion Week.

The Gabbiano Tuscan wine brand has signed up TV chefs Giancarlo and Katie Caldesi as brand ambassadors for a second year in 2009.

New-look for Monopole Blue Top

17 February, 2009

Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top NV has been given a new-look to emphasise its premium credentials.

New look and taste for Kaliber

17 February, 2009

Kaliber, the beer which helped to launch the non-alcoholic category when it first appeared in 1983, has been reformulated by Diageo.

Constellation will be bottling all its high-volume Australian wines in the UK after opening a state-of-the-art bottling and warehousing hub in Avonmouth, near Bristol.

Italian wine producer Piccini has is rebranding its portfolio as Piccini Tuscany in the UK off-trade.

The Co-operative is using the whole ad break in Coronation Street tonight (Feb 16) to launch a £70 million brand campaign highlighting its ethical approach to business, including its commitment to Fairtrade.

Jameson is launching a limited edition silver bottle decorated with Celtic-inspired shapes to celebrate St Patrick's Day on March 17.

Despite "difficult" trading conditions in the UK, Spain and Italy, Pernod Ricard has achieved double-digit profit growth in Europe in the second half of 2008.

1m fund to fight alcohol harm

13 February, 2009

The Drinkaware Trust has launched a £1 million fund to encourage community groups with issues to raise awareness of the harm caused by alcohol misuse.

Diageo has described its performance in Britain as “relatively strong” despite seeing net sales slip by 1% in the second half of 2008.

The Association of Convenience Stores has outlined the problem of retail crime in a presentation to the Conservative Retail Crime Commission.

It’s understood that Scottish microbrewer Brewdog has dropped planned legal action against the Portman Group and its chief executive in the row over its Speedball ale.

Brewdog to sue watchdog

09 February, 2009

Scottish microbrewer Brewdog is threatening legal action for defamation against the Portman Group over comments made by chief executive David Poley.

Thierry’s buys out KWV stake

09 February, 2009

Wine importer Thierry’s has bought out a stake in the company held by South African producer.