How IBWSS London will help put bulk wine on the on-trade agenda

January may seem a long way away, but if you want to book your place and take advantage of early bird registrations at the inaugural International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show taking place in London then now is the time to do so. The two day event promises to not only highlight the latests trends in bulk wine but will feature leading figures in the trade taking part in both conference debates and seminars.

Keeping on top of bulk wine trends and opportunities is going to become increasingly more important for major UK on-trade buyers and suppliers.

Working in the wine and spirits industry means you are constantly worrying about both what is happening today and tomorrow, whilst at the same time keeping your eye on events and trends six months to a year down the line. 

Having such a short and long term perspective on the state of the drinks industry is none better demonstrated than what is happening in the world of bulk wine. On the one hand buyers are constantly tracking currency rates to see where they can get their next best deal for the most in demand grapes, whilst also looking to lock in deals and partnerships for a year to 18 months out.

Bulk wine, and spirits, as we know, is no longer just the preserve of the big supermarkets looking to fill containers full of Chilean Merlot or New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. The cost savings and efficiencies involved in working with bulk wine means it is now very much in demand in the on-trade too.

Sourcing and developing own label, and exclusive wines for pubs, bars and restaurants is very much now on the agenda of the country’s biggest wine distributors and importers. With a number of the major on-trade operators, pub and restaurant groups also seeing the advantages of controlling their own supply chain, and either going direct to secure wine to be shipped and bottled in market, or increasingly expecting their wine suppliers to do that job for them.

Perfect timing 

All of which is good news and timing for next January’s inaugural dedicated conference and exhibition on bulk wine, the International Bulk Wine & Spirits Show, which is coming to London and Europe for the first time.

The event, which is organised by the American drinks publishing, marketing and B2B networking platform, the Beverage Trade Network, promises to bring all sides of the bulk wine industry together. From the end buyers in the on-trade and distribution channels, through to the bottling, shipping, logistics providers, through to major producers and suppliers of bulk wine.

The event, which takes place at London’s Horticultural Halls on January 24-25, will be a combination of a conference, featuring a series of seminars, panel debates and TED-style talks and a trade exhibition.

Some of the keynote panellist and speakers lined up take part include:

  • Andrew Shaw, group wine buying director of Conviviality PLC who is in charge of managing the strategy of the UK’s most significant wine supplier covering both the on-and off-trades through its own businesses including Matthew Clark, Bibendum, PLB, Bargain Booze and Wine Rack. Across the group it is heavily involved in sourcing and shipping large volumes of bulk wine to be bottled in market in the UK.
  • Neil Anderson, marketing director of Kingsland Drinks, which as one of the pioneering bulk wine bottling facilities in the UK is very well placed to not only look at the trends within the global bulk wine sector, but also using its own data, analytics and consumer research plotting the kinds of bulk wine that needs to be sourced and shipped in the future.   
  •  Mark Lansley, chief executive of Broadland Wineries one of the UK’s most important and innovative bulk and contract wine bottling facilities. It has built up its business working most of the major supermarket, wholesaler and retailer groups in the UK as well as developing strong business in the US and Nordic states. As well as doing contract, third party work it is also a significant brand builder and wine supplier itself using bulk wine to source the most competitive juice for either its own wines or its partners. It has achieved on average 20% growth figures for the last 10 years and is on course to hit a £250m turnover by 2025.
  • Robin Copestick, managing director of Copestick Murray, that was was one of the first companies to work closely with major UK supermarket groups to help source and ship bulk wine from around the world. It has gone on to use bottled in market wines as the commercial backbone to its varietal-driven I Heart brand which is now exported to around 30 countries around the world.
  • David Richardson, regulatory and commercial affairs director at the Wine & Spirit Trade Association who will look at how the various steps all parties need to be aware of when shipping bulk wine and that bottlers, distributors and retailers are all aware of their own risks and responsibilities.

Sid Patel, chief executive of the Beverage Trade Network and organiser of IBWSS said: “It is time, we made private label and bulk trade a norm. London being the most important market for private label and bulk trade, we decided to make London our host city for Europe.”

He added: “The UK is one of the leading store-owned and private label markets, so it was a no-brainer that we provide the platform to connect these buyers to top class suppliers from all over the world who are ready to offer private label services and understand what it takes in being a private label supply partner and help the buyer build their brand.”

How to take part

There is an opportunity for anyone looking to be an exhibitor at the event to take advantage of early bird booking fees. Up to the end of May it is possible to make savings of 30% for any space taken with the added incentive of paying 25% now and then the full amount by the end of August.

As a visitor: IBWSS London is relevant for anyone involved in the making, sourcing, buying, shipping, bottling, selling and marketing of bulk wine and spirits. Designed specifically for key players across the multiple grocery, convenience, wholesaler, on-trade sectors as well as producers, wineries, distilleries and service providers across the private label and branded wine and spirit sectors. RSVP here to get your free visitor trade pass and special deals for conference ticket.

International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show(IBWSS) London Exhibitor Registrations Now Open. Register Now.

Sales reps: Tips for importers and distributors on how to retain them

Sales reps are often the only point of contact a retail customer, or on-trade operator will ever have with a wine importer and distributor. But how much care and attention are giving to their well-being?

You may have the best sourced and priced wines available and the most competitive and well thought through wine list in the country, but where would you be without the sales people to go out and sell them to your customers? Yet, the turnover of sales reps in an average wine business would suggest that more time and trouble needs to be taken to keep them as well cared for as the wines they are selling.

1. It’s all about the money, money money…

It might be obvious, but ultimately the whole purpose of being a sales person it to sell hit targets and bring in money for the business. Those who sell the most, receive more money. That’s the way the world goes round. But does it? How well are you paying your sales teams? Do you know how your payment terms compare to your competition? Do you benchmark your salaries and benefits against the competition? Do you only get round to paying an employee more once they threaten to leave? Don’t let it get to that stage. Pay them what they are worth.

2. Handcuffs behind the back

That said it is one thing having attractive and industry-leading salaries and bonuses, it is another delivering on them. The quickest way to demotivate a sales rep is to offer them the world and then put in so many hurdles in the way that bonuses end up becoming unfulfilled dreams. Very soon your sales reps will behave like they have millstones around their necks, which will only help drag your own business down with them.

3. It’s all about the leads

“Just give me some good leads,” is what the legendary Jack Lemmon pleads for in the classic Glengarry Glenn Ross, a film that tells you all you need to know about the mentality of a sales rep down on their luck. For Lemmon, it was all about persuading Kevin Spacey to give him some good leads to go and try to persuade homeowners to buy aluminum sidings for their house. For a wine sales rep, it is about giving them enough good accounts that will give them the easy sales on which they can rely on and build the confidence and foundations to go out and pin down the more elusive customers.

4. It’s the wine stupid

When a wine sales person starts having trouble selling wine, the immediate response is to start questioning how good they are at selling wine. But what if it is the wine range, and the individual wines that are actually the problem? Just looking at the bottom line sales figures does not always tell the full story. Wines ranges can become unfashionable in just a matter of months if they don’t have enough of the go to, on trend wines on there. It probably would not have mattered three years ago if you did not have an Albarino, a Picpoul de Pinet or a Falanghina on your list. But pity the poor sales rep trying to sell in a range without them today.

5. Part of the family

How involved are the sales reps in the big decisions being made about what wines are being kept or dropped in your next wine list review? After all they are the ones talking to customers day in day out about how well individual wines on that list are being tasted and what is in favour or not. It is surprising how far down the pecking order an average sales reps’ views are. Being out on the road can get lonely, and any steps that the main business can take to make their salespeople feel involved, and included in the wider business will go a long way to keeping them happy.

International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show(IBWSS) London Exhibitor Registrations Now Open. Register Now.

How can importers and distributors support their retail customers via social media?

If you are not using social media to drive business and consumers to your retail customers’ doors then your competition most certainly is.

We might spend an increasing part of our social life glued to our favorite social media platforms on our smartphones and tablets, skills we might think are not relevant to our business life. Well, think again. Social media now gives importers, suppliers, and distributors the chance to be more relevant, more effective and more valuable to their retail customers than ever before. Here are five reasons why.

1. Up, close and personal

Social media allows us to get up close and personal with complete strangers in a way that has become a completely accepted way of life. Imagine 10 years ago receiving a knock on the door and being offered a personal, handwritten letter offering you a 20% discount from a supplier or brand to go and spend in one of your local retailers. Well, that’s what a promoted tweet direct to your Facebook or Twitter feed effectively is. If you can help persuade your social media followers to take that promo code and spend it with your chosen retail customer then everyone is a winner

2. Fans and followers

The reason why it’s so important for importers and suppliers to build up their own social media networks – their own followers and fans. You have to have a captive audience to influence. The more fans and followers you have, the more chance there is to please them and your retail customers by giving them reasons to go and spend their money in their stores.

3. Retailer ambassadors

As an importer or drinks distributor, you might only have one, two or three products with any given retail customer going into either its wine, beer or spirits departments. But the retailer itself is selling thousands of products across multiple categories. They only have the time or budget to promote a handful of them. It is why the most effective distributors are now the ones that can do the retailer’s promotional work for them. Act as their ambassadors and help push the brands they are selling direct to potential shoppers on social media.

4. At a distance

Social media might allow businesses to engage and connect with people online like never before, but for retailers, it is a relationship they need to handle with care. Yes, they are attracted to the idea of communicating directly with their customers on social media, but at the same time, they are wary of bombarding them with too many unwelcome promotions and offers. Which is why an importer or distributor can be a valuable ally. They can handle and nurture that consumer relationship on the retailer’s behalf with targeted and personalized activity on social media about specific products that retailer sells.

5. Repeat business

The alcohol category has long been one of the most important and effective footfall drivers for any retail business. It is why the retailers spend so much money promoting their beers, wines and spirits offers. But getting a customer through the door once for a promotion is one thing, getting them to repeatedly come back is nirvana. Imagine how valuable you will be to any retailer if you can use your social media relationships to identify the core consumers willing to engage and go back time and again to the same retailer with the right repeated targeted promotions. That’s a social media strategy that drives bottom line sales for both you and your retail customers’ businesses.

International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show(IBWSS) London Exhibitor Registrations Now Open. Register Now.

BevRoute Magazine Becomes IBWSS London Conference Sponsor and Strategic Partner

We are pleased and excited to announce that IBWSS London conference sessions will be sponsored by the BevRoute Magazine. BevRoute is the ONLY magazine that is focused on global wine, beer, spirits import and wholesale business. The magazine will be available in print and digital and will help wine, beer and spirits importers and distributors grow their business.

There’s a ton of interest from importers and distributors on how they can improve their business but there is no platform which caters to small and medium sized importers and distributors in an open format where they can discuss their business issues and seek solutions.  Our goal is to help small and medium sized distributors who are the backbone of the UK wine and spirits. Partnering with BevRoute magazine will allow us to add value to our trade buyers.

BevRoute magazine aim’s to fill the gap for alcohol beverage importers and distributors to learn and grow their business.  What you will find within the pages of the BevRoute magazine are instructive articles written with information relevant to members of the importer and distributor community. Each issue is meant to educate and inspire you to build a better import and distribution business.

BevRoute is a new quarterly magazine for importers, distributors and retailers in the alcoholic beverage trade. Each issue brings you informative and inspirational articles written by authoritative experts and industry insiders, all designed to help you grow your business.

They are passionately interested in the details of what makes a great import or distribution business in the wine, beer and spirits industry. Their content is tailored to the issues that matter to you. They talk to people from all over the industry and tell you how they are overcoming the types of challenges you might be facing in your business on an everyday basis. It’s practical, hands-on knowledge, told in a way that’s both engaging and informative.

Unlike other industry publications designed for the wine and spirits consumer, BevRoute is focused on all the participants that are required to bring a great wine or spirits product to market, from the moment a new wine is imported to the moment it shows up on retail shelves. Our content includes everything from the latest proprietary data in the industry to interviews with industry insiders. There are plenty of case studies, examples and information to help you grow your business and understand the key trends that are shaping the industry.

International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show(IBWSS) London Exhibitor Registrations Now Open. Register Now.

Regulatory Issues In UK Specific to Bulk Wine and Spirits v/s Cased Goods

By, David Richardson, Regulatory & Commercial Affairs Director, The Wine and Spirit Trade Association

David joined the WSTA in March 2014, after a career prosecuting a wide range of cases for HM Customs and Excise. He leads the WSTA’s work on responding to fraud.  He sits on the Joint Alcohol and Tobacco Consultative Group and the Joint Customs Consultative Committee. He advises on compliance, particularly the implementation of the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme and HMRC’s change programme. David supports the Logistics Group.

David Richardson will speak on the Regulatroy Issues in UK specific to Bulk Wine and Spirits on Jan 24, 2018. The show will also feature 11 more speakers in its two-day Conference on bulk wine, bulk Spirits, Private Label and Contract Bottling Business.

Date: Jan 24-25, 2018

Location: Royal Horticultural Halls in London, UK


Learn from some of the most influential professionals in the beverage industry at the IBWSS educational conference in London. These presentations from industry leaders on today’s principal ideas on marketing, sales and distribution will challenge and inspire you to grow your private label, Bulk Wine and bulk spirits business.

The conference will have 12 speakers delivering TED-Style talks over 2 days where speakers will give you insights into the strategies and standards that the industry’s top thinkers are using to shape the marketplace around you. Confirmed speakers include Robin Copestick – Managing Director of Copestick Murray, Mark Lansley – CEO of Broadland Wineries, David Richardson – Regulatory & Commercial Affairs Director, Andrew Catchpole Editor, Harpers Wine & Spirit Magazine and The Drinks Wholesaler and Andrew Shaw, Group Wine Buying Director, Conviviality PLC.

You can become part of this exciting phenomenon today. Private label is expanding faster than national brands. Large and even small retailers have committed themselves to an aggressive store-brands strategy while specialty chains are using their own brands to create shopper loyalty unheard of only a few years ago. Buyers from every sector will attend the IBWSS 2018 London show. These buyers are looking for private label supply partners who can help them grow their bottom line.

The International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show (IBWSS) is an annual trade show and conference, open to trade professionals only, which takes place in London, UK. IBWSS will give wineries, importers, supermarkets, retailers, restaurants, distilleries and other buyers a premiere international platform to source bulk wine and spirits and meet private label suppliers. Register now as an super early bird exhibitor and avail the biggest launch discount. Find out more information on how to become an exhibitor.

International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show(IBWSS) London Exhibitor Registrations Now Open. Register Now.

What are UK wine importers really looking for in a new brand?

The world has got enough Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs and Malbecs. It does not need another critter-driven wine label. What it does need are brands, but how does an importer know what is going to be an effective, game changing brand that genuinely connects and engages with their target consumer?

You only have to look at the Top 20 selling wine brands in the UK to see how hard it creates a new brand that is going to make it. The large majority of that Top 20 will have been brands that have been around for years or are increasingly supermarket exclusive labels that are best sellers because they have taken the place of failing brands on the shelf. So it’s a risky business taking on and investing in anything new. Here are our top five ways to give yourself a fighting chance.

1. It’s not what you think…but your customers

When deciding whether to take on a new wine brand, ultimately it does not matter what you as an import business think of it, what’s important is whether you can see prospective customers taking it on. Too many wine brands have been left languishing on drinks lists because the importer has got carried away by the winery, the location, the producer’s story, and not put the interests of the retailers, and their strategies’ first. So look at what gap this new brand is going to fill in a retailer or customer’s armory and if you can’t find one, then don’t take it on.

2. Consumer driven brands

Go to any brand launch of a major FMCG brand, be it a new chocolate bar or soap power and the majority of the presentation will be taken up by a brand manager talking about consumers. How they shop, where they shop and why. What they spend their money on, where they go on holiday, what TV programs they watch? So before the big reveal, we know exactly which target consumer this new product is aimed at and why. Any new wine brand has to do the same. But few do. It’s not about the quality of the juice in the bottle. That should be a given. It’s about how focused and attractive it is to a specific type of consumer drinker and how you can prove that to your retail customers.

3. How big can it be?

The biggest and most exciting change in the wine industry over the last 10 to 15 years is how it has become, for many, their number one choice of a drink. The wine has joined beers and spirits as being a true multi-channel category. Can any proposed new wine brand be successful in both a high street retailer and a restaurant or bar? Will it work online, and get a following on social media? Does it even have the potential to become an international brand and build business outside of your core market? The days of creating a brand just to operate in one channel are over. Big brands of the future have to be ambidextrous and adaptable enough to exist in any channel of the trade, anywhere in the world.

4. Creating brands for yourself

Wine importers and suppliers are increasingly not looking at wine producers anymore for new brands to sell. They are looking at themselves. With margins increasingly tighter all the way down the supply chain it makes far more commercial sense to come up with brand ideas yourself. We can expect to see more importers go out and source and blend their own wines and take control of each step of the process.

5. Shipped and bottled

The year-in-year-out increases in duty levels imposed on wine in the UK mean being able to ship wine in bulk to be bottled in the market is only going to become more important thanks to the huge savings that can be made. So much so that already up to 70% of wine on sale is the UK bottled. It is not just the go-to option for more and more brands owners looking to make their mark in the UK, but for those importers making brands for themselves. It is why varietal-driven brands are now so important. They give the brand owner, the importer and their customers the flexibility to change where they source any particular variety from depending on their cost at any given time of the year.

International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show(IBWSS) London Exhibitor Registrations Now Open. Register Now.

German Bulk Wine Market

Study and report by Marianne E. Steinschulte Geisenheim University, Germany (

The bulk wine trade plays a very important role for the wine business in Germany as it covers a large quantity of the market. The aim of this study is to contribute to the understanding of the German bulk wine market complexities and the long-term development.

The study is based on an exploratory analysis about the trade flow of bulk wine. A new database of the bulk wine transports in the Rhineland-Palatinate region in combination with official statistics provide a detailed insight into the structure and changes of the market.

The trade flow of the transported bulk wine volume shows different developments within the wine-growing regions. Structural changes on a long-term basis are motivated by the improvement of wine quality management requested by the customers and successful strategic management of the companies. The concomitant creation of a two-step-trade model reflects the intensive networking including a division of labor and as such represents a concentration process in the German wine business. Vintage-related short-term variability, however, doesn’t show a great impact on the trade flow organization of German bulk wine.

Practical implications: The detailed overview about the development of the bulk wine market is interesting for all managers concerned as well as politicians to assess the competitiveness of their own or the domestic wine production regarding prospective strategic decisions.

Read Full Germany Bulk Wine Market Report

International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show(IBWSS) London Exhibitor Registrations Now Open. Register Now.

How To Increase Sales Velocity At Your Local Bottleshops

David Lipman interviews the best craft beer bottle shops to find out the basics on what craft brands need to do, to drive sales in bottleshops that specialize in craft beer. For brands targeting bottleshops, in general, please take not, craft beer only represents around 4% of total beer volume, whereas craft beer represents more than 60% of total alcohol sales in these shops, making this Top 10 craft beer specific, and hopefully, helps sell craft beer brands into non-craft beer specialist bottle shops.

Interviewed managers and bottle shops – Mark Mead, Warners at the Bay, Warners Bay (NSW), Adam Bellamy, Platinum Liquor Concord and Bellevue Hill (NSW), Geoff Huens, Beer Cartel / Porter’s Artarmon (NSW), Chris Menichelli, Slowbeer, Richmond (Vic), Josh Daley, Mane Liquor, Belmont (WA), Anthony Young, Plonk Beer & Cider Store, Fyshwick Markets (ACT).

Brand / Retailer Relationship
The most important point for craft brewers to not only increase sales, but the velocity of those sales in bottleshops, is to do the good old fashioned things well, of having good sales staff, that love their job, love the brand and love craft beer, and having a good consistent product with an exciting and believable brand story, packaging, philosophy at competitive prices.
Yes, bottleshops want the complete story! Mark Mead sums it up, that brands need to prove to bottleshops, they are in the craft beer wholesale business for all the right reasons, being “100% behind the brand, quality, consistency and at the right price”. That way the bottle shop staff become your extended sales team, via recommendations and events, as they get infected by the brand’s enthusiasm and consistent quality.

Adam Bellamy says “yes I have my favorites, any brewer or rep I get along with personally, you really want them to succeed”. Josh Daley also says of brands he likes “we love to recommend them, we want to support them”. Mark Mead says it’s “hard to pick favorites and grow a brand when he has such a huge range, so many brands per style”.

Geoff Huens says “hire staff that knows a bit about beer – not only will it gain better traction with retailers but they can also actually talk about your beer and brand at events/festivals”. Josh Daley says “if staff meet the reps, it helps a lot. We get deliveries every fortnight, which is usually a rep to keep freight down. We go out on the weekend with a lot of the reps, which helps”. Anthony Young gives his expectations of regular sales calls by sales reps “we don’t need more than once a month, either face to face or by email with phone follow-up”.

Adam Bellamy says one way to damage the relationship is for brand reps to convey more attention to the on-premise rather than bottleshops, stating “brands need to show bottleshops similar respect and attention as they do for pubs and the on-premise. Bellamy continues “even breweries I like dealing with, I don’t get a deal, but the sales rep says he has to do deals with pubs to get their beers on tap – so it’s like the bottleshops are subsidizing pubs”. Bellamy is not saying he wants a deal, or free merchandise, advertising dollars, rebates, fridges and so on, he just wants to have a good working relationship with the brewery, such that he receives the beer when he asks for it, the quantity he ordered, in good condition, and it’s a brand he likes and wants to support. It’s clear why the brands give so much attention to the on-premise because excise is 40% less in 50L kegs, the packaging is more cost effective, and overall its more profitable than bottled beer.

Bellamy says a “brewery in the business of cut and thrust who is all about sales”, then Adam will cut them if not selling. Whereas “if a brand is not so pushy, and want to grow together” then they get more understanding from Adam, and if not selling so well, “that’s not a sole reason to cut them from the shelf”. Bellamy continues “I don’t like to do business like the on-premise and take what you get, I keep full control of what I sell if I like them and I like their beers I’ll put it on”.

Geoff Huens says “have an awesome (real) story behind the brand and each beer. e.g. Death Between The Tanks is a result of Kylie (The Little Brewing Co., NSW) telling Warwick (Kylie’s Head Brewer husband) she will likely end up finding him dead between the tanks if he continues to work so hard! That’s an awesome story to tell customers plus an awesome name”. Huens summarizes, “do things differently and a bit quirky – don’t be same old same old”.

Quality / Consistent Product
Geoff Huens says “strive for quality and consistency of the product. We want to be able to stand behind our recommendations and feel confident customers will have a good experience. If not then it reflects poorly on the brewery and us, and will likely drive customers back to tried and tested brands they know. This happened in the states about seven years ago. We have culled beers from our range due to lack of consistency/quality”.

Huens wonders if the current brewing qualifications allocate enough time in experience brewing on a commercial scale, so brewers are not entering the industry without years of experience brewing on a commercial scale. Huens suggests brands to “enter your beers into competitions to try and win awards. Then if you win tell people about it! If you don’t win ask the judges what the problems were and try again”.

Mark Mead says “first and foremost have a good, consistent beer”. “What makes a good beer?”, says Mead, and discusses consumers or writers bagging beers, on rating sites, when it’s subjective, and they don’t have qualified palettes. Mead says “Stone & Wood is far from outstanding, but it can’t keep up with demand”.

Adam Bellamy says “plenty of breweries make sub-standard beer, promotions like buy 10 get 2, all helps, but it’s when they don’t have good products, it’s not a good look. It’s all about beer being good, consistently good”.

Price & Promotion
Brands when starting up will work out what size brewery to purchase, or how many liters to contract brew and sell each year to be profitable. However being profitable on paper doesn’t make the beers price competitive and sell. Bottleshops want brands to do their research on targeting segments in the market and positioning their beers in categories that they will be price competitive. Most bottleshops see craft beer, from small to medium craft breweries, not being price competitive, with unrealistic wholesale prices.

When deciding on a beer style, do your research on what retail price other brands are sold at for the same style and similar ABV, for local and imported beers. Bellamy says “position your brand with competition in mind”. When he looks at the depth of beers of the same style on his store shelves, “why sell an Aussie craft beer 6-pack for the same price as an awesome USA imported craft beer 6-pack”? It cannibalizes both. Then the beer sits on the shelf longer, getting closer to its best before date, and Huens says “we don’t stock any beers that are within three months of their best before date”. The softening of the Australian dollar to the US dollar will help local Aussie craft beers be more price competitive.

Mark Mead says they “haven’t done specials for five years, focusing on all day every day low prices”, although Warners has been in the market for 10 years now. Mead says of how to drive craft beer sales there’s “no magic wand short of cutting prices”. Mead shares their GP margins to help brands work out what their wholesale prices need to be, 40% single 330mL and 32-34% up to the 1.5L bottle, 28-30% 4 / 6-packs, 15% cartons. Chris Menichelli says retail price points need to be $20-$25 per 6-pack for easy drinking craft beer, $20-$25 per 4-pack for big ABV or big flavor intensity craft beers, and $8-$10 a single 330mL bottle for seasonal and limited release big flavor craft beers. Menichelli doesn’t do a lot of bulk, no case sales really, just 4/6-packs and singles, and doesn’t run many promotions, it’s not relevant in his store. Josh Daley says they aim to sell craft less than $20 a 6-packs and $15 for 4-packs as at those prices they “fly off the shelf”. Daley says at Mane Liquor “customers buy one or two 6-packs then fill the box with singles ranging from $5-$15 a bottle”. Geoff Huens requests from brands “volume pricing that then works into a promotional offer, e.g. 2 for $12 on pint bottles or similar”. Anthony Young says “periodic promotional buy deals i.e. buy 10 get 1 n/c.  This increases the chance for a floor stack and additional shelf allocation”. Mark Mead says “bonus deals like 10 plus 1 are not the ‘be all and end all’, once you factor freight and the free case into the per carton price”. Geoff Huens encourages “intro discounts for retailers to get the beers on the shelf and offers a lower initial price point to drive initial trial”.

My recommendation to craft brewers already brewing their own beer is, for beer you want to sell wholesale in bottle, to brew one or two of your best sellers with contract brewers, so as to dramatically reduce your cost per carton in brewing (my research says brewing the beer on your own is about $40-$50 per carton, ex-works, ex-excise, when contract brewing can be 50% less), reduces your wholesale price (leaving some profit for the brand for promotion or for cash flow), and ultimately leads to more sales. I am recommending this, without any association with a contract brewer, nor am I working with/for a contract brewer, it just makes sense to me. This way the craft brewer can still brew their other SKUs and limited releases on their own equipment, create some PR and excitement from selling them at your cellar door or draught in the on-premise, and then once volumes get large enough, upgrade to larger brewing length equipment and tanks. As soon as you put beer in the bottle, it’s a whole new business model, it’s all about brewing big volumes to cost less down the line to the consumer.

Craft beer drinkers are repertoire drinkers and buy when they are browsing the aisles, and if they don’t see anything of interest they will stick with what they already know. If a brand’s label doesn’t make sense, excludes the important information, or isn’t using all sides of the cluster pack effectively, these all have an impact on sales. Even having the SKUs available in different size bottles or cans helps retailers sell craft beer. Bottleshops collectively want brands to take their time in getting the packaging right, so amongst its competitive set, it’s exciting and is consistent with the brand positioning.

Geoff Huens says “think long and hard about bottle labels and branding so that it stands out on the shelf amongst a sea of beers. Huens likes Doctors Orders and Rogue Ales as two examples of good packaging, “hire a designer that has industry experience of what labels will look like when placed on a bottle. Mentioning of awards on packaging, bottles or POS, having beer bottles clearly labeled with the style – so many beer bottles have ordinary labels that customers struggle to decipher what it is. Recent research we did this month showed that customers initially look for beers by Brewery or Style – put your plotted brewery history on the back label!

Chris Menichelli says “branding is important now more than ever due to how crowded the market is. Moon Dog is quirky, and Red Hill is classic, as two examples of packaging that works well”. Anthony Young says “Packaging that results in the product displaying really well on the shelf, be it single unit, 4 or 6-pack on all four sides as you don’t know which way the retailer will face the product”. Young requests “4 or 6-packs that don’t collapse, particularly once they come out of refrigeration”. Geoff Huens also says “4-pack / 6-pack holders that just have what the brand and beer style is on the side are useless in fridges. You’ll sell a lot more beer if they can go in the fridge”. Huens also adds “have barcodes on the beers”.

A lot of brewers overlook it’s not ideal packaging bottles loose in a box of 24, Chris Menichelli says “as it basically discourages the consumer buying a 4-pack or 6-pack, people are guided by what they see, if it’s a single bottle or 6-pack that’s how they buy it, from an impulse perspective”.

Adam Bellamy says “long necks sell really well for us”, selling 500mL and 640mL bottles in 3 x bottle quantities, showing merit for brands to offer bottleshops SKUs in stubby and long neck sizes. Huens says “release seasonal/one-off beers in different format bottles to make them a bit more special and releasing beers in 30L kegs to allow for offering the product on growlers/squealers”.

Mark Mead says of brands deciding on can vs bottle, “I would love to see everything in can, much better for the beer”, and for those thinking it’s not a good look drinking out of a can, “all good beer should be poured into a proper glass” says Mead.

Social Media and Marketing
Social Media is a very popular marketing medium for craft beer brands that bottleshops say really works to drive brand awareness and craft beer sales in-store.

Mark Mead says they rely on brands to promote their beer(s), and “social media is very important, as most of their craft beer nerds are getting a lot of info online”. Josh Daley says “social media around events is massive, the brewery pumps it up, the staff pump it up, social media is the number one thing to get the brand out there”. Daley mentions a recent promotion from Colonial Brewing with their new cans, saying they were smashing Instagram and Facebook about the canning”, they really felt it in-store. Daley says though it helped a lot that Colonial had a Cellar Door, saying “you don’t hear much about brands without a cellar door. But the cellar door needs the fit out, spend the money”. Daley also sites Eagle Bay Brewing’s cellar door as a place people get introduced to their beers and then ask for their beers at Mane Liquor.

Anthony Young says of a brand’s web page, “have a link that states where your beers can be found (on and off-premise) and where possible have the web page links for those outlets”. Geoff Huens also says it’s important to promote stockists “listing us as a stockist on their website – and keep it updated”.

Geoff Huens says “be active in social media / general media about what you are doing and what is coming up, such as mention stockists when releasing new beers. The more general awareness there is of the brand the more likely consumers will be to ask for the beer by name”.

Anthony Young says “promote where the beer can be found when marketing on social media and have links back to your web page that allows the customers to see where they can access your product.

Print Catalogue advertising wasn’t mentioned by many bottleshops, probably due to the high resource, cash, and time intensive process, or not being able to source funds from brands, however, they do work and are effective for brands to drive sales. Anthony Young says “assistance in providing funds for retailers catalogs (is important)”. Look at Dan Murphy’s who do a lot of catalog advertising, and require brands to contribute a significant amount of money, given the large print and production costs. For some brands, this is not worthwhile, even though a healthy order may come with the request. Perhaps this is more an option for brands that get to a certain sales volume, so the cost is spread over more cartons. Print advertising, in general, is great for brand awareness and bottle shops, such as Mark Mead, have read magazines such as Beer & Brewer magazine to see new brands or releases to place an order.

Mark Mead points out how subjective beer is, and with all the online rating sites, blogs and Apps, it’s important for Brands to watch what people are saying about their beers. Consumers may be looking for guidance from online material and not everyone writing the material has an educated pallet. At the same time, brands should make sure all of your SKUs are listed on the rating websites and Beer Social and Rating Apps, such as Untappd (with over 950,000 users), Rate Beer, Beer Advocate, Beer Guide, and so on. Distributors use these ratings to sell craft beer to retailers, retailers use the ratings as a selling tool to consumers and consumers use these sites to see what their mates are drinking, or what beer is the most highly rated in making buying decisions.

Increase Sales Velocity

In-store Tastings & Events
Most bottleshops encourage brands to conduct in-store tastings, where the brand provides a knowledgeable staff member and stock for the tasting, or credits whatever stock is used for the tasting. Tastings embrace the try before you buy nature of being introduced to something new.
Mark Mead says “tastings are the best way to drive sales for craft beer, however, there is no point using agencies, it doesn’t work. People want to meet the people behind the brand. If craft beer brands demand a premium price, they need their own staff”, this leads to more sales. Mead continues a “small percentage don’t care who is doing the tasting, they get a free taste, buy a 6-pack”. Mead says of Warners “it’s frustrating seeing brand staff doing tastings in metro areas, but it’s very rare to get reps to our regional store”.

Adam Bellamy says he’s not a fan, “it’s a short-term gain in sales, but long term pain”, they “sell a lot on a tasting night, then order more and it sits there. Tastings can awaken some people and help sell in the short term, or disguise a not good seller in medium term”. Bellamy concludes he’s “yet to see brands do tastings consistently” and for a store of their size, “staff recommendations are better than in-store tastings”. Josh Daley says they don’t do “a huge amount of tastings, one every 2-3 weeks, get a rep and free tastings, Friday arvo, that helps, you always get sales”.

Bottleshops say events are a great way for the brands to promote their stockists, on and off-premise, particularly the bottleshops closest to the event, be that a dinner, or beer festival. Geoff Huens says events are important to brands as they “drive awareness and trial of your brand – either through in-store tastings or festivals or giveaways. It takes a minimum of 12 months of continuous pushing and trialing of your brand for traction to be gained”. Josh Daley says “we get a fair few sales after breweries hold events when we are one of the closest shops to the event. We’re lucky we have a good relationship with the brands. It’s good to see brands at festivals, not just beer related, to introduce craft beer to the masses”. Adam Bellamy says he “hears brewers or importers at festivals, proclaiming their independence, but their beers are not available in independent bottle shops” – so they should be promoting stockists at events, particularly the independents.

Daley provides some great examples that have helped drive sales from events at Mane Liquor, saying in-store tastings, events, and social media are an all-in-one must-have for brands. “Brands gave a $300 budget on food, for a free Chili Dog with every 4-pack promotion with an in-store tasting as well”. The brand also provided the tasting stock and Mane Liquor paid for the staff. Of the events success Daley proclaims “then still two weeks later we were getting repeat orders for the same SKU [in the promotion], then they would buy more SKUs in the brand”, showing loyalty to the brand, all thanks to the initial event.

Daley says putting on events around new releases of products works well for them, such as “free toasties with every beer”, which resulted in sales of 40 cartons in one night. Daley says another event idea that works for new releases, is they use their carpark, getting Food Trucks in, and run a deal of “buy a 6-pack and get whatever food truck item free”. These events are usually Friday afternoons as the best time. If on a Saturday, Daley makes the event bigger, “as customers have more time to come down, hosting 2-3 food trucks, 2-3 breweries, being a mini car park beer festival”.

Increase Sales Velocity

Staff Recommendations
Bottleshops all concurred that if they receive samples from brands, it helps staff understand the beer and it directly leads to more sales. However, it seemed more important for new brands to send samples of their launch beers. Once a brand gains loyalty and momentum, the bottleshops don’t need to taste the beer to like it and sell it, the staff and consumers are already sold on the brand.

Geoff Huens says of his staff “they are more likely to recommend it if they have tried it and liked it”. Josh Daley says “if staff haven’t tried a beer, it doesn’t sell anywhere near as well to those they have”. While Chris Menichelli says while “this is the biggest for us”, it’s not essential to send samples all the time, “I look up rate beer and beer advocate for imports, when ordering stock”. Menichelli says “new brewery samples are important”, whereas for existing brands with new beers, “the brewer comes in and explains the range”.

Mark Mead says over Christmas “about 75-80% of craft beer sales are from staff recommendations, with so many being 6-packs. Whereas this is more like 50-60% throughout the year”. Mead says for commercial beer, and some craft beer brands, where customers are brand loyal, there are no staff recommendations needed. Mead says “I stock some beers I don’t like, but they sell, they have their place in our shop, let the customers decide”.

Anthony Young encourages brands to “take samples out to retailers in a cold esky and even take small glass tasting cups in with you. Have the staff sample the product with you so all the staff employed in the bottle shop are your best-selling tool to the customers”.

Brand Mix of Styles
Craft brewers love showing their creative flair with “propeller-head” type craft beers, full of flavor, IBU, high alcohol, and words such as barrel-aged, sour, farmhouse, double and imperial. However, the bottleshops say these beers aren’t for everyone, and in fact don’t sell enough volume for either the bottleshop or for the brand to generate enough volume to be sustainable.

There are still 95% of consumers drinking commercial lagers and ales and wondering what is craft beer or not aware of this whole new world of beer. Bridging Beers or Session Beers are a great way for bottleshops to introduce these customers to the category, which helps increase brand sales. These Session Beers may be the ones that pay the bills for a brand, while having seasonals and limited releases, says Geoff Huens “helps people who like to try everything and come back to your brand every now and then. Otherwise they just see the same beers they may have tried two years ago and don’t ever think to come back. It helps keep your brand top of mind”.

Geoff Huens says “have an everyday beer in your range. It’s OK to make hop bombs but not all customers want that all of the time. Plus hop bombs don’t cater for newbies to the category”. Chris Menichelli agrees when you look at “Mountain Goat’s Summer Ale, it is a great session beer aimed at the mass market, it also allowed them to do more NPD”. “But don’t go all session, then you’re not interesting, all subtle, all same slightly / different”.

Geoff Huens says “customers are brewery loyal”, as does Josh Daley that consumers will drink a brands portfolio, “because they know their other products are good”. Huens continues “customers also buy styles, and Pale Ales and IPAs are the most asked for styles”. If a brand doesn’t have a Pale Ale or IPA, they are simply missing out on sales.

Brands investing in the time to source merchandise, get it designed and branded, find a supplier, or produce posters, gift packs or shelf talkers, it’s a costly process. Does it work for craft beer bottleshops? Does it drive sales?

Mark Mead says “we’ve been wearing Little Creatures t-shirts for five years, but I’m not sure it’s helping sales”. On the other hand, Mead says if brands can give interesting merchandise away to consumers, such as caps, stubby holders, bottle openers, t-shirts, posters “then it starts a conversation outside the shop, you’ve got to give them something to take away”. Then the brand is gaining exposure for example at a house party, “then everyone is talking about you”, affirms Mead. Both Geoff Huens and Josh Daley say posters help merchandise their stores.

Chris Menichelli says they “don’t do much merchandise, it’s not really relevant”. In regards to gift packs, Menichelli says “they don’t pre-pack gift packs, a customer will come in wanting a mixed 6-pack and we will help the customer choose, put in a nice box, wrapped. If we had merchandise free from local breweries we could bundle it”. Adam Bellamy says beer gift packs can work over Father’s Day and Christmas.

Anthony Young asks brands to “provide shelf talkers for your products that suit the retailer’s method of shelf tickets / promotional ticketing”.

Josh Daley doesn’t do a great deal of merchandise, “glassware helps, but people aren’t that fussed getting something for free, it doesn’t increase sales that much”. Adam Bellamy, says merchandise isn’t their style, he likes to focus on just selling beer, stating “merchandise may be seen as something to make beer easier to sell to compensate the beer not being able to sell itself”.

Mark Mead highlights Growlers can work in any store “at the right price, all walks of life love Growlers, but staff have got to be passionate about it, and understand the beer should be on tap for two weeks maximum, not three months. Saisons and Ginger Beers don’t work, anything with Pale Ale or IPA in it sells”. Mead asks customers what they like, but anytime he ventures out of Pale Ale or IPA, it doesn’t sell through. If the beer is not sold in two weeks, Mead says “we take it off, pour for staff and dump the rest”.
Chris Menichelli says “filling one-litre cans, rather than growlers, is interesting” as he has learned of Modus Operandi in Mona Vale (NSW). Josh Daley says of these cans “they look awesome, but once you drink them you have to throw them out, whereas growlers you can re-use”. Josh Daley says of their Growler station, “we prefer beers that aren’t available in the bottle or can”. Daley welcomes a promotion deal with brands along the lines of “buy two kegs get one free for tasting and to factor savings into reducing the Growler price”.

International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show(IBWSS) London Exhibitor Registrations Now Open. Register Now.

Europe’s Bulk Wine Show

London Will Host The IBWSS Europe’s Bulk Wine Show

Beverage Trade Network is pleased to announce the launch of the International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show in London on 24 & 25 January, 2018. The show will focus on the European Bulk Wine Market Bringing Bulk Wine Buyers and Sellers Together.

The International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show (IBWSS) is an annual trade show and conference, open to trade professionals only, and is set to take place at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London, UK.

IBWSS exhibitors are wineries and distilleries looking to sell bulk wine and spirits, producers and negociants who offer contract manufacturing / private label programs and wineries/distilleries/importers who have one-time excess stock to clear. IBWSS buyers are other wineries and distilleries looking to meet their demand, Importers, Retailers and Distributors looking for private label programs and negociants who are looking to meet growers and producers.

Event Location: Royal Horticultural Halls in London, UK.

Event Date: Jan 24-25, 2018

Event Website:

IBWSS London will give supermarkets, retailers, restaurants, wineries, distilleries and other buyers a premier international platform to source bulk wine and spirits and meet private label suppliers.

Europe’s Bulk Wine Show

In addition to a wide range of programs running throughout the fair, the trade show will also feature a business conference dedicated to the private label and bulk wine and spirit business. With in-depth market studies and instructional seminars from some of the industry`s biggest names, the central part of the conference`s remit is to encourage sustainable growth and profitability in the bulk wine and spirit sector.

IBWSS buyers are wineries and distilleries looking to meet their demand, importers, retailers and distributors looking for private label programs, and brokers and negociants who are looking to meet new growers and producers.

“The bulk segment holds the largest market share in the wine and spirits industry,” said Sid Patel, CEO of Beverage Trade Network.  “Bulk trading is an age-old trade between producers, but we are now seeing the business take on a very impressive position across the industry. The International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show in London aims to give the bulk trade a truly dynamic trading platform where buyers can confidently conduct business with the world’s most reputable suppliers.”

As one of the leading private label and bulk wine and spirits markets in the western world, London is positioned perfectly for the fair. The UK has long developed the bulk trade and is home to many bulk traders servicing the globe.  With the launch of IBWSS London, international bulk suppliers from some of the world`s most important markets will have unprecedented access to the European market.

 Europe’s Bulk Wine ShowAbout Beverage Trade Network: Beverage Trade Network (BTN) is a leading online marketing and B2B networking platform servicing suppliers, buyers and beverage professionals in the global beverage industry. BTN provides a selection of sourcing solutions for importers and distributors as well as an extensive range of marketing and distribution services for international suppliers. BTN also runs a line-up of B2B trade shows around the world. For more information about BTN, please visit

International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show(IBWSS) London Exhibitor Registrations Now Open. Register Now.

Score the Largest Clients by Building Your Bulk Business

Bulk wine sales are an ever-growing trend among some very unexpected companies. Is your winery ready?

Experienced winemakers know how challenging the industry can be. There’s no concept of simply shutting out the world in order to focus on running a vineyard and creating the perfect blend when there’s business to attend to – the all-important business of marketing and selling the finished product.

Typically, this requires entrepreneurs to get personally involved, making trips to stores, wine shops, restaurants, and distributors in an effort to put their wine in people’s shopping carts and glasses. The quest to gain traction, build the client base, and grow can seem never-ending. With all of this going on, it can be challenging to find time to refine and perfect current products, let alone develop new ones. How can a wine brand put their growth into hyperdrive, adding to their bottom line so that they can expand?

One way to accelerate the process is by selling in bulk.

What Are Bulk Wine Sales?

When a winery sells in bulk, it provides a large amount of product to clients who will sell it under a different brand entirely. The wine is typically shipped in large flexitanks, but wineries sometimes also offer bottling and labeling at an additional cost as part of their “custom crush” service to clients who wish to create custom blends under their own private label.

Bulk wine sales offer unique benefits to both the seller and the buyer. It allows the manufacturer to create and sell off large amounts of product without the muss and fuss of individually bottling and shipping it. Bulk sales also allow wineries to sell a large amount of wine to one customer, rather than hopping around and searching out a multitude of customers to purchase it.

For buyers, bulk sales allow the opportunity for individuals and companies who don’t specialize in the wine business to get in on the game and dabble in creating their own wine brand. Purchasing in bulk also allows them to offer their product at a more competitive price point than similar products offered by mainstream brands.

Controversial But Trendy 

Bulk wine sales remain controversial, with some suggesting that wine sold in bulk is of a lower-quality that’s not fit to be sold under the manufacturer’s brand. This isn’t typically the case, however. Many wineries sell their overstocked product or use this method to offload perfectly good orders that customers failed to pay for. Even in cases when a winery manufactures a certain amount of product specifically for bulk sales, the difference between that product and wines made for its own brand are insignificant.

While selling in bulk may not fit the romantic ideal of bottling a product with the idea of putting one’s own label on it and selling it as a labor of love, selling in bulk is still a romantic concept in that it enables others to achieve their winemaking dreams.

In some cases, this means small “virtual wineries” – individuals who wish to start a winery, but who lack the funds or desire to own a vineyard and the necessary processing facility. Some bulk wine buyers are wine shops who wish to offer a custom brand to their customers at a more cost-effective price. Restaurants are also frequently bulk wine buyers, as their customers enjoy purchasing a bottle marketed by their favorite place to eat pasta or enjoy a pizza.

Another growing trend in the bulk wine market? Bars and restaurants offering a selection of wines on keg and tap. Customers can cozy up to the bar and watch their bartender draw a luscious glass of wine fresh from the tap. This eliminates concerns about poor quality or corked wine from bottle to bottle. The experience is also unique and enjoyable; customers used to having beer on draft delight in having a glass of wine poured in the same manner.

Play in the Big Leagues

The most exciting aspect of entering the world of bulk sales is that it enables wineries to work with extremely large clients who are interested in offering their own private label brands. If a winery has the capacity to keep up with production, these clients can offer an effective way to skyrocket sales.

What sort of large companies have gone into the private label business? Tesco, for one. In 2000, it introduced its Finest private label – one that has garnered praise from wine critic David Williams. Their Pessac Léognan from Château Smith-Haut Lafite in Bordeaux and champagne from Chanoine Frères are standouts. The Adsa and Sainsbury’s chains also had excellent selections.

Another unexpected source of high-quality, private label wine? In 2003, department store super chain Target started selling boxed wine under their Wine Cube brand. Purchased from Trinchero Family Estates in Napa, Wine Cube wines include an offering of chardonnay, merlot, shiraz, and pinot grigio. Each three-liter box contains the equivalent of about four bottles each and comes at a price that’s well below purchasing four individual bottles of good-quality wine.

Boxed AND bulk? That’s the sound of Target thumbing their nose at the naysayers.

Online retailer Amazon has also entered into the private label game. In 2016, they announced a lineup of private label grocery products. This is great news for companies selling their products to the company, as a research study by Carbonview revealed that among 1,012 consumers, 97% shop at Amazon occasionally and 74% shop there multiple times each month. As for the full variety of private label possibilities for Amazon, Carbonview senior vice president Richard Ratcliff indicates that the sky’s the limit. “Anything that is shelf-stable is fair game now,” he said. While Amazon hasn’t unveiled its own wine brand yet, imagine the possibilities!

To truly grow a wine company and add to the bottom line, selling in bulk is a direction worth considering. While selling excess wine or unfulfilled orders will help make money and reduce waste, that will be a one-off, transactional way to make extra money. Instead, dedicating production facilities to creating bulk wine will enable a winery to work with larger clients – the best way to generate sales and success.

International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show(IBWSS) London Exhibitor Registrations Now Open. Register Now.