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Enotria opens up craft beer following major deals with Compass and Bidfood

Published:  07 February, 2019

Craft beer was one of the star attractions at Enotria’s latest annual portfolio tasting, as the pressure to diversify becomes stronger and stronger at the top level of distribution.

Enotria & Coe opened up its newly swelled craft beer range to the rest of its customers on Tuesday, offering up some 40 brews for visitors to try at their usual takeover of Chelsea’s Saatchi Gallery.

This follows on from some deals struck towards the back of last year with major foodservice suppliers Compass and Bidfood.

Both companies have a strong hand in the catering industry, supplying some of the UK’s top sports and entertainment venues.

As well as partnerships with Jason Atherton and Roux fine dining, Compass has big contracts with Wimbledon, Wembley and the new Tottenham stadium, which is due to boast a 3 Michelin star restaurant and the longest bar in Europe when it opens some time this year.

Having a comprehensive range, said CEO Troy Christensen, is now more important than ever.

“We were asked to provide craft beer because it’s on trend. People want experiences and beer is a big part of that. We’ve seen the change in the past few years not just in casual dining but at catered events too. It’s the same with gin. We’re having to work across categories more and more.”

Continuing these themes, Tuesday’s tasting also featured a Fever-Tree sponsored Gin Garden, where gins were organised by G&T pairing suitability and taste profile.

Wine, of course, still featured heavily.

While “in the on-trade, wine by volume has suffered recently with incremental pricing, vintage challenges and currency”, Christensen stressed now is the time to highlight “points of interest that can engage with consumers”.

At the tasting, this included new account Bonterra Organic Vineyards.

The Mendocino county estate, owned by Concha y Toro, is one of the biggest organic producers in the US.

Its organic and sustainable credentials is why the Enotria team thinks the brand will do well in the on-trade with accounts like Hotel du Vin – another recent tender that was picked up late last year.

“Wine is complex category. During the credit crunch, prices went down along with quality and people accepted it. We can’t get away with that anymore. Wine needs to take a page out of gin’s book. It’s all about providing an experience to get people to trade up,” said Christensen.

“Bonterra is an incredibly authentic brand, both organic and sustainable,” added Jon Pepper, chief operating officer. “Increasingly, consumers are picking up on that.”

This is why wine is also struggling when it comes to low and no – another area of interest that had its own section at the tasting.

Pepper said: “We’re working with a new low and no producer from Spain, which is much more in line with popular taste profiles. But in general, wine has fallen behind because consumers want genuine products, not something where the alcohol has been stripped out using industrialised methods.”

Beer, which can be brewed naturally to extremely low abvs, falls easily alongside this idea of “authenticity”, along with Copenhagen Sparkling Tea Co, an aromatised tea and vodka brand with 5% abv, which is exclusive to Enotria.

There was plenty else to discover, but another talking point was two strains of Kombucha, which were being trialled at the tasting.

If health trends are anything to go by, these could be available on Enotria’s list very soon.