Fifty Conservative MPs have signed a letter calling on Philip Hammond to cut beer duty and scrap inflationary increases in this month’s autumn Budget announcement.

The UK Supreme Court has given the Scotland the green light to introduce a minimum unit price of 50p following a five-year battle.

In the mid-2000s the Hunter Valley was home to some of Australia’s most successful volume brands, from Tyrrell’s Long Flat to Mount Pleasant’s Elizabeth. The region’s winemakers were raking in orders from around the world and enjoying huge growth as a result, but they were not particularly happy. 

The government has declared it has no plans to grant local licensing authorities the power to ban “super-strength” alcohol across stores in their areas.

Copestick Murray has unveiled plans to turn Slurp into the UK’s leading premium online drinks retailer after buying a 40% stake in the business. 

Waitrose has no intention of turning its back on classic wine regions that have been ravaged by spring frosts, hail and other issues that have driven up prices.

Spar is aiming to simplify the wine category for its shoppers with two new own-label ranges. 

Copestick Murray’s I Heart brand has gained a listing in Asda as it continues to surge up the chart of the UK’s most popular wine labels.

Sainsbury’s has reported a 26% growth in sales of Taste the Difference wines thanks to a strong performance from New World regions.

A limited edition Big Peat 25 Years Old comprising some of Islay’s most sought-after malts will go into specialist whisky retailers this December.

Gin: Natural selection

09 November, 2017

After witnessing the advent of baobab gin, hop gin, cocoa gin, gin with ants in it, nettle gin and seaweed gin, you could be forgiven for thinking the flavour conveyor belt had run out of options. You would be wrong.

Sleeping with the enemy

09 November, 2017

Over in Ireland a 300-strong group of independent off-licence owners has aligned itself with the health lobby in a bid to prevent supermarkets wiping them out.

Brintex has no plans to shift the London Wine Fair to another month to avoid a clash with Vinexpo in 2019.

An off-trade clampdown on underage sales appears to be working as the number of 11 to 15-year-olds that reported purchasing alcohol from retailers fell to an all-time low.

Britain’s leading beer retailers were honoured for their achievements in promoting our country’s thriving brewing industry at an awards ceremony at the House of Commons this week.

I Heart supplier Copestick Murray has purchased a 40% share in Slurp, which has an online retail site and two bricks and mortar stores.

“What’s the difference between an English wine merchant and a terrorist?” says Australian Vintage’s award-winning winemaker, Peter Hall. “You can negotiate with a terrorist.” 

Wineries in Mendocino, Napa and Sonoma are battling to finish harvest and fermentations as wildfire rages across the region, according to the Wine Institute of California.

Treasury Wine Estates has extended its 19 Crimes range with its first single varietal wine to hit British shores, a Cabernet Sauvignon retailing at £8.99.

Tesco appoints new head of BWS

19 September, 2017

Robert Cooke has taken over as BWS director at Tesco following a long and varied career in the retail industry.

Aldi has shrugged off market pressures like exchange rates and duty hikes to post surging wine sales figures this summer.

The fall and rise of Sumoll

14 September, 2017

In the heart of cava country a once-loved grape variety that nearly went the way of the dodo is enjoying a remarkable renaissance. Sumoll, known locally as the Pinot Noir of the Mediterranean due to its thin skin and diva-like antics on the

Focused approach

14 September, 2017

A focus on local ales, craft beer and mini-kegs has seen Morrisons’ beer category outperform the market and post 4.5% year-on- year sales growth. DRN travelled to Yorkshire to meet the buyers, John Morris and James French, and get the lowdown on the success the retailer has enjoyed after a sweeping range review.

Warm weather at the beginning of the summer propelled annual cider sales past the £1 billion barrier for the first time since 2014.

A new campaign group set up to give drinkers a voice in the national media has enjoyed plenty of success on its first weekend up and running.

The biggest wine tasting in the history of Bristol is just days away and there is still time for members of the trade to register.

Walker (centre) is joined on stage by trophy winners

Californian brewery Firestone Walker triumphed at the International Beer Challenge 2017 awards as its Union Jack IPA scooped the coveted Supreme Champion gong.

Hannah Tovey has just taken over from Ross Carter as event director for the London Wine Fair following a long and varied career in the industry.

Sparkling wine brand Gigglewater has launched 20cl cans of Vino Bianco Frizzante across Waitrose’s retail estate and online store.

The UK distributor for Rothschild wines has bolstered its sales force with the appointment of two account managers.

Notorious 19th century revolutionary James Wilson has been immortalised in a bottle of wine as Treasury Wine Estates has based its new 19 Crimes expression on his exploits.

Waitrose has given a listing to a sparkling apple cider made in the traditional Champagne method by a producer in Hampshire.

Jack Daniel’s is teaming up with a range of UK retailers to launch initiatives designed to showcase its versatility.

Six hundred Californian wines will be poured for the trade at the Dream Big California Wine Fair in London on September 27.

Reigning European champions Saracens are now sponsored by South African cider brand Savanna Dry.

Carlsberg is celebrating its 170th birthday this weekend by launching a range of celebrations across its hometown of Copenhagen.

Diageo is targeting Scotch aficionados and cocktail lovers with three new experimental whiskies launched under its Johnnie Walker Blenders’ Batch brand.

The Macallan has increased its dominance over the rare Scotch whisky auction market and now accounts for 29% of sales at Rare Whisky 101.

The makers of Collagin have hit out at industry watchdog The Portman Group after it warned retailers not to stock the collagen-infused gin.

Greene King is commemorating iconic British sporting moments from recent times in a range of limited-edition bottles of its flagship IPA.

A gin infused with collagen and described as “the elixir of youth” has had two complaints against it upheld by industry watchdog the Portman Group.

Kingsland’s fruit wine brand, Mr Gladstone’s Curious Emporium, has fallen foul of industry watchdog the Portman Group for not clearly labelling itself as alcoholic and appealing to children.

Diageo is using cutting edge technology to target consumers with Smirnoff cider ads when the mercury hits 19°C.

Ethical beer brand Toast has gained a listing at the UK’s largest retailer for its Much Kneaded craft lager and Bloomin’ Lovely session IPA.

Tom King joins WSTA board

21 August, 2017

Treasury Wine Estates’ European managing director has joined the board of the Wine & Spirits Trade Association.

Ardbeg has announced that its highly anticipated new expression, An Oa, is launching next month and will join its permanent range.

The International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show in London has been pushed back a month to new dates of February 26-27.

Cognac exports to the UK grew 3.6% in the year to July 31, 2017, and it held onto its position as the fourth largest export market for the spirit.

Morgenrot has added two IPAs from Swedish brewery Pang Pang to its range in a bid to cause “mayhem” in the UK craft beer market.

South Africa secured a resounding victory when DRN recently polled 200 independent merchants in a bid to find which countries’ wines are performing best in the sector. It finished ahead of Italy, Argentina and Spain as the country growing sales in the strongest fashion and it is easy to see why. Quality has improved drastically in recent years. Classics from well-established regions are winning plaudits, a dynamic new wave of winemakers is pushing boundaries and producing intriguing offerings and at the very top end scores from critics speak for themselves. 

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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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