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Lixir Drinks has appointed former Pernod Ricard UK commercial director Chris Ellis as new non-executive director.

Thatchers is launching a new TV campaign, which will hit screens on August 17.

Ian Macleod Distillers is launching Smokehead Rum Rebel, which is a Smokehead Islay Single Malt Whisky finished in Caribbean rum casks. The newcomer arrives on UK shores in time for International Rum Day on August 16.
The Islay whisky, which is described as “rich, smoky and salty” is finished in spicy, sweet Caribbean rum casks “creating culture colliding carnage and a melding of mouth-watering tastes”.
Smokehead aims to disrupt International Rum Day with a “tantalising twist on the humdrum” for rum fans, beckoning them to the Smokehead whisky dark side. 
Priced at £54.99 with an ABV of 46%, Smokehead Rum Rebel will be available to buy from www.smokehead.com and many UK specialist and online retailers.
As a toast to International Rum Day, Smokehead is also “ripping up the rulebook and careering away from convention” by crafting a brand-new, bold cocktail that will not be for every rum fan:
The new Rum Rebel Smokito comprises 5cl Smokehead Rum Rebel, 2.5cl lime juice mixed with 2.5cl water, two teaspoons sugar, fresh mint and a few flakes of smoked Maldon sea salt.
Also on August 16 Smokehead brand ambassador Mikey Sim will host an episode of Smokehead TV on the brand Instagram and Facebook channels (@smokeheadwhisky). During the episode he will taste Rum Rebel, as well as show Smokeheads how to craft the Smokito signature cocktail and showcase a special boilermaker serve.
Iain Weir, Smokehead Brand Director, said: “We are overwhelmed by the boldness of flavour in our new bottling and can’t wait to see our Smokeheads’ reaction. When our rich, smoky, salty Islay Smokehead collides with spicy, sweet Caribbean rum casks, carnage is inevitable.
“We’re encouraging all our Smokeheads and rum fans alike to stir up a Rum Rebel Smokito and raise their glass high this International Rum Day. 
“Like all our Smokehead whiskies, Rum Rebel is not for everyone. This whisky is for the fearless.”
Smokehead Rum Rebel joins the family of Smokehead Original, Smokehead High Voltage and the latest release Sherry Bomb, a smoky Islay single malt that has been boldly blasted by sherry casks. 

Naked Wines is launching a one-off fundraising campaign from tomorrow (Thursday August 13) to raise £225,220 for South African winemakers affected by one of the strictest lockdowns in the world.

The initiative forms part of the company’s efforts to support winemakers affected by the global impact of Covid-19, including its recently announced $5 million Covid-19 Support Fund, which helps winemakers affected by the temporary closure of bars and restaurants due to Covid-19.

The South Africa’s wine industry has already seen huge job losses, and tens of thousands more jobs are reportedly at stake. It is estimated that the wine industry alone has already suffered direct losses of £142 million already (VinPro data).

On Thursday, Naked Wines is launching a crowdfunding campaign to support struggling winemakers affected by the strict lockdown measures in South Africa. They have chosen six “talented and deserving” winemakers to support. These are:

• Arco Laarman, a 17-year winemaker of Glen Carlou
• Carsten Migliarina, former Sommelier at London’s Le Pont de la Tour turned boutique winemaker, making small-scale, top-quality wines in the Western Cape
• Cerina van Niekerk, a talented female winemaker working with rare bush vines on South Africa’s West Coast
• Lourens van der Westhuizen, a fifth-generation winemaker from a small, family-run winery, specialising in single vineyard wines
• Rudi Schulz, said to be one of South Africa’s hottest up-and coming winemaking talents
• Richard Kershaw, former Chief Winemaker at Mulderbosch winery in Stellenbosch, who has been making exclusive wines for Naked’s Angel customers for the past nine years

The pre-orders from Naked Wines customers will allow these winemakers to reinvest directly in next year’s wine production with confidence, rather than spend time and money selling their unsold wine.

In return for their support, customers will save 26% on 12 bottles from a group of talented South African artisans. The 12 bottles comprise:
One Focal Point Chardonnay 2018 and one Focal Point Chenin Blanc 2019 from Arco Laarman; two Arendsig Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Blok A9 2018 from Lourens van der Westhuizen; two Parquet Stellenbosch Red 2019 from Carsten Migliarina; one The Smugglers Boot Pinot Noir 2017 from Richard Kershaw; one Cecilia Shiraz 2019 and one Windband Pastiche Rose 2020 from Cerina van Niekerk; and three North Beach Sauvignon Blanc 2020 from Rudi Schultz.

This rescue deal is the sixth to come out of Naked’s $5 million Covid Support Fund, and the second to support South African winemakers. In July, 1,800 Angels raised £124,938 to help winemaker Reenen Borman from the Boschkloof estate, on the edge of Stellenbosch.

To date, more than 11,000 Naked Wines customers in the UK have raised almost £1 million to help 31 winemakers impacted by Covid-19 around the world.

The deal will go live on Thursday 13th August here: www.nakedwines.com/marketplace

Arco Laarman, Winemaker, says: “It is just astounding to hear and see the impact that Covid had on so many people and their livelihood. I am only one small business owner from South Africa, and this had a devastating effect on my family. But thanks to you guys, we got a second chance this year, and things are looking much more promising now. As a result of your help, I can continue living my dream of making wines and supporting my family through this! Thank you!”

Eamon FitzGerald, Global Wine Director, added “I’ve heard from countless winemakers about their struggles following the domestic alcohol ban in South Africa. Given our unique platform and passionate customer base, it feels right to launch this initiative to help the South African wine industry. The best way we can support them is by buying and drinking their wines. In return for their support, our customers will get a great deal on a case of South African hidden gem wines from six talented winemakers.”

Bacardi has relaunched its ready-to-drink cocktail (RTD) cans in time for National Rum Day on August 16.

The cans have been redesigned and are available in four flavours including the Mojito, Raspberry Spritz, Bacardi Rum & Cola and Bacardi Spiced & Cola.

Tine Van Nevel, Brand Director of Bacardi Europe said: “We know the demand for ready-to-drink cocktails is increasing as the sector has grown by 43% growth in the past two years1. Consumers need convenience more than ever - but not at the cost of amazing taste, which is why we’ve brought out some of the nation’s favourite cocktails in ready-to-drink cans. We’re delighted Bacardi fans will get to enjoy these delicious cocktails as they savour the rest of the summer sun.”

Metinee Kongsrivilai, UK Brand Ambassador, said: “This summer is all about making the most of our amazing outdoor spaces and soaking up the sun, and what better way to enjoy the heat than with a delicious, chilled cocktail? Our ready-to-drink cocktail cans are easy to keep cold and bursting with vibrant flavour, making them the perfect drink for any summer occasion.”

The 5% abv RTD cans can be found in Sainsbury’s stores at an RRP of £1.80 per 25cl can.

The off-trade recorded an additional £49 million in sales for the week ending 25 July, but this was the slowest week of growth since the end of March, as consumers balance their at-home consumption with visits to the on-trade.

Bladnoch, the 203-year-old Scotch Whisky distillery, has secured SEA Spirits as its new distribution partner.

Freixenet Copestick’s wine brand I Heart Wines is on track to hit global sales of 25 million bottles this year, and it is now the tenth largest wine brand in the UK, according to IRI data (June 14, 2020).

Treasury Wine Estates has introduced its first luxury e-commerce platform in the UK displaying its portfolio of key luxury wines from a collection of the global producers.

The Winery Collection is designed to raise the profile of premium wine brands, showcase insight and stories from Wine Makers and Brand Ambassadors, and provide “a convenient purchase journey for consumers”.

Tennent’s has announced plans to launch a new loyalty scheme for Scottish independent convenience stores and wholesale partners, which will offer a host of benefits and advice.

The new initiative, which will go live early September, will support members of the scheme with advice on ranging information and merchandising support, designed specifically with the Scottish convenience sector in mind.

The initiative will be supported by the Tennent’s team, working directly with member retailers to maximise range availability and drive incremental sales opportunities. A tiered system of incentives and rewards will be accessible for members who join the scheme, including cash vouchers and free stock, along with ongoing support.

The launch of the rewards loyalty scheme comes as Tennent’s seeks to increase investment in to the Scottish off-trade.

Halewood Wines & Spirits is tapping into an anticipated “significant growth” across all vodka categories with the launch of its first flavours for Vestal Vodka.

Amathus Drinks has added Georgian winery Dugladze to its portfolio as part of its plan to diversify and expand its wine portfolio.

Jeroboams has been appointed agents for five family-owned boutique wineries, supporting its mission to add new world newcomers alongside classic and traditional wines. Four of the five are exclusive and new to the UK market.

Kingsland Drinks has revealed the creation of a new drinks company, which will focus on premium spirits for the off and on-trade. The new company, which is yet to be named, will focus on curating, creating and crafting a portfolio of premium drinks brands, and it will benefit from Kingsland’s route to market and end-to-end category service, although it will run as an entirely separate business.

Pernod Ricard UK (PRUK) has announced the appointment of four key roles to lead its marketing and digital transformation. The new appointments will also be part of PRUK’s aim to drive value growth across its premium spirits and wine portfolio.

McGuigan Wines has renewed its TV sponsorship with Timeless Entertainment on UKTVs Drama for a second year.

The renewed 12-month sponsorship deal, worth over £2 million, will continue to cover the Timeless Entertainment programming on UKTV’s Drama channel. Led by “an exciting new and disruptive creative” developed by agency 20something, the campaign will illustrate there are “No Drama’s, when you bring a McGuigan”.

The idents themselves play on the tropes of classic British Drama TV shows found on the channel, across a variety of sub-genres – thriller, disaster, espionage, scandal, law and crime, only to later reveal themselves as innocuous and drama-free scenarios, featuring people innocently enjoying a delicious glass of McGuigan, whether that’s with a Friday night take-away, cosied up on the sofa or socialising with friends over a long lunch.

Julian Dyer, chief operating officer for UK & Europe, said: “The renewal of the sponsorship is incredibly exciting for McGuigan. Last year’s sponsorship was a great success, with shifts in key brand metric such as brand awareness and consideration. We have taken learnings from last year’s creative and have developed an amazing disruptive new creative positioned around ‘No Drama’s, when you bring a Mcguigan’, we can’t wait to see it live.

“The creative was developed by 20something, who have been a great partner bringing the brief to life. The team at 20something from the start aligned themselves closely with the brand and worked collaboratively with us through the entire process resulting in an outstanding final product which is aligned to our consumer and the sponsorship platform. We are hugely confident that we will see even greater brand metrics shifts and growth versus last year, to say we are excited is an understatement!

Elliott Starr, Senior Copywriter at 20something said: “The wine aisle in the supermarket can be a daunting place for many people. A rushed decision on the way to a party where you might be hoping to impress can often result in paying over-the-odds for a prestigious-looking label with some fancy swirls on it. Or, worse, showing up with something deemed to be inferior. There’s a real fear about ‘getting it wrong’, it’s all a bit dramatic. If you buy a McGuigan, you know you’re getting something legitimate – all that drama disappears, hence, ‘no dramas, bring a McGuigan’.”

The sponsorship, which is now live, is expected to reach a total of over 20 million people across the country UK & Ireland. It will also be supported with a multi-channel campaign from TV and social, through to the point of purchase in store.

Casillero del Diablo, Concha y Toro’s biggest brand, has announced a major TV push for its ‘Wine Legend’ campaign in the run up to Christmas 2020.

ABInbev released its second quarter results statement today and said the first half of the year tested the company in many ways but it is now “well-positioned for a strong recovery”.

Brits consumed 1.3 billion litres of alcohol during the UK’s lockdown period, which was almost half the 2 billion litres recorded during the same period last year, according to data from Nielsen Scantrack and CGA. This is despite UK consumers spending an additional £1.9 billion on alcohol in supermarkets since lockdown began, as consumers shifted spend from pubs and restaurants.

Silent Pool Gin has secured a new UK distributor.

Waitrose is offering a specially curated case of South African wines at 25% off, for a limited time only in a bid to help support the industry.

Beer and spirits were the main contributors to the additional £85 million spent in the off-trade for the week ending July 18, although overall off-trade growth started to plateau as the on-trade picked up, according to the latest Nielsen data.

Storywood Tequila has announced a new distribution partnership with Proof Drinks in the UK.

Independent bottler That Boutique-y Whisky Company (TBWC) has revealed a plan to release batches on a quarterly basis.

Budweiser Budvar is launching a new design across all its packaging.

The Portman Group has issued a statement in response to a new Government anti-obesity initiative, which aims to put calorie information on beer, wines and spirits labels. 

Taylor's Port has launched a new digital campaign for Taylor's Chip Dry to celebrate the start of white port season. 

Independent beer shops are planning an event that resembles Record Store Day, in a bid to reignite the sector following the coronavirus lockdown.

The City of Manchester Distillery has created a new company and invested £900,000 in a drinks development and packing centre, as it expands its range of alcohol services.

The creators of the Three Rivers Gin have established Alcohol Solutions and will be opening the new centre in Carrington, Manchester in September.

An initial six new jobs will be created, with the 13,000 square foot centre home to a laboratory for developing alcohol-based beverages, a canning line, a British-made bottling line and a bonded facility. The new centre will have capacity to process ten million cans and bottles per year.

Dave Rigby, a founder of the City of Manchester Distillery and Alcohol Solutions, said: “We’ve been expanding our services over the last few years, creating drinks for everyone from micro-distilleries to multinationals. Setting-up Alcohol Solutions was a natural next step and further develops our services. The investment, combined with our experience, means we have the wisdom, knowledge and capabilities to meet any opportunity to create an alcohol-based drink and bring it to market.”

City of Manchester Distillery will continue to operate out of its current premises in the city centre, where it employs six people and hosts the Gin Experience for customers to make and learn more about the popular spirit. Going forward, the distillery will trade as part of Alcohol Solutions.

Graham Gibson, a director of Alcohol Solutions, added: “We have developed the new company because we’ve become so much more than a distiller of gin and other spirits.

“We can take a concept from scratch to create retail-ready drinks, help companies perfect flavourings and ingredients, source liquids as well as bottle and can drinks, so they can be distributed and sold on a wider-scale.

“There’s a lot of value in outsourcing during the development of new alcohol drinks, and this will only grow further following the financial impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. Companies will be looking for quick and cost-effective routes to market.”

Installation is being finalised at the new Carrington site ahead of its opening in mid-September, with the potential for this to be upscaled and more jobs created in response to market demand.

Dave Rigby concludes: “The pandemic has been challenging but we’ve remained committed to establishing Alcohol Solutions and opening the new site. Our whole ethos is all about saving companies time and money when it comes to sourcing, producing and packing alcohol-based drinks.

The Royal Collection Trust has launched a small-batch dry gin, made from botanicals from the Queen’s London residence.