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Illustration of a man in a bell jar

Christmas might be full of surprises, but for an independent wine merchant, surprises are the last thing you want in the run up to December 25.

Close up of beer glasses clinking

Around 20 years ago, I was asked to contribute a chapter on British lager to Beer Glorious Beer, a collection of essays collated by the British Guild of Beer Writers.

If you’re a lover of the wines of Barolo, as I am, the two words you learn after Nebbiolo are traditionalist and modernist.

As a child I could never really understand the saying: “You can’t have your cake and eat it.”

Camden Town’s recent TV commercial provides an interesting diversion from traditional ad campaigns for beer.

Nielsen client delivery team leader Rob Hallworth looks at the prospects for the off-trade as sporting fixtures return.

Nielsen client delivery team leader Rob Hallworth delves into how shoping behaviour has changed throughout lockdown.

A year ago, on March 12 2020, my company hosted our last tasting of the year. The theme, chosen in December, was 'Party Fizz for Spring'. Four days later, the streets were empty.

Recent events concerning the Brains brewery in Cardiff have been painful to watch.

It’s fair to say Christmas was different in 2020.

Millar's Tale: January Blues

22 January, 2021

I used to quite like January.

One of the defining characteristics of the craft beer revolution has been a relentless emphasis on flavour.

Anyone who has been into a supermarket in the eight months since the British public were first instructed to stay at home would agree that the shopping experience has changed significantly.

Millar's Tale: Lockdown 2.0

20 November, 2020

Back in May (which feels like two years ago) I took the opportunity to reflect on the positive aspects to be taken from the initial lockdown, highlighting the strengths inherent in more traditional independent retail business models and supply chains.

Watching the judges at work during this year’s International Beer Challenge focused my mind on just how much the beer world has changed since the competition was first staged 24 years ago.

Richard Hemming MW's recent article questioned the value of wine education, on the grounds that it neither boosts wine sales nor benefits the consumer.

Protecting our people and planet: How retailers can navigate safety and sustainability during a global pandemic

Keeping spirits up: How Covid-19 has fuelled alcohol innovation

Educating consumers about wine has become such an ingrained objective in the trade that we never question its value.

It’s been just over two months since the on-trade began to reopen.

This year has not been kind to British brewing.

It’s painfully ironic that, for a product we value above all for its diversity, most of us who sell wine in Britain look unfortunately similar.

If you’re hanging on to a rising balloon, you’re presented with a diffi cult decision — let go before it’s too late or hang on and keep getting higher, posing the question: how long can you keep a grip on the rope?”

Since lockdown began in March, the off-trade has absorbed around half the alcohol volume lost from the on-trade, compared to the same period last year.

At the end of May, news that Roger Ryman had died was met with an outpouring of shock and deep sadness.

Back in the Real World

31 July, 2020

A solitary tasting note sits on the shelf-edge of a promotional fixture.

It goes without saying that few sectors of the British economy will emerge unscathed from the current crisis, but brewing will undoubtedly suffer badly.

On Monday, March 23, independent merchants across the country faced an uncertain future.

In less than two months, wine communication has moved 100% online.

One of the most common questions we’re being asked by our clients is: what are the immediate and longer-term impacts of the on-trade closure on the off-trade?