US west coast states California, Oregon and Washington will team up for a joint generic tasting in 2014, creating the most comprehensive tasting of the region’s wines ever available to the UK trade.

Halewood International has relaunched rum brand Lamb’s Spieced with a new liquid that comes in a redesigned hexagonal bottle.

First Drinks has unveiled a gift pack to showcase Grant’s Family Reserve in time for the Christmas trading period.

Ian Macleod Distilers has released a limited-edition 35-year-old expression of Glengoyne single malt, priced at £2,850.

Tesco’s wine boss has warned consumers may leave the wine category because rival drinks are doing a better job of engaging them.

Suppliers have warned they may take action against councils for breaking competition law by pushing retailers to strip shelves of premium beer and cider.

Direct Wines has sold Virgin Wines to chief executive Jay Wright and his team in a £15.9 million management buyout.

Asda has made wine a major focus of its Christmas advertising drive by telling shoppers that “wine lovers are better off at Asda”.

Health bosses are pushing for a ban on any new off-licences bigger than 40 square metres across the Highlands.

Scottish drinks wholesaler Inverarity Morton will expand its reach in England after buying Forth Wines in a seven-figure deal.

One of Argentina’s leading winemakers said there is no danger of the country becoming too reliant on Malbec but urged the trade to promote its diversity.

Aston Manor has investing in a new multimillion pound cider processing plant that handles 800 tonnes of apples a day in a bid to keep up with Britain’s growing thirst for the drink.

Pernod Ricard is poised to become the second major supplier to launch an ecommerce site that sells direct to UK consumers.

The Whisky Shop has named The Macallan Amber as its Whisky of the Year 2013.

Value sales of spirit-flavoured beers are growing at 262% in the off-trade, according to new IRI figures (year to August 17, 2013).

Press campaign for Courvoisier

06 November, 2013

Courvoisier Cognac has unveiled three print and outdoor ads aimed at broadening the brand’s appeal across a range of drinking occasions.

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association and the Association of Convenience Stores are among 15 trade groups behind a joint letter urging the government to drop plans to abolish personal licences.

Accolade Wines has reached an agreement to buy New Zealand brands Mud House and Waipara Hills from the Mud House Wine Group.

Bargain Booze owner Conviviality Retail has appointed Musgrave trading director Kenton Burchell as its new commercial director.

Warninks advocaat is running an on-pack promotion with a competition prize of a holiday for two at Sweden’s Icehotel

Spirits agency firm Cask Liquid Marketing has launched a range of mezcals created by a TV executive and chef.

Jaipur IPA brewer Thornbridge is scaling up production at its plant in Bakewell, Derbyshire, in response to rising export sales.

Bargain Booze owner Conviviality Retail has reported like for like sales growth of 0.6% during the six months to October 27.

Maxxium UK is planning a heavy marketing presence for its Ginger Grouse alcoholic ginger beer at the Murrayfield stadium in Edinburgh around this autumn’s Scotland rugby union internationals.

Wines of South Africa’s new chief executive wants to push more premium wines in the UK and to see average bottle prices rise above £5.

The Society of Independent Brewers is to hold its second Beer X event in Sheffield from March 11-15, 2014.

First Drinks has launched the 2006 Vintage Brut mark of its Piper-Heidsieck Champagne.

Off-trade beer sales up 12.5%

01 November, 2013

UK off-trade beer sales rose 12.5% in the third quarter of 2013, driving the largest quarter-on-quarter growth the overall beer category has seen this century.

The UK’s third National Wine Week is to run in the lead-up to Christmas.

Grey Goose has launched a £1.8 million marketing campaign including cinema ads that tell the story behind the French vodka.

The London Wine Fair is targeting small independent importers and agents with a “show within the show” called Esoterica.

Emporia Brands and Père Magloire Calvados have hailed National Calvados Week as a success and plan to run the promotion again next year.

Stolichnaya has released a New Zealand edition of its super-premium Elit Pristine Water Series.

The off-trade enjoyed its best performance in beer for a decade during the third quarter of this year, according to figures form the British Beer & Pub Association.

The world is facing its biggest wine shortage in 40 years according to a report by Morgan Stanley Research in the US.

Magners and Gaymers cider maker C&C Group said the UK market “remains challenging” as it reported a 15.5% drop in revenue in its UK cider business in the half-year to August 31.

An American drinks trade association has urged the UK government to consider a US-style, three-tier distribution system to counter counterfeit and adulterated alcohol.

Ex-Spar wine boss Xenia Irwin MW is to rejoin the retail sector as multi-channel buyer for BWS at Waitrose Wine Direct.

Corky’s is the latest spirits brand to use glitter to add a little sparkle to its liqueur sales.

De Bortoli has added a new blend to its Deen Vat Series, targeted at independents and regional wholesalers.

Brothers Drinks has launched a tequila-flavoured cider called Perro Loco – or “mad dog” in Spanish.

New look for Captain Morgan

25 October, 2013

Diageo is giving Captain Morgan Original Spiced Gold a new bottle and pre-mixed can design.

Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands is offering convenience store shoppers free gift bags with some of its brands to boost trade in the run-up to Christmas.

Ilminster independent Cornhill Wines has shut its doors after 20 years.

Barefoot Wine cleans beaches

25 October, 2013

More than 1,000 volunteers have cleaned up 14 UK beaches thanks to California wine brand Barefoot.

Scottish brewery Brewmeister has launched what it says is the world’s strongest beer – at 67.5% abv.

Italian DOC and DOCG wines can now be closed with screwcaps or synthetic corks after the country’s government caved in to pressure from the trade. 

Drinks trade charity The Benevolent is hosting a Christmas Ceilidh on November 28 and urged industry figures to sign up for an evening of Scottish-inspired dancing, food and drink.

Guinness is taking over all three ad breaks within The Jonathan Ross Show on October 26 in what marks a landmark deal for ITV.

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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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