Independent French winegrowers have identified the UK as a market where consumers are moving towards premium, terroir-driven wines and they aim to capitalise on the trend.

Global Brands has hired comedian Keith Lemon to front an ad campaign for lemon-flavoured RTD Hooch.

Halewood has launched a limited-edition Valentine's bottle of Lambrini Original that will sell in Tesco and Morrisons this month.

The Wine Society’s buyers will select wines that benefit from ageing and send them out to subscribers under a scheme called the Vintage Cellar Plan. 

Richard Jones and Matt Douglas

SH Jones continues expansion

03 February, 2014

SH Jones Wines has added to its growing empire by snapping up the wholesale and retail arm of Stevens Garnier.

Pernod Ricard has hailed the UK as a ripe breeding ground for innovation after launching two global exclusives in the market.

Mateus is moving away from its distinctive flask-shaped bottle with the launch of a new dual varietal wine range.

Cambridge Wine Merchants owner Hal Wilson lauded the quality of recent Australian vintages after attending Wine Australia’s annual tasting.

Thatchers lands Down Under

31 January, 2014

Somerset cider brand Thatchers has landed Down Under after signing a contract with Australian brewery Coopers to distribute Thatchers Gold to the on- and off-trades.

Diageo Great Britain’s reserve brand portfolio grew 24% in the six months, driving a 1% rise in overall sales at the British arm of the world’s largest spirits supplier.

Grey is the new pink

31 January, 2014

Grey is the new pink, according to Vranken Pommery.

Drinks producers have committed to promoting responsible drinking at sponsored events in the widest ever partnership between producers, retailers, rights holders and representatives of sport, music and venues.

Rhône producer Cellier des Dauphins has added a premium “cru” level, rrp £9.99, to its Les Dauphins brand.

Hampshire’s Upham Brewery is celebrating a year of record-breaking sales by recreating seasonal ale First Drop – the beer it brewed to mark the opening of its new state-of-the-art brewery a year ago.

Arrogant Frog producer Les Domaines Paul Mas is set to launch a new range called Striking French.

Wines of Portugal is offering travel bursaries to help 20 independent retailers get to the annual tasting on March 5.

Diageo escaped a rap on the knuckles from the advertising watchdog after viewers complained about Baileys ads featuring a woman kicking a man in the face.

Marblehead has signed a deal with Diageo to distribute Brazil’s leading cachaça brand Ypióca in the UK and Ireland.

Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King is to step down after a decade in charge.

Birmingham’s director of public health has urged Britain’s second city to adopt the Reducing the Strength campaign pioneered in Ipswich.

UK beer sales grow again

27 January, 2014

Off-trade beer sales grew 3.9% in the final quarter of 2013, leaving the overall British beer in growth for two consecutive quarters for the first time in a decade.

The wine industry must innovate to stave off the growing threat of craft beer, flavoured cider and cocktails over the next 20 years, according to Wine Intelligence.

US craft beers land at Tesco

27 January, 2014

The Winery Exchange has gained listings at Tesco for two US craft beers from its Roscoe’s Hop House range.

Hobgoblin is using bottled beers to promote cask ale.

Halewood International has relaunched Lambrini Light with a new lower abv of 3.5%, just 29 calories per 12.5cl serving and redesigned labels – under the name Luci by Lambrini.

The ale category is firmly on course to return to the glory days of the 1980s after enjoying strong sales growth over Christmas, according to a leading supplier.

A Maori tribe that has farmed the same land for 800 years has launched a range of wines into the UK market after scooping a bunch of medals in New Zealand.

The London Wine Fair has set aside a £40,000 pot to help independent wine merchants and sommeliers from around the UK with travel and accommodation costs.

Tsingtao launches cinema ads

24 January, 2014

Halewood International has launched a cinema ad campaign for Tsingtao.

California’s fourth-largest winery has ended a decade-long supply deal with PLB to set up its own UK distribution business.

Pernod Ricard has released a limited-edition flavoured vodka called Absolut Karnival that is infused with passionfruit and orange blossom.

Drinkaware has overhauled its board, resolved to forge stronger relationships with the health lobby and pledged to become more independent from the drinks industry after a damning audit.

Wines of New Zealand boss Philip Gregan has challenged his nation’s winemakers to justify the expensive price tags their bottles command by producing the best wines in the world.

Champagne shipments dropped 1.5% to 304 million bottles in 2013, but the generic body called it a “satisfactory result” amid difficult economic conditions in Europe.

Pernod Ricard will release three new wines under New Zealand brand Brancott Estate this summer in a bid to show the diversity the Marlborough region can offer.

Asda’s exclusive label Pierre Darcys Champagne fought its way into the UK’s five-bestselling Champagne brands over Christmas after the retailer slashed its price to £10.

Smirnoff was the star performer

Drinks retailers enjoyed a relatively strong Christmas trading period as BWS volume sales grew by the slightest of margins.

Hollywood actor Sam Neill has bought a fourth vineyard in Bannockburn, Central Otago.

Bermuda rum producer Gosling’s has launched a pre-mixed can of Gosling’s Dark n Stormy cocktail – made with Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and Gosling’s Stormy Ginger Beer.

William Grant & Sons has created a scholarship to give off-trade workers the chance to study spirits at the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, in honour of former prestige retail manager Ian Murray.

Bargain Booze owner Conviviality Retail enjoyed a strong Christmas trading period as like-for-like franchisee retail sales grew 2.8% in the two weeks to January 5.

Asda has axed its controversial three-for-£10 wine promotion after admitting it had become impossible to maintain quality and deliver profit.

New wine tax brand plea

17 January, 2014

Australian Vintage claims wines with an abv of up to 10.5% would account for a third of wine sold in the UK if the government introduced a new tax band.

Volume sales of wine at 5.5% abv and under are down 12% over the past year.

Leading players in the UK trade are calling on the Australian government and Wine Australia to boost funding for the body’s UK arm so it can keep competing against rival countries.

A supplier has urged the beer industry to devise a proper classification system to prevent the trade using the tag “world beers” to describe drinks brewed in the UK.

Red C cider rebrands

16 January, 2014

Shepton Mallet Cider Mill has relaunched its Red C cider with a new-look pack.

Guinness has signed up a Congolese fashion cult called the Sapeurs to star in its colourful new TV ad.

Enotria has signed up an Australian producer who makes wines designed to be drunk with game.

Benevolent chairman Chris Porter is to visit all 91 league football grounds in the UK in two weeks, using only trains, trams and a push-bike to raise cash for the trade charity. 

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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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