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MPs oppose minimum pricing plans

Published:  31 January, 2013

Conservative MPs have blasted minimum alcohol pricing proposals in the same week the WSTA launched a campaign to stymie the government's plans.


David Cameron has championed plans for minimum pricing at 45p per unit and a ban on multibuy deals in a bid to tackle binge drinking. The proposals form part of the Alcohol Strategy consultation, which closes next week.


The WSTA's Why Should Responsible Drinkers Pay More campaign, backed by major retailers and drinks suppliers, is an attempt to raise consumer awareness about the subject and encourage them to ask their MPs to vote against the proposals.


A number of Tory MPs told Harpers they are already opposed to the plans. "The teenagers who drink grossly to excess on a Friday or Saturday night would still do so - they would 'preload' and carry on regardless or, worse still, turn to illegal drugs which are often cheaper already," said Graham Brady, MP for Altrincham and Sale West.


Conservative MP for Shipley, Philip Davies, said he was "opposed to government pricefi xing in principle". "I also do not like the idea that we are trying to clamp down on poorer people drinking excessively, but are happy to allow richer people - who already pay more for their alcohol than the proposed minimum price - to carry on as before," he said.


Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Asda also backed the WSTA's campaign. "We take our position as a responsible retailer seriously but believe the government's plans on minimum unit pricing will punish those customers who consume alcohol responsibly," said Morrisons head of corporate aff airs Guy Mason. "The evidence suggests that the issue of alcohol abuse will not be eff ectively tackled with this measure and the social aspects at the root of the problem should be addressed."


However, leading independent wine merchants have backed the plans. The Oxford Wine Company managing director Ted Sandbach said minimum pricing would give his company a better chance to compete with the supermarket as they would "no longer be able to promote at silly prices."


Chris Piper, chairman of Christopher Piper Wines in Devon, said minimum pricing "discourages the high street suppliers from selling off cheap alcoholic drinks at prices that are subsidised by suppliers and are not sustainable in the long term."


Under 45p minimum unit pricing, a bottle of wine at 13% abv would cost at least £4.39, and £4.88 if the minimum unit price was 50p. A bottle of 70cl vodka at 37.5% abv would cost at least £11.81 under 45p and £13.13 under 50p minimum unit pricing.


Three quarters of the consumers surveyed on the WSTA's site so far believed minimum pricing to be unfair.


ExCellar enters administration

Published:  29 January, 2013

ExCellar, the independent wine merchant owned by Simon Baile, the former managing director of Oddbins, has been placed into administration.


Drinks industry launches public campaign against minimum pricing

Published:  25 January, 2013


The drinks industry is to launch the first consumer-facing campaign to mobilise mass opposition to the government's minimum unit pricing plans.


The Wine & Spirit Trade Association has galvanised the support of major supermarkets and drinks brands to launch a consumer campaign under the "Why Should Responsible Drinkers Pay More" banner. A dedicated website is due to go live next Tuesday. Retail backers include Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons with drinks suppliers on board including SAB Miller and Diageo.


The site will include information about how minimum unit pricing will affect beer wines and spirits products and tell consumers how to send a letter calling for their MP's support on the issue. It will be backed by a radio and PR campaign.


"A 45p minimum unit pricing will increase the price of regular shopping basket items like beers wine and spirits and not just target binge drinkers," said WSTA chief executive Miles Beale.

Under 45p minimum unit pricing, a bottle of wine at 13% abv would cost at least £4.39, and £4.88 if the minimum unit price was 50p.


A bottle of 70cl vodka at 37.5% abv would cost at least £11.81 under 45p and £13.13 under 50p minimum unit pricing, while a 70cl bottle of whisky at 40% abv would rise to £12.60 or £14.


"We've done a decent job so far on talking to the political classes about this, but we need ordinary people to understand what the government is proposing and for their voices to be heard.


"Consumers are voters too, and our research shows the more people find out about minimum  pricing, the less they like it. Minimum pricing is unfair, probably illegal, and won't tackle the problem of binge drinking. " said Beale.


The Home Office's Alcohol Strategy consultation closes on February 6 with potential legislation expected to be revealed in the Queen's Speech in May.



First Groceries Code Adjudicator is Christine Tacon

Published:  21 January, 2013

Christine Tacon has been appointed as the first independent Groceries Code Adjudicator.

TextChristine Tacon has been appointed as the first independent Groceries Code Adjudicator.


Tacon will be responsible for enforcing the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP), which regulates interactions between supermarkets with an annual turnover of £1bn and their suppliers.
She will also have the power to launch investigations into suspected breaches of the Code, including those arising from confidential complaints.

If she finds that a retailer has breached GSCOP, Tacon will be able to impose a fine, make recommendations against the supermarket, and require them to publish details of their breach.
She will also have the power to arbitrate disputes between large supermarkets and their direct suppliers.

Tacon ran the Co-operative Group's farming business, the largest in the UK, for 11 years until 2012 and was awarded a CBE for services to agriculture in 2004. She has further fmcg experience from sales and marketing roles at Mars, Anchor and Vodafone, and chairs the BRC rural affairs advisory committee. She is also a non-executive director of Anglia Farmers and Farmway Ltd and chair of investment business UK Farming plc.


Tacon said she was honoured to have been given the chance to "make a permanent and enduring difference to the groceries sector."


"Coming from a commercial background, I am sure that if we can increase trust between retailers and their direct suppliers, it will lead to greater efficiency and can only have a beneficial impact on the rest of the supply chain," she said.


She will be paid £69,000 per year for the three-day a week job when the office is formally established by law, likely to be in the spring.


Winestars World offers US and European listings

Published:  18 January, 2013

Wineries looking for distribution in Europe and the US can take part in a global version of the Winestars competition at this year's ProWein in March.

TextWineries looking for distribution in Europe and the US can take part in a global version of the Winestars competition at this year's ProWein in March.


Winestars, which was launched by the founder of Clink! Wines, Catherine Monahan, at last year's LIWF, gives producers the chance to pitch live to buyers for potential listings.


The Winestars World ProWein competition will give producers with no current distribution in Europe or the US the chance to make their case to a line-up of buyers.


Monahan is currently recruiting buyersrom eight different European countries, including the UK, Germany, Holland and Russia, and the US.


Wineries have until March 3 to enter via at a cost of £395 per entry now, rising to £595 from mid-February, from which the final shortlist of producers chosen to pitch live at ProWein will be chosen from an initial list of 100.


The Winestars World competition takes place at 3pm on March 26, in Hall 7.1 and producers need to be exhibiting at ProWein to compete.


This will be the third separate Winestars competition, following the initial event at LIWF, which saw nine out of the 10 competing wineries find listings with UK companies, including Swig, Naked Wines, Stevens Garnier and Hangingditch. Further Winestars World competitions are also planned for this year's LIWF, Vinexpo and ProWein China in November.


Monahan is next week taking a group of UK buyers to visit the 11 Argentinian wineries that took part in the Winestars Twist Argentina event at last September's generic tasting in London, to see which ones will end up with a listing.


Joining her will be Andy Lloyd, Majestic; Steve Daniel, Hallgarten Druitt; Noel Reid, Robinsons; Mimi Avery, Averys; Jamie Hutchinson, The Sampler; and Fraser Alexander, Alexander Wines. Bibendum, the Gaucho Group and Morrisons are also hoping to pick up new wineries through Winestars but are unable to make next week's trip.


Monahan said: "We have requested from each buyer their criteria on what they need from each winery, so that it's all perfectly planned and presented with the right information."


The wineries will be judged on five key criteria: wine quality, packaging, price, its business plan including production, and how it will support its wines through marketing and support.



The Famous Grouse announces Scottish rugby sponsorship deal

Published:  17 January, 2013

Maxxium UK-distributed The Famous Grouse has announced a new three-year sponsorship package as the official spirit of Scottish rugby.


Spirits agency Mangrove relaunches website

Published:  16 January, 2013

Premium spirits agency Mangrove has unveiled its new website which is designed to help distributors and customers to make the most of its portfolio.


Looking back on 2012 for the wine trade: part 1

Published:  18 December, 2012

Reflecting on 2012, and checking out some of our most popular articles both online and in the magazine, it's evident the trade didn't have an easy year. But it certainly wasn't all doom and gloom. A quick run-down picks up diverse themes incorporating everything from the Olympics, companies collapsing, generic bodies coming up with new approaches, UK-based firms taking closer looks at overseas markets in order to maximise returns, a host of changes at the top within the UK's leading wine businesses and the unstoppable juggernaut that is the alcohol duty escalator.


Three Barrels launches 50cl and undergoes image revamp

Published:  14 December, 2012

Three Barrels has announced the launch of a 50cl VSOP in a bid to meet growing consumer demand for a selection of premium spirits across a range of price points.


How Champagne will be one of the cheapest parts of this year's Christmas dinner

Published:  10 December, 2012

Whilst the cost of much of our Christmas dinner has soared in the last five years, the average price of the cheapest bottle of Champagne is nearly 10% cheaper.


Meet the buyers: Morrisons

Published:  07 December, 2012

It's now or never for the wine trade

Published:  07 December, 2012

Gemma McKenna meets BWS chief Dan Jago as the trade's supposed day of reckoning approaches.


Spirited Wines to roll out cheese deli concept

Published:  07 December, 2012

Spirited Wines has launched a cheese deli counter at 11 of its stores and is hoping to roll the concept out across the estate once trials are complete.


English sparkling wine sales soar in the run-up to Christmas

Published:  05 December, 2012

Corks are popping for English sparkling wine sales in the run up to Christmas.


Saint-Chinian AOC focuses on UK market

Published:  29 November, 2012

The southern French appellation of Saint-Chinian in the Languedoc is stepping up its activity in the UK market next year.


Booths to move away from promo-led deals

Published:  23 November, 2012

Booths is to move away from promotionally-led offers in 2013 to give its wine and spirits offering a more independent feel, according to its wines and spirits buyer Andy Green.


João Portugal Ramos releases exclusive wines

Published:  22 November, 2012

Portuguese producer João Portugal Ramos has launched a premium Albariño, to be stocked exclusively by Marks & Spencer, and a red called F'OZ, to be stocked by Waitrose.


Supermarkets see sales slowdown ahead of Christmas

Published:  22 November, 2012

Supermarket sales of beers, wines and spirits remain flat, reflecting what retail analysts believe is the cautious mood among consumers ahead of December and the festive period.


BWS figures remain flat heading in to festive period

Published:  22 November, 2012

Supermarket sales of beers, wines and spirits remain flat reflecting what retail analysts believe is the cautious mood amongst consumers ahead of December and the festive period.


Own-label wine sales flat

Published:  19 November, 2012

Despite huge investment in own-label wines by the major retailers, volumes are flat across the trade in the past year.