Strong performances from Prosecco, vodka, premium lager and craft ale led off-trade value sales to grow 2% to £14.5 billion in 2014, according to IRI.

Aldi has been the biggest winner in the premium bottled ale market in the past year after stealing shoppers from the big four grocers and rival Lidl.

Cider needs to innovate and enforce a premium price point to stop it from going down the route of mainstream lager, according to a leading supplier.

Carlsberg has increased its UK marketing budget by 500% to £12 million as it

A Prosecco has overtaken Freixenet, Martini and Codorníu to become the biggest non-Champagne sparkling wine in the UK off- trade, market analyst company IRI has reported.

Morrisons’ drinks buying teams have been told their positions could be at risk after the retailer announced it is to cut 720 head office jobs.

Independent retailer the Oxford Wine Company is set to open a second café in the city this summer.

Tesco has confirmed James Davis MW has been appointed as category buying manager for wine.

Tesco is on the brink of announcing swathes of changes to its wine buying team, including a series of redundancies and the appointment of a new MW to bolster the department.

Majestic has announced it will acquire Naked Wines for £70 million and has appointed the company’s founder Rowan Gormley as the combined group’s new chief executive.

Harpers Wine and Spirit and www.harpers.co.uk have joined Off Licence News at Agile Media.

Cumbrian brewery Hardknott has doubled its production capacity to meet the rapidly growing demand for its bottled beers after winning a nationwide listing with Morrisons.

Comedian Bob Mortimer has taken over as the face of Charles Wells’ flagship beer Bombardier after the sad death of Rick Mayall.

Twickenham independent Real Ale is celebrating its 10th anniversary by launching an own-label beer and plans to create a broad own-label range in future.

Birmingham independent Loki is aiming to open a new shop in the West Midlands in the coming weeks and a third store in early 2016.

A report from the Society of Independent Brewers shows bottled beer taking an increasing share of its members’ sales.

A group of 15 winemakers from across the Rhône poured some of the region’s finest wines for buyers as it hosted its first UK tasting in 15 years.

The Champagne Bureau has admitted it needs to start educating consumers on why Champagne is more expensive than rival sparkling wines and will start by releasing a series of educational online videos.

Kopparberg has launched the world’s first frozen cider to capitalise on growth in the bugeoning frozen pouch category.

Retailers could be entitled to compensation from councils that illegally enforce bans on certain products following a landmark case where loss of earnings put a store on the brink of closure.

BWS sales in the convenience channel will match those in out-of-town supermarkets by 2020, according to analysts at IRI. 

Westons is spending £6 million on advertising this year as it aims to build on growth that has seen retail sales rise 16% to £4.8 billion (IRI, year to January 2015). 

Beam has chosen the UK market to exclusively debut its new Jim Beam Apple after hailing it a perfect breeding ground for innovation.

Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon has grown sales by 60% to become the UK’s bestselling Cabernet Sauvignon SKU (IRI, year to February 2015).

Scotch exports drop 7%

01 April, 2015

The Scotch Whisky Association blamed weak economic conditions and political volatility after Scotch exports dropped 7% in value in 2014.

Shoppers at Tesco will learn about beer styles and food matching when they browse the BWS aisles throughout April via a range of POS from trade campaign There’s a Beer for That.

Camra said it is “very concerned” at the news that Blackburn brewer Thwaites has been taken over by Marston’s.

Marston’s has bought the main beer business of Lancashire’s Thwaites in a £25.1 million deal.

The UK is experiencing a surge in sales of American craft beer.

Treasury Wine Estates is merging a number of US operations, putting several Australian wineries up for sales and closing a warehouse in Australia in a cost-cutting drive designed to save £26 million a year.

William Grant has launched a £1.2 million TV campaign for blended whisky Grant’s Signature, which is targeted at younger drinkers.

Kingsland has carried out research it says goes beyond existing studies into wine shopping to look at why consumers buy wines when they do.

Suffolk brewer Adnams says it has returned its retail business to profit after announcing 9.1% sales growth in 2014.

Fourteen million people have been reached by a Twitter campaign funded by the beer industry, according to the organisers.

English sparkling wine producer Hambledon Vineyard aims to raise £3 million in a crowdfunding retail bond to increase production as it bids to sell 200,000 bottles a year by 2020.

Pimm's to launch 'spider'

23 March, 2015

Pimm’s is targeting the burgeoning fruit cider market with a new spirit cider – or “spider” – that blends the brand’s strawberry and cucumber flavours with British cider.

Waitrose and the discounters have been the biggest winners in still wine over the past year, significantly outpacing rivals’ sales and snatching their customers.

Diageo is aiming to breathe life into its beer division by launching Guinness golden ale and backing the new brew with a £4.5 million ad campaign.

Tesco’s recently reinstated global wine boss, Dan Jago, has questioned the commercial value of Germany’s Prowein trade show and urged producers to focus on more innovation.

The head of the Portman Group says a partnership approach to issues around alcohol misuse between the industry and government has helped bring more lower-in-alcohol drinks to the market.

The boss of the Scotch Whisky Association has called on health campaigners to show “a little less disdain” for workers in the drinks industry.

Australia is on the brink of a renaissance as it “bounces back” and is boosted by increasingly favourable exchange rates and “the best premium wines the country has ever made”, according to the trade.

Aldi has upped the ante in the aisles by releasing a set of £9.99 wines to trade its customers into higher price points.

Cheshire chain Corks Out is set to open a sixth store as founder Ruth Yates focuses on a concept combining a shop and wine bar.

The UK’s second largest cider producer has hit back after a homeless charity said its flagship Frosty Jack’s should be withdrawn from sale on public health grounds.

Sopexa has added the first non-French brand to its portfolio after becoming a private agency that can represent estates from across the world.

Retailers need to champion the 2015 Rugby World Cup in the absence of any major football tournaments this summer, according to a leading supplier.

Wines of Portugal said it has increased exports to the UK by 23% in the past year after targeting independent wine merchants.

Advertising regulators are planning to take action to prevent children being exposed to alcohol marketing on social media.

The soaring popularity of craft beer and e-cigarettes has been recognised by the Office for National Statistics, which added them to the virtual shopping basket it uses to measure UK inflation.

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COMMENT

Richard Hemming: Know your message

Is your decanter half full or half empty? Some people look at the UK  wine trade and see declining sales, punitive tax and low average prices. I prefer to see recovering sales, decelerating duty and everyday affordability.

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