In Brief

31 October, 2008

Co-op to sell Somerfield sites

The Co-op has offered to sell off 126 of the 900 Somerfield branches it bought in July, after the Office of Fair Trading raised concerns about competition issues in their local markets. The OFT said the merger did not raise competition issues at a national level, but would create a stronger fifth player to compete against the big four supermarkets. The merged company will have a market share of around 8%.

St Andrew's Day in full flight

The Famous Grouse is encouraging Scots to make St Andrew's Day just as famous as St Patrick's Day . Distributor Maxxium UK will

provide stores

across Scotland with promotional kits to help celebrate the national day on Nov 30. The push is called Make 30.11 Famous, and will also include a free gift incentive for consumers.

Glengoyne marks 175 years

In celebration of Glengoyne's 175th year, the distillery is adding three limited edition single cask malts to its portfolio. There will only be 301 bottles of the 11 Year Old, 287 bottles of the 16 Year Old and 262 bottles of the 19 Year Old available worldwide. The whiskies will retail for £105, £145 and £169 respectively.

Right age? Bet UreLife on it

A new pre-paid debit card has been described as "a valuable new weapon in the war against under-age drinking" by former police chief John Dwyer. The VISA-backed UreLife Card carries the photo and date of birth of the holder, meaning it can double up as proof-of-age card.

There is a one-off cost of £12.95 for the card, which can be downloaded at

Balblair rolls out 1965 release

Balblair is rolling out what it claims is its "oldest and most exclusive vintage release to date". Only 350 bottles of Balblair 1965 will be released, with an rrp of £1,250. Each bottle comes with a certificate of authenticity and a letter hand-signed by distillery manager John MacDonald telling consumers they are entitled to receive a free limited edition print of the Balblair distillery.

Liquid Smoking draws attention

A drink which claims to give smokers the same nicotine rush as a cigarette could hit the UK market by Christmas. Liquid Smoking comes in a red and white 27.5cl can which mimics a cigarette packet (rrp £1.50). Rather than containing nicotine it is made from South African plants which give an " energising effect, followed by a euphoric sense of calming and relaxation",


the brand's Dutch manufacturers United Drinks

and Beauty Corporation.

Smokehead's the new black

Ian Macleod Distillers has given its latest launch - Smokehead Extra Black - a £68 price tag. The 18 Year Old Islay Single Malt comes in a frosted black bottle featuring the words Deep, Smoky and Earthy - referring to

its taste,

which is

"instantly full of peat smoke with hints of ginger and mint, before building with flavours of vanilla and cocoa".

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Hofmeister may need more than the bear essentials to succeed

So, George The Bear is back. Itís hard for some of us oldies to fathom, but there are those under, say, 40 who canít actually remember Hofmeister and feel the cultural jolt supplied by the return of both the bear and the beer whose marketing campaigns it used to front.

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Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know