2018 December

Combined sales of sparkling wine and Champagne have reached a record high in 2018, with almost £2.2 billion worth of fizz sold, according to the Wine & Spirit Trade Association.

York Brewery has been bought out of administration by Masham-based Black Sheep.

Home cocktail making spurred a massive surge in sales of liqeuers in the off-trade during the summer, according to latest figures from the Wine & Spirit Trade Association.

Gin sales in the UK this year reached almost £2 billion, which is nearly double the amount sold in 2016, the year dubbed ‘Year of Gin’.

Stock Spirits, the Central and Eastern European branded spirits and liqueurs business, will move its UK distribution to The Drinks Company as of January 1, 2019.

Scientists in Scotland have identified samples of rare whiskies with a combined market value of £635,000 to be fakes.

Warwickshire brewer Purity has created a gin in collaboration with Terry Langton, owner of Liverpool Craft Beer Co and subsequent founder of the city’s Turncoat distillery.

Off-Piste Wines has revealed plans to expand its Most Wanted Wines sparkling range in 2019, following “a great year” for the brand in the off-trade.

Budweiser is to be brewed with renewable electricity following a deal between ABInbev and European solar energy company, Lightsource BP.

Thatchers has added two West Country style ciders to its Cider Barn collection for 2019.

Berry Bros & Rudd has appointed Matt Smith as one of its wine buyers.

Diageo is piloting a new Amazon Alexa Skill to inspire consumers to 'think, talk and try' Scotch at home this festive season.

Diageo Reserve has officially launched Belsazar Vermouth after acquiring the brand from Distill Ventures earlier this year.

Square Root Soda is launching its Non-Alcoholic Gin & Tonic in January 2019.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has granted awards to thirteen projects set up to tackle alcohol misuse in Scotland.

Neil Ellis Wines has appointed Gonzalez Byass UK as its distributor from February 2019.

Tesco BWS director Rob Cooke has challenged suppliers to bring more genuine innovation to the market in order to maintain a thriving drinks industry.

Lidl UK has revealed the next collection of wines to feature in its Wine Tour series.

Pinkster gin has raised £1.1 million in a round of private financing to allow it to fully capitalise on the pink gin boom.

The Crafty Brewing Company has acquired Guildford-based brewery, The Little Beer Corporation (LBC).

Barefoot has leapfrogged Echo Falls, Blossom Hill and McGuigan to become the second most popular wine brand in the UK off-trade.

Halewood Wines & Spirits, owner of Whitley Neill Gin, Crabbie’s and the Crabbie malt whisky brand, has announced that spirit production has commenced at its new distillery in Edinburgh.

Christmas is arguably the biggest trading period of the year for the off-trade, loaded with significant opportunities for retailers. After all, it is a time of indulgence, hosting, parties and many cosy nights in – people want to make Christmas special and this is reflected in their shopping habits. In fact, last year saw the biggest spend on premium products ever, with £470m spent over the four weeks to Christmas (Kantar).

Another year; another holly, jolly Christmastime. Cue the office parties, the endless playlists of Slade, Chris Rhea, and Shakin’ Stevens, and the desperate search for an appropriate Secret Santa present. And, of course, the mild panic of brands – both big and small – as they contemplate just how they are going to stand out from the crowd during the year’s busiest sales period.  

That Boutique-y Gn Company is introducing a pink gin, which is described as having “a Boutique-y twist on a traditional recipe”.

Jägermeister has launched its shot glass off-trade pack into Tesco stores, while its Yard of Jägermeister concept has been given a refreshed look for Christmas.

Another year; another holly, jolly Christmastime. Cue the office parties, the endless playlists of Slade, Chris Rhea, and Shakin’ Stevens, and the desperate search for an appropriate Secret Santa present. And, of course, the mild panic of brands – both big and small – as they contemplate just how they are going to stand out from the crowd during the year’s busiest sales period.  

John Crabbie & Co has launched two new releases of rare single malt Scotch whisky to add to its range.

Wines of Hungary UK is bringing ‘Furmint February’ to the UK in 2019.

Famille Helfrich, the arm of Les Grand Chais de France dedicated to independent retailers and the premium on-trade, is planning its first portfolio tasting event.