Tristan Stephenson has been appointed Lidl UKís new spirits consultant and will work closely with the spirits buying team to advise on NPD and provide tasting notes and cocktail recipes for existing products.
The retailer already has expert advisors working alongside its wine team in the form of three MW consultants Ė Richard Bampfield, Caroline Gilby and Ed Adams.
Stephenson told OLN: ďThe on-trade has long enjoyed growth in craft, diversity and education. But itís been good to see that starting to filter into the off-trade with better quality of liquids, better information about why they taste this way and how they can be used.†
ďThe off-trade is now getting a lot better. There have always been a lot of wine options out there and specialist wine shops, but spirits probably havenít received the limelight they have deserved.
ďThe off-trade spirits market is now quite an exciting developmental area and itís great to be part of that with my relationship with Lidl. I am looking forward to bringing it to life and hopefully educating consumers about why these drinks are in Lidlís spirits range.
ďItís hard to do this in a retail space because there are no bartenders and no physical menu so you are relying on packaging, but it all starts with having good quality liquids and from there on it is a communication piece,Ē Stephenson added.
ďItís about education, which is not a word people want to hear when they are shopping, but information is what is needed and it is what bartenders have been doing for years. Itís about clear packaging and, for me, it will be about how Lidl is going to communicate this information on pack.Ē
Stephenson said his on-trade experience will help Lidl in a number of ways. Firstly, he said, he will be helping to ensure the range is targeted and focused. ďAnd secondly itís about when to buy these drinks and why, and how to use them. So I will be using Lidlís magazine to suggest recipes and serves and talking about occasions that certain spirits may fit into. Lidlís range is already picking up awards and I believe itís going to get even better.Ē