Fraudsters face jail terms

17 February, 2012

The owner of an Essex bonded warehouse has been jailed for 10 years for leading a £50 million alcohol and VAT fraud.

Diageo has said a decline in UK sales of its spirits brands in the last half of 2011 was the result of a reduction of its active involvement in deep supermarket promotions. 

Alcoholic energy drink Crunk Juce is set to relaunch as Crunk CJ after the Portman Group banned it in its original format. 

Trade bodies have responded to prime minister David Cameron’s pledge to tackle problem drinking today (February 15). 

Prime Minister David Cameron has announced plans to cut alcohol abuse. A problem he calls "one of the scandals of our society".

A £1 million fund to help local communities tackle under-age and binge-drinking has been launched by the government’s champion for active safer communities, Baroness Newlove.

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association has called on the government to scrap this year’s planned alcohol tax hike to give businesses a boost for the Olympics.

Waitrose has scooped five awards in OLN's Drinks Retailing Awards -  including the Lifetime Achievement Award, which went to Dee Blackstock MW.

A tonic wine which features a naked couple embracing on its label and a cider branded as “hard” have been banned by the Portman Group.

New look for Bowmore

07 February, 2012

Islay single malt whisky Bowmore has repackaged its UK and travel retail ranges with a new premium gift box and a refreshed bottle design.

Spirited Wines, the company which bought the Nicolas shops outside London in 2010, has bought the remaining Nicolas estate from French wine company Castel.

A 45p-per-unit minimum price coupled with total ban on discounting in the off-trade could cut consumption by 6% in its first year, according to an updated forecast by the University of Sheffield.

Low-alcohol boost for Tesco

02 February, 2012

Low-alcohol wine sales in Tesco grew 3.4% to 1.9 million bottles over Christmas 2011, from 1.8 million bottles the year before.

Molson Coors is increasing its focus on multiple grocers and convenience stores by hiring more field staff through marketing agency REL Field Marketing.

Cono Sur is offering independent wine merchants POS packs with its Sparkling Brut and Sparkling Rosé, in a bid to drive sales for Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter.

Edinburgh City Council is considering capping the number of off-licences in the city.

New campaign for vinho verde

31 January, 2012

The body representing vinho verde has launched a major campaign in the UK in a bid to capitalise on growing demand for lighter styles of wine.

Smokers’ lobbying body Forest is to launch a campaign against plain packaging of tobacco – called Hands Off Our Packs.

First Drinks has added Zubrówka Bison Grass Vodka and top Russian vodka brand Green Mark to its portfolio, after parting company with Russian Standard.

Greene King is offering rugby fans the chance to win a training session with the England team in an on-pack promotion on bottles of its IPA.

Kiwi winemakers are experimenting with Grüner Veltliner – which they believe could be the next big thing from New Zealand.

Cox upbeat on New Zealand

25 January, 2012

New Zealand Winegrowers’ Europe director David Cox remains bullish in the face of duty hikes, exchange rate pressures and early reports of a potentially small 2012 vintage, he has told OLN.

Pernod Ricard UK is set to launch a 18.7cl bottle of Brancott Estate.

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors has called on the drinks trade to work with HM Revenue & Customs to stamp out alcohol duty fraud.

East London brewer Truman’s is asking London ale drinkers to help it find a new brewery site.

Minimum unit pricing may not stop young people binge-drinking, one of the academics behind the influential Sheffield Report on alcohol pricing has said.

HM Revenue & Customs is making little or no progress in fighting alcohol duty fraud, with fewer than six cases a year leading to convictions, a National Audit Office report has revealed.

Asda has insisted that a wine it has been selling for £2.48 is not selling for less than duty plus VAT.

The drinks trade is facing a tough 2012 as the country struggles economically – and even major sporting events aren’t expected to bring much of a sales uplift.

The head of Wine Australia has warned the country stands to lose market share in the UK amid tough conditions driven by exchange rates and pricing pressures.

Off Licence News is launching a raft of activity at this year’s London International Wine Fair to increase the show’s appeal to independent retailers and help maximise its business-building potential.

Top two quit JS wine team

20 January, 2012

Sainsbury’s has started the year on the hunt for a new wine chief after two high-profile team members announced their departures. 

Brazil in fresh generic push

20 January, 2012

Wines from Brazil is increasing its presence in the UK to grow awareness as it gears up to host the World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016.

An alcoholic jelly called Suck & Blow has been banned in its current format for breaching three elements of the Portman Group’s code.

Tesco develops 2.8% beers

18 January, 2012

Tesco is hoping to steal a march on rivals by becoming the first retailer to list a new range of lower-strength beers.

Online retailer and bottler Master of Malt has launched what it says is the world’s hottest chilli vodka.

Sainsbury’s winemaker Clem Yates MW is leaving the retailer to join Off-Piste Wines as sourcing and supply director.

The Scottish government has accused supermarkets of “undermining the spirit” of its alcohol laws by selling cheap drinks.

Paul Braydon has joined Guy Anderson Wines as national account manager.

A 5.8% rise in volume sales of Magners cider in GB in the quarter to November 30, 2011, has been reported by Dublin-based C&C Group.

New sparklers from Distell

17 January, 2012

Brand Phoenix and Distell have launched two new sparkling wines.

The Wine Society has appointed Berry Bros & Rudd chief operating officer Robin McMillan as its new chief executive.

Beefeater gin has launched a limited edition pack to celebrate its London heritage.

Bibendum is to launch 23 new wineries at its annual trade tasting next week.

Central Otago wine brand Wooing Tree has joined Seckford Agencies’ portfolio.

Exportiberia opens UK office

16 January, 2012

Regional Spanish wine specialist Exportiberia has opened a UK office.

Blue Nun has launched a low-alcohol range of wines at 5.5% abv.

Pre-mixed drinks scooped a host of awards in the 2012 Pre-mixed Drinks Challenge, run by OLN’s sister paper Drinks International.

Scotland should consider stopping supermarkets from selling alcohol, a leading Scottish psychiatrist has said.

A man has been found dead at the Glenfiddich distillery in Scotland. According to several newspapers, Brian Ettles died in a 16ft washback.

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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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