WSTA Launches Low and No Alcohol Labelling Guidance

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (UK) has produced new guidance around the labeling of low and no alcohol drinks, as a record number of Brits explore low and no products.

This guidance has been produced in partnership with the WTSA’s Primary Authority Trading Standards Partners, and at the behest of both retailers and producers.

With the popularity of the low and no alcohol category at an all-time high, and January traditionally seeing efforts by consumers to cut out or cut down on booze to start the year, drinks producers are developing new and innovative techniques to provide consumers with more choice and greater quality.

The latest data from the WSTA Market Report shows that overall alcohol sales are down compared to the same 12-month period last year. Wine and beer sales have dipped and overall, spirit sales are flat. Wine, the nation’s most popular drink, has seen a 5% decline in sales despite the boost in online deliveries.

Many new products on the market are produced to closely resemble their alcoholic counterparts – they are closer than ever before – in taste, aroma and appearance – to the spirits and spirit drinks they are providing an alternative to.

The WSTA’s new guidance aims to establish acceptable legal names, marketing text and general labeling requirements for low and no alcohol drinks.

It also looks to boost confidence for consumers in the category, helping them make informed purchasing decisions through clear, accurate, and consistent labeling – which had been retailers’ over-riding concern and motivation for asking the WSTA to offer advice that can be applicable UK market-wide.

The new guidance applies to low and no alcohol drinks that are packaged and marketed as a substitute or alternative to spirit drinks and is designed to complement existing – and any future – Low Alcohol Descriptors Guidance produced by the Department of Health and Social Care.

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said:

“There has been a huge amount of innovation and product development across the low and no alcohol category in recent years. Confusion – for producers and for consumers – led to a request of the WSTA to pull together comprehensive advice. Along with our Primary Authority partners, we have produced this new guide to help both producers and consumers.

We know that overall alcohol sales fell during 2020. Many Brits want to start 2021 by reducing the amount of alcohol they drink, or cutting it out completely, which is why I am delighted to have been able to publish this guidance so early in the year.

Many of our members are making it easier than ever for us to choose a lower-alcohol, or no alcohol alternative, without compromising on taste or quality. Our new guidance will help producers label and market their products with greater confidence, and will help promote clear, accurate and consistent labeling across the category, boosting consumer confidence.”

Councillor David Lancaster, lead member for environment and community safety, at Salford City Council said supporting businesses to comply with the law and promoting best practice is central to the council’s primary authority advisory work with the WSTA.

“Low and no alcohol drinks are a fast-growing market.  It is important that products are legally compliant and that they have clear and understandable labeling so that customers can make the right choices. Our staff were delighted to work with their colleagues in Wales to help the WSTA publish this pioneering guide,” he said.

Jonny Peacock, Strategy and Transformation Director for Pernod Ricard UK, said:

“The non-alcoholic spirits category is already growing fast, and with 30 percent of all consumers seeking to moderate, there’s no reason to doubt projections of continued growth of ~25% over the coming years. This move is welcome as it ensures clarity and certainty for producers and consumers as they increasingly engage in the category.”

Rob Curteis, Group Marketing Director, Quintessential Brands, adds:

“With many consumers today looking to create a better balance in their lives and their diets, there’s more interest in products that help them to moderate – be it low & no alcohol, or low & no sugar. They’re also wanting to enjoy good quality when they do indulge in a bit of what they fancy though – it’s not enough to simply remove the alcohol and not consider the impact on the taste, shoppers today are more discerning and expect more from these ‘alternatives.’

“With this being new territory for many producers, retailers and consumers, we welcome the WSTA’s proactive approach in giving guidance to the industry on this burgeoning category to help the consumer understand and navigate it, and also to protect the integrity of the spirits category.”

UK Brewery Samuel Smith Delivers Beer by Shire Horse During Lockdown to Boost Morale

This made my day!

Samuel Smith’s, Yorkshire’s oldest brewery, has set up a Shire horse home-delivery service for the residents of Tadcaster, north Yorkshire.

The service, which was announced this week via their social channels will provide locals with cases of beer, cider, wine, snacks and “potatoes” to customer’s doors while pubs are closed.

The horses are already long-standing employees and are usually brought in to help the brewery team deliver casks in and around Tadcaster, where Samuel Smith’s stables are located.

Simon Crook, stable manager at the brewery, said: “We’re making people’s lives a bit happier, more smilier. The children are absolutely loving it because they’ve got nothing to do now. They come out when they hear us, they’re waving but keeping their distance.”

Customers are being asked to keep two meters away from the cart during delivery, in accordance with the government’s lockdown guidelines.

Samuel Smith’s initiative has already brightened up life in Tadcaster. One customer, who received a delivery last week, said her two children “absolutely loved the horses delivering to us, especially as we see the horses on our walk to school most days but due to the lock-down we haven’t seen them for a while.

The family-run brewery, which was founded in Tadcaster in 1758, set up the traditional-style delivery service 15 years ago, and according to their website everything in the yard “is done quietly because that’s the way the horses like it”.

https://www.samuelsmithsbrewery.co.uk/

Larkin Launches Premium Canned Wine

Larkin Wines, a boutique Napa winery which specializes in premium wines, has launched the first super-premium canned wine range to hit the UK market. The wines are aimed at specialty food retailers, drink retailers and event specialists.

The range includes: Larkin Napa Valley White 2017 is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Roussane; Larkin Napa Valley Red 2017 is a 100% Merlot; and Larkin Napa Valley Pink 2018 is a 100% Pinot Noir from Carneros.

Grapes have been sourced from the same small plot vineyards used for Larkin bottlings.

How the idea came about:

“The idea for Larkin came about when I was at the beach with friends and we had no wine due to the no glass policy. I started researching alternatively-packaged wines already on the market, and quickly realized there was no offer within the super-premium category” said owner/winemaker Sean Larkin.

UK distribution will be through James Hocking Wine, the new specialist boutique Californian agency. The cans will retail in UK at £9.99 for 37.5cl.

http://jacklarkin.com/

jameshockingwine.com

“PORN STAR MARTINI” NAMED UK’S FAVOURITE COCKTAIL

Knocking the minty Mojito off its perch, the cheekily titled Porn Star Martini is now the most popular cocktail in the UK, according to recent research by CGA Strategy. Porn Star Martini is now the most ordered cocktail in UK restaurants, bars and pubs.

Viewed as a modern classic, Porn Star Martini is made with vanilla vodka, fresh passion fruit, passion fruit liqueur and lime juice, and is served with a shot of Champagne on the side.

Pernod Ricard revealed that Absolut Vanilla brand is now the number one flavoured vodka in the UK on-trade, a spokesperson states “We have been tracking this fantastic cocktail’s rise in popularity and are delighted it has finally been given the crown it deserves. Consumers are increasingly looking for experiences and the Porn Star Martini delivers this because of the theatre the serve provides”

“We have recently seen just how loved this drink is via our Porn Star Martini Townhouse at London Cocktail week, which welcomed over 900 consumers,” said Adam Boita, head of marketing for Pernod Ricard UK.

The cocktail was created in 2002 by bartender and LAB bar founder Douglas Ankrah at The Townhouse bar in Knightsbridge. Ankrah first christened the cocktail Maverick Martini, in a hat tip to a dodgy club in Cape Town, but changed the name to Porn Star Martini.

“I called it the Porn Star Martini because I thought it was something that a porn star would drink. It’s pure indulgence, sexy, fun and evocative,” Ankrah told The Buyer in a recent interview.

THE COMITÉ CHAMPAGNE’S LONDON TASTING GETS NEW NAME AND NEW VENUE

Françoise Peretti, Director of the UK Champagne Bureau has confirm that the Annual Champagne Tasting has now been rebranded as “The Official #Champagne Experience Day.”  The event is officially planned for March 29 and will be held at the art and design college Central Saint Martins in King’s Cross.

The venue has good natural light with massive space, covering more than 800m2.

As for the content of the newly-rebranded event, Peretti said that the Comité Champagne would be introducing three tutored masterclasses to run alongside the tasting, and would be expanding the themed central tasting table to reflect the major stylistic trends of Champagne.

As well, there will be a free-pour tasting area that will increase to cover three types of Champagne, with vintage and rosé both confirmed, although the third theme is yet to be decided.

Central to the event, like previous Comité Champagne tastings in London, will be over sixty tables for the major brands to showcase their latest releases.

In terms of target audience, Peretti said that the day would be designed to attract buyers from the off- and on-trade, as well as media from trade and consumer press, along with those from both digital and printed publications.

According to Peretti, a particular focus this year will be writers from lifestyle, travel and environmental media following the acceleration in wine tourism and sustainable viticulture in Champagne prompted by the UNESCO World Heritage Site listing for the region, which was achieved in July 2015.

She also announced that the Comité Champagne was planning a “stand alone” event specifically for wine educators, which she said was necessary to meet their particular needs.

Here is an overview of the changes:

  • The Annual Champagne Tasting has been rebranded as The Official #Champagne Experience Day;
  • While it will retain its slot in the month of March, it will be held on 29 March – two weeks later than its usual timing;
  • The Official #Champagne Experience Day will be held at art and design college Central Saint Martins in King’s Cross;
  • The event will keep the individual brand tables, but will introduce three themed central tables reflecting the key styles of Champagne in growth, including vintage and rosé;
  • The revamped tasting will include more content, such as three tutored Champagne masterclasses, with space for up to 40 attendees at each one; and
  • The Comité Champagne is planning a standalone event to address the specific needs of wine educators.