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Champagne Warehouse sets up dedicated on-trade and indies arm

Published:  18 July, 2017

Champagne Warehouse has launched a dedicated arm to push the on-trade, wholesales and indies side of the business.

The new arm – The Wine Rascals, is based on the company’s ethos of supplying “hidden gems from families not factories”, but would focus on building the company's sales outside the major retailers.

Positioned as the new “go to wine supplier” for the on-trade, independent wine merchants and wholesalers, The Wine Rascals’ portfolio comprises a selection of Champagne, still and sparkling wines and features no brands, with all products sourced directly from vineyards to provide “interesting, innovative and quality” drinks, said company founder Tony Stones, who set up the business in 2000 with a focus on supplying Champagne to the major supermarkets.

The new arm formed part of a strategy to grow the company’s on-trade business from 10% to 50% in the next five years. The supermarket side of the company currently accounts for 80% of turnover and online 10%, he said.

The move follows Champagne Warehouse rebranding the online part of its business The Fizz Company 18 months ago to reflect the increase in other bubbles, such as Prosecco, English sparkling and Cava, while the Champagne Warehouse branding was kept for the supermarket side of the business as it was “so well established” in this channel, with customers well aware that it was “more than just a Champagne supplier”, said Stones.

“Outside the supermarkets, we felt it would be beneficial to change the name to better reflect our growing portfolio of all things sparkling,” he said, adding The Wine Rascals name had been chosen to echo the “significant” increase of still wines in its portfolio in the past couple of years.

“Sometimes it is hard for our customers, without dedicated sommeliers, to encourage their customers to be more adventurous when selecting wines, so inevitably they default to their safe choice wine which is potentially lost margin.”