Andy Cresswell has been tasked with ushering in a brave new era at Bestway Retail after a tumultuous couple of years for franchisees and staff.
The most exciting opportunity for the rum industry to grow UK sales lies in educating more consumers and trade professionals about the myriad wonders within the category. Too few people fully appreciate its breadth, depth and versatility at a huge range of price points. We therefore decided to make education the chief focus of our big debate at the fourth annual Think Rum event in London this month.
As sequels are to Hollywood, so vintages are to wine. The same franchises get churned out every year, and every year people faithfully buy into them. The only difference is, with the possible exception of heavily oaked Chardonnay, wine doesn’t go with popcorn.
Even as the ice caps melt, the world is becoming an increasingly polarised place. Nuance and rationale get bested by bombast and dogma; every disagreement seems irreconcilable. The middle ground has become No Man’s Land. Such polarisation was all too evident in recent discussions about Oddbins going into administration. While the response was almost universally sympathetic within the wine trade, the debate on social media became rapidly antithetical when Brexit was mooted as a determining factor.
January proved another success for committed abstainers. Granted, it’s the grimmest month to endure without the occasional glass of whisky, but the brave few suffered for our sins, seeing it tee-totally through to February while simultaneously inflicting a short, sharp kidney punch to the industry. Well done them.
All of us who engage with the wine tasting circuit will be familiar with its general format – comfortable, predictable and generally pretty successful. Whether it’s held in a private members’ club on Pall Mall, a basement in Shoreditch or a private room in a restaurant, the basic form of the trade tasting is timeless: wines normally ordered by producer, a spacious room, good light, tasting booklets (with free pencils), spittoons and endless plates of Carr’s Table Water Biscuits.
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