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    Key influencers from inside and outside the trade

    Opinion
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    Trade backs Rioja’s 100kms of Diversity UK tasting tour

    The Rioja wine board took its 100kms of Diversity tasting tour around the UK this month to help educate the trade about new developments within the Rioja region but also as part of a ‘levelling up’ process. Janet Harrison, founder of the People’s Choice Wine Awards, caught up with the Rioja tour on its Manchester leg, talked to importers, producers and wine buyers there, and discovered that there is an increasing need to tap into a wider wine-buying community – not just one that is centred around London. Top of the agenda was taking the focus away from ageing (Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva etc) and being able to discuss Rioja’s ‘terroir driven wines’.

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    Opinion
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    Ade McKeon: 12 ways businesses should treat their staff better

    There are all types of managers, chief executives and business owners. If they are successful and well liked then their unique personality and way of working will be a large reason for their success. But there are also great swathes of business leaders who are not good managers and even worse at looking after their most important asset – their people. It’s why every book store in the land is packed with management support books and advice on how to be a better boss. Ade McKeon is well placed to know what it takes to be a good boss – having held senior roles right across the drinks and retail sector including Cobra Beer, Asda, Mumm Champagne, Courvoisier, Jim Beam and Accolade Wines. He is now looking to share his experiences of what it takes to be a not just a good business leader, but how to get the most of your teams, through his executive coach business, Triade Consultancy. Here are his 12 rules that will give the business framework for your staff to shine.
    “What gives me the most satisfaction is seeing the progress of individuals and teams. It’s all too easy to focus on the P&L neither giving the time nor the investment to the needs of the team.” Here’s Ade McKeon’s 12 steps to business success.

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    Opinion
    Watching, listening and talking to people in pubs and bars about what brands they drink and why is key for any successful brand to understand, says Lulie Halstead

    Lulie Halstead: best drinks brands listen to what customers want

    “Why do marketers and leaders in wine and spirits businesses so often assume that our consumers are like us?” That’s the view that Lulie Halstead believes holds so many drinks producers back when trying to engage with and market their products to their target audience. In her latest article for The Buyer she sets out why companies need to stop looking at the products they produce through their own eyes, but what they mean to the people they expect to buy them.

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    Opinion
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    Rupert Millar: the No 1 thing that must change in wine packaging

    Sorry about the clickbait title, but don’t worry you are in the safe hands of respected wine writer Rupert Millar who here shares why he thinks it’s time we all said goodbye to the wine foil, the piece of wine packaging that ends up in the bin before we even get to open the bottle. Yes, it might look nice and help with the overall theatre of bottle opening, but does it really have a place in a world where we are looking to cut back on packaging, be more sustainable and save costs at the same time? Millar makes his case…

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    Opinion
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    Dan Hooper: what to learn from Bud Light’s ‘BudLash’ disaster

    You don’t need to be living in the United States to be aware of the fallout to ABInbev and its Bud Light brand after it worked with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney as part of a recent promotional campaign. Dan Hooper, co-founder of Yes More the drinks brand marketing agency, looks back at what happened, what went wrong and sets out some key lessons to be learnt for major drinks brands – and influencers – on how they can successfully work together.

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    Opinion
    Young girl with bottle and glass of red wine looking grumpy because of bad taste

    Lulie Halstead on why wine businesses fail at marketing

    “Marketing is often not top of mind in many wine organisations and typically is the last cab out off the rank when it comes to budgets and mental resources.” That’s the view of Lulie Halstead, founder of Wine Intelligence, who sets out why she thinks the wine industry needs to take marketing more seriously, or risk falling further behind other drinks categories that do prioritise and invest in marketing themselves to target consumers in ways they want to be spoken to. 

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    Opinion
    older people

    Daniel Hooper: Does wine have an old people problem?

    The older we get the more likely it is we are going to turn to a corkscrew and a bottle of wine to enjoy at the end of a day. Or at least that is what the current and previous generations have done. But what about the next generations? Are millennials and Gen Xs and Zs going to follow their parents into the wine category? The jury is well and truly out on that warns Daniel Hooper, co-founder and chief creative officer at YesMore Creative, the specialist drinks marketing agency.

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    Opinion
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    Is getting B Corp status a real commitment or passing fad?

    Are B Corp certifications a sign of genuine commitment to environmental and ethical causes, or are they just the latest corporate fad – an empty promise designed to draw in customers with words but not backed up by any real change? As we look to mark Earth Day 2023 that’s the challenge Dan Hooper, co-founder of the Yesmore Creative marketing agency, has for the drinks industry and the business, brands and celebrities that are now all chasing each other to get B Corp status.

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    Opinion
    Low & No Long Read

    Drinks inventor David Gluckman: how I’d crack Low & No boom

    As the Low & No alcohol category continues to grow, drinks inventor David Gluckman – the man who was part of the team that invented Baileys – examines what is happening with Seedlip and the many new entrants to the market that have followed suit. Is the customer being ripped off? And will the bottom fall out of the market? In a fascinating insight, Gluckman thinks both are very real possibilities and suggests some complete (and rather exciting) new directions for Low & No to take. One that the giant manufacturers of soft drinks and mixers would do well to have a think about…

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    Opinion
    star wine list winner core by clare smith

    Celebrating the 2023 Star Wine List UK Awards with The Buyer

    A quiet Monday afternoon at the end of February was transformed yesterday into a full on celebration featuring some of the UK’s top sommelier and restaurant talent who all came together at the Winemakers Club in London to relax, put their daily pressures to one side and raise their glasses and celebrate the finalists and winners in the 2023 Star Wine List of the Year UK with The Buyer. 

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    Opinion
    AI real vs computer

    How AI is blurring real world from a computer generated one

    When it comes to creating content, tasting notes, marketing copy and images or illustrations to be used by businesses across the drinks, retail and hospitality sectors there is a now an increasingly blurred world between what has been created by a human and what has automatically been generated by an artificial intelligence platform. There are now even AI tools out there that are specifically targeted at the wine and drinks industry and many more are expected to follow. For this month’s column Dan Hooper, co-founder of YesMore Creative, analyses just what is the future for AI in our working lives.

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    Insight Opinion
    Venâncio da Costa Lima

    Top UK importers debate the potential for Setúbal Moscatel

    “If you go to the town of Setúbal it’s everywhere, and it’s in every thing. It’s in the soap. You name it. They know they have something special.” That’s how wine consultant and broadcaster, Joe Wadsack, explains just how important Moscatel, the fortified, sweet wine is to Portugal’s Setúbal wine region, located just south of Lisbon. In part two of our debate with leading wine importers, merchants and sommeliers on the opportunities for Setúbal in the UK we turn the spotlight on what Moscatel can potentially offer.

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    Opinion
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    Lisse Garnett: What does it mean to be a ‘woman in wine’?

    When wine writer Lisse Garnett was invited to address an audience of sommeliers in Argentina about what it means to be a woman in wine, she reflected on her own journey and the battles she has had to overcome and still has to face – not only from the opposite sex but from women too. In a deeply personal, and often shocking, piece Garnett asks if female solidarity moves mountains… why are we so rubbish at it?

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    Opinion
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    Why Oldenburg is one of South Africa’s top premium producers

    Despite its name, Oldenburg is actually one of South Africa’s new generation of wine producers having been in place from 2003, when it was taken over by Western Cape entrepreneur, Adrian Vanderspuy, who set the ground work for what has become one of the country’s fast emerging producers. Richard Siddle talks to head winemaker, Nic van Aarde, about how he is helping lead the direction of its range of premium wines that look to best reflect the stunning Banghoek Valley in Stellenbosch where the majority of its replanted vines are.

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    Opinion
    Logistics

    How to weather the supply storm: Flint’s logistics manager

    As buying co-ordinator and logistics manager for Flint Wines, Edward Beresford-Jones knows first-hand how hard the challenges of the past three years have been. In this thoughtful opinion piece he explores where the key challenges have been, how they have arisen and then looks at possible solutions – alternative shipping methods, consolidated buying and possibly changing freight forwarders and/ or partners.

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    Opinion
    penfolds shenzen supermarket

    Nimbility’s Ian Ford: the impact of Chinese tariffs on Australian wine

    It is two years since China imposed huge tariffs on Australian wines effectively ending what had been a boom period for Australian producers across the country. To mark the occasion Ian Ford, co-founder of Nimbility, the specialist Asian marketing, branding and trading agency, analyses just what impact the tariffs have had and says if you look hard enough there are still “abundant” volumes of Australian wine – particularly Penfolds – still on sale in China. But how can that be? Ford unravels the Australian, Chinese conundrum.

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    Opinion
    Feteasca Neagră

    Caroline Gilby on Feteasca Neagră Romania’s flagship grape

    Feteasca Neagră has had mixed fortunes in the past but its future as Romania’s leading grape variety looks assured, argues Caroline Gilby MW. Previewing a special upcoming masterclass into the unique qualities of the grape, Gilby demonstrates how Feteasca Neagră is showing exciting quality and a sense of place as winemakers have learned how to work with it.

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    Opinion
    beavertown cans

    Is grow-big-and-sell-fast dream still possible for craft beer?

    For every success there is in the craft beer market, there is a major multinational brewer out there watching that brand and its people very closely. The last decade has seen a number of high profile “craft” companies sell out to bigger players, or at least give them a slice of their pie, be it Brewdog, Camden Town or more recently Beavertown Brewery and its lucrative deal with Heineken. Drinks marketer, Dan Hooper, co-founder of the YesMore agency, questions whether tough trading conditions means we have seen the last of the big craft sell-offs for some time.

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    Opinion
    chinese natural wine drinkers

    Nimbility’s Nichole Mao on natural wine’s future in China

    Go to virtually any major city in the world and there will be a thriving, if small, natural wine scene going on. But what about China? Has natural wine been able to make its mark in such a vast, fragmented country where it’s hard for even multinational wine brands to make their mark? Nichole Mao, partner at Nimbility, the Asian-based drinks brand development agency, investigates the natural wine scene in China to see what sort of grip, if any, it has taken on the still growing overall wine market.

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    Opinion
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    Richard Siddle and Hofmeister’s quest for quality Bavarian beer

    Some of the best and most evocative journalist stories come straight from the front line when intrepid reporters are willing to embed themselves in the military and head straight into a battle zone in order to tell it as it really is. Well, here’s a drinks journalist alternative to all that derring-do. Richard Siddle reports back from the heart of Bavaria where he has returned from a trade mission, embedded as part of the Hofmeister  team, to see for himself what the brewing heartland of Bavaria is really like and go behind the scenes at the traditional Bavarian brewery responsible for making the new revamped, multi award-winning Hofmeister Helles lager.  

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