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aerial shot of a wine trade show

“Wider aisles, better conversations and more time.” These were among the positive comments from the side-lines at both this year’s Prowein and London Wine Fair.

What started with Beaujolais Nouveau has developed into a marketing must-have for almost every grape, country and region: your own day, week or month. 

First it was Covid, now inflation; two factors that have and will affect purchasing within a number of supermarket categories including beer, wines and spirits. Alcohol was one of  the FMCG categories most positively impacted by the pandemic, with an upturn in sales as  people drank more at home. 

Earlier this year, candidates on The Apprentice vied to impress with their non-alcoholic creations. Among the expert judges was online retailer The Bottle Club’s director, Rishi Lakhani. Here, he shares his insights into how retailers can avoid any pitfalls and make the right selections when it comes to their ranges.

Summer festival outdoor concert with woman

Last summer we were still somewhat held back by Covid rules. Restrictions did not fully lift in England until July 19 and, while the on-trade was open, the number of people able to meet in a group was limited and many consumers were still cautious of large crowds. With a return to normality on the cards for the UK, what can we expect from shoppers in 2022?

As costs rise for consumers and suppliers, what will this mean for the wine industry? Energy bills are expected to increase “at least 14 times faster” than wages this year, according to the Trades Union Congress.

Two people pointing to wine labels

As anyone who deals with the familiar names in fine wine can attest, there has been a trend for some time now for producers in premium fine wine regions — Bordeaux, Champagne and so on — to redesign or refresh their labelling to appear more contemporary.

Top four beer cans and bottles

The Jeff Evans beer review

16 February, 2022

In the first of a new series, our beer expert Jeff Evans appraises four recently-released beers.

wine glasses on their sides with different coloured wines in them

For many indies, the start of the year is about taking stock, literally and figuratively, as the dust settles on the most frantic month of the wine merchant’s calendar. After we’ve analysed the data and debriefed on the activities of Christmas past, we go into the new year armed with a sense of clarity and purpose.

Christmas week was huge. Alcohol sales in the week ending December 25, 2021, topped £756 million, making it by far the biggest week for sales in the past three years – more than £60 million higher than last year. Self-isolation, consumer caution before Christmas and an extra trading day all contributed to a bumper seven days.

open sign through a shop window

This month, online low/no alc retailer the Dry Drinker partnered with designer Anya Hindmarch to open a low- and no-alcohol off licence. The opening follows that of mindful drinking organisation Club Soda’s alcohol-free off licence, which opened in December.

Blockchain expert Max Kantelia shares his vision for virtual luxury retail and looks at the role blockchain and NFTs can play in preventing wine fraud

illustration of young people in a group

NielsenIQ's client team leader Rob Hallworth looks at the imapct of the pandemic on new legal age drinkers. 

Today more than ever, successful beer retailing relies on good product knowledge. This rather simplistic, but fundamental, analysis lodged itself in my mind during this year’s International Beer Challenge judging.

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.