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.

Music lovers attending the charity gig put on by wine trade supergroup Skin Côntact at London’s Vinopolis next month can enjoy tasting around 50 Côtes du Rhône wines.

Sogrape UK has taken on Meursault specialist Ropiteau Frères and will distribute its wines from across Burgundy and southern France.

Bibendum PLB has added New Zealand producer Ara Wines to its portfolio.

Belgian craft brewer Duvel Moortgat will launch its recently-acquired Kansas City brewer Boulevard at the Craft Beer Rising held in London on February 19-22.

Five of New Zealand's most awarded breweries have joined forces in a bid to bring the best beer the country produces to UK shelves.  

Italian supplier Caviro is offering shoppers the chance to win a trip for two to Florence in a new on-pack promotion.

Retailers, wholesalers, producers and TV stars are throwing their weight behind the campaign to convince George Osborne to announce a 2% cut on wine duty in the next month’s Budget.

Carlsberg is resurrecting its “probably the best” tagline for a new burst of TV advertising.

Maxxium takes on new brands

16 February, 2015

Maxxium UK has taken over distribution of single malt Scotch whiskies Auchentoshan, Bowmore and Glen Garioch, Japanese whiskies Hibiki, Yamazaki and Hakushu and melon liqueur Midori.

Suppliers have accused Tesco of making unreasonable demands after the supermarket told them to cut prices or make additional investments to keep listings.

Saltaire Brewery has created a range of beers for consumers looking for more intense flavours.

Morrisons has become the second of the big supermarkets to slash its wine range as it cuts slow-selling lines and declutters shelves, OLN has learned.

Gin sales are booming in the UK off-trade as shoppers seek out premium, boutique and unusual gins, an OLN survey has revealed.

Marston’s deputy managing director James Coyle is set to join Innis & Gunn as non-executive director.

Rising consumer demand for premium spirits has seen Pernod Ricard grow value sales by 7% in the UK off-trade (Nielsen, six months to January 2015).

Wine Australia is ramping up its focus on the UK and particularly retailers that champion fine wine, according to the generic body’s new general manager.

The average retail price of a bottle of New Zealand wine has surged 6% to £7.33, quashing fears that a record harvest in 2014 would push down prices.

New Zealand and English sparkling wines are to go head-to-head in a blind tasting competition to coincide with the start of cricket’s World Cup.

AB-Inbev UK has added Peach and Elderflower flavours to its Stella Artois Cidre portfolio.

Portuguese wine producer Sogrape is changing the name of its UK subsidiary distributor Stevens Garnier.

WKD has renewed its sponsorship of The Only Way Is Essex on the free-to-air ITV Be channel.

Virgin Wines has reported a 20% increase in like-for-like sales in December with Champagne and Prosecco among the biggest boosts to business.

Pernod Ricard’s UK head and the new chair of the Wine and Spirits Trade Association Denis O’Flynn has called on the trade to back the campaign for a 2% duty cut and help create 20,000 jobs.

There is still time to register for OLN’s Think Gin event, where you can join retailers from the likes of Waitrose, Harrods and Hedonism to debate the spirits market’s hottest category.

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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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