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Looking ahead: Robin Copestick, MD, Copestick Murray

Published:  02 January, 2019

Once again we are catching up with the trade over the next few weeks to find out how businesses are making the most of the all-important Christmas trading period, while also looking ahead to the challenges and opportunities 2019 will bring.

Our series continues with insights from Robin Copestick, managing director at I heart producer Copestick Murray

Would you say that the trade is in a stronger or weaker place now than at the same time last year, and why?

It is difficult to say given the uncertainty that Brexit is creating. However, Brexit aside, I do feel very encouraged with the way that our industry is shaping up. The multiple off-trade is definitely stronger, the independent off-trade seems to be working well, the multiple on-trade is exciting, the independent on-trade is clearly a challenge, but the online and digital business is very exciting.

We are very self critical in the UK, but we are still one of the most sought after markets for most wine producers and this is because of the incredible diversity of products that you can find in our market.

What were the highs and lows for your own business in 2018?

A definite high was the merger of Henkell and Freixenet. We have also had the very successful launch of I heart Champagne. And according to the latest Nielsen statistics (03.11.18), I heart Prosecco is now the number one branded Prosecco in the UK off-trade which was amazing news for us.

The lows are mainly centred around currency volatility which is creating a constant challenge.

What were the most significant trends in the drinks world that occurred in 2018?

A very significant trend for Copestick Murray has been the steady increase in sparkling wine consumption. As we are about to become the largest supplier of sparkling wines in the UK, this is very exciting.

What drinks trends do you predict will emerge or become more firmly established in 2019?

I do not envisage much changing in 2019 but I do see English Sparkling to continue its growth as well as low or no alcohol and a move to lower sugar levels.

What are likely to be the biggest opportunities for the trade in 2019?

The biggest opportunities are to keep creating better, exciting products that are margin enhancing for us all but always remembering to put the consumer first.

What will be the biggest challenges facing the trade in 2019?

Unfortunately the biggest challenges will be around Brexit and the weakness of the pound.

Who are the people, companies or sectors to watch in 2019?

Freixenet Copestick will be one to watch! I am very excited about what is happening with gifting and personalization.

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

A perfect Christmas for me will be a return to form for my beloved Stoke City alongside some great wine and amazing food. The latter is much more likely than the former.