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Looking back on 2016 and ahead to 2017: Henry Boyes, Mitchells and Butlers

Published:  30 December, 2016

Henry Boyes looks at the trends for 2017 and shares his thirst for live music, Liverpool and lots of Champagne

Henry Boyes looks at likely trends for 2017 and shares his thirst for live music, Liverpool and lots of Champagne. 


What were the highs and lows for you and your business in 2016?

Highs include the continued level of innovation that we are delivering, both across the category and the wider business. We've brought in some exciting new products, have done some brilliant activation and are developing some new concepts so it's been a challenging but exciting year.

For lows, the obvious and immediate answer would be the impact following Brexit. The cost pressure that the market has felt, and will continue to feel, has made the second half of this year a real challenge - and the effects of this will be felt next year.

What were the most significant things that happened or issues and trends that occurred in 2016?

Beyond Brexit, the main trend that we are continuing to see is guests drinking less but spending more. Consumers are increasingly interested in exciting or artisan products and we are pro-actively shaping our drinks ranges to reflect that.

What trends do you predict for 2017?

I expect that consumers will be vigilant over what they spend their money on and this will further drive the value agenda. The other key trend will be a continued focus on health and healthier options. Sugar levels and calories will be increasingly important for all drinks categories.

What are likely to be the biggest opportunities for the trade in 2017?

Innovation, innovation, innovation.

What are the biggest challenges facing the trade in 2017?

Currency fluctuations and other significant cost pressures will remain a challenge and this will be felt by all companies, big and small. We will all have additional challenges such as business rates, consumer uncertainty and duty levels to contend with. I also think that we will continue to see some further consolidation across the sector, which will make for a highly competitive and challenging landscape.

Who are the people, companies or retailers to watch in 2017?

I think a lot of focus will be given to English sparkling given the changing landscape of Brexit, etc, but I also feel that South Africa and regionally diverse wines from Australia could have a strong year. I believe that the on-trade will continue to be the best and most exciting place to sell product and promote brands.

What have you been most looking forward to drinking over Christmas and New Year?

Lots of Champagne, some decent Burgundy and a few Northern Italian reds will do nicely... it is Christmas after all!

What did you want from Father Christmas?

Lots of Champagne, some decent Burgundy and a few Northern Italian reds! And perhaps a cut in Duty. Is that too much to ask?!

If you were granted one wish for 2017, what would that be?

Away from work it would be that Liverpool can push on and win the Premier League. From a work perspective, it would be for consumers to remember that wine is just as 'craft' as craft beer, just as 'artisan' as ale and just as 'exciting' as cocktails.

New Year's resolution?

I'd like to see more live music.