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. 

Diageo has continued the pipeline of new releases under its Cîroc vodka with the launch of a French Vanilla variant.

A peloton of riders raised £13,000 in a charity bike ride that honoured the life and times of Dan Townsend, the late managing director at Treasury Wine Estates.

Majestic Wine has appointed former Sainsbury’s buyer Julie Buckley as senior buyer responsible for New Zealand, Spain and Burgundy.

Retailers have been warned to invest heavily in their digital offerings as online could soon overtake the convenience channel as the easiest way for shoppers to buy beers, wines and spirits. 

Britain’s largest online beer retailer is ramping up its wholesale arm and has launched a new website targeting bars, restaurants and retailers. 

The team behind There’s a Beer for That has called upon smaller retailers from across the UK to work with it to spread the word about great beer.

San Miguel is seeking to build on impressive UK growth figures by rolling out a wider portfolio of SKUs, including gluten-free and no-alcohol variants. 

on 11 August, 2017

Last week columnist Guy Woodward launched a quite extraordinary rant in our sister title, Harpers, in which he railed against the Scotch Whisky Association and argued in favour of minimum unit pricing. He called the SWA “shabby” for fighting MUP and threw his weight behind the anti-alcohol lobby. The basis for his argument was a press release put out by the neo-prohibitionist brigade and he bought its claims hook, line and sinker, without holding them up to the scrutiny they deserve.

Chris Porter is taking over from retiring incumbent David Cox as chief executive of drinks trade charity The Benevolent.

Aston Manor’s sales grew by 4% to £113 million in 2016 and it now believes it offers a breadth of range that is unrivalled in the cider category.

Diageo has reported that it grew market share in the UK off-trade and on-trade in the past year, largely thanks to the strength of Baileys, Guinness and Gordon’s.

Amazon finished top of the pile as retailers completed a clean sweep in a survey designed to find the UK’s top brands for customer service.

The researcher responsible for a Guardian front page suggesting a soaring alcohol misuse epidemic could kill 63,000 people said the real headline should have been: “slow news day produces unexpected headlines”.

Commentator Steve Topple has ripped into “fundamentally flawed” research suggesting alcohol abuse will kill 63,000 people in the next five years if punitive measures are not slapped on alcohol.

Fine wine merchant BI Wine said British clients are undeterred by the weak sterling rate after reporting its most successful en primer campaign in seven years.

The UK auction market for single malt Scotch malt whisky has enjoyed a record breaking three months, with sales surpassing £6 million between April and June.

Online drinks retailer 31Dover.com has appointed former Naked Wines sales and marketing director James Bagley as its new chief executive.

A prolonged summer heatwave sparked 19% growth in cider sales and a 17% rise in sparkling wine sales in the grocery channel this summer.

The public health lobby has called for off-licence hours to be cut to 10am-10pm, the reintroduction of the duty escalator, minimum unit pricing of 50p and tighter regulations on alcohol advertising.

Outspoken Wetherspoons boss Tim Martin will join Lord Price, the Minister of State for International Trade, on stage at the annual WSTA Conference.

The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland has slammed a “deeply flawed and misleading” survey used by the Alcohol Health Alliance to argue for reduced advertising of alcohol.

Wimbledon Brewery has created a special lager for local football side AFC Wimbledon to mark the joint heritage of the two institutions.

Britain is veering towards a situation where guidelines will state that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption, a leading commentator has warned.

Buzzing Abruzzo

17 July, 2017

Abruzzo is a spectacular region full of picture- perfect villages and Roman remains nestled amid dramatic, mountainous scenery, but it remains something of a hidden gem for tourists. The resulting lack of foreign influence means it offers a window to an Italian lifestyle that has not changed for centuries.

Virtual reality is changing the world, from reducing errors made during surgery to bringing schoolbooks to life and enabling us to browse shops from the comfort of our own homes. It is an exciting bandwagon full of tech firms, rollercoaster designers, casino operators, neurosurgeons and Hollywood execs.

In 1973 New Zealand was selling almost 100% of its dairy products to the UK and had been doing so for a century. Then it received a call to say the market was closed because Britain had joined the EU, and it had to embark on the long and strenuous process of forging new trade deals with countries across the world.

The new chair of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group used his acceptance speech to signal a desire to fight the temperance lobby and push for a fair deal on duty.

To the south of Mongolia lies the landlocked region of Ningxia, which has a similar altitude to the peak of Ben Nevis and enjoys 3,000 hours of sunshine per year.

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust is on a drive to increase the trade’s knowledge of the burgeoning spirits category by overhauling its courses and trying to boost student numbers. 

Aldi has launched a £3.99 sake from Nada-ku and says it costs 28 times less than a comparable sized bottle at renowned London restaurant Nobu.

DrinksFest, the new consumer show geared towards Generation X and Millennial consumers, has landed Amazon as a sponsor for the inaugural event.

Hogs Back has launched a new design for its flagship Traditional English Ale (TEA) in a bid to pare down a cleaner and more modern look.

One of the UK’s oldest gin producing families has released an eponymous brand to celebrate 200 years of distilling.

Yalumba is once again sponsoring the World of Music, Arts and Dance festival in Wiltshire this summer, offering festivalgoers a wide range of award-winning wines.

Retailers are invited to Wine Australia UK’s largest free-pour tasting of the year, which takes place at Australia House in London on June 28.

Tim Stanley-Clarke enjoying jolly japes with Allan Cheesman

Tributes are pouring in for pre-eminent port consultant Tim Stanley-Clarke after he sadly passed away.

Andrew Shaw and Philip Tuck MW will lead a peloton of riders for a charity cycle in memory of the late Treasury Wines Estates managing director Dan Townsend.

Brands need provenance to survive in the modern cider category: those that can demonstrate a strong back- story and sense of place are thriving and those that cannot are falling by the wayside. British consumers are becoming more discerning about the products they are purchasing and are looking for genuine imports and local, independent producers, and that is a strong factor in Kopparberg’s success. It might not be a brand many in the UK immediately associate with heritage and provenance, but it has a back- story to rival any drinks brand on the market.

Celebrating women in wine

15 August, 2017

Celebrating the record of the business community on gender equality can be a trying endeavour as women are still massively under-represented in boardrooms. Female chief execs run just 7% of FTSE 100 companies and that percentage drops for the FTSE 250. Women account for a quarter of seats on FTSE 100 boards, but the increase has mainly been among non-executives who do not have their fingers on the buttons that matter. The notion that middle-aged, rich, white men run the show is impossible to ignore, and the issue has tongues wagging again after the BBC published details of its highest earners and revealed that two-thirds of top earners are male. 

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Faith in fakes

One of the most fascinating stories in wine, fit to stand alongside the Judgement of Paris, is that of Rudy Kurniawan, a man who managed to fool friends, auction houses and experts into believing they were drinking some of the world’s most expensive wines.

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