2013 May

Bargain Booze has declared its intention to be taken more seriously as a wine retailer by signing up a former Waitrose MW to review its range.

The lager category has been battered from pillar to post in recent years by a rising duty escalator, miserable weather, falling volumes and the rise of cider and golden ale.

The organiser of last week’s London International Wine Fair said feedback following its most “challenging” event had been positive, with UK agents keen to sign up for 2014 despite a drop in visitor numbers.

Vagabond Wines has outlined its ambitions to create a 10-strong chain of wine shops with its second site opening in the autumn.

The gulf between the richest and poorest companies in drinks supply is widening.

A growing base of independent retailers selling premium products will lead the drinks trade out of the recession, according to leading suppliers.

Blogs, PR campaigns and other content outside the remit of the Advertising Standards Agency will now come under scrutiny from the Portman Group, which published the latest edition of its Code of Practice today.

Accountants have been appointed to investigate the conduct of the directors at Thierry’s and report on the cause of its collapse.

Tesco said it “did some really good business” at the London International Wine Fair after meeting more than 100 suppliers at a speed-tasting event.

The industry jargon is “fractional bottles”. In spirits, this has traditionally meant 35cl, the orthodox half-bottle size. For wine, a half-bottle means 37.5cl – an unfashionable size for decades that is starting to make a comeback.

Misconceptions about technological advances in bulk shipping and UK bottling are preventing the industry taking advantage of cost savings and offering better quality wines, it has been claimed.

How conservative is the wine busisness? Less than it once was is the obvious answer, at least in the UK. When I started writing about the subject in the mid-1980s, a pinstriped suit and a tie were de rigueur at tastings, and that was just for the women. The New World was all but ignored – it was famously covered in a morning at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust – and innovation was frowned upon. It was a world of claret, Burgundy, port, sherry, Rioja, Hock and Moselle.

Brewery workers at Molson Coors in Burton upon Trent have voted to strike.

Retailers should stock sweeter wines, push smaller serves and give shelf space to low-calorie wines to boost sales among young adults, according to analyst firm Mintel.

Global Brands  has launched 20cl and 50cl bottles of its herbal liqueur Jungfrau into the off-trade to capitalise on the momentum it is gaining in the on-trade.

A limited-edition bottle of Harveys Bristol Cream has been released to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. 

Carlsberg Citrus has made its TV debut in a new version of the Crate Escape campaign which sees men trying to break out of a remote health spa to smuggle in a crate of beer.

Heineken has signed up cricket legend Jimmy Anderson to front a campaign for Strongbow as part of its Earn It advertising push.

Bordeaux Wines is hoping to appeal to food lovers with a series of tie-ups at UK festivals this summer.

Exhibitors have given the London International Wine Fair a ringing endorsement after 10,200 buyers and experts visited to try wines from across the globe.

Carlsberg is investing £6 million in a TV ad campaign and social media drive for the San Miguel Fresca lager it released to take on the might of Corona and Sol.

Merrydown has released a 6% abv medium cider in 50cl bottles in a bid to broaden the appeal of the brand.

Wines of Brazil aims to increase UK exports by 300% in the next three years.

Piper- Heidsieck’s new brand ambassador has pledged to travel across the UK to educate the trade about its wines and the Champagne category in general as supplier First Drinks ramps up its investment in the brand.

An Oscar-winning cinematographer has been drafted in to add style to the upcoming TV ad from Stella Artois Cidre.

New supplier Blends is on a mission to make Uruguay the next big country in the UK wine market by pushing wines from its 200ha vineyard in Maldonaldo into the off-trade.

The Winery Exchange has released a range of 5.5% abv wine-based RTDs into the off-trade.

Heineken has added a Dark Fruit flavor variant to the Strongbow line-up and it will be exclusive to the off-trade from June.

When the London International Wine Fair closes its doors at Excel next Wednesday evening it will mark the end of a short and not particularly distinguished era in the show’s 33-year history.

Selfridges promises its customers “an Aladdin’s cave of new, boutique, exclusive one-off products and gifts” after opening a new wine store.