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At first glance, the new store in the affluent Surrey town of Weybridge looks like any other local business, blending seamlessly into a high street frequented by multimillionaires, Chelsea footballers and other celebrities. But the once-derelict warehouse is actually the powerhouse behind the UK’s largest wine supplier, Accolade Wines, and the store in front is its first UK venture into bricks-and-mortar retailing.

Wine has always been an integral part of the Marks & Spencer proposition. It enjoys an exalted position, with producers clamouring to climb aboard its prized supplier podium. Wine accounts for a massive 85% of total BWS at the retailer, but BWS trading manager Gary Brooking and his team are also focused on developing the hitherto underperforming beers and spirits sector of the business. “We’re taking beer to a new level,” Brooking tells OLN. “We’re starting from a small base, but it’s a significant focus for us.” 

The apple may have originated in Kazakhstan – via the Garden of Eden, of course – but many countries have claimed it as their own: to our Gallic cousins it’s as French as a beret-clad man eating a brie baguette, while there is nothing more American than apple pie. But the English might just have them all trumped as an apple is as quintessentially English as cricket on a village green, The Archers, drinking tea, moaning about the weather and queuing in an orderly fashion. “Few autumnal pleasures outshine sinking your teeth into the blushing virgin flesh of a sweet, yet ever so subtly tart, English apple,” gushes The Telegraph in a recent homage to the fruit. No wonder Adam found it so tempting.

Every Wednesday, the Advertising Standards Authority releases a bulletin detailing complaints about breaches of its code of practice. One recent batch included false claims about amounts received in PPI agency cases, badly-worded nutrition information about a breakfast cereal and misleading details about the number of attendees at a festival that hadn’t happened yet.

Tequila, shots & shooters

15 August, 2016

If any drink can conjure up theatre, sunshine and fun then tequila must be one of the strongest contenders.A tray of tequila shots laced with salt and lemon wedges is a guaranteed way to kickstart a night out.

Alternative selections

14 July, 2016

Young people are driving the demand for craft beer and spirits and spending less on mainstream brands, and this is one of the main drivers behind the value growth in these two categories.

Prosecco is the perfect success story; Britons love it and the media loves to write about it.

Exotic fruity flavours continue to squeeze their way onto crowded cider shelves but are fans starting to lose interest?

Amid the deafening buzz gin has created in the past few years, it is easy to forget that vodka is by far the biggest spirits category in the UK.

Jay Wright runs one of the UK’s most successful online wine retailers, Virgin Wines, which has more than 120 staff, a turnover of £40 million and north of 200,000 customers.

The English wine industry will continue to flourish for many years as long as new producers uphold the dedication to quality that has made it world famous, according to a leading supplier. 

The Aldi beers, wines and spirits team is riding the crest of a wave this year. Knocking Waitrose off the podium as Best Supermarket in this year’s Drinks Retailing Awards, as well as scooping the top gongs for Multiple Wine Retailer of the Year and Drinks Buying Team of the Year, is worthy recognition for the sterling work the Aldi drinks team has been undertaking over the past couple of years.

The UK’s fascination with imported beer is nothing new but it definitely feels like it’s moved into a whole new phase in the past couple of years.

Most fathers welcome any excuse to enjoy a glass of their favourite tipple, but Father’s Day is one of the few occasions cemented in the calendar for dads to relax, guilt free.

The Co-operative Group’s BWS trading manager, Simon Cairns, has every reason to be in a bullish mood after the retailer increased its share of the wine market from 9.4% to 10% in the past year (Nielsen). It is the first time the Co-op has ever been in double digits and Cairns says this is just the start.

Solid as a Rioja

11 April, 2016

Reading an Old World wine label elegantly can be a challenge for many Britons, particularly those who can’t boast a language GCSE on their CVs. But despite the fact that “Rioja” clearly has the potential to be pronounced incorrectly, it’s a word and a wine-producing region of Spain that UK consumers have confidently embraced in recent years.

Gin is on everyone's lips

11 March, 2016

A host of leading buyers, producers, bartenders and commentators from across the UK descended on the Hospital Club in London this month for a celebration of all things gin.

In the dog-eat-dog beer market off-licences are taking a bite out of the pub trade – thanks to the growler.

The Australian wine category will nosedive in a brave new retail world obsessed with everyday low pricing if it does not adapt and improve its average price point, according to Hardys supplier Accolade Wines.

Dry and high

21 January, 2016

After the excesses of December the UK has staggered bleary-eyed and pasty-faced into the driest month of the year.

Thought Austria was all about Grüner?

Has there ever been a better time to be a beer wholesaler?

Home Brews

10 November, 2015

Brewers are finally coming to recognise the off-trade’s potential thanks to the craft beer phenomenon, expanding premium bottled ales ranges and an appetite for experimentation among buyers.

Both sides are claiming victory following the latest legal opinion from Luxemburg on the Scottish government’s bid to introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol.

Back to basics

10 November, 2015

The craft beer trend has woken consumers up to the delights of the brewing world with the taste explosions ofheavily hopped IPAs and the lighter touch of golden ales.

Inspiring Indies: Bier Huis

09 November, 2015

Former TV executive David Jones opened his beer shop in the West Yorkshire town of Ossett in November 2011, with the aim of giving beer fans a go-to store for northern brews where they could park easily.

With 2,600 shops across the UK, each designed to cater for its local market and be a community hub, Spar’s trading managers for wine, Nick Jones and Daphne Teremetz, have got their work cut out.

Cream of the crop

09 November, 2015

Christmas is all about creating an eclectic drinks cabinet, so retailers should ensure those indulgent and unusual cream liqueurs are clearly visible.

Many of the biggest names in BWS started at the bottom. They explain why it is so important to nurture new talent. Christine Boggis reports

Beer: Cheers to Brazil

06 November, 2015

Not everything is quite what it seems. Sitting at a terrace table, taking in mountain views, surrounded by thesort of buildings you see dripping with snow on Christmas cards, it would be easy to think you were in Switzerland or southern Germany. The truth is you are some 6,000 miles away. This is not alpine Europe but Latin America, more precisely a town in Brazil just a couple of hours’ drive from the teeming metropolis of São Paulo.