Cumbrian brewery Hardknott has doubled its production capacity to meet the rapidly growing demand for its bottled beers after winning a nationwide listing with Morrisons.

Comedian Bob Mortimer has taken over as the face of Charles Wells’ flagship beer Bombardier after the sad death of Rick Mayall.

Twickenham independent Real Ale is celebrating its 10th anniversary by launching an own-label beer and plans to create a broad own-label range in future.

Birmingham independent Loki is aiming to open a new shop in the West Midlands in the coming weeks and a third store in early 2016.

A report from the Society of Independent Brewers shows bottled beer taking an increasing share of its members’ sales.

A group of 15 winemakers from across the Rhône poured some of the region’s finest wines for buyers as it hosted its first UK tasting in 15 years.

The Champagne Bureau has admitted it needs to start educating consumers on why Champagne is more expensive than rival sparkling wines and will start by releasing a series of educational online videos.

Kopparberg has launched the world’s first frozen cider to capitalise on growth in the bugeoning frozen pouch category.

Retailers could be entitled to compensation from councils that illegally enforce bans on certain products following a landmark case where loss of earnings put a store on the brink of closure.

BWS sales in the convenience channel will match those in out-of-town supermarkets by 2020, according to analysts at IRI. 

Westons is spending £6 million on advertising this year as it aims to build on growth that has seen retail sales rise 16% to £4.8 billion (IRI, year to January 2015). 

Beam has chosen the UK market to exclusively debut its new Jim Beam Apple after hailing it a perfect breeding ground for innovation.

Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon has grown sales by 60% to become the UK’s bestselling Cabernet Sauvignon SKU (IRI, year to February 2015).

Scotch exports drop 7%

01 April, 2015

The Scotch Whisky Association blamed weak economic conditions and political volatility after Scotch exports dropped 7% in value in 2014.

Shoppers at Tesco will learn about beer styles and food matching when they browse the BWS aisles throughout April via a range of POS from trade campaign There’s a Beer for That.

Camra said it is “very concerned” at the news that Blackburn brewer Thwaites has been taken over by Marston’s.

Marston’s has bought the main beer business of Lancashire’s Thwaites in a £25.1 million deal.

The UK is experiencing a surge in sales of American craft beer.

Treasury Wine Estates is merging a number of US operations, putting several Australian wineries up for sales and closing a warehouse in Australia in a cost-cutting drive designed to save £26 million a year.

William Grant has launched a £1.2 million TV campaign for blended whisky Grant’s Signature, which is targeted at younger drinkers.

Kingsland has carried out research it says goes beyond existing studies into wine shopping to look at why consumers buy wines when they do.

Suffolk brewer Adnams says it has returned its retail business to profit after announcing 9.1% sales growth in 2014.

Fourteen million people have been reached by a Twitter campaign funded by the beer industry, according to the organisers.

English sparkling wine producer Hambledon Vineyard aims to raise £3 million in a crowdfunding retail bond to increase production as it bids to sell 200,000 bottles a year by 2020.

Pimm's to launch 'spider'

23 March, 2015

Pimm’s is targeting the burgeoning fruit cider market with a new spirit cider – or “spider” – that blends the brand’s strawberry and cucumber flavours with British cider.

Waitrose and the discounters have been the biggest winners in still wine over the past year, significantly outpacing rivals’ sales and snatching their customers.

Diageo is aiming to breathe life into its beer division by launching Guinness golden ale and backing the new brew with a £4.5 million ad campaign.

Tesco’s recently reinstated global wine boss, Dan Jago, has questioned the commercial value of Germany’s Prowein trade show and urged producers to focus on more innovation.

The head of the Portman Group says a partnership approach to issues around alcohol misuse between the industry and government has helped bring more lower-in-alcohol drinks to the market.

The boss of the Scotch Whisky Association has called on health campaigners to show “a little less disdain” for workers in the drinks industry.

Australia is on the brink of a renaissance as it “bounces back” and is boosted by increasingly favourable exchange rates and “the best premium wines the country has ever made”, according to the trade.

Aldi has upped the ante in the aisles by releasing a set of £9.99 wines to trade its customers into higher price points.

Cheshire chain Corks Out is set to open a sixth store as founder Ruth Yates focuses on a concept combining a shop and wine bar.

The UK’s second largest cider producer has hit back after a homeless charity said its flagship Frosty Jack’s should be withdrawn from sale on public health grounds.

Sopexa has added the first non-French brand to its portfolio after becoming a private agency that can represent estates from across the world.

Retailers need to champion the 2015 Rugby World Cup in the absence of any major football tournaments this summer, according to a leading supplier.

Wines of Portugal said it has increased exports to the UK by 23% in the past year after targeting independent wine merchants.

Advertising regulators are planning to take action to prevent children being exposed to alcohol marketing on social media.

The Chancellor announced a duty cut on beer, cider and spirits in today’s Budget speech.

The soaring popularity of craft beer and e-cigarettes has been recognised by the Office for National Statistics, which added them to the virtual shopping basket it uses to measure UK inflation.

Scottish brewer Innis & Gunn has launched its first-ever outdoor advertising campaign in its hometown to remind drinkers: “when in Rome, drink Italian lager…but you’re in Edinburgh”.

Wine Australia’s new UK head Laura Jewell MW claims the country is on the brink of a renaissance as it “bounces back” with new wines and an increasingly favourable currency for export.

Wines of South Africa has sold 95% of exhibitor space for trade fair Cape Wine, six months before it begins in Cape Town.

Tesco wine boss Dan Jago is rumoured to be in the frame for the top job at Majestic, Off Licence News can exclusively reveal.

Origin Wines has appointed Barry Dick MW to consult on its supply base.

The Scotch Whisky Association blamed excessive taxation after revealing the UK market for 70cl bottles of Scotch declined by almost 5% in 2014.

Ridgeview revamps range

12 March, 2015

English sparkling wine producer Ridgeview has given its entire range a makeover to mark its 20th anniversary this year.

Heineken has launched a pair of colourful drinks in a bid to draw more young adults into the beer and cider category.

Hogs Back Brewery has won listings for Montezuma’s chocolate lager and Hogstar craft lager Tesco and Booths.

Retailers, lawyers and the tobacco industry have condemned the Government’s decision to introduce plain packaging on cigarettes across the UK next year.

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Breaking up with Burgundy

Making my way through the recent tranche of Burgundy tastings for the much-hyped 2015 vintage, I found myself experiencing a moment of guilt.


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