Accolade sets sights on further expansion

15 May, 2015

Accolade Wines is upping spend on its flagship Hardys brand and setting its sights on further expansion to strengthen its global coverage.

The UK’s number one wine label will see investment grow to £3.5 million this year to capitalise on its sponsorship of the English cricket team and the arrival of the Australia team to battle it out for the Ashes.

Paul Schaafsma, general manager for UK, Ireland and global partners, said: “Retailers tell us Hardys is by far the strongest wine brand, because no one is spending or doing as much to back anything else.

“The Australian category started to take itself a bit too seriously so we needed to inject some fun. The fact an Australian brand is sponsoring the England team gave us the perfect ammunition.

“It gave us a big opportunity to hammer up the Australian and British rivalry and means Hardys will have more advertising over the next six months than any other wine brand.”

Schaafsma said despite its private equity ownership, Accolade was committed to putting money into its products above the line and was gaining a strong reputation for building brands.

He said: “We have grown our market share by 3.7% in two years, which [equates to] the same size as a small company.

“The current changes in the market will separate the real players from the pretenders. Lots of people out there think they own proper brands, but don’t invest in anything other than price.

“We have less reliance on price and have become known as real brand builders.

“For example, we’ve taken our latest launch, Mud House from New Zealand, from the 127th ranking brand in the UK to the sixth in less than a year – and not by slashing price.”

He added that South America was the next region in which Accolade hoped to make its mark and that it was “getting closer” to making an acquisition.

He said: “If we can find a brand in Chile, which is what we are hoping to acquire, and then bolt on Argentina to give us a premium wine bottled there and a good bulk wine we can pack here, we’d be mad not to.

“The common response from retailers is fantastic. They want to be able to have Echo Falls, whatever we have from Chile, New Zealand and Australia delivered on the same pallet.

“Ultimately, retailers are seeking to reduce working capital and are looking for easy supply solutions, which is what we aim to do.”

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