The company has slashed prices for exhibitors at the fair by 25% and offered cut-price space to smaller players – including tables for £950 in the Esoterica section for small and specialist importers, and £450 for craft brewers in the Brewhouse part of the fair – in a bid to draw back disillusioned agents and attract those who felt the fair was out of their price range.
Exhibition director Ross Carter admitted the changes have hit his bottom line.
But he said: “We have managed to win back a significant proportion of square metres, which will balance that out to a certain extent. Our investment in the fair had to be significant and the price drop had to be significant. We needed to win a lot of new business to do that and I am glad to say we just about have.”
Stand size has been capped at 100sq m, apart from some major exhibitors who have taken space every year and have been allowed to keep their 120sq m stands.
Brintex has also invested £40,000 in a bid to attract more independent merchants and on-trade buyers to the show.
The LWF, which returns to Olympia after 13 years in Excel, has bigger floor space than last year, 18% more exhibitors and most of the major wine producers who pulled out of earlier events back on board.
Brintex said the show has nearly sold out and visitor registration numbers are already 15% higher than they were this time last year, with some 5,000 already signed up to come.
Major players who pulled out of earlier fairs, including Accolade, Australian Vintage and PLB, are set to return, along with generic wine bodies including Wines of South Africa, and organisations representing Slovenia, Turkey and Lebanon.
Pernod Ricard, Liberty and New Zealand Winegrowers are among those who have decided not to take a stand this year.