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Bibendum PLB's new independent channel to sign up to Harpers Best Practice Guidelines

Published:  08 May, 2015

Bibendum PLB's new independent wine company, Walker & Wodehouse is set to sign up Harpers Best Practice Guidelines, shortly after its launch in June.

It will be one of the largest national suppliers to back the Guidelines, which were developed in 2011 by Harpers in consultation with representative in the industry. The Guidelines comprise seven pledges designed to ensure transparency between suppliers and the independent sector.

In an exclusive interview published in this month's Harpers, Walker & Wodehouse's new md Gareth Groves told Harpers that a clear channel strategy was the foundation on which Walker & Wodehouse was being relaunched for the independent and wholesale sector.

"The Harpers Best Practice Guidelines are about being able to tell with conviction and clarity and telling independent customers where their products we are offering are being sold and what is exclusive to that channel. With Walker & Wodehouse we can do that incredibly easily and we will be signing up to the HWS Guidelines once we are launched and up and running," he said.

He explained that Bibendum had not felt able to commit to the pledge until its merger with PLB and the roll out of of its broader multi-channel strategy.

"It was something Bibendum didn't do in the past as we felt we couldn't live up it, there would have made mistakes, and we didn't want to sign something we couldn't live up to," he admitted. "But with Walker & Wodehouse, we absolutely can. It has been our intention from the start."

Walker & WodehouseWalker & Wodehouse

Walker & Wodehouse will stock 550 products, around 250 of which will be exclusive to the independent and wholesale channel and not be available to its customers in the on-trade (via Bibendum) or off-trade (via PLB).

"Having 250 products that are exclusive is great for independents and wholesalers who want something unique and different that won't be in the supermarket or in the pub down the road," Groves said. "It is a new business that is totally focussed on wholesale and independents rather than a division of a bigger company that really has its mind elsewhere."

He said Harpers had done a "great job" canvassing and strengthening the voice of the independent sector and highlighting the concerns of the independent sector.  

"We've listened to that and that has been the genesis of buying Walker & Wodehouse and taking it in that direction," he said.

Walker & Wodehouse will be exhibiting at the London WIne Fair in May, prior to its official launch next month.

For the full interview, please see this month's issue of Harpers.