We would like to apologise to any of our readers who are cricket fans for mentioning the “A” word at all. Not only did England hand the Ashes to the Aussies on a plate, but we were probably drinking their wines while we did it. Well, not the cricket team as such — but the rest of us.
If you heard there was a wine-producing country growing at 30% in the off-trade, you’d be running for the fireworks, wouldn’t you? You’d at least be cracking open a bottle of something special to celebrate.
Vodka’s inherent neutrality of flavour makes it a fiendishly difficult drinks category for brands to stand out in. Not too long ago the battle lines were drawn around numerical distinctions in distilling and filtering, but — perhaps realising the limitations of this strategy — producers are testing the boundaries of packaging, incorporating subtle shifts in ingredients, sharpening up back stories and highlighting meaningful aspects of provenance to inject the category with a new level of excitement.
Vino is a chain of four independent off-licences that rose from the ashes when Wine Rack went into administration in 2009. Three stores opened in 2010 and a fourth in 2011, with the aim of taking the best parts of the old Wine Rack business to create a place where customers feel comfortable — a shop environment that is easy to navigate, with well-trained, accessible staff.
They call Booths the Waitrose of the north. But in reality, it feels more like Harrods’ food hall has moved into Morrisons’ Market Street.
Independents are being urged to be extra vigilant after a number of wine specialists reported being delivered older vintages of white wines that would be best drunk fresh from the vine.
"Wine has been and will continue to be one of our hero categories. I can’t dispute its growth and it shows no real sign of letting up,” says Simon Cairns, wine trading manager at the Co- operative Group.
Almost two years after adding the Nicolas stores in London to the Spirited Wines chain he set up in 2010, Benoit Thouvenin has a leaner estate but confidence in the future. He says business is much better than it was 18 months ago – but that has come at a cost. Rising rents and challenging trading have forced him to close 14 stores, leaving him with just five of the shops outside London that he began trading with.
We asked a host of opinion-formers to score their top gins to give us the first OLN Hot List, and the top 10 coolest names at the forefront of the sector’s renaissance.
While spirits sales grow, cream liqueurs are in the doldrums. This year’s First Drinks Market Report put off-trade sales value in the 12 months to April 27 level with a year earlier, and volumes down by 3% (Nielsen). The performance contrasts with non-cream liqueurs, driven by a new generation of in-home cocktail makers, with sales up 14% in volume and 19% in value.
The 2014 Good Beer Guide reported that real ale club Camra now has more female members than ever, with women making up 22% of its membership – an increase of 20,000 in the past decade.
It is not a research company’s job to try to sex up a market, but when Nielsen – to be fair, probably led by the brewers it was researching – called the burgeoning 1.3%-3.3% abv lager market “commodity” it was so dreary a tag as to make the “standard” lager category sound like a Hollywood A-lister.
Manuela Oregna paints an evocative picture of growing up in a small farmhouse hugging the steep hills surrounding Valdobbiadene, with uninterrupted views of fields and cows. Apart from the occasional roaming wild boar, animals are now long gone, carted off to make way for grapes in what has become one of the most expensive vineyard regions in Italy.
Ham isn’t a topic you expect a former catwalk model to get so animated about, but then Ruth Spivey isn’t your typical fashion industry clotheshorse.
I like sherry. And I like port. But which is better? There’s only one way to find out. FIGHT!
Where can you get a bot- tle of red wine from a household-name French appellation, with the perceived added value of a lesser-known region within that appellation, and all for less than £6?
If alcohol were to be outlawed in the UK, 2.2 million people would be out of work and there would be a £16.3 billion hole in the chancellor’s tax revenues.
Strange but true – packs of the UK’s best-selling alcohol-free beer bear the words: “Please enjoy Beck’s Blue responsibly”. But why?
Consumers browsing the premium bottled ale fixture this month may be stopped in their tracks by a picture of a disembodied bulldog head wearing sunglasses and a fez while looking down on an elephant balancing on a beach ball, with the word “Madness” emblazoned in between.
When big wines from the new world invaded UK shelves in the mid-1990s they introduced consumers to powerful styles from warm regions that packed a hangover-inducing punch. UK shelves had previously been dominated by old world aristocrats from the likes of France and Italy, which came with typical abv range of 11-13%, and strength was never a major issue. But with much of the old world order barged into oblivion alcohol levels began to creep up and 14-15.5% wines from countries like Australia and South Africa grew so commonplace the Government had to change its unit guidelines on a glass of wine.
Not so long ago, British beer was the envy of the world, while three virtually identical brands accounted for the bulk of sales across the pond. But then mass-produced bitter and lager took over the UK market and the scene began to look equally lacklustre.
Assuming reality has anything to do with it, those screaming headlines about young people and their binge drinking should swiftly become a thing of the past. Research and statistics from every angle are revealing a new generation that’s gone off the booze and in the UK is driving the second-largest fall in alcohol consumption in the world.
People often see supermarkets as the one-eyed monsters of the brewing industry, so it’s perhaps appropriate that Morrisons has at least in part been responsible for a great leap forward in the fortunes of Cyclops, the scheme to put independent tasting notes on to the reverse of bottled beer labels and cask ale pump clips.
Due to the recessive nature of the MC1R gene ginger people are dying out and could be extinct by the year 2100, according to the Oxford Hair Foundation.
Triumphant sports people bouncing up and down in front of hoardings with the names of beer brands on them could soon be a thing of the past.
When the researchers for BBC’s The Apprentice got their hapless teams making flavoured beer in the current series, they certainly hit on a trend in the drinks industry. The question is, did they miss the hottest trend in the business?
For millions of years all food and drink was organic. The cavemen, the Victorians and your great-grandparents didn’t call it organic food – they just called it food.
A private dining room with large sash windows that sits above the White Horse pub in west London has become a microcosm for the global cider industry in recent years.
When writing a story you need conflict, drama and obstacles for the hero to overcome in order to capture the reader’s imagination.
For a small island straddling the western coast of Europe, England has a habit of punching above its weight on a global stage.
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