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‘Bring your own’ bottle concept projected to become the UK norm

Published:  07 November, 2019

The concept of buying wine and beer in refillable bottles (BYO) could soon become the norm in the UK, according to Waitrose

The retailer made the prediction on the back of the “phenomenal results” of its Unpacked pilot launched in June at its Botley Road store, in which four types of wine and four draught beers were available, with 10 weeks’ worth of beer selling out in just four days.

As a result, Waitrose has extended the trial to three more stores, it revealed in its Food & Drink Report 2019-20 released yesterday.

“Sustainability, personalisation and value for money are the main reasons for this rise in refillables – a concept that comes from America, where ‘growlers’ are popular,” said Pierpaolo Petrassi MW, partner & head of BWS and Soft Drinks.

Tying in with the sustainability trend, the report also revealed a surge in Waitrose sales of canned alcoholic drinks, including RTD cocktails and English wine.

“Aluminium is proving popular as it is easily recyclable and cans already contain a high proportion of recycled content, making them a green choice.”

In terms of English wine in general, ‘orange’ wine was one trend to have led the way in 2019 and one to watch out for going forward, said the retailer, which became the first UK supermarket to sell such wine when it listed Litmus Orange.

A trend for Eastern European wine was also highlighted in the report, which said that along with wine drinkers now “quite familiar” with the most common grape varieties, consumers were becoming increasingly confident and exploring more unusual ones.

Reflecting this, sales of Waitrose’s dry Slovenian Furmit have surged 159%, according to supermarket, which has tapped into the ‘controlled discovery’ with the launch of nine lesser-known wines.

Looking at the current and future trends for the drinks category as a whole, Petrassi pointed to the “subtle shift” in how people view their evening drink.

“We’re seeing a marked change in attitudes towards drinks. Many people have a broader repertoire than ever before, and think carefully about what they’re drinking, looking for an experience and a sense of the occasion, company or season. ”