"If you’d told me five years ago I would be in this position now I wouldn’t have believed you.” At just 27, Lidl UK’s head of beers, wines and spirits, Ben Hulme is by far the youngest person in OLN’s 100 Most Influential People In Wine list.
There was a time a few years back when a week didn’t go by without a ginger- flavoured launch. The scene has quietened down a bit, but ginger has become a cocktail staple and suppliers say consumers’ increasingly sophisticated palates mean they are even more likely to favour the fiery root’s flavour.
Wimbledon, strawberries and cream, seaside staycations, cricket, festivals, sunshine and rain are all part of the delicious cocktail that is the Great British Summer.
It seems a little unfair to say the shine has gone off a category that is growing at a whopping 36% year on year – but there does seem to be less of a buzz around “speers” these days.
Five years after Peter Snowman (right) and Nick Davis opened the tiny shop under Snowman’s home in Bristol with a few crates of cider, a wing and a prayer, it is going from strength to strength.
While in the north Prosecco continues to make the Italian wine market fizz, at the southern end of Italy, people are getting excited about Sicily.
It’s more than a decade since vodka staked its claim as the nation’s spirit of choice, ousting gin from the Office of National Statistics’ basket of goods used to measure consumer price inflation – and it has dominated the spirits market ever since.
Sales flagging? Struggling to attract younger drinkers? Looking for a magic cure-all to revive your brand? We’ve got the answer: just add fruit.
Fathers have a tough gig: burdened by long hours and no pay, they find themselves replaced in their marriages by 50 Shades of Grey, surrounded by toddlers that act like a blender without a lid and teenagers that steal their credit cards and pout a lot.
The Lancaster Wine Company has been open just two years and has already chalked up one of OLN’s Drinks Retailing Awards – it was named Newcomer of the Year in 2014.
The pre-Christmas rush will have an extra level of hassle for suppliers and many drinks retailers this year. The government has chosen the last three months of the year to start implementing the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme. Any trade supplier or wholesaler of alcohol will have to apply to join the scheme between October 1 and December 31, even though it won’t come into full operation until 2017.
There were 253 premium bottled ale launches in the past year (IRI) and a leading brewer has warned that too much innovation could damage the category.
Spring has finally sprung, and the UK is bathing in temperatures 7°C above the April average thanks to a plume of hot air sweeping in from Spain.
World lager is flying off shelves, outperforming all other beer categories and emerging as the star performer.
Craft is the buzzword of our times. From Kirsty Allsop crocheting cushion covers on Channel 4 to artisan bakers and the thriving small-batch gin market, consumers are looking for all things handmade and homespun.
The Good Spirits Company makes a real specialism of spirits in its central Glasgow shop and its extensive and in-depth online range.
Rioja is the rock star of the UK wine trade. Everyone knows its name, everyone rates its quality and it’s a chart-topper in terms of consumer awareness, better known than Marlborough in New Zealand and Barossa in Australia, and sitting alongside Côtes du Rhône and Chianti in the top five best-known wine regions, according to Wine Intelligence.
The British have bestowed many wonders upon the world: chocolate bars, penicillin, football, TV, the worldwide web, David Attenborough, cricket, bulldogs, the theories of Darwin and the plays of Shakespeare to name but a few.
Diageo has launched a golden ale, a fruity cider and a white rum and now competes in virtually every BWS category imaginable.
The Responsibility Deal between the drinks industry and the UK government has come under fire from academics pouring scorn on the apparently successful pledge by the industry to strip a billion units from the market.
Following the opening of Brewdog’s first Bottledog outlet last year, news that Oddbins has unveiled a dedicated beer store in London lays open the possibility that we shall soon see national chains of beer shops, a scenario inconceivable when the idea of specialist beer retailing was pioneered four decades ago.
It’s generally accepted in the wine business that the current rebirth of Oddbins is a force for good. When people are expressing that opinion they’re prone to refer to a “golden age”, starting some time in the early 1980s and running well into the following decade. And when they do the name of Steve Daniel isn’t usually very far away.
Over the past decade German wine has shed its excess baggage like a celebrity on a fad diet, leaving behind the frumpy hausfrau image of the Liebfraumilch and Hock generation.
Rising prices have forced the Languedoc – the engine room of France’s bulk wine production – to look at more premium offers and establish itself as a top-quality wine region, not a bargain basement.
Ales By Mail is a family business set up by Paul Kruzycki, his wife Karen and their daughters Millie and Abbie in a bid to help the burgeoning number of craft beers from the UK and around the world reach a wider audience.
The Llanelli & County Guardian was the unlikely chronicler of a landmark moment in brewing history. On December 3, 1935, it reported the first successful commercial packaging of a beer in cans in the UK, by the town’s Felinfoel brewery.
Green Valley Cyder is concession in the Darts Farm shop near Exeter, where owners Nick Pring (pictured right) and Chris Coles make and sell cider. Beyond an impressive range of bottled ciders and beers, customers can watch cider being made in the company’s own press. Green Valley also sells draught cider with plenty of opportunities for tasting – both of its own range and for suppliers to show off their wares in the farm shop’s main food hall.
Gin sales are booming – and so are distillery openings, but some suppliers are warning the market is close to saturation.
Portsmouth retailer Bobby Sood didn’t want to sign up to the Reducing the Strength scheme launched in his city.
You’re probably familiar with Oz Clarke as Britain’s best-known wine critic, James May’s TV co-star in seeking out unusual beverages and one of the Three Wine Men along with Tim Atkin MW and Olly Smith.
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