A number of the UK’s leading wine companies have banded together to campaign for wine to be treated fairly in future Budget announcements. The category was singled out for punitive tax rises in 2016 and 2018, while beer, cider and spirits were given a break. The wine trade has reacted with grim exasperation to recent Budget clobberings, but it has not altered its strategy for influencing policymakers – until now.
Virgin Wines has laid out ambitious plans to become the nation’s ultimate one-stop online shop for all drinks categories.
The Co-op is ramping up efforts to ensure its BWS products appeal to younger adult consumers, particularly in its urban stores.
Waitrose has launched a top tier range of own-label wine, cider and spirits called No. 1.
Tennent’s has announced enhanced investment of £14.23 million in sustainability, as part of its strategy to boost its contribution to the fight against climate change. The investment is enabling the company to introduce green technology and strategic partnerships.
As part of this the producer aims to be free from single-use plastic in its packaging by 2021, eliminating 150 tonnes of plastic from the environment each year. From next Spring the brand’s larger canned product formats will use cardboard packaging as an alternative to hi-cone rings and shrink wrap. Smaller packs will follow later in the year.
Tennent’s has also become the first brewer to join companies such as John Lewis, Tesco, Unilever and Coca-Cola in becoming a member of The UK Plastics Pact, described as “a trailblazing, collaborative initiative that brings businesses together with governments and NGOs to tackle the problem and move us towards a system which keeps plastic in the economy and out of the environment”.
Meanwhile a newly-built water treatment plant, known as anaerobic digestion, is now operational at Tennent’s Wellpark home. This allows for the on-site treatment of wastewater generated as a by-product of brewing. Alongside this, plans are underway to ensure that all of the brewery’s energy will come from renewable sources by 2025, twenty years ahead of the Scottish Government’s targets.
Tennent’s is made from 100% Scottish barley and the beer’s by-products are then entirely recycled for use as animal feed or organic compost, helping Wellpark to send zero waste to landfill, which it has done since 2014.
The producer has also linked with the 2015 Climate Group to engage people throughout Scotland in the issue of climate change. The not-for-profit organisation, which equips young people with climate change knowledge and leadership skills, will work with Tennent’s to run a series of workshops in pubs throughout the country. Inviting the public to come and join ‘A Pint and a Plan’ sessions, the collaborative gatherings are designed to turn talk into advocacy and action. A full programme of these events will be released in December.
Martin Doogan, group engineering manager at C&C, Tennent’s parent company, said this activity represents a sizeable and enduring investment in the future.
He said: “As Scotland’s oldest surviving business, and one of its best-loved, we take our responsibility to do the right thing very seriously.
"Sustainability is a core part of our brand and today marks a significant step-change in our plans. We’ve leveraged our scale and influence, our passion for innovation and our network of contacts to ensure that we act decisively against climate change, without delay.
“It’s a leap in the right direction – but we’re not complacent and we’re not finished. We will continue to seek out ways to minimise our environmental impact across our entire business, from our transport fleet, to international deliveries. Our commitment is to lasting environmental change; in our company, in our industry and beyond.”
Michael Mackenzie, trustee of the of 2050 Climate Group, said: “We are thrilled to be working with Tennent’s on our ‘A Pint and a Plan’ workshops. These are a novel way to grab people’s attention and to encourage them to take tangible action on climate change. We can’t wait to get started.”
The business has also released an advertising campaign highlighting the importance of sustainability. Ads, which will appear on digital and out-of-home across Central Scotland, will have the strapline: ‘Because Life is Bigger than Beer’. As part of this a new brand film has also been released on social media.
The producer of a new drink made from pure grain spirit infused with pineapple, ginger, lemon, scotch bonnet chillies and other natural ingredients is ready to expand the brand’s reach across the UK.
Seedlip Drinks has announced the launch of “the world’s first bottled NOgroni”.
Nc’nean has launched an “experimental trio” of barrel-aged botanical spirits.
The Portman Group’s Independent Complaints Panel has not upheld a complaint about two craft beers produced by UK brewers.
Amathus Drinks has added two more Greek wineries to its wine agency portfolio.
Drynks Unlimited has invested £1 million to launch “the UK’s first 0% alcohol-free distill plant” in Manchester.
Warner’s is introducing a marketing campaign - to run across outdoor, digital, off and on-trades - which will support the full rollout of its latest gin flavour.
Fine wine merchant Lay & Wheeler has announced it will be returning to independent ownership following a sale to Coterie Limited.
The Tesco chief executive, Dave Lewis, has announced he is leaving after five years in the role.
Penderyn has revealed the location of its second distillery and visitor centre with the promise of a third distillery in the near future.
Purato, the organic Sicilian wine brand by Stefano Girelli’s TWP Wines, has seen an increase in sales of 62% since the launch of its new look earlier this year.
Marussia Beverages UK has announced it has signed an agreement to distribute Constellation Brands’ craft spirits portfolio in the UK.
Whyte & Mackay is adding to its gin portfolio following the success of its Wildcat Gin, launched in 2018.
Hallgarten & Novum Wines has added its first wines from Armenia and Georgia.
Cellar Trends is to bring the ultra-premium tequila Villa One to the UK in 2020.
The Cotes de Provence AOC area now has a fifth terroir designation (DGC), as revealed by the Conseil Interprofessionel des Vins de Provence (CIVP).
The Whisky Exchange has reported “rocketing rum sales” with an uplift of 165% over the past three months. The soaring rise in sales means rum has seen higher growth than gin for the first summer in five years.
Black Sheep Brewery has extended out of beer and created its first-ever gin, with plans to produce a full collection of sprits in the future.
B2B marketplace Spiritrade has branched out into beer, wine, soft drinks and CBD-infused drinks after noting a strong demand among its members.
Diageo Reserve is launching a limited-edition Cîroc variant in time for the festive season.
Teeling Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey – the first new Dublin-distilled Irish whiskey to be released for nearly 50 years – is being brought to the UK by Maverick Drinks.
Colchester-based wine merchant Mr Wheeler has rescued online retailer FromVineyardsDirect.com from administration by purchasing the business and its assets in a pre-pack deal.
Accolade Wines has reported “significant growth” got its mainstream premium portfolio of wines priced £6 to £10.
Majestic has reported a 77% rise in year-on-year sales of low-alcohol beer amid vast improvements in the overall level of quality within the category.
The Whisky Exchange is celebrating its 11th annual Whisky Show with a series of special bottlings highlighting “the mystery of a cask’s influence”.
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