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WaverleyTBS plans for growth in wine

Published:  16 July, 2012

As WaverleyTBS strengthens its management team with a new chief executive and sales and marketing director, the group plans for growth in its wine business.

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Speed dating with the suppliers

Published:  10 July, 2012

Could Stevens Garnier be your perfect match? In the hotseat is managing director Matt Douglas to answer a quick-fire round of questions and answers.

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First Drinks adds Reyka

Published:  06 July, 2012

As the popularity of premium Vodka shows no signs of abating, First Drinks has expanded its portfolio to add William Grant & Sons-owned premium Icelandic vodka Reyka (rrp£25) to sit alongside Green Mark and ?ubr?wka.

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De Bortoli is latest big name to join Harpers Best Practice Guidelines for independents

Published:  03 July, 2012

De Bortoli Wines is the latest major supplier to sign up to the Harpers Best Practice Guidelines for independent wine merchants designed to bring greater channel transparency to the wine industry's fastest growing retail sector.

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First Drinks overhauls ?ubrówka vodka

Published:  03 July, 2012

First Drinks has unveiled a brand new positioning and marketing campaign for ?ubrówka vodka.

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Maxxium UK to distribute of Cooley Irish whiskey brands

Published:  27 June, 2012

Maxxium UK is to take over from Eaux de Vie to distribute Cooley Distillery's Irish whiskey brands.

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Bibendum grows pre-tax profits 25%, but is not complacent

Published:  19 June, 2012


Bibendum has grown profits before tax by 25% to £3.5 million for the financial year ending March 31, but the firm insists "there's no room for complacency".

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First Drinks adds Reyka to portfolio

Published:  08 June, 2012

First Drinks has added William Grant & Sons-owned premium Icelandic vodka Reyka to its portfolio.

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Buckingham Schenk to target independents

Published:  23 May, 2012

Buckingham Schenk is planning to target independents and has also just signed a deal to be the exclusive UK agent for tulip pre-filled wine glasses.

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LIWF - Seven new agencies at Ehrmanns

Published:  18 May, 2012

There will be a veritable A-Z over at the new-look Ehrmanns stand.

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First Drinks launches £2 million Green Mark vodka campaign

Published:  14 May, 2012

First Drinks has launched a £2 million marketing programme for the Russian vodka Green Mark, which joined its portfolio earlier this year.

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Speed dating with the suppliers

Published:  02 May, 2012

Hatch Mansfield shares its vital statistics in a quick fire round of questions and answers. Has the supplier got what it takes to win you over?

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Maxxium to launch Jim Beam Honey

Published:  22 March, 2012

Maxxium UK is to launch the UK's first honey-infused bourbon, Jim Beam Honey.

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Maxxium reports strong festive growth

Published:  22 March, 2012

Maxxium UK has reported a strong growth over Christmas and claims to be the fastest growing of the top five spirits distributors over the period.

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Mark Riley appointed Maxxium UK off-trade sales director

Published:  03 February, 2012

Premium spirits company, Maxxium UK has appointed Mark Riley as sales director off-trade.

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New vodka brands for First Drinks

Published:  30 January, 2012

First Drinks has added a range of new vodka brands to its portfolio - CEDC's Green Mark and ?ubr?wka.

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Maxxium UK launches Red Stag ad campaign

Published:  29 November, 2011

Maxxium UK, has launched its first advertising campaign for Red Stag by Jim Beam, in order to generate customer awareness to its target audience of 18-24 year olds.

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Maxxium UK launches alcoholic foam

Published:  11 August, 2011

Maxxium UK has launched Bols Foam, with the aim of bringing molecular mixology to everyday use.

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Maxxium UK announces cognac back in growth

Published:  28 July, 2011

Maxxium UK has announced the UK cognac market is back in growth by 10% in volume and value, due to its brand Courvoisier, which it says is propelling the spirit forward.

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Chris Mason, Managing Director, First Drinks Brands

Published:  07 July, 2011

The first quarter of this year has been very challenging as consumers reel from increased taxation, fear of job losses and inflation growing. This has resulted in an all time low in consumer confidence.

We are in unknown territory now as we wait to see how shoppers will react to recent price increases (duty, tax and inflationary) which will possibly result in even more aggressive off-trade price promotions. So the year ahead is going to be a very competitive trading year.

In these challenging times, our primary objective at First Drinks remains the same, to build sustainable brands for the long term. To do this we take an integrated, through the line approach to brand building, ensuring that brand messages are encapsulated at every touch point with the right consumers. For example the recently launched global advertising campaign for Glenfiddich- "One Day You Will"-is part of a heavy-weight integrated campaign which includes relationship marketing, digital, social media and PR.

We are very specific about our business vision, strategy and target consumer. We then make sure we know our consumer, use available data and invest in research to target the right brand to the right consumers in the relevant outlets.

The role of innovation is always important, to evolve a brand and understand changing consumer tastes. For example within Scotch whisky, we have recently introduced a 35cl Glenfiddich 12 year old, successful for widening the price points we have to offer shoppers, a factor that has also made the 3 x 5cl Glenfiddich pack (12, 15 and 18 year old) a hit. It is now a top 10 selling malt product across the grocers all year round. For the connoisseurs and whisky explorers innovations such as Glenfiddich Rich Oak and Snow Phoenix offer an opportunity to try something unique.

We work collaboratively with our customers, setting joint goals so we can learn and earn together. Many customers use liquor as a destination category and we work with them to offer advice on how best to make the most of the opportunity. In the on-trade, we recognise the role of premium spirits, being in the right bars and at the right events focussing on target consumers.

We also need to recognise emerging growth opportunities for example year-round gifting, online sales, the convenience sector and categories such as Irish whiskey, non-cream liqueurs and golden rum.

It is becoming more costly to trade, but by innovating, stealing best practice, working with our customers on joint business plans and staying passionate we can grow.

Chris Mason is managing director of First Drinks Brands


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