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Borough Wines boost wholesale as it moves to kegged wine

Borough Wines is set to boost its wholesale business after partnering with an Italian wine keg specialist to relaunch its refill system.

London’s Borough Market will play host to one of the series of challenges

The independent London wine retailer has teamed up with Vinicola Serena, a 150-year old family wine business specializing in wine kegs and Prosecco, to move its popular refill system from to kegged wine from April next year.

Muriel Chatel told the drinks business it was “fantastic” to team up with a partner who had over thirty years experience in kegged wine, and was considered one of the leading wine keg suppliers in Europe. As well as relaunching the refill, t would provide the company with the chance to boost its wholesale business, she added.

The new kegged system will be rolled out across its retail and wholesale business, including its Borough Wine Corners, which launched in 2012. These see the company’s supply its refill system and a selection of 36 ‘ultimate wines’ to independent farm shops, delis and convenience stores within a branded fixture.

“Because we have so much experience with bag in box, we have been developing a way of getting good wine in kegs using the model of a micro-brewery and applying it to a wine model,” Chatel told db. “At the end of the day, you can supply better quality products.”

The refill system currently makes up around 15% to the company’s sales but marketing director Corinna Pike said this was likely to grow following the new partnership. “What we needed to make it grow was a partner with the expertise in that field,” she said.

The move provided a a great opportunity to grow the company’s wholesale business across the off- and on-trade, which she described as an “untapped market”.

“We’re looking to doing it with smaller pub and restaurant chains who sell a lot of wine and want some sort of keg system,” she said. “A lot of people use bag-in-box, and we have a lot of experience with that, but it isn’t infallible. If you want to retain the quality of wine we want to have associated with Borough Wine, we have to move to kegged wines – there is more control over the quality and the shelf-life is a lots longer.

“It is the way forward and a new way to go to market for us, which is interesting for customers.”

There were, she noted, other areas the business was keen to explore.

“Our wholesale business has been growing and we are looking to branch out. There are lots of avenues that we haven’t explored yet, like theatres and cinemas – it’s about thinking outside the box and looking at where wine is drunk.”

On Saturday, the company opened a pop-up store at a new site in Islington, which will be refurbished after Christmas before reopening as a permanent Borough Wines store in January. It will be followed by another new shop on the Bellevue Road in Wandsworth in February, which will be sited in a former Nicolas Wine shop.

It is also planning to open a further 3-5 stores during 2016, Chatel said. “The plan is to focus on London for our own shops and Borough Wine Corners outside London,” she said. “We are working on areas where the corners would do well – not everyone goes into wine shop and there are lots of people who are interested in wine, who appreciate it and drink it, but don’t like the interaction [of a specialist store} and prefer to buy it with their groceries. A corner in a grocery store is brilliant for consumers due to the ease of purchase, and we choose the wines we put in those stores carefully so they can find what they are after.”


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