Wines of Portugal said it has increased exports to the UK by 23% in the past year after targeting independent wine merchants.

Advertising regulators are planning to take action to prevent children being exposed to alcohol marketing on social media.

The Chancellor announced a duty cut on beer, cider and spirits in today’s Budget speech.

The soaring popularity of craft beer and e-cigarettes has been recognised by the Office for National Statistics, which added them to the virtual shopping basket it uses to measure UK inflation.

Scottish brewer Innis & Gunn has launched its first-ever outdoor advertising campaign in its hometown to remind drinkers: “when in Rome, drink Italian lager…but you’re in Edinburgh”.

Wine Australia’s new UK head Laura Jewell MW claims the country is on the brink of a renaissance as it “bounces back” with new wines and an increasingly favourable currency for export.

Wines of South Africa has sold 95% of exhibitor space for trade fair Cape Wine, six months before it begins in Cape Town.

Tesco wine boss Dan Jago is rumoured to be in the frame for the top job at Majestic, Off Licence News can exclusively reveal.

Origin Wines has appointed Barry Dick MW to consult on its supply base.

The Scotch Whisky Association blamed excessive taxation after revealing the UK market for 70cl bottles of Scotch declined by almost 5% in 2014.

Ridgeview revamps range

12 March, 2015

English sparkling wine producer Ridgeview has given its entire range a makeover to mark its 20th anniversary this year.

Heineken has launched a pair of colourful drinks in a bid to draw more young adults into the beer and cider category.

Hogs Back Brewery has won listings for Montezuma’s chocolate lager and Hogstar craft lager Tesco and Booths.

Retailers, lawyers and the tobacco industry have condemned the Government’s decision to introduce plain packaging on cigarettes across the UK next year.

The advertising watchdog has dismissed a complaint from Alcohol Concern arguing that a Heineken TV ad encouraged excessive drinking and linked alcohol to social and sexual success.

Mark Riley takes top role

Maxxium appoints new boss

10 March, 2015

Maxxium is promoting off-trade sales director Mark Riley to managing director after Huw Pennell left the position to take on a new role at parent company Edrington.

Scottish supplier Inverarity Morton is aiming to cash in on the upcoming barbecue season with the launch of a range of wines called The Pitmaster.

Trade bodies are ramping up their lobbying of parliamentary candidates by urging them to push for a duty cut on beers, wines and spirits.

A House of Lords committee has put minimum pricing back on the agenda, pressuring the UK government to fulfill its 2012 pledge to introduce the measure. 

Villa Maria is launching a range of 9% abv wines in the UK market after the New Zealand government teamed up with producers to position the country as the world leader for lower alcohol wines.

A convenience store expert who has taken on 36 of the 37 stores Conviviality Retail bought from GT News last month believes off-licence owners can look forward to a golden future.

Tesco wine boss Dan Jago has spoken of his “delight” at support from the trade after his return to the retailer – and says he is pleased to be back.

Politicians have heaped further pressure on the Competition & Markets Authority to ensure retailers are not being forced to sign up to illegal Reducing the Strength schemes.

Politicians have heaped further pressure on the Competition & Markets Authority to ensure retailers are not being forced to sign up to illegal Reducing the Strength schemes.

Oddbins is moving beyond its wine heritage with the opening of a craft beer shop as it trials new formats to accelerate expansion.

Improved freight costs and favourable currency movements mean that, for the first time in years, UK retailers will not be charged more for wine in 2015, according to a leading supplier.

Molson Coors has pledged to ramp up its focus on the convenience channel after admitting beer and cider suppliers have not done enough to capitalise on the growing segment of the market.

Jane, Nick and Charlotte Oakley

Independent wine merchants will have a field day selling Portuguese wine after supermarkets cut ranges to compete with discounters, according to a leading supplier.

Pernod Ricard has affirmed its commitment to the Jacob’s Creek brand but said it will persist with a premiumisation strategy despite volume sales falling 15% (Nielsen, six months to January 2015).

Three hundred beers from around the globe will be on offer at a new Brighton store built from recycled and reclaimed materials from the local area.

Leading trade associations have teamed up to offer guidance and support for retailers asked to strip shelves of beer and cider above a certain abv as part of a Reducing the Strength scheme.

The organisers of the London Wine Fair have promised the May event will be the most diverse in its 35 year history and claim to have sold nearly all the exhibitor slots.

Champagne shipments to the UK grew 6.1% in 2014, cementing Britain’s position as the regions top export market, according to new Champagne Bureau figures.

Robert Parker believes that nobody will ever dominate wine criticism like he has again, but played down his ability to make or break brands.

Californian producer Gallo is seeking to win over young British adults that are scared of wine with a host of new fruity, easy-drinking, low-alcohol wines.

Thieves broke into the warehouse at Bolney Wines Estate in West Sussex and made off with around 5,000 bottles of wine.

Diageo is launching Pimm’s Strawberry with a Hint of Mint and backing the new variant with a “six-figure” ad campaign.

Suppliers welcome Jago return

26 February, 2015

Suppliers have supported the return of Dan Jago to Tesco's BWS division after the supermarket decided to reinstate him following an investigation. 

Robert Parker has said that he will never retire, despite handing over duties for scoring and reviewing en primeur Bordeaux to protégé Neal Martin.

The world's most famous wine critic has thrown his weight behind Black Forest craft gin brand Monkey 47. 

New wines and vintages from 126 producers representing 11 different Portuguese regions will be poured at a trade tasting in London on March 5.

A lone franchisee is to take on 36 of the 37 off-licences that Bargain Booze owner Conviviality Retail bought from GT News last month.

Carlsberg UK has launched three new flavour variants of its Somersby cider brand to capitalise on a fruit cider market that is growing 30% in the off-trade (Nielsen, year to January 31).

The newly-launched Glenlivet Founder's Reserve will replace Glenlivet 12 Year Old as the brand's entry-level expression in the UK by June. 

The newly-launched Glenlivet Founder's Reserve will replace Glenlivet 12 Year Old as the brand's entry-level expression in the UK by June. 

Australian Vintage has seen sales in the UK and Europe grow 20% in the half-year to December 31, largely thanks to growth in the McGuigan brand, the company has reported.

Majestic chief executive Steve Lewis has resigned his position with immediate effect and retired from the board after spending 29 years with the business.

Brockmans Gin has reported 78% sales growth in 2014 compared to the previous year, and said it plans to build on this by targeting 20,000 consumers at the Gin Festival.

Concha y Toro has signed a three-year deal to make Chilean brand Cono Sur the official wine of the Tour de France cycling championship.

Fine wine buyers can benefit from a new self-contained area at the London Wine Fair that is dedicated to wines with a rrp of £30 and above.

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COMMENT

Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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