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Q&A: Horst Mueller, VinLog, Kuehne & Nagel

It is well known that the pandemic has affected global logistics for the beer, wine and spirits industry since 2020. Now it is time to take a look into the future and the current development of the beverage industry. Horst Mueller, Global Head of VinLog, Kuehne+Nagel’s beverage specialist, provides insights. Find out what changes in customer behaviour he sees, what role sustainable solutions play and where you can meet the VinLog team in person.

Horst, what is your forecast: Are we reverting to pre-pandemic times? What does the current market situation look like?

“We can see that the on-trade or hospitality sector is picking up as people go out again and enjoy spending time with their loved ones and friends in restaurants or bars. At the same time, in some cases alcohol has shifted into the ‘luxury’ category, where money is either needed to cover additional energy costs or is preferred to be spent on a holiday or buying a new car. So in some areas, priorities have shifted. Overall, however, the industry remains competitive. Many wine supplying countries have surplus stocks that can be sold. Falling logistics costs are also a positive factor. A recent Geisenheim study showed that after the glass shortage, supply chain disruption is a major concern for many wineries.”

Talking about the consumer, do they spend more or less?

“During the pandemic, we saw an increase in consumer spending. People were buying different wines and trying high quality products. As mentioned earlier, with inflation rising everywhere, I think this trend is slowing down and consumers are looking for cheaper alternatives. But I’m sure that people who enjoy a good glass of wine will continue to buy. They might just change their consumption patterns a little. When people have more money, they spend more. When they have less, they spend less.”

Can you identify any trends in the drinks industry?

“Customers are becoming more aware of sustainability in their purchasing behaviour. Consumers are also more aware of buying sustainable products and prefer locally produced beverages that are transported over shorter distances. Much of the wine is already consumed domestically. But one thing is certain: a wine from another part of the world, for example a beautiful wine from South Africa, can also quench wanderlust and make you dream of warmth and sunshine. That is why a lot of attention is being paid to sustainable solutions such as shipping with biofuel.”

What solutions does VinLog offer for customers who want to transport their products in a green and CO2-neutral way?

“As VinLog is part of the global Kuehne+Nagel network, we can offer shipping options that reduce the carbon footprint. Customers can avoid, reduce or offset their carbon emissions by opting for biofuels that directly reduce transport emissions, offsetting solutions, lower-emission transport routes or environmentally friendly warehouse management, equipment and packaging materials. In addition, VinLog offers the flexitank, a solution that enables the transport of large quantities of bulk wine, reducing transport costs and the carbon footprint.”

If you would like to learn more about VinLog’s services, you can meet the team at the following industry trade fairs in 2023:
  • ProWein in Düsseldorf, March 19-21 (hall 4, booth E29)#
  • Vinitaly in Verona, April 2-5 (hall F Enolitech, stand A4)
  • IBWSS US in San Francisco, July 25-26
  • IBWSS UK in London, November 15-16
Why work with VinLog?

VinLog Powered by Kuehne+Nagel is a trustworthy logistics service provider that wineries, distillers and brewers, retailers, global importers and exporters can rely on, regardless of the service level needed, from the small, specialist family owned importer to the multi-national brand owner. With the backing of one of the world’s leading logistics providers, Kuehne+Nagel, we aim to become the most trusted beverage logistics provider, servicing customers all over the world.”

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