Scotch whisky exports remained flat at £4.3 billion in 2013 as surging sales in the USA made up for declines in Asian markets.

A new Bargain Booze ad debuts on ITV tonight after the retailer decided to shout about the range of deals it is offering its shoppers over Easter.

Eight retailers have been chosen to visit the Golden State on a wine buying trip in a promotion run by OLN and the Wine Institute of California.

Red Army vodka, which is sold in a glass bottle shaped like a gun, has breached alcohol responsibility rules for its association with violence and aggression.

Alcohol Concern has attacked David Beckham for teaming up with Diageo to launch a single grain Scotch whisky because “it will send a confusing message” to underage fans.

The Co-operative Group is turning 54 former Marston’s pubs into c-stores as the convenience channel continues to grow at the expense of rivals. 

Old Speckled Hen is returning to TV screens this month in a £2 million ad campaign featuring Henry the fox.

English Wine Week is increasing its emphasis on retailers this year.

Leading suppliers claim the major supermarkets’ “obsession” with discounters could risk the health of the sector if they fail to develop a point of difference in the face of growing competition.

The major multiples opened 291 new convenience stores in the past year and BWS sales in this channel are up 6.1% in volume and 9.1% in value to £1.7 billion (IRI, year to March 1).

Asda has launched an attack on convenience stores for ruining the off-trade’s reputation by pushing high-abv beer and cider.

Majestic’s boss has admitted it needs to accelerate growth after suffering a “disappointing setback” following an extended profit warning which caused its shares to plummet.

The minister for consumer affairs has promised to seek legal clarity for retailers who could be breaching competition law by stripping shelves of beers and ciders of a certain abv under Reducing the Strength schemes.

Off-Piste Wines has teamed up with the man behind New Zeland’s iconic Cloudy Bay to launch a Bordeaux Sauvignon with a New World slant.

Concha y Toro UK has upped its marketing budget by 20% in a bid to drive double-digit growth in each of the next five years.

Market analyst Nielsen hailed sparkling wine the star performer of the drinks industry after another set of impressive growth figures, and the leading supplier thinks the category will only continue to go from strength to strength.

Rioja enjoys UK success

04 April, 2014

Wines of Rioja has reported that the region grew volume sales by 4% in the UK off-trade during 2013, outperforming a total wine category that was down 3% (Nielsen, year to December 7, 2013).

Westons will bring Stowford Press back to the small screen this summer after growing its market share to 4.1% on the back of its first TV campaign last year.

A strong performance from beer and cider has seen the off-trade BWS market return to volume and value growth, according to new IRI data.

Australia will go on to dominate all tiers of the UK wine market for years after surging ahead of rivals and muscling into fine wine, according to a leading supplier.

The Benevolent is calling on cake enthusiasts to raise cash by entering its Bake Off.

The government is to introduce plain packaging for tobacco products after an independent review found it could stop thousands of children from taking up smoking each year.

A Home Office Minister has called for more local partnerships to tackle alcohol problems.

UK sparkling wine consumption has grown by 6 million bottles in five years, and UK drinkers are turning away from spirits and RTDs in favour of fizz, Wine Intelligence has reported.

WKD has come under fire from the advertising watchdog for posting “irresponsible” messages on its Facebook page that suggested alcohol could enhance confidence and was integral to social success.

Accolade has finalised the purchase of New Zealand wine brands Mud House and Waipara Hills from the Mud House Wine Group.

A 19-year-old worker at an independent drinks retailer has won a spirits scholarship launched by William Grant to celebrate the life of its former prestige retail manager Ian Murray.

A South African Fairtrade producer has praised UK buyers for agreeing not to push down prices despite a weak rand so that wineries can invest in the future.  

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

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. 

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.

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

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

Edinburgh gin launches

28 March, 2014

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Strongbow is giving an ordinary men’s five-a-side football team the chance to take on a Brazilian professional women’s team.

A group representing more than 300 MPs and 75 peers has demanded legal clarity from the Office of Fair Trading over controversial Reducing the Strength schemes, in response to OLN’s United to Protect Choice campaign.

Four-fifths of brewers and cidermakers polled by OLN said local authorities should be stripped of the power to pressure retailers into removing certain products from shelves.

Arsenal FC’s Emirates Stadium will host the inaugural Mauritian Rum Festival next month.

Reh Kendermann is set to release Black Tower White Bubbly, to build on the success of Black Tower Pink Bubbly.

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

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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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