2010 February

First Drinks has revamped both the liquid and packaging for its Sailor Jerry spiced rum.

Former chairman of London wine merchant Berry Bros & Rudd Anthony Berry passed away on February 23.

A leading economist has warned that minimum pricing in Scotland could lead to cross-border shopping.

Blossom Hill, the UK's top-selling wine brand, is being extended with the launch of a Californian Pinot Grigio.

Organised crime is playing a “significant” role in alcohol fraud, a government minister has admitted.

Football supporters are to be given the chance to have their own ads around Wembley as the winning team lifts the trophy in this weekend's Carling Cup Final.

Diageo cut its global advertising budget by 5% in the half-year to December 31, taking advantage of price deflation in the advertising market to get more for its money.

Brand Phoenix is hoping to expand the lower-alcohol wine market with a 5.5% abv extension of its First Cape brand.

Halewood International is rolling out four new brands in a bid to capture a bigger slice of the spirits market.

Some of the industry’s biggest players have withdrawn from this year’s London International Wine Fair amid pressure to cut costs and review their investment programmes.

Foster’s ups wine prices

22 February, 2010

Foster’s has been forced to increase the price of some of its wines as the UK pound continues to crash against the Australian dollar, threatening margins.

Tesco has been forced to clear its shelves of high-strength beers, ciders and lagers at one of its newly opened Express outlets, and has been told it will be prosecuted if it reinstates them.

Oddbins’ buying team has undergone a reshuffle following the departure of buyer Julie Buckley.

In Brief

19 February, 2010

WSTA argues against tax hike?The Wine & Spirit Trade Association is urging the Treasury to resist further tax rises on alcohol in this year’s Budget. In its Budget submission, it said increases in tax of more than 20% for wine and 15% for spirits over the past two years had contributed to widespread job losses in the drinks industry. WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles said: “Enough is enough. We know the public finances are in difficulty, but pushing up prices with higher taxes does nothing to help British consumers or businesses battling to recover from the recession.”??Drinks buck retail sales trend?January saw the worst retail sales growth for 15 years, according to figures released by the British Retail Consortium. Sales value rose by just 1.2%, compared with January 2009, and there was a 0.7% fall on a like-for-like basis. Food and drink retailers fared better than most, however, with a 4.3% increase for the quarter from November to January and a 2.5% like-for-like rise. The BRC blamed the cold weather for the sluggish new year sales.

In Brief

19 February, 2010

New labelling for De Bortoli?Australian wine firm De Bortoli has brought out new packaging for its Deen Vat series of wines. De Bortoli said the labels were designed to communicate the company’s family heritage and make it easier for consumers to differentiate between varieties. The first wines to be revamped are Vat 4, Petit Verdot, Vat 7 Chardonnay, Vat 11 Pinot Grigio and Vat 12 Sangiovese, which are all sold by Oddbins.

A pick-up in pre-Christmas UK Champagne sales helped the French region restore some respectability to its 2009 export figures.

Customs seizes illicit alcohol

19 February, 2010

HM Revenue & Customs officers in the West Midlands seized a massive stash of alcohol from an off-licence in Oldbury.

New trade body offers training

19 February, 2010

A training scheme to help retailers and bar staff refuse service to drunks before situations get out of hand has been launched by a new industry body.

Visitors to the London International Wine Fair will have the first opportunity to taste wines from the new Vins de France category.

The winner of the Neighbourhood Off-licence of the Year title at OLN’s Drinks Retailing Awards is donating its prize money to charity.

Anne Burchett, former managing director of Castel UK, has been appointed managing director of Sopexa’s UK and Ireland offices.

No plans to move’

19 February, 2010

Diageo has refused to rule out moving its headquarters out of the UK.

The Yellow Tail Australian wine brand has switched its UK agency from independent distributor Off?-Piste Wines to Diageo-owned Percy Fox.

English winemakers have been given a welcome boost following the launch of the training initiative Wineskills last week.The scheme, which is funded by the EU and DEFRA, and managed by Plumpton College, has been set up to offer grape growers and winemakers practical workshops, monthly master?classes with international speakers and a mentoring scheme designed to “ensure the sustainable growth of the industry”.

Fine wine starts with Bordeaux

19 February, 2010

The hype in Bordeaux began before a single grape had been crushed. The 2009 harvest, according to several ch?ateau owners, was one of the finest they’d ever seen. Seasoned Bordeaux watchers could be forgiven for rolling their eyes towards the back of their heads here. The world’s leading fine wine region seems to declare a “vintage of the century” at least twice a decade.

Early indications suggest the 2009 Bordeaux vintage could be “spectacular”, according to Berry Bros & Rudd, whose sales director Simon Staples has had exclusive access to some of the wines.

Casillero del Diablo has added a 2008 Malbec to its range.

Heading

19 February, 2010

Chile’s VIA Wines has appointed Hallgarten Druitt to handle its Oveja Negra brand.

In brief

19 February, 2010

Chilean wine firm Errazuriz has introduced 20% lighter bottles for its premium red wine range. The bottles will be used for all Max Reserva range and single vineyard reds in the Specialities range from the 2008?vintage, which will hit UK shelves in the spring. Errazuriz is represented by Hatch Mansfield in the UK.

WOSA opts for lightweight

19 February, 2010

?South Africa is making concerted efforts to reduce the weight of its wine bottles.