Enotria & Coe has increased its stockholding and hedged further ahead currency-wise “to prepare for whatever form of Brexit the country takes,” according to chief operating officer, Jon Pepper MW.

or whatever form of Brexit the country takes”, according to chief operating officer Jon Pepper MW.

He told DRN: “It is very difficult for companies to prepare when we don’t know things such as what the tariffs will be. We work with JF Hillebrand and it has done a lot of contingency planning, but apart from that it is really hard to know.

“The other thing is that, globally, the uncertainty around the UK market is inevitably making it less interesting to some producers, but we are still one of the best nations for wines and spirits.”

Enotria is working on a number of projects for 2019, including a focus on vegan wines, products from Mexico and low-alcohol options.

Pepper said: “We are increasingly conscious about people’s lifestyle choices and we have a lot in the range already that are sustainably produced and so on. It is more about us pulling that information out and flagging it up better.”

Pepper confirmed Enotria will “inevitably add more” when it comes to the company’s extensive range of 350 gins, 150 of which were added to the portfolio in 2018.

“The interesting trend is regional so we are looking at how we put together a portfolio for each area, and we are looking at the really interesting stuff for off-trade retailers.

“We will also have a big push on Mexico this year, with a focus on mescal and sotol. We are looking at broadening that category out with some higher-end more specialised spirits. Mexico is a really interesting trend in food and drink.”

For low and no-alcohol Enotria has added a number of new products, including beers from Small Beer and Big Drop, and

soft drinks such as kombucha. Pepper also points to vermouth as a category to watch for people looking for lighter drinks.

“The trend for low and no-alcohol works really well for vermouth and people are starting to take to mixing it with tonic, like you would with a G&T. It works well in spritzers and cocktails too, and it’s great for that low-alcohol serve. We have Regal Rogue vermouth from Australia in our portfolio and it’s doing really well.

“We have also been looking at broadening our range of products from English producers as the line is blurring between UK-produced wine and spirits, with wine producers bringing out vermouth, for example.”

Looking back at 2018, Enotria has seen a lot of interest in indigenous grapes, particularly those from Italy such as Vermentino and drier-style whites, Pepper said.

“People are branching out and becoming more and more confident. We have been working hard to get the right price points so that these wines are accessible to consumers, so around £6-7 where you can really start to offer great value for money, and encourage people to try these lesser-known grapes and styles.

“It becomes about partnerships with suppliers and working with them. So we did a really big partnership with Viña San Pedro recently and revitalised the 35 South brand, which we are about to push out. These are really well- made fruit-driven wines with more elegance. They are more complex and you can drink them with food.”