British pubs are failing wine lovers

10th October, 2013 by Lucy Shaw

Britain’s pubs are failing wine lovers with poor selections and bad serving practices, according to Marks & Spencer’s head of online wine buying.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Chris Murphy said that the majority of pubs in the UK are getting their wine lists wrong, and are missing out on sales as a result.

“I don’t think pubs go for the right wines and they don’t keep it right, which affects people’s perceptions.

“I’d like to sell them sell better quality wine. Many don’t stock fresh wine and too many don’t understand the importance of different vintages,” he told the paper.

Despite their inability to get their wine offerings right, sales of wine in UK pubs are on the rise, as local watering holes become more unisex in their clientele. 

According to the British Beer and Pub Association, wine sales in pubs now account for 20% of total alcohol sales, up from 11% a decade ago.

Gareth Groves of Bibendum meanwhile, believes that pubs have upped their wine offerings considerably over the past decade.

“The fact you can go into a family pub and find a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or Chilean Merlot by the glass is a huge step forward,” he told The Telegraph.

“But the duty on a 175ml or 250ml glass really pushes up the price, so it’s hard to put higher quality wines on the list – no one’s going to spend a £8 on a glass of wine when a pint costs £3,” he added.

5 Responses to “British pubs are failing wine lovers”

  1. Max says:

    A bit of a shocker that someone of Mr Murphy’s standing can make such a naive comment! The off-trade has a massive advantage over the on-trade. It is Supermarkets which are forcing pubs to seek affordable solutions to the cheap wine available in Supermarkets. Pubs pay £5 duty and VAT on a £15.00 bottle of entry level Pinot Grigio vs £2.84 for a similar wine sold for £5.00 in Marks and Spencer. Supermarkets continue to sell cheap alcohol to persuade people to buy their expensive food. There should be a different VAT tier for the On trade. Perhaps if Mr Murphy sold entry level wines at £15 he would begin to understand what a raw deal it is. Then again perhaps he does? ….only to then drop it to £7.50 a bottle to claim it’s half price!!

  2. Michael Dable says:

    Max says pubs pay £5.00 duty on a bottle of wine whereas M&S only pays £2.84. Duty on a bottle of Pinot Grigio is £2.00 wheresoever it is sold.
    Gareth thinks additional duty is paid on single serve bottles of wine? Its the packaging that ups the price duty paid remains the same.
    Where of where has professional behaviour gone!

  3. laird says:

    why go to a pub that has to overcharge. l love wine and find a night at home with friends who enjoy wine as l do is a lot better than mixing with people who do not understand the pleasure of wine. the laird of camster/

  4. James Helms says:

    Despite Mr. Murphy making such verdict, I still believe that people love to have wine in British pubs and I am one of them.It is not true that all the pubs are providing the poor selection wines. I feel that it has been a part of our rich tradition and served people from around the world to taste Britain’s wine with magnificent bars and pubs. It is really important to maintain the the same hospitality to consistently serve for the best.

  5. richard brown says:

    what a shame l am a big wine lover books mags and clubs but alas the choice of wines in pubs are very poor

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