Collaboration is a hot topic among independent wine merchants as they bid to increase margins, overcome barriers to trade and fend off the multiples. We caught up with Tim Carlisle, new business manager at Vindependents – an agency owned by and solely catering to indies – to explore the pros and cons of working collegiately. 

The family business

19 March, 2018

It has become accepted wisdom that the male of the species needs a space of his own to escape the pressures of family life.

WSTA chairman Dan Jago expressed his sadness at the news that Diana Hunter has stepped down as Conviviality chief executive following a tumultuous week.

Conviviality chief executive Diana Hunter has fallen on her sword after a calamitous week that saw the group plunged into financial chaos.

German group Henkell has become the world’s largest sparkling wine producer after purchasing 50.67% of Freixenet’s shares.

The UK’s largest online beer retailer has hailed the importance of bricks and mortar stores after unveiling plans to open a bottle shop in central London.

Retailers have proved that brand loyalty in BWS is a myth and it is more of a commodity category than suppliers like to admit, according to a leading analyst.

Somerset cidermaker Thatchers has unveiled a marketing campaign designed to drive sales of its Katy single variety cider this spring.

Kopparberg’s alcohol-free offering outsold Becks Blue, Heineken 0%, Budweiser Prohibition and all the other 0% abv beers on the market during December 2017.

The UK’s largest online beer retailer is opening a bottle shop in London to capitalise on the city’s growing love of craft beer.

The volume of groceries sold at UK supermarkets reached an 18-month high in February and analysts at Nielsen say the outlook is positive for the sector.

Greene King is backing Old Speckled Hen with a seven-week TV and digital ad campaign that seeks to give the brand “modern day appeal”.

Retailers and producers are urged to take part in a public consultation into the fifth edition of the Portman Group’s Code of Practice.

AB Inbev has reported double-digit growth in the UK off-trade during the final quarter of 2017 and said it capped “a strong year for our UK business”.

Hallgarten Druitt’s managing director is bullish about the firm’s chances of succeeding in a consolidating market after reporting 8.5% sales growth in 2017.

UK retailers with national distribution are urged to submit their favourite Bordeaux wines for inclusion in the CIVB’s Everyday Bordeaux Selection 2018.

Independent retailers can discover a wealth of intriguing wines and spirits produced by small, family-run operations at next week’s Specialist Importers Trade Tastings.

Pernod Ricard is launching a multimillion-pound ad campaign to give leading Irish whiskey brand Jameson a push in the run up to St Patrick’s Day.

Brewdog continued its inexorable rise towards retail dominance by growing off-trade sales 116% to £62.2 million in 2017 (Nielsen). 

New figures from IWSR predict that UK sparkling wine volume sales will grow 14.5% by 2021, making up for an 8.8% decline in still wine volumes. 

Robin McMillan has stepped down as chief executive at The Wine Society after almost six years at the helm of the trade’s oldest mutual society.

Sir George Fistonich is handing over the reins at Villa Maria to a new chief executive after spending 57 years at the helm of the company.

Laurent Lacassagne is leaving his role as chairman and chief executive at Chivas Brothers after 30 years at Pernod Ricard.

The UK’s leading supermarkets, multiple specialists, independent stores and ecommerce sites were honoured at the 2018 Drinks Retailing Awards at London’s Dorchester Hotel on Tuesday evening.

Gerry’s Wines and Spirits, Waitrose and Sly Augustin were among the big winners at the second annual Think Rum Awards this week.

The Six Nations begins this weekend and Treasury Wine Estates has launched a range of rugby-themed Wolf Blass labels to appeal to fans of the sport.

Concerned folk living in Ware have opposed plans for a high-end independent wine store because it could lead to “more graveyard sex”.

Conviviality chief executive Diana Hunter said the group’s half-year results represent a “great result” for franchisees.

Bargain Booze owner Conviviality posted modest like-for-like retail sales growth of 0.4% in the first half of the 2017/18 financial year.

Mike James is the driving force behind an Aldi wine range that punches well above its weight when it comes to winning awards, earning column inches and growing retail sales. He has a strong track record of making shrewd decisions, exhibiting flair and dynamism in his buying choices and helping to shape the nation’s drinking habits. It has made him a serial number one on DRN’s Most Influential People in Wine list and earned him a reputation as one of the country’s most skilfull buyers. 

Age and beauty

26 January, 2018

In 1780 the good folk living along London’s Old Broad Street were abuzz with the news that a new wine merchant was opening on their doorstep. Edward Bland Corney’s shop sold only a limited range of port, sherry and Bordeaux, but it flourished and evolved into Corney & Barrow, one of the great names on the London wine scene. The old store is now consigned to the history books, but in 2018 the firm boasts thriving sales to private clients and a range of on-trade accounts, with a turnover of £60 million and offices in London, Newmarket, North Yorkshire, Edinburgh, Ayr, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Australia cemented its status as the UK’s number one wine supply country by growing sales 1.5% to £1.7 billion in 2017 (Nielsen).

If you Google “Newcastle minimum unit pricing” you will be presented with a fascinating insight into the machinations of modern day journalism.

Virgin Wines enjoyed its strongest ever Christmas trading period as sales grew 15% to £8.7 million in the four weeks to December 22, 2017.

Diageo’s GB arm grew sales 7% in the past six months thanks to strong performances from the likes of Tanqueray, Guinness and Johnnie Walker, the firm announced.

Retail chain Wine Rack has announced a three-year sponsorship deal with hit Channel 5 programme The Wine Show.

Last month DRN surveyed 400 readers on what they considered the greatest threats to the future health of the drinks industry and the anti-alcohol lobby came second.

Midnight plane to Georgia

24 January, 2018

Georgia has been revealed as the birthplace of wine by an international team of scientists that found evidence of viticultural processes dating back to 6,000BC.

Trickery revealed

22 January, 2018

The campaigner who exposed Public Health England for massaging evidence to push through a reduction in UK alcohol guidelines has told DRN he believes such skulduggery is “endemic”. In January 2016, the chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, cut drinking guidelines for men from 21 units a week to 14, bringing them in line with women, and declared there is no safe level of drinking. To justify this move she cited evidence from a Sheffield Alcohol Research Group report. The report’s authors essentially recommended a lowering of drinking guidelines based on an assessment of the potential harm of low-level consumption. 

The off-trade gin category delivered the best Christmas performance anyone at Nielsen has ever seen and led BWS to another strong festive period.

Borough Wines & Beers has reported 19% year-on-year sales growth on the back of a strong ecommerce performance and two new store openings.

Broadland Wineries owner Mark Lansley has cooled talk of turnover growing to £100 million in two years after the sudden departure of chief executive Paul Schaafsma.

Paul Schaafsma is leaving Broadland Wineries after four months as chief executive to start up his own business.

Wines of Germany has seized upon Wine Intelligence research suggesting the average German wine consumer is getting younger and is shifting its marketing focus accordingly.

Low calorie BWS supplier Skinny Brands has secured a £1.5 million cash injection to allow it to roll its brands out across the UK and Ireland.

Diageo has teamed up with Uber Eats to allow convenience retailers across the UK to sell their drinks to online shoppers.

Pinkster gin is releasing a limited-edition, Cupid-themed bottle in a bid to boost sales in the build up to Valentine’s Day.

Industry campaign There’s A Beer For That is switching its focus to lobby against high beer duty in a bid to safeguard the industry’s future.

Drinkaware ambassadors will be in 100 Asda stores across the UK on January 12 to hand out thousands of specially created alcohol assessment scratchcards to shoppers.

Spirits distributor Maxxium UK is rebranding as Edrington-Beam Suntory UK Distribution Limited to highlight its joint owners.

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