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Think Halloween is just for children and Americans? Think again. As the spookiest season of the year approaches, eerie events, terrifying tours and frightening festivals are creeping up all over the country — and the potential to boost profits is petrifying.

Bartending experience gained when he was an anthropology student propelled Nick Bell into the world of drinks retailing.

Drinks companies are fighting hard to keep their products on supermarket shelves as grocers refocus on brands that are core to consumers in the BWS aisle.

Laura Jewell has amassed a rare bank of knowledge over a 25-year career that has spanned wholesale to convenience and, of course, the mighty Tesco.

Portugal has enjoyed a magnificent year in the consumer press and, after many a false dawn, it may finally be set for its time in the sun.

Liquid Cocaine, Blood Clot, Redheaded Slut, Screaming Nazi... this is not a list of emerging heavy metal bands, but just a few examples of the on-trade trend known as shooters.

Everyone agrees the “big night in” is a big opportunity – but what exactly is it, how does it differ from a quiet night in, and how can retailers make the most of it?

The Devon town of Plymouth was without a specialist wine merchant for 25 years before retailer and wine lounge Le Vignoble opened in 2012, according to its owner, Yannick Loué.

Supermarkets’ recent headline-grabbing range culls are just the latest in a long series of changes that have rocked the trade and forced suppliers to take a hard look at the way they do business.

Competitive rivalry is one thing, but when it comes to Oddbins and Majestic the battle lines are more barbed than most, intensified by a series of public spats and showdowns.

"If you’d told me five years ago I would be in this position now I wouldn’t have believed you.” At just 27, Lidl UK’s head of beers, wines and spirits, Ben Hulme is by far the youngest person in OLN’s 100 Most Influential People In Wine list.

There was a time a few years back when a week didn’t go by without a ginger- flavoured launch. The scene has quietened down a bit, but ginger has become a cocktail staple and suppliers say consumers’ increasingly sophisticated palates mean they are even more likely to favour the fiery root’s flavour.

Wimbledon, strawberries and cream, seaside staycations, cricket, festivals, sunshine and rain are all part of the delicious cocktail that is the Great British Summer.

It seems a little unfair to say the shine has gone off a category that is growing at a whopping 36% year on year – but there does seem to be less of a buzz around “speers” these days.

Five years after Peter Snowman (right) and Nick Davis opened the tiny shop under Snowman’s home in Bristol with a few crates of cider, a wing and a prayer, it is going from strength to strength.

While in the north Prosecco continues to make the Italian wine market fizz, at the southern end of Italy, people are getting excited about Sicily.

It’s more than a decade since vodka staked its claim as the nation’s spirit of choice, ousting gin from the Office of National Statistics’ basket of goods used to measure consumer price inflation – and it has dominated the spirits market ever since.

Sales flagging? Struggling to attract younger drinkers? Looking for a magic cure-all to revive your brand? We’ve got the answer: just add fruit.

Who's the daddy?

18 June, 2015

Fathers have a tough gig: burdened by long hours and no pay, they find themselves replaced in their marriages by 50 Shades of Grey, surrounded by toddlers that act like a blender without a lid and teenagers that steal their credit cards and pout a lot. 

The Lancaster Wine Company has been open just two years and has already chalked up one of OLN’s Drinks Retailing Awards – it was named Newcomer of the Year in 2014.

Wholesale changes

17 April, 2015

The pre-Christmas rush will have an extra level of hassle for suppliers and many drinks retailers this year. The government has chosen the last three months of the year to start implementing the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme. Any trade supplier or wholesaler of alcohol will have to apply to join the scheme between October 1 and December 31, even though it won’t come into full operation until 2017.

There were 253 premium bottled ale launches in the past year (IRI) and a leading brewer has warned that too much innovation could damage the category.

Spring has finally sprung, and the UK is bathing in temperatures 7°C above the April average thanks to a plume of hot air sweeping in from Spain.

World lager is flying off shelves, outperforming all other beer categories and emerging as the star performer.

Craft is the buzzword of our times. From Kirsty Allsop crocheting cushion covers on Channel 4 to artisan bakers and the thriving small-batch gin market, consumers are looking for all things handmade and homespun.

The Good Spirits Company makes a real specialism of spirits in its central Glasgow shop and its extensive and in-depth online range.

Rioja 'n' roll

10 April, 2015

Rioja is the rock star of the UK wine trade. Everyone knows its name, everyone rates its quality and it’s a chart-topper in terms of consumer awareness, better known than Marlborough in New Zealand and Barossa in Australia, and sitting  alongside Côtes du Rhône and Chianti in the top five best-known wine regions, according to Wine Intelligence.

England's finest

10 April, 2015

The British have bestowed many wonders upon the world: chocolate bars, penicillin, football, TV, the worldwide web, David Attenborough, cricket, bulldogs, the theories of Darwin and the plays of Shakespeare to name but a few.

Age of innovation

07 April, 2015

Diageo has launched a golden ale, a fruity cider and a white rum and now competes in virtually every BWS category imaginable.

When is enough enough?

07 April, 2015

The Responsibility Deal between the drinks industry and the UK government has come under fire from academics pouring scorn on the apparently successful pledge by the industry to strip a billion units from the market.