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The week that was

Published:  20 April, 2018

In case you missed some of the headlines this week on, we have put together a review of the top online news, Q&As, and opinion stories.

Top Stories: Harpers’ news coverage roamed far and wide this week, from Majestic and its push into its Naked Wines business, to new hires at Amathus Drinks and Myliko Wines.

A standout move however came from AB InBev which continued to grab headlines with the acquisition of e-commerce drinks business Atom Group.

After helping C&C Group to snap up Conviviality’s wholesale arm, the Budweiser producer has now purchased the UK-based company, which comprises online retailer Master of Malt, spirits producer Atom Brands, and distributor Maverick Drinks – marking further consolidation in the UK.

Finally, the trade said farewell to a pioneer.

Georgian winemaker Soliko Tsaishvili sadly passed away earlier this month; you can read more on Soliko’s life and his achievements on the link below.


On-trade feeling the heat: Reports have reached us here at Harpers that the UK restaurant sector is starting to sweat.

This has nothing to do with the uncharacteristically sunny April weather we’re enjoying this week, but rather a toxic cocktail poor commercial conditions, partly driven by increased tax burdens and wage legislation, profit-erosion from food-only delivery partners and Brexit uncertainty.

Wine intelligence called this a “perfect storm” of adverse trading conditions – of which you can read about in more detail below.

At the same time however, in Harpers’ exclusive preview of Liberty Wines’ premium on-trade report, we can see that strong opportunities still exist for wine at the higher end of the price and quality spectrum.

The good news being that aspirational and adventurous wine drinkers are highly receptive to more varied, interesting and even off-beat lists, especially if they are supported in their choices by well-trained staff.


Analysis and Insights: This week Lisa Riley penned a report on the rise of hybrid drinks products, which are opening up all manner of avenues for producers and consumers.

We also continued our US focus with a trip to Oregon.

In our state-focused feature, Jo Gilbert traced the Pinot-Noir evolution from its beginnings to the modern winemakers now redefining the grape.


People and Opinion:
 Speaking of the Pacific Northwest, Harpers also met up with Charles Smith, the pioneering Walla Walla winemaker, who is now starting again after selling off five key labels of his eponymous wine range to Constellation Brands in 2016.

Smith was in town recently to catch up with Andrew Ingham, wine category manager at Greene King, which is uncorking Smith’s Wines of Substance portfolio in its UK-wide network of quality pubs.

Read our interview with this rock-roadie turned wine star, on his newest venture.