2014 March

Accolade Wines has brought out a new look for its Echo Falls range, the third biggest wine brand in the UK.

Edinburgh gin launches

28 March, 2014

The first gin to be distilled in Edinburgh for 150 years has launched in the Scottish capital.

Baron Philippe de Rothschild has appointed Stevens Garnier as its UK off-trade distributor.

Derek Lewis to chair CAP

28 March, 2014

Community Alcohol Partnerships has named Derek Lewis, former chair of the Drinkaware Trust, as its new chair.

Money-grabbing retailers are destroying public health by using deplorable tactics to entice shoppers to buy ever-increasing amounts of alcohol, according to the UK’s chief medical officer.

The Arran Brewery is planning to set up Scotland’s first sake brewery after buying a five-acre site in Dreghorn, near Kilmarnock, for the purpose. 

Adnams’ Cellar & Kitchen shops saw turnover grow 6% in 2013.

Specialist spirits and liqueurs agency Mangrove is running an on-pack competition to win a spa weekend for two in a UK luxury hotel on bottles of chocolate liqueur Mozart Gold.

Conviviality Retail has opened the first Bargain Booze store in Kent as it seeks to conquer the affluent south east of England.

Carling British Cider has launched a cherry flavour.

Halewood International has launched a strawberry variant of Lambrini.

Australia’s Brown Brothers has launched a range targeted at 22 to 44-year-olds.

The demand for Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is strong enough to ensure a bumper harvest will not push the price down, according to one of New Zealand’s leading producers.

Emporia Brands has launched a range of triple-distilled Irish whiskeys.

The government has scrapped plans to abolish personal licences after a consultation found little support for the move.

Camra chief to head SIBA

24 March, 2014

The Society of Independent Brewers has appointed Campaign for Real Ale chief executive Mike Benner as its new managing director.

The Vinho Verde region has enjoyed a double-digit rise in exports to the UK market in 2013, according to the generic body.

This central Birmingham independent has a plush wine bar upstairs and a wine shop with sampling machines downstairs.

The world in miniature

21 March, 2014

The snacks market has gone mad for sharing sizes over the past few years, but as successive duty hikes have combined with economic and ecological factors to drive prices up, wines and spirits have begun to embrace individual serves.

Inter Rhone is keen to reinvent Cotes du Rhone wine as a premium category after volume sales dropped 3% in the UK in 2013 (IRI).

According to this year’s Good Beer Guide there are 1,147 breweries in the UK, with almost 200 opening in the past year, taking levels to a 70-year high. Established national and local brewers have been joined by exciting start-ups that have helped change the taste, quality and style of the beers we drink. But which one’s best? Only one way to find out ... with the latest in our Hot List poll of leading retailers and opinion-formers in the field.

Kopparberg is looking to strengthen its position with the roll out of several Swedish beers to complement its ciders.

Score a win

21 March, 2014

On any given day 5.5 million pints of Guinness are downed across the globe, but that figure more than doubles to 13 million pints on St Patrick’s Day, according to Diageo sales figures.

Sweet sorrow

21 March, 2014

The wine trade loves Germany. In fact, it’s quite possible that anyone who has tasted even a smallish range of what the country has to offer loves its wines – they’re great quality, they cover pretty much every price point and they come in all shapes and sizes.

Lost in France

21 March, 2014

If you take a stroll down the wine aisles of a British supermarket these days, you’re bound to be struck by the diverse origins of the offering. It’s a veritable United Nations out there, with representatives from Australia, Chile, Spain, the US, Italy and South Africa jostling for shelf space with Austria, Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary and Uruguay. Twenty years ago, the picture would have been different. Those shelves would have held a far scantier range of wines, and would almost certainly have been dominated by one country: France.

Portugal, our oldest trading partner, has everything a holiday-maker could want - beautiful countryside, massive empty golden beaches, Moorish castles and an astonishing seafaring legacy. Yet the country is in a mess. During a recent visit I started wondering what comparisons can be drawn between the UK and our former close ally.

asked a winemaker recently why it was so important for him to sell his wines in the UK. He said it was like New York, New York: if you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere.

Retailer discounts are a parasite on the image of Champagne and must be stopped to ensure the category’s long-term health, according to the Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne.

Heart to Hart

21 March, 2014

Rob Hart’s not really into gimmicky beers. “Old Badger’s Arse and that sort of thing?” he half asks and half laments, shaking his head. The credo of his Harts Family Brewers is to produce good beer, present it well and turn a profit, without being married to a style, whether it’s old-fashioned chestnut bitters aimed at 60-somethings in the golf club or Belgian-style saisons to be sipped by hip young readers of The Chap in Shoreditch craft beer bars.

What if the Scots walk?

21 March, 2014

When Scotland wakes up on September 19, voters will have decided whether to break away from the UK and set out as an independent nation, opening the prospect of differing tax regimes and currencies on each side of the border. Both sides of the political debate are already being hotly discussed, but many issues remain unclear, including the implications for drinks retailers.