‘Watch this space’: Kopparberg is selling a strawberry and lime pink gin

2nd May, 2019

Swedish cider brand Kopparberg is launching a strawberry and lime-flavoured pink gin, and hinted that more spirits could be in the pipeline.

Kopparberg Premium Gin

Kopparberg’s gin is being rolled out in 700 Greene King pubs for six weeks from 6 May, before it will become available in the UK off-trade.

The gin is produced at 37.5% ABV in a 70cl bottle, and will be available in in Morrisons from 22 May and Asda from 10 June.

The new spirit will also be available at UK festivals this summer, including London’s house music-focused We Are FSTVL (24 -26 May) and Birmingham’s Made Festival (27 July), which is being headlined by Chase & Status this year.

The gin, which takes flavour inspiration from Kopparberg’s strawberry and lime cider, is also flavoured with juniper, lemon zest and coriander botanicals.

The new variant will be supported as part of Kopparberg’s £6 million ‘Outside is Ours’ marketing campaign.

A Kopparberg spokesperson told the drinks business that there may be more products like this in the pipeline.

“We wanted to create a unique offering, infused with our famous strawberry and lime flavour that our consumers know and love,” they said, “To ensure that the product met the high standard that consumers expect from Kopparberg takes time, and therefore perfecting this was crucial to the development.

“We carried out rigorous consumer testing to ensure we got it right.  This is also true of the design of the bottle and packaging, which needed to capture the spirit of Kopparberg in a premium gin.”

The spokesperson said the cider brand’s expertise lies in “flavour and innovation.”

“Based on this I’d watch this space.”

Marketing boss Rob Salvesen, said: “We brew and distil many other drinks in our brewery in Sweden and with over 10 years’ experience in distilling gin, as well as our success as flavour leaders here in the UK and around the world, it was an obvious decision for us to introduce Kopparberg Premium Gin in one of our most iconic flavours. This focus on flavour, combined with our premium fruit refreshment positioning, is what we feel will set us apart from other pink gins on the market.”

Calum Cameron, senior category manager at Greene King, said: “We’re very excited to be exclusively launching Kopparberg’s first UK gin in our pubs. Kopparberg are known for their array of different flavoured drinks and this one is no exception.”

Kopparberg has also recently launched an “alcohol-infused sparkling water” brand in the UK’s retail sector to capitalise on the growth of low-sugar drinks.

Balans, which comes in two flavours (mandarin and lime) is produced in a similar way to cider, fermented from an apple juice base to break down sugar into alcohol, which provides a “low-calorie alcohol base”, according to the brand. A combination of apple juice and cane sugar are added after fermentation alongside natural fruit flavourings.

House of Saka launches cannabis-infused sparkling ‘wine’

2nd May, 2019

House of Saka, a luxury company fronted by an all female team, has launched a line of cannabis wines made from Napa Valley Pinot Noir.


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The sparkling brut and still rosé wines, from Napa Valley, California, are blended mixed with both THC (the psychoactive component of the plant) and cannabidiol (CBD), derived from “organic craft cannabis.”

Saka Wines are Pinot Noir-based and sourced from vineyards across the Napa valley. The wines are fermented in stainless steel, after which the alcohol is removed and then infused with the company’s formula of THC and CBD.

A new report recently claimed that cannabis drinks sales in the US are set to pass the $1billion mark within four years, as loosening regulation attracts greater innovation and investment.

Saka Wines CEO, Tracey Mason, said: “After almost 30 years of spearheading innovation in the adult beverage space and working with some of the most recognised wine and spirit brands in the world, I am confident that cannabis-infused products are the future.”

Mason told Forbes that the proprietary water-soluble cannabis formulation will allow consumers to feel the effects within 10-15 minutes, as opposed to other edible marijuana products that can take much longer to kick in, complicating accurate dosing and safety.

Due to strict guidelines for packaging and branding wine in California, the company will be marketing it as “pink/sparkling” or “bubbles” instead of wine.

House of Saka & Saka Wines Founder, Cynthia Salarizadeh, said: “The concept for this brand began 5 years ago and it was all about the right team and timing to launch the best tasting cannabis infused wine in existence. With regulations and infrastructure mature enough to bring the brand to life, I knew it was the perfect time.

“Wine has been infused with cannabis for as long as we can find in sacred texts throughout history. It is an appropriate time for a luxury line of products at the highest quality to enter the market.”

Saka Wines should reach shelves in the first quarter of 2019 and will be available in over 600 stores throughout California and Nevada, before expanding nationwide and globally. In addition, an alcohol-removed cannabis and CBD infused sparkling wine sourced from the Champagne region of France will be available for pre-orders by spring of 2019.

The cannabis infused drinks industry has been making significant headway recently. the drinks business recently examined their rise, investigating into its impact on the drinks industry particularly in the US, and whether they will be a threat to its livelihood or a budding opportunity.

Saka is not the first label to fuse weed with wine. Last year, Californian cannabis-focused agriculture company Terra Tech linked up with Washington-based cannabis drinks maker Valiente to produce a non-alcoholic sparkling wine called ‘IVXX’.

Million Pound Menu winner set to open debut restaurant in Liverpool

2nd May, 2019

Pilgrim, the winner of the BBC Two programme Million Pound Menu 2019, will open its first restaurant in Liverpool’s Duke Street Market this May with a soft launch.

Founded by managing director, Jamie Duffield; chef Director Dave Bone and brand and marketing director Anthony Power, Pilgrim won the BBC Two cooking competition in January 2019.

Offering flavours and dishes from across the Iberian Peninsula, Pilgrim will provide a soft launch period with 50% off for the first five days.

The concept is inspired by an ancient pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia which has taken place since the 9th century with starting points in France, Spain and Portugal.

Utilising seasonal and ethically sourced regional produce with a focus on ‘live-fire flavour,’ the menu is set to feature predominantly small plates for sharing including a 4-course tasting menu, with dishes such as wood-roasted pork chop and fennel emulsion; char-grilled sardines with black olive crumb; scallops with smoked butter; and barbecued octopus tentacle with guindilla pepper salsa.

Small plates will range from £9 to £12 with the 4-course tasting menu priced at £35.  Desserts and bar snacks will also be available.

Guests will have the opportunity to choose from an extensive drinks list whilst watching the chefs at work.

Cocktails on tap called ‘Taptails’ will be created on site using ingredients that reflect the flavour profiles of the menu while more than 50 wines will be on rotation with a ‘select’ menu following the current featured Camino alongside a range of over 30 vermouths, port and Spanish sherries, with attention to the demand for lower percentage alcohol.

The 40-cover restaurant will feature a bar set on a mezzanine overlooking the open kitchen with a terrace offering guests views over the bustling food and drink market.

Anthony Power, brand and marketing director, said: “We are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to open our first permanent site at the new Duke Street Market in Liverpool, and we think the market will be a fantastic hub of great food and drinks, all housed under one roof.

“We’ll be showcasing the diverse flavours and ingredients found along the many routes of the Camino, serving a flexitarian menu that showcases the highest quality local produce, all cooked over a live-fire hearth in our open kitchen. With over 12 established routes of the Camino, we will have the scope to rotate the menu and bring a fresh approach and interpretations to traditional Iberian dishes.”

Pilgrim opens with a soft launch on 15 May.

Fine wine market’s decline continues in April

2nd May, 2019

The benchmark Liv-ex Fine Wine 100 index declined yet again in April, down 0.2%, having shown no gains at all this year.

Beaucastel’s 2015 Chateauneuf du Pape was the month’s best performer, up 18.8% to £505, streets ahead of the next top movers: Lynch Bages 2009, Jaboulet’s 2015 Hermitage La Chapelle, Sassicaia’s 2015 and Domaien de la Romanée-Conti’s 2014 La Tâche.

On the flipside, Opus One’s highly rated 2014 vintage took an 8.2% tumble to £2,450 a case, another 2015 Chateauneuf, this time from Clos des Papes which was March’s best performer, lapsed 7.2%, Screaming Eagle’s 2015 and Giacomo Conterno’s 2010 Barolo Riserva Monfortino declined 6% and Louis Roederer’s 2008 Cristal was down 5.1% as well.

Duddell’s London launches new cocktail and dim sum menus

2nd May, 2019

Cantonese restaurant Duddell’s in London Bridge is set to unveil an entirely new selection of cocktails alongside a revised dim sum afternoon menu, launching this May.

Founded in 2013 by hospitality entrepreneur Yenn Wong of JIA Group, Duddell’s in Hong Kong received its first Michelin star five months after opening, which it still holds today, with the London site opening in spring 2017.

Located within the historic Grade II-listed St Thomas’ Church, the restaurant offers guests one of London’s most beautiful drinking and dining destinations.

Crafted by JIA Group’s former bar manager and Diageo World Class Finalist James Barkerhe, the London site’s new cocktail menu will take inspiration from the drinks list at the original Duddell’s in Hong Kong.

Split into three cocktail lists, guests will have the opportunity to choose between Duddell’s ‘Defining Cocktails’, ‘Feng Shui creations’, or the ‘Temperance selection’.

Including some of the most notable drinks to appear on the restaurant’s Hong Kong menu since opening six years ago, Duddell’s ‘Defining Cocktails’ will proffer creations such as the ‘Pearl River Cobbler (2014)’ consisting of Olorosso sherry, lychee, passion fruit, orange and Lillet Rouge; and ‘Frogs Start Singing (2017)’ consisting of Absolut Elyx vodka, Ancho Reyes Verde, green pepper, pineapple and lime.

‘Feng Shui creations’ will offer a range of drinks each reflecting one of the six principles of Feng Shui, with cocktails such as ‘Happiness’ made from Chivas 12yr Scotch whiskey, hojicha, green apple, organic rice milk, ginger and whites; and ‘Luck’ consisting of De Maguey Vida mescal, Aperol, Cinzano 1757 Rosso vermouth, jasmine, cream soda, sea salt, and ‘good fortune.’

Offering a refreshing choice of alcohol-free drinks designed to successfully pair with Cantonese cuisine, the ‘Temperance selection’ will include mocktails such as ‘Ginger Iced Tea’ with fresh ginger root, lemon, sugar, Chinese black teas and star anise; and ‘Honey and Pear Soda’ with pear, osmanthus, honey and lime topped up with soda.

Duddell’s will also launch a new afternoon menu with a selection of the restaurant’s most popular dim sum dishes.

The menu is set to feature favourites such as the pork siu mai, Har gau, black pepper duck pumpkin dumpling, wild mushroom dumpling and renowned Cantonese dim sum symphony which can be enjoyed alongside the new cocktail creations.

The menus will launch on 1 May.

Molson Coors profits down at start of 2019

2nd May, 2019

Molson Coors’ profits dropped in the first three months of 2019, which the brewer put down to lower volumes  worldwide.

Net sales for the US business’s first quarter were $2.3 billion, down by 1.2% year on year, a downturn it said was driven by volume declines and “unfavourable foreign currency movements.”

Brand volumes were down in all of Molson Coors’ markets compared to the same period last year. US volumes fell by 3.8%.

However, it added that the fall was offset by a “favourable price mix”, something that both Carlsberg and Heineken have experienced in their own first quarter results this week. Sales rose 2.3% to the end of March.

Chief executive Mark Hunter said he was “pleased with the continuing acceleration of our portfolio premiumisation efforts alongside our intensified innovation program, and the growth in our underlying EBITDA, which, despite higher inflation, grew on a constant currency basis.”

Turning its attention to innovation and premiumisation, Molson Coors will be early out of the gates with its line of cannabis-infused drinks when cannabis edibles are made legal in Canada next year.

It has partnered with The Hydropothecary Corporation, a Canadian cannabis producer, launching a standalone startup business which will develop “non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused beverages for the Canadian market following legalisation,” according to a statement from the brewer. Molson Coors said it will launch its own cannabis drinks next year.

Chapel Down enters RTD market with gin and tonic cans

2nd May, 2019

English drinks company Chapel Down has made its first foray into the convenience and ready-to-drink market with the launch of a pre-mixed gin and tonic in a can.

The canned cocktail features the producer’s Bacchus gin, which is a grain spirit made with Bacchus grape distillate. The gin is infused with juniper, coriander, elderflower, orris root, angelica, lavender, orange peel and lemon.

Chapel Down has teamed up with London-headquartered tonic water producer Double Dutch to provide the mixer, selecting “the lightest of the tonics” to blend with the gin.

The 250ml can is available at Selfridges for an exclusive launch period as well as direct from the Chapel Down website. A case of 12x 5.5%ABV cans are priced at £25.

Commenting on the launch, Chapel Down winemaker Josh Donaghay-Spire, said: “The intense refreshment, the ‘zing’ of Chapel Down Bacchus Gin shines through in this classic G&T serve. The tonic selected enhances the heady aroma of intense citrus peel, juniper and freshly cut grass followed by a palate dominated by ripe citrus fruit with a herbal finish.”

Chapel Down has recently opened its Gin Works bar and restaurant at London’s King’s Cross which includes an on-site distillery. It also recently launched a pink gin made with Pinot Noir grape distillate, which it claims is the first gin to be made using the grape variety.

The brewing and cider division of the company, known as Curious Drinks, will shortly be opening its new brewery in Ashford after completing payment for the 1.6 acre site in November 2017.

The Kent-based business is also expanding its wine production after beginning plantings its 388-acre Boarley Farm site. Boarley Farm, together with the Kit’s Coty and Boxley sites, will form a 620 acre estate of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier plantings to make sparkling wine.

Waitrose lists first English orange wine

2nd May, 2019

Waitrose is adding its first English orange wine and two English wines in a can to its shelves this month.

The upmarket retailer is adding the new wines as part of a range extension of its 100 plus English and Welsh range, which has seen its still wines grow 156% this year, with sparkling English wines rising 60%, it said.

Seven wines have been added to the range, including its first orange wine, which is made by Surrey-based wine consultancy and contract winemakers Litmus Wines.

The Litmus Orange is a 100% Bacchus, which is aged on skins before being pressed into two to five-year-old French barriques and left for nine months, resulting in a “straw gold wine with orange hues and grassy, quince and hazelnut overtones”, the retailer said. It is only the second orange wine made by Litmus’s chief winemaker and director, John Worontschak, which first produced an orange wine in 2015.

Worontschak said it had a “striking and unusual pithy tannin structure” that was initially “disorientating” but proved “harmonious and smooth with good acidity and an incredibly long finish”.

“The wine will get more interesting with time and can be enjoyed with oily meats and spicy dishes,” he added.

The retailer has also unveiled new premium English canned wines from Peckham-based brand The Uncommon, which was launched last year by entrepreneurs Henry Connell and Alex Thraves.

The new 2018 vintage, which uses grapes grown in Hampshire, Surrey and Kent, comprises a sparkling white made (rrp: £4.99) from Bacchus grapes and a new sparkling rosé (rrp: £4.99) from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier in a single-serve light-weight  aluminium can that chills is under ten minutes. The white will be on shelf at the end of May, followed by the rosé in July.

The brand is designed to appeal to a younger consumer and target on-the-go and alfresco occasions such as festivals, picnics and travelling, saying it wants to “inject innovation and move consumers away from preconceived ideas and rules about wine.”

Waitrose Cellar will also stock two new producers who have previously not been available in the UK supermarkets, Simpson Estate’s 2018 vintage “On The QT” single vineyard Pinot Meunier Blanc de Noir from Kent ( axxx ), a Pinot Noir Rose and a Chardonnay also from Simpsons, and the new Blanc de Blancs from Bride Valley in Dorset, made by Steven Spurrier.

Victoria Mason, Waitrose & Partners wine buyer, said the new launches reflected some key trends within the industry.

“We’re very excited to have an orange wine on our shelves, one of very few being made in England. Canned wine is becoming increasingly popular and we’re proud to be adding two excellent effervescent English wines to our successful range.

“Supporting smaller, local producers is also very important to our shoppers, which is why we’re thrilled to introduce two new vineyards to Waitrose, which have previously not been available on a national scale.”

Chapel Down was the first commercial English wine producer to release an orange wine in 2014, with a £20 orange wine made from Bacchus grapes which targeted the independent sector.


Bordeaux 2018: ‘Seductive’ Lafleur released

2nd May, 2019

The releases of 2018 Bordeaux continued this week with more from Right Bank stalwarts Lafleur, Clinet and Gazin.

The release of Langoa-Barton and Branaire Ducru earlier this week showed that the Bordelais were keen to get the ball rolling on the 2018 campaign.

Since then there have been a few more releases with Batailley, Sociando Mallet and Haut Bages Libéral announcing their ex-cellar prices – all good ‘drinking’ sort of labels.

It is this morning though (2 May) that has seen the release of the next ‘serious’ labels, most notably Lafleur.

The Pomerol estate’s 2018 is being offered for around £5,800 per dozen, up 8.6% on the 2017.

Critics have loved it with The Wine Advocate’s Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW giving it 97-100 points and calling it “incredibly seductive”.

Elsewhere it’s picked up scores of 18.5 from Julia Harding MW (writing for Purple Pages), 98-100 from Chris Kissack and Jeff Leve, a straight 100 by James Suckling and it was named the fifth favourite wine (on average) by Liv-ex’s 430 merchant members in a recent survey.

Cracking scores for an estate on a roll at the moment, the 2018 clearly ranks alongside the château’s best efforts from ’05, ’09, ’10 and ’16 but sits at a significant discount to all of those – indeed the 2017 is now £8,000 a case.

This is the sort of instance where, if you have the money, there is definite value to be had in buying en primeur because the wine is unlikely to be at this level in a year’s time (on current form at least).

Clinet at £768 a dozen is up 14.5% on the 2017, it’s had some very good scores and reviews but it’s maybe a little bit of a stretch if you start comparing it with some recent back vintages.

Gazin meanwhile is up 8.3% on its 2017 release to £756 per dozen. Like Clinet the reviews have been good but Liv-ex suggested that it falls above what would be considered ‘fair value’ with the 2015 or 2012 vintages looking quite attractive by comparison.

New York authorities ban alcohol advertising on city property

2nd May, 2019

Almost two years after alcohol advertising was banned on the New York subway, authorities have gone one step further, banning it on city property including bus shelters, newsstands and phone booths.

New York mayor Bill de Blasio announced the executive order earlier this week. The order, which will take immediate effect, will mean that alcohol advertising will be prevented from appearing on structures such as bus shelters, newsstands, phone booths Wi-Fi LinkNYC kiosks and recycling kiosks.

All existing alcohol ads will be allowed to remain in place until the contract term ends. Venues that are licensed to sell alcohol, including restaurants, stadiums and concert halls, are not included in the ban.

In a statement, de Blasio said that the decision was motivated by high instances of alcohol abuse with the city.

“There’s no doubt that far too many New Yorkers struggle with serious substance misuse issues, among them excessive drinking,” he said.

“This order banning alcohol ads from city property reaffirms our commitment to health equity and our stand to protect the well-being of all New Yorkers.”

Health commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot claims exposure to alcohol advertising can lead “to drinking more alcohol, more often.

“The ban of alcohol ads on City property will help protect communities from the burden of harmful alcohol advertising,” she added.

In October 2017, beer, wine and spirit adverts were banned on the New York subway by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

According to the MTA’s chairman at the time, alcohol advertising on the subway accounted for just $2.3 million a year out of the MTA’s total advertising revenue of $159 million.

The city advertising ban follows a campaign last month by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to encourage safer drinking. It took the form of a video which listed tips including spacing out alcoholic drinks over time, drinking water between alcohol, eating food when drinking, and drinking in moderation.

The statement from the New York City authorities cites a study from 2017 assessing the impact of subway advertising of “unhealthful” products such as sweets, crisps, sugary cereals, frozen pizzas, “energy” drinks, coffee confections, hard alcohol, and beer.

It suggested that adverts featuring these products appeared more often in lower-income areas of the city with higher percentages of black and Hispanic residents, suggesting that companies were potentially targeting vulnerable individuals.

It also stressed that children being exposed to these adverts may be drawn into underage drinking.

Whether the presence of alcohol advertising itself leads to increased alcohol consumption is still a matter that’s fiercely contested. The 2017 study mentioned above cites two further research projects which claim to prove a link. One examines alcohol advertising near schools while the other looks at problem drinking among African American women in New York City.

Authorities state that in 2016, over 110,000 alcohol-related emergency department visits were made in New York City, while in the same year, 2,000 New Yorkers died from alcohol-attributable causes, including liver disease, driving fatalities, and alcohol-related cancers, such as liver and oesophageal cancers.