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Looking ahead: Andrew Lundy, MD, Vino

Published:  02 January, 2019

Once again we are catching up with the trade to find out how businesses made 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 north of the border via Andrew Lundy, managing director at popular Scottish merchant, Vino.

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

For us it feels like a stronger position having had another of the big conglomerates go and return. There is an industry benefit that Conviviality, the biggest player, made a mistake and then the market corrected it. But, overall, the industry continues. From a supplier, importer and agency point of view I believe it shows there is strength and a future in the UK market.

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

We have had a fantastic year as a team. There were troubles at the start of the year with a particular member of staff which has changed me forever, but the way Vino as a team rallied was something I will never forget.

We also closed our bar as it was a location that - despite all our efforts - was not going to make it for another two to three years. We are now actively looking for other opportunities!

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

A move to drinkable natural wine in Edinburgh. We have also really been challenged to find vegan wines recently.

In terms of long-terms tends, minimum pricing has been the biggest change in recent times since the 2006 law change on multibuys.

Despite comments in the trade press than wrongly stated heroin was now cheaper in Scotland than alcohol, my feeling is that in the indie trade especially, minimum pricing is a massively positive step.

Protecting and improving public health is one of the five licensing objectives that licensing boards and licensees must uphold, and any responsible retailer should have no doubt that this is a good thing.

In terms of effect on our business or the trade in general, the shift has been to see some interest in the £6 wines we introduced. With support from Boutinot we have brought genuinely higher-priced wines that we already loved down under £6 to show that you can get drinkable wines at great low prices without being quite as low as the minimum unit pricing.

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

Low alcohol is a movement in Scotland now. Minimum pricing and the focus on quality has meant customers are coming to us for better products.

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


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

BREXIT and certainly an idiotic no deal version.

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

We’re finally seeing more women entering the trade and getting the chance to be themselves, which is something I hope continues. We are 50% owned by women and that is something I am very proud of.

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

Lots of snow, ice wine, a fire and Will Ferrell coming round to entertain the kids dressed as ELF.