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Nick Gillett: Staffing issues yet another blow under a government failing hospitality

Published:  08 April, 2024

The UK government recently announced that it would create 20,000 new apprenticeships by reforming the complex, paperwork-fuelled, resource-thirsty apprenticeship levy system for SMEs. A move that should benefit hospitality businesses up and down the country by bringing in new blood at the beginning of their careers. Phrases like ‘cut red tape’ and ‘regulatory burdens slashed’ appear throughout the government’s official, grand announcement – but forgive me if I retain my cynicism for now. This is coming from a government that has done nothing but increase the burden on business. And I’ll come back to that shortly.


How will tequila’s price spiral impact the UK?

Published:  05 April, 2024

Prices for agave are currently in a tailspin as sales of premium products slow in key markets like the US and years of zealous plantings finally catch up – and outstrip – demand.


Inside Berry Bros. & Rudd's new Spirits Shop

Published:  28 March, 2024

After over one hundred years of being a wine-front merchant, a spirits fascia bearing the name Berry Bros. & Rudd (BBR) is days away from opening to the public on the hallowed pavements of St James’.


Julian Momen on ‘re-focusing’ Enotria

Published:  28 February, 2024

Enotria & Coe’s new CEO has spent the months since his inauguration working on honing a back-to-basics approach while refocusing parts of the business which “felt a bit unstructured”.


Pernod Ricard defends organic decline as spirits sales normalise

Published:  15 February, 2024

Pernod Ricard has announced what it is calling a robust performance in the first half of the 2024 financial year despite declines in its organic sales – a performance which the company is putting down to the normalisation of the spirits market following two years of outstanding growth.


Bladnoch distillery partners with Enotria & Coe

Published:  12 February, 2024

Bladnoch, Scotland’s southernmost distillery, has partnered with leading wine and spirits distributor Enotria & Coe to accelerate growth of the single malt whisky brand across the UK.


Nick Gillett: Why mezcal could cure the ‘tequila timebomb’

Published:  12 February, 2024

If you’re an avid agave fan or have been subject to any of my previous tequila musings of the last few years, you might have heard the phrase – ‘the tequila timebomb’. For a few years now, the boom in tequila’s popularity has been well documented, as have the numerous voices warning that, to keep up with this demand, producers are irresponsibly damaging Mexico’s agricultural and civil landscapes. In 2022, my article on the subject talked about monocropping practices of enormous agave cultivations, cloned plants, and the dangerous effect these were having on biodiversity, agriculture, and even water availability for local communities. So, 18 months later, have we managed to dispose of the tequila timebomb?


Five minutes with Stef Holt, Mangrove Global

Published:  06 February, 2024

Jo Gilbert catches up with Stef Holt on her new role as the first curator of world whisky for Mangrove Global.


Distillers and bar owners call on chancellor to cut alcohol duty

Published:  05 February, 2024

A group of award-winning small distillers have penned an open letter to Jeremy Hunt calling for a cut to alcohol duty in the Spring Budget.


Jerry Lockspeiser: Are we forgetting what customers care about most?

Published:  25 January, 2024

Izzy is a twenty-year-old student at York University. Many decades ago I was one there too. In my time students received grants for living costs and tuition fees were paid by the Government. Today those are dealt with by repayable loans. But the loans may not be enough to allow access to all. Like Izzy, for example.


Boutinot latest signatory to Harpers Sustainability Charter

Published:  22 January, 2024

Manchester-based Boutinot has become the latest company to sign up to Harpers Sustainability Charter.


Alcohol duty rises impact inflation

Published:  17 January, 2024

Last August’s duty hikes for wine and spirits have contributed to December’s unexpected rise in UK inflation, it has been revealed, as the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) announces that the rate for the sector is now three times higher than it was this time last year.


50 Best Indies 2024: The full rundown

Published:  15 January, 2024

Meet our 50 Best Indies 2024, celebrating the most dynamic and quality focused merchants in this ever-vibrant sector


Nick Gillett: Education, education, education – hospitality’s secret weapon

Published:  15 January, 2024

When it comes to the spirits and hospitality industries, I harp on about education a lot. But with good reason. That dinner you had out the other week with the outstanding service – it’s thanks to education. Receiving a top new tipple recommendation from your local bartender – education. Formal training, cocktail masterclasses, category insight – it’s all helping to create better teams, better serves and ultimately an altogether better experience for the customer. So as someone who works for or is interested in the industry, here’s why you should care about it.


50 Best Indies 2024 ranking: 20-11 revealed

Published:  11 January, 2024

This week we continue the rollout of our 50 Best Indies 2024 results, celebrating the top merchants from across this dynamic and ever-engaging sector


Spirits specialist joins Berry Bros. & Rudd

Published:  09 January, 2024

Berry Bros. & Rudd has appointed a spirits curator to oversee its growing portfolio, which now includes a soon to be opened new spirits shop.


Producer Q&A: Jonny Croft, Small Batch Spirits

Published:  02 January, 2024

With a great story behind it, Cargo Cult Spiced Rum looks set to raise the premium for the category. Andrew Catchpole meets the man behind the mission.


Campari steps into ‘super premium’ cognac category

Published:  15 December, 2023

Campari Group is set acquire Courvoisier from Beam Suntory, adding what the company describes as a “fourth major leg” to its spirits portfolio.


Nick Gillett: A festive ‘through the keyhole’ look at our columnist’s home bar

Published:  11 December, 2023

As MD of a spirits distribution company, you might imagine that my home bar is huge. And guess what – you’d be absolutely right. As someone who genuinely loves a good, stiff drink, learning about new producers and brands is one of the biggest perks of the job. And as a result of that perk, I’m now the proud owner of the best stocked bar in Woodford Green. So, in case it’s of any interest at all to the booze enthusiasts among you, here’s exactly what I’ve got stocked on my own bar at home.


Harpers Design Awards 2023: The results

Published:  08 December, 2023

Good and great design can only enhance the liquid in the bottle, while communicating much to the consumer. Andrew Catchpole reports back from Harpers Design Awards 2023.