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Looking ahead: Andrew Shaw, Conviviality wine buying director

Published:  20 December, 2017

With the all-important Christmas trading period underway - and hopefully turning passion into profit for the UK’s wine and spirits operators - we at Harpers are looking ahead past New Year to see what’s in store for the trade in 2018.

We continue our series with a one to one with Andrew Shaw, group wine buying director for wine giant Conviviality.

1. What were the highs and lows for you and your business in 2017?

Highs: The freeze on duty in the Budget in November, and on a personal basis - I got married! Also, the charity bike ride in aid of the Benevolent for Dan Townsend – a great team-spirited event for a great man.

Lows: Continued uncertainty of the pending impact of Brexit and the Ashes result. Boys and men spring to mind.

2. What were the most significant things that happened or issues and trends that occurred in 2017?

Continued suppression of FX rates, the global shortage of wine in the marketplace across the planet and the corresponding importance in stable and long-term partners.

The thirst for wine in China and elsewhere in Asia is also changing the face of balance of consumption globally.

Finally, frost, drought, fires and earthquakes – every corner of the planet was affected by weather in 2017.

3. What trends do you predict for 2018?

I think we will see increased consolidation in production and distribution of drinks globally.

I also expect to see increased customer demand for artisan wines with relevant stories, although this may remain relatively niche. Also, the continued move of traditional wine and beer consumers into spirits.

4. What are likely to be the biggest opportunities for the trade in 2018?

Engaging the consumer with relevant stories and products.

Premiumising across product categories.

Trials in new and undiscovered regions, styles and packaging following the trends in other markets.

5. What are the biggest challenges facing the trade in 2018?

Uncertainty over the outcome of Brexit.

The inflationary impact of the global supply market.

Lack of availability of glass in the UK.

Competition for consumer’s attention and engagement with other categories outside the drinks industry.

6. Who are the people, companies or retailers to watch in 2018?

All of the above. We are in a fascinating, fast-moving global industry that’s only going to accelerate in pace.

7. What, for you, would make for a perfect Christmas?

Snow, lots of sprouts and a glass or two of Bruno Paillard Blanc de Blancs.

8. New Year’s resolution?

To explore wines from Central Europe, which are still largely untapped and possibly the last undiscovered bastion of a historic winemaking culture.