Waitrose said sales of fine wine and Champagne are up 7% this year compared to the same period in 2013.

Bargain Booze owner Conviviality Retail will expand its food range after hiring Spar’s head of fresh food Andrew Dorricott to head up its non-licensed products team.

Tesco category manager Andy Gale has moved over to the supplier side of the drinks trade by joining Concha y Toro UK as head of new business and technical development.

Drinks industry members are invited to spend a night in Double O Heaven as The Benevolent’s Northern Ball pays homage to James Bond this November.

Erenzo: making it up as he goes along

William Grant has launched the first whiskey produced in New York state in 80 years into the UK market.

Researchers at Sheffield University have argued that putting a minimum unit price of 45p on alcohol would be 50 times more effective than the current ban on below-cost selling.

Pernod Ricard has added a cherry variant to premium vodka brand Absolut in a bid to build on 28% sales growth (Nielsen, May 24, 2014).

The Tesco wine team has bolstered its range with five new 1.5 litre bag-in-box wines launched under its Finest banner.

Retailers must add credibility to own-label alcohol by improving quality and value as it enjoys the least consumer love of any category in FMCG, according to research firm Datamonitor Consumer.

Camra has appointed Tim Page as its new chief executive after Mike Benner left the post to head up Siba.

Treasury Wine Estates has down two bids from private equity groups valuing the firm at £1.8 billion, preferring to grow the business as a standalone company.

All smiles: Naked boss Gormley

Naked Wines saw pre-tax profits rise by 56% during 2013, according to new figures published by the online retailer.

Halewood has launched a new Romanian wine brand called Surprisingly Good as it seeks to challenge perceptions about the quality the nation’s winemakers can offer.

Tesco has launched a digital version of its Wine Magazine in a bid to reach more drinkers via their tablets.

Copestick Murray has struck a deal to distribute the wines of Lisa McGuigan, fourth generation winemaker of the legendary McGuigan winemaking dynasty.

Heineken has launched a digital ad campaign for Strongbow Dark Fruit and Citrus Edge.

Scottish brewer Brewmeister has been banned from marketing its 67.5% abv Snake Venom as the world’s strongest beer.

Kingsland has signed a deal with importer Brand Phoenix that will add South African brands First Cape and Distell to its portfolio.

Treasury Wine Estates has launched price-marked bottles for Wolf Blass and Lindeman’s in an effort to “unlock a £200 million opportunity” in convenience.

The French Wines with Style campaign has released a promoting video featuring Gerard Basset MW as he bids to pair wines with first dates.

Bibendum has hired sake consultant Natsuki Kiyuka to host trade training sessions that educate retailers about the Japanese drink.

Diageo has launched a Smirnoff TV ad that premieres today as part of new £15 million marketing campaign designed to cement its status as the UK’s leading spirits brand.

Scotch whisky producer Douglas Laing has relaunched its golf-inspired McGibbon’s range of whiskies in a bid to cash in on the impending Ryder Cup.

All smiles for Hunter

Conviviality Retail boss Diana Hunter was given 1.7 million shares in the business as a bonus after its float last year, the company’s annual report has revealed.  

Scotch whisky exports drop 11%

22 September, 2014

Scotch whisky exports dropped 11% in the first half of 2014 as “economic headwinds and uncertainty” hampered growth in several markets.

Wine Rack begins brave new era

19 September, 2014

Conviviality Retail’s first Wine Rack franchisee is aiming to lead the brand into a new era of sampling and customer engagement.

Liberty Wines is looking to extend its reach into the convenience sector as it celebrates strong sales across independents and the on-trade.

Wines of Chile has promised to hit the UK market harder with plans to shake off its dour image and promote the sexier side of the South American nation.

Leading suppliers have warned that South Africa needs to ramp up its focus on premium tiers if it is to maintain impressive growth that has seen sales rise 9.5% to £521 million (Nielsen, year to August 16, 2014).

Two new wine agencies launched

19 September, 2014

The former boss of Stratford’s Wines Agencies has launched a new venture.

The Scotch whisky industry is celebrating the no vote on Scottish independence and hopes it will lead to economic stability in the years ahead.

Visitor numbers at the Wines of the Beautiful South tasting in London last week rose 7.3% on the 2013 figure.

Oddbins has crowned Steve Saunders from Bristol the UK’s finest amateur wine taster after 21,000 shoppers entered its blind tasting competition.

Scottish brewer Innis & Gunn is celebrating after 15% sales growth saw it break through the £10 million barrier for the first time.

WSTA calls for duty cut

17 September, 2014

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association wants the industry to push for a “modest cut” in duty in the last Budget before next year’s general election.

IPA added to Vedett beer range

17 September, 2014

Belgian brewer Duvel Moortgat has added Extra Ordinary IPA to its Vedett beer range in the UK.

Waitrose has launched a sweeping clearance sale offering up to 50% off across 65 lines on its waitrosecellar.com site.

The off-trade BWS market has seen volume and value growth in the past year as strong performances from beer, cider and sparkling wine led the charge.

The Heineken family has rejected a takeover approach from SAB Miller for the Dutch brewery to which they give their name.

Friends and family of the late Michael Cox have so far raised more than £13,000 for drinks industry charity The Benevolent after pledging to run the Medoc Marathon in his honour.

Dan Jago has broadened his role as Tesco’s group wine director to incorporate beers and spirits.

Pernod Ricard UK boss Denis O’Flynn has taken over from Diageo’s Nick Hyde as chairman of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

Scotch whisky producer Douglas Laing and Co has taken inspiration from poet Robert Burns for a new Highland malt called Timorous Beastie.

Champagne Perrier-Jouët has released unveiled a £248 Cuvée Belle Epoque Rosé 2005 which it describes as “the most extravagant wine of the Belle Epoque Collection”.  

French supplier Les Grands Chais de France has snapped up the 59ha Château de la Tuilerie estate in the Costières de Nimes.

Australian brewery Redoak has claimed the Supreme Champion award at the International Beer Challenge for the second year running after thrilling judges with its Chateau Sour.

Anita Jackson has pledged to put consumer and trade education at the centre of her strategy after being instilled as UK director at Wines of Chile.

Diageo is offering £62,000 grants to technology firms that create tools to help prevent retail theft.

The wine trade lost one of its most dedicated and well-respected figures last week with the sad passing of Yvonne May. Many readers will know her best for her four-year stint as the UK and European head of Wine Australia, a role she approached with such passion and energy it was easy to believe it was a job she had longed to do.

Kopparberg is launching a Spiced Apple variant in a bid to boost sales during the typically lean winter trading period.

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COMMENT

Richard Hemming MW asks: what’s the next step for indies?

In the not-too-distant future, when all humans are born with inbuilt VR headsets and Trump is Supreme Commander of the Known Universe, how will students of wine look back on the present era of retail in the UK? And, in such a dystopian world, why would anyone care?

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