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Back in 1995 Brothers Cider started selling its pear offering at the Glastonbury Festival, and the popularity of its seasonal and flavoured variants quickly gave the company a green light to extend into retail.

It is a good time for retailers to focus on Scotch whisky.

Irish whiskey is a much talked about category at the moment and it’s easy to see why. In 2013 there were just four operational distilleries in Ireland but this has risen to 23, with the industry now supporting more than 350 jobs.

Cracking rosé

29 April, 2019

The New World has been steadily chipping away at the market share of traditional European wine- producing nations for several decades. But there’s one wine colour for which the Old World is

The clocks have gone forward, the sun is battling its way through the clouds and the season of barbecues, festivals and picnics is almost upon us. Drinks retailers are urged to stock up on RTDs to boost sales and margins ahead of this crucial trading period.

Chaos in the bottle shops

23 April, 2019

Specialist craft beer retailers have likened placing orders for the latest beers from certain big-name breweries to the scramble to secure Glastonbury tickets, amid concerns that parts of the wholesale market are becoming overheated.

Millions of British consumers are increasingly health conscious and inclined to opt for low-calorie drinks that do not pack a high alcoholic punch. Their purse strings are tight amid the economic uncertainty sparked by Brexit and many prefer to save money by entertaining at home. They want to impress their guests and, more importantly, their social media followers with drinks that look vibrant, luxurious and refreshing. Yet they do not want to fiddle around with a multitude of ingredients to whip up something Heston Blumenthal would be proud of. 

Independent retailers are bullish about their chances of flourishing after the news that Majestic is retreating from bricks-and-mortar drinks retailing. It said store closures are inevitable as it turns its focus more towards e-commerce, and finer detail on this new strategy will be announced in June.

Matt Gammell from Pickering's tells Sonya Hook how he unwittingly created the first exclusive gin distillery in Edinburgh in more than 150 years.

Vodka’s role as a key component of classic cocktails such as the Cosmopolitan and Moscow Mule must surely cement its position as a must-have on most retailers’ spirit shelves.

Ben Branson, the brains behind alcohol-free spirit Seedlip, has a clear vision of where the no- alcohol market is going.

Andy Cresswell has been tasked with ushering in a brave new era at Bestway Retail after a tumultuous couple of years for franchisees and staff.

The most exciting opportunity for the rum industry to grow UK sales lies in educating more consumers and trade professionals about the myriad wonders within the category. Too few people fully appreciate its breadth, depth and versatility at a huge range of price points. We therefore decided to make education the chief focus of our big debate at the fourth annual Think Rum event in London this month. 

The marketing messages around lager used to be very simple: it’s cold, it’s fizzy, it tastes relatively innocuous and it quenches your thirst on a hot day.

Tonic: Mixing up the flavours

18 February, 2019

Consumer thirst for unusual additions to boost their G&T has never been higher, reports Sonya Hook

Rhône-style wines are growing in popularity, with increased appeal to experimental winemakers and consumers across the globe. The classic grapes of the Rhône Valley – namely Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Viognier, Roussanne and more – can create unique blends and the wines that are produced will vary from country to country.

An appearance on top TV show Dragon’s Den saw the owners of Didsbury gin gain a £75,000 investment. Martin Green catches up with the duo to see what the future holds

Bottle-conditioning gives beers bigger flavours and complex characters. A week of promotions aims to put them back on the map, reports Nigel Huddleston

DRN gets the lowdown on how wine branding has changed over the years from expert Abigail Barlow.

Craft spirits entrepreneur Michael Vachon has shrugged off the notion that the UK is on the brink of reaching peak gin. It has been the star performer in the spirits category for several years now and some have started to question whether its performance will peter out. “The UK is nowhere near peak gin,” Vachon says. “In fact, we are so far away from it that the peak isn’t even in sight.”

Austria’s public declaration in October that its 2018 vintage was “fully-ripened and bountiful” could equally be applied to the status of its recent sales success in the UK.

Yahya Egeh’s mother slipped him £20 on his 20th birthday and expected him to go out and celebrate in low-key fashion with a friend called Tallulah.

When Bill Sharp was faced with demand from north Cornwall publicans for a new beer from his fledgling Sharp’s Brewery he took

In the 14th century Cardinal Vital Du Four laid out the chief benefits associated with drinking Armagnac, the grape brandy produced in the Gascogne region.

The fast pace of innovation in the food industry is unrivalled by most other sectors. Over the past few years we have seen gluten-free rise from a handful of products to become a well-established and multi-million pound category, while other free-from sectors have also emerged. This year vegan products look set to take centre stage. Consumers are already flocking to stores with glee, happy to try out fishless fishfingers and dairy-free brownies, alongside Gregg’s much-publicised vegan sausage roll.

An age-old question in the drinks trade is whether tequila will ever be able to shed its negative image, although some in the industry would argue it is already well on the path of transformation from boisterous party drink to respectable spirit.

A group of wine producers and students gathered at the WSET’s London offices this month to learn from the team behind the successful I Heart brand.

Beaujolais: nouveau niche

20 November, 2018

The beleaguered winemakers of Beaujolais are celebrating after 2018 delivered the sort of vintage that can save many from biting the dust. Hail ravaged the region in 2016 and 2017 and some producers feared for their livelihoods as they headed into this year. But Mother Nature smiled on the area to the north of Lyon this year and superb conditions led to a large crop set to yield high-quality juice.

A movement called mindful drinking is gathering pace across the UK as Brits seek to moderate their alcohol consumption and lead healthier loves. A fifth of British adults are now teetotal, BWS column sales are in steady decline and mindful drinking festivals are springing up across the country. The drinks industry could see this as an impending disaster and decide to sell up shop and get into something like Bitcoin, cannabis, avocados or quinoa instead.

Whisk(e)y accounts for 21% of all UK spirits sales and it dominates the off-trade channel, but there is still a massive opportunity to grow the category further. It vastly under-trades among female consumers and younger adults, and retailers can reap the rewards if they compose exciting ranges that appeal to a broader demographic. For that reason we decided to launch Think Whisky, building on the success of our popular Think Gin and Think Rum events, in order to help them share best practice.