In Brief

Sweet idea from Hardys

Hardys has added its first dessert wine to its Nottage Hill range. The new wine will be sold in 50cl bottles and carries an abv of 17 per cent and a suggested retail price of £7.99. Clare Griffiths, vice president for brand marketing, said: "Dessert wines tend to be drunk by affluent, older consumers of fine food groups. We want to expand this audience with a more accessible dessert wine."

Old Vic deal for Taittinger

Champagne Taittinger has signed up for another year as the associate Champagne sponsor of the Old Vic theatre in London. The deal gives Taittinger exclusive Champagne pouring rights at the theatre bars and any functions held at the venue.

Saké fair in London

The second annual London Saké Fair takes place on Sept 24 and 25. The event is organised by the Japan Saké Brewers Association and the British Saké Association, and involves a trade tasting on the first day and a "saké lovers' party" on the second. Twenty saké brewers will offer visitors the chance to sample 40 styles of saké at the event at Saki Bar & Food Emporium in Smithfield.

New look for Toso

Argentinian wine producer Pascual Toso is introducing new-look packaging for its varietal range from the 2006 vintage reds and 2007 whites. The company is also adding a single vineyard wine from Finca Pedregal to its range. The Merlot/Cabernet blend has a £27.99 price tag and is available through Toso's UK agent Stratford's Wine Agencies.

Sandbach joins Sinclair

Merlin Sandbach has been appointed operations manager for Sinclair Breweries which owns the Orkney and Atlas Scottish microbreweries. Sandbach joins Sinclair from rival micro Cairngorm where he spent seven years as sales manager. One of his key roles will be to develop the company's business in the English market and assist with a redevelopment of the Orkney brewery site next year.

Costcutter toasts growth

Costcutter increased its store membership by eight in the past year, to 1,542 retailers. Managing director Nick Ivel told the group's 21st annniversary conference in Marbella that sales were 10 per cent up on a year ago at over £500 million.

Manchester alcohol debate

Off-licences in north Manchester have been invited by the police to share their views on the link between antisocial behaviour and alcohol at a forum. Representatives from some 13 stores in Harpurhey and Moston attended the forum's first meeting with personnel from

the Greater Manchester Police's City Safe team and Manchester City Council.