Accolade boss Paul Schaafsma declared that “Australia is not broken” after announcing flagship brand Hardys grew 12.4% in volume over Christmas (Nielsen, 12 weeks to January 3).

Former Gonzalez Byass marketing supremo and OLN columnist Jeremy Rocket has become managing director at Marblehead.

John Hearn will leave Diageo’s wine arm Percy Fox to take over as off-trade commercial director at Enotria this week.

A Goldings hop from Worcestershire grower S J Adams & Son has beaten 123 rivals to be named the overall winner at the British Hop Awards for 2014.

The organisers of Prowein are ramping up their focus on attracting UK buyers after all the exhibitors begged for more Brits.

Diageo has signed UK distribution deals with Marblehead and Catalyst brands to help grow some its smaller brands.

Sharp: opportunities abound

Eight leading independent Scottish brewers have joined forces to support, promote and protect the industry through The Brewers’ Association of Scotland.

The tobacco industry claims criminal gangs will be rubbing their hands with glee at the news that the government has announced a pre-election vote on plain cigarette packs.

An OLN workshop aims to help retailers capitalise on the unprecedented growth in the gin category by helping them boost sales of tonic.

The London Wine Fair is targeting suppliers seeking UK representation with a new exhibitor area called Wines Unearthed.

The Competition and Markets Authority has admitted to MPs it failed to investigate councils it knew were breaking competition law and could be putting retailers at risk of significant fines and possible imprisonment.

Sparkling wine sales expected to grow 11.1%

The UK wine market will enjoy strong volume and value growth over the next three years, according to analysts at the International Wine and Spirit Research.

William Grant has prevailed over Alcohol Concern after the charity reported it to the advertising watchdog over an ad that stated: “Without Warninks advocaat it just wouldn’t be Christmas.”

Carlsberg has launched a campaign to find the UK’s greatest football fan and will install the recipient as a Talk Sport pundit at a Premiership match on the final day of the season.

Wine is becoming an increasingly important part of the Bargain Booze offering after the business overhauled its range, according to chief executive Diana Hunter.

Czech brewery Budweiser Budvar has seen sales grow 20% in the UK off-trade as the brewery celebrates a record year of production and exports.

Sir John: see me later

Copestick Murray has struck a distribution deal with Minervois producer Hegarty Chamans after owner Robin Copestick turned a Q&A session at the annual WSTA conference to his advantage.

Bargain Booze owner Conviviality Retail has announced that pre-tax profits grew 47% to £3.2 million during the six months to October 26, 2014.

The UK’s leading grocers, symbol groups and a host of convenience stores have signed up to a best practice guide hailed as “an unprecedented collaborations between retailers”.

Senior MPs have launched an inquiry into Reducing the Strength schemes in response to Off Licence News’ campaign and have called the Competition & Markets Authority to the House of Commons for a hearing next week.

IRI says shoppers were willing to treat themselves

Supermarkets enjoyed a strong Christmas trading period as they grew BWS sales by 1% to £2.3 billion (IRI, seven weeks to January 3, 2015).

Adnams Cellar & Kitchen chain has made its first profit a year before expected and plans to expand to 20 shops by 2020.

Retailers can put their faith in leading brands to help see Burgundy through a tough period of short harvests and dwindling UK sales, according to a top agency.

A specialist importer of central and eastern European wines has opened its first shop, in Brighton.

Britons are rediscovering a thirst for whisk(e)y and the category has arrested years of plummeting sales, according to the latest Nielsen data.

Labour: targeting "high-strength, low-cost products that are affordable to children"

The drinks industry has hit back after the Labour Party promised a prohibitive assault on alcohol as part of its manifesto as the general election looms.

Thatcher’s aims to build up distribution of its Old Rascal cider after giving it a design makeover and launching it in cans.

The average price of a bottle of wine rose 3.4% in December despite UK inflation increasing by just 0.5% during the month, according to Office for National Statistics figures crunched by industry analyst Tim Wilson.

Spanish firm Vidrala has purchased bottle manufacturer Encirc in a deal speculated to have cost up to £400 million.

Treasury Wine Estates boss Dan Townsend has been appointed the new chairman of drinks charity The Benevolent.

Buckingham Schenk has promoted sales director Craig Durham to managing director after boss Jon Pepper MW left to join Enotria.

Bottle manufacturer Encirc is expected to be snapped up by Spanish firm Vidrala in a takeover worth up to £400 million.

Family-run distillery Isle of Skye has launched two limited editions of its blended Scotch whisky.

The dynamic gin category will be the focus of a new OLN event that aims to educate the drinks trade and help everyone boost sales.

Retailers have been warned not to give into the temptation of buying illicit booze after police discovered a distribution centre for counterfeit alcohol.

Dutch spirits supplier Lucas Bols plans to raise around £98 million by launching an Initial Public Offering on the Amsterdam stock exchange.

Liberty Wines has reported a record December as it grew sales by 15.8% on the previous year.

Boutique French producer Chene Bleu has released a cuvee called Astralabe to give more people the chance to enjoy its award-winning wines.

Majestic Wine’s share price sank this morning after it revealed that margins took a hit as it invested 50 basis points of gross margin to remain competitive over Christmas.

Newell: new firm can stand alongside global heavywieghts

Channel Islands drinks business Liberation Group has bought Bristol brewery Butcombe to form a company that brews 30,000 barrels a year.

CyT hopes to reach 44 million consumers with a yearlong TV ad campaign for Casillero del Diablo that will run on Sky Movies, Sky 1 and Sky Living from March.

Burgundy generic BIVB has launched a website promoting en primeur tastings hosted by the region across the UK.

Bombardier supplier Charles Wells has posted a 24% rise in profits for the year to September 27, 2014.

Lebanese wine industry legend Serge Hochar has died at the age of 74.

The Co-operative Group expects to sell three bottles of Prosecco a second today – continuing a rush on the Italian sparkling wine in the run-up to Christmas.

Political uncertainty caused by the general election threatens to hamper retail sales growth in 2015.

Scotch whisky producer Glengoyne has unveiled a new tour experience designed to show the whisky’s close connection with wood.

Research for AB-Inbev UK has shown that 18-34 year olds are eight times more likely than over-65s to replace full-strength alcohol with alcohol-free beer in January

Leading doctors and health campaigners have used the heavy holiday sports programme to restate calls to ban alcohol sponsorship.

A press ad for Belvedere vodka has fallen foul of advertising regulations.

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COMMENT

Rosé tinted glasses

I was asked recently what I thought the biggest change had been in wine fashion in the past five years. My answer was unequivocal: sales of pink wines. From being a niche that expanded and contracted with the sunshine, rosé has subtly but steadily become a stalwart of many merchants’ ranges, with Provence firmly at the top and asked for by name.

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