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Cider is Wine CEO defends the role of alcohol in society

As he gears up for next week’s Orchard Wines & Spirits trade and press event in London, CEO of Cider is Wine, Alistair Morrell asks who are the advocates for the inclusion of alcohol in our society as it gets pushed the edges of tolerance?

He writes: Mintel and Nielsen both report wine volumes to be dropping significantly as the market becomes more concerned about alcohol intake, and lifestyle plays a greater part in consumption.

Recent Mintel research reports that “Alcohol moderation is the primary barrier of (wine) consumption” and that “limiting alcohol consumption [is] a leading reason for not drinking wine more often”.

More pertinent, perhaps, is the report goes on to say: “The alcohol moderation trend is likely to gain further momentum in the next few years.”

At Cider Is Wine we have an opportunity to choose evolution rather than revolution with producers from 12 countries and 22 producers showcasing their products at an average of 7% ABV at the Orchard Wines & Spirits trade and press event at London Cru Winery on 28 February.

Orchard Wines bring both aesthetic, experiential pleasures, as well as supplying sound commercial reasons that can help open up a much needed market opportunity: new avenues of revenue and margin, as well as invigorating current and past customer relationships with a different conversation.

Lower ABVs are one reason, however there are several others, like being gluten free and vegan-friendly, that align to the new generations, but are also able to romance existing older generation wine drinkers.

Food matching, genuine artisan production and styles from dry to sweet, still to sparkling and everything in between are enough to intrigue and satisfy any food and drink explorer. Indeed, there’s a whole new landscape to discover.

The Orchard Wines sector is worth an estimated £150 million, untouched by supermarkets, and critically acclaimed by many MWs and wine journalists.

The wine industry is often sited as being overly conservative and unwilling to change with the times – all the more so as alcohol concerns have grown with consumers.

So, today, too few want to celebrate the role that wine and alcohol play in our society, the long term risk being that they are made irrelevant or pushed out of (legal) existence.

Alcohol and wine have been around for at least as long as dairy, and yet we don’t celebrate the idea of wine being a part of our human diet, in ways that dairy is often fêted – and yet nearly 70% of people are dairy intolerant!

There is much that science helps us to understand, but is also misinterpreted, which means that alcohol and wine get a bad wrap: ‘all alcohol its bad’ is the sentiment of Dry January and Sober October, with an unsaid sentiment that our lives would be better without.

Who are the advocates for the inclusion of alcohol in our society as it gets pushed the edges of tolerance?

Moderation, moderation, moderation! Minimising the risks and the effects that alcohol has on some clearly shouldn’t be ignored or marginalised, but neither should the benefits accrued over millennia to society and the role that conviviality plays.

Society’s recent experience through Covid should be ample testament to the importance of societal connection, contact and community.

Wine – and especially naturally lower in alcohol Orchard Wines – has an important part to play in broadening horizons and moderating alcohol intake, whilst keeping it fun!

Click here to register for the Orchard Wines tasting.  

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