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Looking ahead: Robin Copestick, MD, Freixenet Copestick Limited

Published:  07 August, 2019

As the first half of 2019 draws to a close, Harpers asked key trade figures to highlight the current challenges, ongoing trends and opportunities

We continue our series with insights from Robin Copestick, managing director of Freixenet Copestick Limited

How has the first half of 2019 been when compared to the same period in 2018?

The first part of 2019 has been challenging and exciting at the same time. Freixenet UK and Copestick Murray have merged to become the largest importer of sparkling wine in the UK and have moved into a fantastic new office in Newbury. Our core three brands, Freixenet, I Heart and Mionetto are all showing good growth in a challenging market and we have some exciting NPD in progress.

What were the highs and lows for your own business in the first six months of 2019?

A big high was both I Heart and Freixenet being the key wine and sparkling wine brand at an amazing Kew The Music Festival and I Heart appearing on its first TV advert.

A low point has been the constant challenge that Brexit is creating.

What, currently, are the biggest challenges for the trade?

Unsurprisingly Brexit, a very weak pound and the fact that the sparkling and still wine markets are in decline are our biggest challenges.

Will you be preparing in any way for a second potential ‘no deal’ or some deal Brexit day on 31 October and, if so, how?

We believe we have done all we can by working closely with our customers and suppliers to ensure that they have adequate stock in the UK before 31 October.

Taking current trading conditions into account, what’s your strategy for meeting those challenges during the second half of the year, leading up to the crucial Christmas trading period?

Our strategy is to keep inspiring our customers that our brands are key to their business whilst also inspiring our consumers that our brands are the best in the market.

What will the focus be on with regard to your portfolio (and any updates) and why?

We are working hard on constant quality improvement for our core brands whilst also augmenting our compelling range of exciting products with some brilliant NPD.

For you, what are the most significant emerging trends in the drinks world?

Gin and pink gin, vermouth, vegan products, organic products, zero alcohol and a move to drink less but better.

What innovations in the drinks world do you believe will have the most impact going forward?

We are constantly striving to produce a genuinely good, sustainable, healthy low or no alcohol drink that can replace wine or sparkling wine.

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

Brexit to be cancelled, the pound to strengthen by 20%, our brands to continue to grow, Stoke City to win all their matches and England to regain The Ashes.