2020 April

South Africa has been told that wine exports can now continue.

WineGB has repositioned its marketing activities to support the industry through the coronavirus crisis, with many businesses having been hit by closure of cellar door sales and supply to the hospitality industry.

Sainsbury’s has reported it could close stores if the £500 million cost of the pandemic grows any bigger.

The Balvenie has announced the release of The Edge of Burnhead Wood 19-Year-Old, the latest addition to the Balvenie Stories range.
The range is a collection of single malt whiskies representing “tales of character, endeavour and generational knowledge” gathered at The Balvenie Distillery in Dufftown, Scotland.

Villa Maria is inviting consumers across the global to watch the feature-length documentary Vintage as a celebration of International Sauvignon Blanc Day on May 1st.

James Reed has been appointed as buying manager for wine at Tesco.

Camden Town Brewery has rebranded its classic Camden Hells lager to Camden Heroes, with all proceeds of every can sold to be donated to NHS charities.

Drinkscraft, the UK importer and distributor of Mexican craft beer, has launched a home delivery website to coincide with Mexico’s annual Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

A potato producer claims it has created Devon’s first potato vodka.

Independent beer shops across the country have found ways to adapt their businesses in order to still operate during the lockdown period, while keeping staff and customers safe. 

Green Times Brewing has revealed a number of new CBD-infused beers, including the Green Heathen, a 7.2% abv beer which it created in partnership with Northern Monk.

Beers, wines and spirits (BWS) was the fastest growing online grocery category in terms for the last four weeks of lockdown, according to recent data.

The recently-announced support package for small businesses is welcome but “the government could have gone further”, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

The Distiller’s Charity has pledged £50,000 to The Drinks Trust to support people in the drinks industry who are facing severe hardship as a result of Covid-19.

Help 4 Hospitality has set a £250,000 fundraising target by August 1, 2020, to provide financial support to the hospitality sector.

Marks & Spencer has released a range of own-label wines priced at £5 per bottle.

Berry Bros & Rudd is pre-selling wines from two of its smaller producers, offering its customers the chance to buy early at a reduced cost.

Beer shops across the UK are fearful about the future of the UK high street, alongside concerns about their ability to continue to operate as delivery-only businesses if the lockdown period is extended further.

Off-trade beer sales are soaring but the closure of the on-trade from March 23 this year has had a massive impact on craft beer sales and breweries.

Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, part of ABInbev, has added two new beeers to its low and no alcohol portfolio for the UK off-trade.

Budweiser has given its iconic ‘Whassup’ advert a quarantine-themed remake, encouraging people to connect with friends and family.

Comité Champagne has launched an official online learning course for those in the drinks trade.

Disaronno is extending into a new category with the launch of a cream liqueur variant.

The UK has now been living with lockdown measures for more than four weeks and over this time off-trade wine sales – and online drinks deliveries – have surged massively, while the focus on finding “earth-friendly” solutions looks set to play a much greater role in our future. 

Sales of wine from Rias Baixas in Spain are up by 42% in the UK.

Campari UK has announced the creation of the Shaken Not Broken Fund to provide much-needed support to front-line workers in the hospitality industry during and following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Wine and Spirits Trade Association is turning its focus on pushing for a broader definition of hospitality, to help suppliers to the on-trade to access the same levels of support.

A nationwide survey by The Brewers Association indicates the majority of breweries do not think their business can last three months given current conditions, suggesting thousands might close.