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Harpers Sustainability Charter Spotlight: Chris Millson, Direct Wines

Published:  24 January, 2023

As 2023’s first new signatory to Harpers Sustainability Charter, Direct Wines’ head of sustainability Chris Millson talks Andrew Catchpole through the necessity of progress.

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50 Best Indies 2023: The full rundown

Published:  13 January, 2023

Having moved on from the pandemic but now with economic upheaval to contend with, the UK’s independent merchant sector is nonetheless in vibrant health, if this year’s crop of worthy winners are anything to go by. Innovation, backed by enthusiasm, knowledge and great communication, with ever greater emphasis on sustainability, were much in evidence across the readership-nominated long list this year.

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50 Best Indies 2023 ranking: 20-12 revealed

Published:  09 January, 2023

This week marks the launch of our 50 Best Indies 2023, where we are celebrating the best businesses working in the UK’s thriving drinks merchant scene.

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More late stage delay for Scottish DRS

Published:  16 December, 2022

A Gateway Review into the already pushed back Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for Scotland has concluded that the scheme won’t be fit to launch by August 2023.

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One in nine hospitality jobs still vacant despite pay rises

Published:  22 November, 2022

The staffing crisis is very much still underway heading into Christmas, data from CGA has revealed, with one in nine jobs in hospitality still vacant despite improvements in recruitment.

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Nick Gillett: Regulating spirits – a system with no sense

Published:  02 November, 2022

I like to think I’m a man with common sense. Yet, when I look at the stifling, strangling system of regulations we face as an industry in the UK, I see absolutely zero of it.

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Teetotal PM headed for No. 10

Published:  24 October, 2022

It’s likely that alcohol will play little to no role in the celebrations in the Sunak household this evening, as the UK prepares for a new – and perhaps its first ever teetotal Prime Minster – in Number 10.

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Energy support extension revealed for businesses

Published:  12 October, 2022

The industry has welcomed the news that government will expand its help for businesses with their energy bills, with subsidies set to cover contracts going back to December 2021.

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Nick Gillett: Greenwashing – are you looking a little grubby?

Published:  03 October, 2022

‘Net Zero’, ‘Carbon reduction’, ‘Sustainability’, and ‘Offsetting’ – all good stuff and we’re now used to bandying these terms around like they’re going out of fashion. But whilst brands are waxing lyrical about their green credentials and how they’re busy saving the planet, how many actually are?

Whether intentionally or not, more than a few drinks brands at best ‘polishing’ their green credentials to look better than they are – and some are just lying. Beyond misleading conscious consumers and reaping undeserved competitive advantages, it pisses me off, because it’s actively halting the industry’s Net Zero progress which is where we should be placing our focus.

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Hospitality insolvencies jump 59%

Published:  20 September, 2022

The latest insolvency figures show just how hard the hospitality industry has been affected by the cost-of-living crisis and soaring energy bills, with pubs, bars and restaurants some of the worst hit among UK businesses.

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Cautious optimism for energy freeze as trade braces for bitter winter

Published:  09 September, 2022

The six-month energy cap unveiled by the Prime Minister yesterday has been met with a smattering of optimism among businesses. Though predictably, the resounding consensus from many corners of the trade is that the measure does not nearly go far enough in limiting the impact of exorbitant energy costs.

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Six month energy bills cap for businesses

Published:  08 September, 2022

New Prime Minister Liz Truss has announced there will be a six-month scheme for businesses to tackle the soaring costs of energy bills.

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Red alert for hospitality as the cost of living heats up

Published:  08 August, 2022

Hospitality businesses are facing a case of ‘out the frying pan, into the fire’ this autumn as the UK teeters on the verge of a recession and a crippling cost of living crisis, leading members of the trade have said.

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Calls for action on business rates as inflation reaches 40-year high

Published:  20 July, 2022

Mounting pressure is being placed on the government to ease the ‘financial fragility’ of the hospitality sector during its upcoming review of business rates, as businesses continue to suffer rising supply chain costs and runaway inflation.

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Jerry Lockspeiser: Does the Bank of England know what it is doing?

Published:  06 July, 2022

Way back when I studied economics at university, I also studied sociology. It struck me then that the way economics is taught is deeply flawed. To call it a science, even a social science, doesn’t make any sense. Unlike scientific study of the cosmos or gravity discovering immutable laws, economics seeks to explain how and why humans do certain things.

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National Hospitality Day returns for second edition

Published:  29 June, 2022

A landmark event pioneered in 2021 will return to the UK this year, uniting a diverse cross-section of businesses in the hospitality sector.

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Business support lags behind in cost-of-living crisis

Published:  27 May, 2022

A £15bn package aimed at helping households deal with inflation and the rising cost of energy bills comes just one day after the Sue Gray report was published – a move that has prompted critics to question the rationale and timing of the sudden windfall for British consumers. Also, they ask, where is the support for business?

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Labour costs pushed ever upwards as hospitality battles to retain staff

Published:  19 April, 2022

Staffing issues continue to set back hospitality’s recovery from Covid-19, according to a new survey, which has found that nearly four out of five hospitality leaders have offered higher wages to try to retain staff.

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Calls to review ‘punishing’ tax regime aired in Parliament

Published:  22 March, 2022

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has convened a meeting of MPs and Lords to hear first-hand from British businesses how the ‘punishing’ proposals for duty reform from three to 27 tax bands will negatively impact the drinks industry and consumers.  

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Northern Ireland retailers welcome business rates announcement

Published:  17 February, 2022

Independent retailers in Northern Ireland have cautiously welcomed the announcement that non-domestic rates are to be frozen for the next financial year and that businesses will still receive a three-month rates holiday.

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