A growing base of independent retailers selling premium products will lead the drinks trade out of the recession, according to leading suppliers.

The gulf between the richest and poorest companies in drinks supply is widening.

Vagabond Wines has outlined its ambitions to create a 10-strong chain of wine shops with its second site opening in the autumn.

The organiser of last week’s London International Wine Fair said feedback following its most “challenging” event had been positive, with UK agents keen to sign up for 2014 despite a drop in visitor numbers.

Misconceptions about technological advances in bulk shipping and UK bottling are preventing the industry taking advantage of cost savings and offering better quality wines, it has been claimed.

Bargain Booze has declared its intention to be taken more seriously as a wine retailer by signing up a former Waitrose MW to review its range.

Brewery workers at Molson Coors in Burton upon Trent have voted to strike.

Retailers should stock sweeter wines, push smaller serves and give shelf space to low-calorie wines to boost sales among young adults, according to analyst firm Mintel.

Global Brands  has launched 20cl and 50cl bottles of its herbal liqueur Jungfrau into the off-trade to capitalise on the momentum it is gaining in the on-trade.

A limited-edition bottle of Harveys Bristol Cream has been released to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. 

Carlsberg Citrus has made its TV debut in a new version of the Crate Escape campaign which sees men trying to break out of a remote health spa to smuggle in a crate of beer.

Bordeaux Wines is hoping to appeal to food lovers with a series of tie-ups at UK festivals this summer.

Heineken has signed up cricket legend Jimmy Anderson to front a campaign for Strongbow as part of its Earn It advertising push.

Exhibitors have given the London International Wine Fair a ringing endorsement after 10,200 buyers and experts visited to try wines from across the globe.

Merrydown has released a 6% abv medium cider in 50cl bottles in a bid to broaden the appeal of the brand.

Carlsberg is investing £6 million in a TV ad campaign and social media drive for the San Miguel Fresca lager it released to take on the might of Corona and Sol.

Wines of Brazil aims to increase UK exports by 300% in the next three years.

Piper- Heidsieck’s new brand ambassador has pledged to travel across the UK to educate the trade about its wines and the Champagne category in general as supplier First Drinks ramps up its investment in the brand.

An Oscar-winning cinematographer has been drafted in to add style to the upcoming TV ad from Stella Artois Cidre.

New supplier Blends is on a mission to make Uruguay the next big country in the UK wine market by pushing wines from its 200ha vineyard in Maldonaldo into the off-trade.

The Winery Exchange has released a range of 5.5% abv wine-based RTDs into the off-trade.

Heineken has added a Dark Fruit flavor variant to the Strongbow line-up and it will be exclusive to the off-trade from June.

The average cost of a bottle of wine has risen to its highest-ever figure of £5.11 on the back of escalating taxation – but there are signs consumers are still prepared to trade up, according to new Nielsen data.

The Co-operative Group’s new wine boss plans to move away from discounts and overhaul its own-label range.

Oddbins is set to undergo its first overhaul in 17 years with a new look across stores as its owner pledges to make the chain profitable by 2015.

Tesco has launched a website that allows customers to buy cases of wine at discount prices through an emerging e-commerce model called co-buying.

Suppliers have reignited the debate over the approach taken by retailers’ buying teams with calls for them to spend more time in-store and less at head office or visiting wineries abroad.

Australian Vintage has vowed to put Aussie Riesling in the spotlight in a bid to revive the varietal on the back of its successful repositioning of Semillion.

Selfridges promises its customers “an Aladdin’s cave of new, boutique, exclusive one-off products and gifts” after opening a new wine store.

Westons Cider has introduced a price-marked pack for Stowford Press to build on volume growth of 69% in the off-trade (IRI Volume MAT to April 27, 2013).

Sainsbury’s has upped the ante in the own-label wine battleground with the launch of the next phase of its Winemakers’ Selection range.

Wine Australia’s chief executive Andrew Cheesman has resigned to “pursue other opportunities within the wine sector”.

C&C has reported a small decrease in net revenue for the business year to the end of February 2013 but operating profit rose 2.4 per cent.

Australian media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has bought a 6.5ha vineyard in Bel Air, California, for a fee believed to be in the region of £19 million. 

HMRC officers raided 49 off licences in Edinburgh and seized 5,641 litres of counterfeit booze. 

Portman Group chairman Seymour Fortescue will step down on 18 June after four years in the role.

Winemaker Katie Jones has started believing in angels after 2,500 Naked Wines customers came to her rescue when vandals destroyed her entire white vintage.

Laithwaite’s Wine has signed former England cricket captain David Gower as its new brand ambassador.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt insists the omission of minimum unit pricing laws from the Queen’s speech does not amount to a final nail in the coffin for the planned legislation.

Leading South African producers have urged the country’s generic wine body to review its marketing message and recruit from overseas as the hunt begins for its new head.

Tesco is offering visitors to this month’s London International Wine Fair the chance to pitch new ideas to its buying team in a repeat of its “speed-dating” style activity.

Global sensations The Three Tons of Fun have been confirmed as the headline entertainment for the Off Licence News and Origin Wines VIP industry bash taking place at this month’s London International Wine Fair.

Paul Walsh, Diageo chief executive of 13 years, will step down within two months and hand over power to the firm’s chief operating officer Ivan Menezes.

The London International Wine Fair will return to Kensington Olympia in 2014, with cheaper rates designed to attract exhibitors that have deserted the event in recent years.

Retailers can add £480 million to the convenience channel by improving their spirits ranges, according to First Drinks.

Lambrini is to be the broadcast sponsor of the British Soap Awards which will be screened live on ITV in May.

Macallan has released three malt whiskies to complete the line-up of its new 1824 Series.

Off-trade beer sales stabilised in the first quarter of 2013 after three successive quarters of decline.

Fuller’s has introduced a new-look for its premium bottled ales range, led by London Pride.

The firm behind energy drink Pussy has been banned from running an ad that was deemed sexually explicit, derogatory, sexist and degrading to women.

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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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