A Christmas toast!
Party season is about to kick off in earnest, and it’s a time that shoppers throw caution to the wind and stock up on anything and everything they think the drinks cabinet might need for unexpected visitors. With that in mind, we’re delving into what’s on offer this Christmas to bring you a comprehensive list of the must-stock tipples
19 November 2015
This Christmas, Heineken, the leading lager brand of choice in the off-trade is ensuring that all festive needs are fully catered for. To support its iconic packaging in store, a suite of festive themed POS and in store theatre will be available to highlight the brand at the point of purchase and ensure Heineken remains the shoppers’ festive favourite. A citywide outdoor campaign will also run for the month of December, capturing the magic of Heineken in a subtle yet distinctive manner.
The results of just some of Heineken’s campaigns over the last year have led to a really strong year for Heineken in the off trade. It is the number one brand MAT and during the latest quarter in total off-trade with a value share of almost 15% of the beer category.* A driving force behind this strong performance was the brand’s ability to leverage its world-class sponsorship portfolio throughout the year. Heineken’s largest campaign kicked off this autumn with the sponsorship of Rugby World Cup which saw a high level of brand activity in off-trade accounts nationwide. Its position as founding sponsor of the European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup competitions meanwhile kept Heineken at the forefront of consumers’ minds, ably supported by continued partnerships with both Ulster Rugby and Connacht Rugby. UEFA Champions League and music platform ‘Sound Atlas’ also delivered strong gains for the brand.
*(Source: Nielsen MAT Sept 2015, total off-trade including Dunnes)
Peak portfolio performance
From Australia, McGuigan wines continue to outperform the market according to a recent report, McGuigan is now the number one wine brand in the off-trade. The Black Label range comprises of a Cabernet, Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Rosé. The range will have strong above the line marketing support for the winter particularly on TV and radio with a major emphasis on Neil McGuigan’s award IWC awards as “the Best White Winemaker in the world” for the third time. McGuigan Frizzante was launched during the summer but is an ideal Christmas celebratory drink which will be backed up with a radio campaign, with the strapline, “Like Prosecco, Love McGuigan Frizzante”.
Barry & Fitzwilliam also has a very strong line up in the fortified wine sector.
The company represents Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry, Croft Original Sherry, Tio Pepe Sherry and Cockburns. It is not overstating it when Michael Barry says “that they are very much the category captains of this sector” and are looking forward to a fortified Christmas.
The Barry & Fitzwilliam vehicle distributes a wide range of premium spirits. They include Teachers Scotch, Courvoisier Cognac, Rémy Martin Cognac, The Famous Grouse Finest Scotch Whisky, Jim Beam Bourbon, Vladivar Vodka, Boru Vodka and Whyte and Mackay Scotch.
Barry & Fitzwilliam is the exclusive distributor of The Kilbeggan Distillery’s range of whiskey which includes: Kilbeggan, Connemara and Tyrconnell. Greenore 8 year old has now been rebranded Kilbeggan 8 Year Old but will still be in a distinctive decanter style bottle.
Christmas will see a major emphasis on the Jim Beam Range i.e. Red Stag, Honey & Devils Cut as well as major promotions on Jim Beam itself.
From Cointreau Bols Distilleries, a new 200ml size has recently been added to the range and Barry & Fitzwilliam will be launching Bols Elderflower in the winter and a number of new SKUs to the Bols range this Christmas. Sourz also continues to do well. It has a unique, dual sweet & sour flavour that is both refreshing and tangy. Sourz is now available in Apple, Blackcurrant, Cherry and Tropical Blue.
Jägermeister, the famous German schnapps, is a huge seller in the shooter market, particularly among trend setters. Sales are up again this year which is an excellent performance and a reflection of its place in the top ten spirits in the on-trade. The 20ml size continues to do very well in the off-trade and Barry & Fitzwilliam has also just listed a 50ml.
Tia Maria will be heavily backed by a new press campaign focusing on its mixability, while Disaronno will be supported by a satellite TV campaign. In the off-trade, Barry & Fitzwilliam will be focusing on Disaronno Cavalli.
Since the coming together of Beam Suntory, Barry & Fitzwilliam has acquired its distribution rights for Auchentoshan & Bowmore Scotch Whiskies. Auchentoshan, meaning ‘Corner of the field’ in Gaelic, produces a delicate, smooth and light single malt whisky which is triple distilled.
Global beer bands have seen a major increase in interest. Barry & Fitzwilliam currently distributes the Wells & Young portfolio, the most popular of which is Banana Bread Beer, Waggle Dance and Bombardier and Coopers from Australia which has gained a very loyal following over the years. Newer additions to the range include Anarchy and Marblehead.
Barry & Fitzwilliam also offers a fantastic new range of Irish craft beers and ciders including St. Mel’s, Toby’s Cider, Kellys Mountain Brew, Mountain Man and Longueville Cider, The Cotton Ball Brewing Company and Killarney Brewing Co. to name a few.
Spice things up with new taste experience
Jägermeister, the seventh largest premium spirit brand in the world, is proud to introduce Jägermeister Spice. Combining cinnamon and vanilla with the legendary ingredients found in the original Jägermeister recipe, Jägermeister Spice offers a unique warm taste profile with a unique blend of flavors.
New Jägermeister Spice is sure to be a favorite drink during the cold winter months in and through the combination of spicy cinnamon and smooth vanilla, the liqueur creates a warm, rich and complex taste experience – albeit one that is unmistakably Jägermeister. As a seasonal drink, Jägermeister Spice will be available in limited quantities.
Staying true to its roots, Jägermeister Spice takes inspiration from the original Jägermeister recipe and is based on the secret blend of 56 selected botanical ingredients. Like the original, Jägermeister Spice also undergoes around 380 quality checks during the production process and uses only the finest ingredients sourced from around the world.
With an alcohol content of 25% ABV, Jägermeister Spice is lighter in colour than the original and to reflect the winter flavour and spices, is presented in a brown tinted version of the iconic and world renowned Jägermeister bottle – making it instantly recognisable.
Award-winning Christmas wines
Ampersand Wines is all set for the Christmas sell-in with a range of award-winning wines on special offer for the period. Having won the Gold Star title for best New World white under €10 at the NOffLA Irish Wine awards, the Meerestin Chenin Pinot Grigio 2014 from South Africa’s Western Cape, will be on promotion at €9.99 and matched with the Shiraz-Mourvedre from the range sold-in as a pair for floor display. The distributor believes both wines are a great commercial offering to the trade with outstanding quality that surpasses the price point. There will be a full range of point of sale available to support floor promotions and highlight the Gold Star award to consumers this Christmas.
Also available on promotion is the award-winning Spanish Gran Feudo range from Chivite, Navarra. Gran Feudo Rosé won the Gold Star for best rosé wine at this year’s NOffLA Awards and will be available on promotion as will the flagship Gran Feudo Reserva. Gran Feudo Reserva was awarded the title of Ireland’s Wine of the Year a few years back at the Irish Wine Show and to this day remains a firm favourite with Irish wine lovers and continues to score high at international wine competitions. Available on promotion at €9.99, Ampersand believes it is sure to be a popular choice again this year with both retailers and consumers as it offers superb quality and excellent value for money.
Cecilia Beretta Pinot Grigio Luna will also be available on promotion at €9.99 and the full range of Santa Carolina from Chile will promoted and supported with Christmas point of sale materials.
There has also been a few new additions to the Ampersand range this Christmas for those consumers looking to trade-up. Stunning wines have been added from Bordeaux, Rhone and the Cobieres region of Southern France. For more information, contact your Ampersand sales representative.
Dungarvan Brewing Company is welcoming the festive season with the release of two new seasonal beverages, a rich autumnal barley wine – Gallows Hill – and its now annual Coffee and Oatmeal Stout.
Gallows Hill, an 8.5% traditional style barley wine is on limited release and the first ever autumn seasonal from the brewery. It is filled with classic rich dark fruit flavours and toffee chewiness underscoring an earthy hoppiness. While the alcohol content provides a warmth to it, aging has mellowed this to a very smooth, very balanced beer.
Dungarvan’s Coffee and Oatmeal Stout is now an annual favourite, and its release marks the beginning of the festive season for many. It is a traditional style oatmeal stout brewed using oats from local Flahavan’s Mills which is infused with coffee from Badger and Dodo in nearby Fermoy.
Working with Brock Lewin from Badger and Dodo, each year a different coffee bean is chosen and specially roasted to go into the stout. This year, the coffee is filter-brewed Tanzanian Tweega – Bourbon and Typica varietals grown and handpicked by about 10,000 smallholders before being washed and sun dried on African beds. Tweega is sweet and tart with citrus/clementine flavour, great body with hints of cocoa and black cherry.
For more information, visit dungarvanbrewingcompany.com.
A treasure of the Caribbean sea
During the mid-1500s, John Hawkins, the leader of the infamous Sea Dogs, plundered the wealthy merchant ships trading in the lawless Caribbean Sea. He helped himself to the richest treasures the Caribbean could offer but there was one prize he cherished above any other: the fine, dark Jamaica Rum – destined for European royalty – which rarely found its way past the thirsty Sea Dogs.
Sea Dog Dark Rum is exclusively distributed in Ireland by Findlater Wine & Spirit Group.
A heart-warming tale
There’s no doubt about it: Sherry is the darling of wine aficionados the world over, providing what is often said to be the best price-quality ratio of any style of wine, especially considering the intensity of labour involved and variety of styles available.
A Winter’s Tale, comprising a blend of palomino and pedro ximenez varieties, is aged for a minimum of six years to produce a medium-sweet Amontillado with an intense nutty nose, full body and long finish. A versatile, approachable style that’s good with food or by itself.
Available in a gift carton this Christmas, William & Humbert’s A Winter’s Tale is an ideal dinner gift and a delicious aperitif to kick off festivities: try it slightly chilled with toasted, salted almonds and olives.
A Winter’s Tale is exclusively distributed in Ireland by Findlater Wine and Spirit Group.
An Australian icon
Penfolds is one of Australia’s oldest and most iconic wineries, once described by renowned wine writer Hugh Johnson as “the one true first growth of the southern hemisphere”, and indeed it recently added IWSC Australian Wine Producer of the Year 2014 to its long list of accolades.
Though most famous for its legendary Grange – which can without overstatement be called a modern icon and is by far Australia’s most prestigious wine – Penfolds extends the knowledge and experience of making Grange across the entire portfolio to give one of the strongest ranges of wines available from Australia.
Rawson’s Retreat is Penfolds’ most contemporary and approachable range made with the same eye for quality as its top-tier wines. The perfect entry into the world of Penfolds’ fine wines, Rawson’s Retreat provides consumers the opportunity to sample this legendary brand at an attractive price point.
Meanwhile the reputation of the Koonunga Hill range, established 1976, has been built upon its affordable price and its approachability in its youth, with the potential to develop if carefully cellared. Koonunga Hill is available in two core SKUs – Shiraz/Cabernet and Chardonnay – as well as two more premium expressions under their lauded “Retro Label” offshoot: a select Shiraz/Cabernet blend and also the acclaimed, award-winning Autumn Riesling.
Finally the much-esteemed Bin Range provides is the famous collection that provides the best that South Australia can offer, starting with the Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz and Bin 51 Eden Valley Riesling and progressing through single vineyard expressions and crafted multi-regional blends.
Penfolds is exclusively distributed in Ireland by Findlater Wine & Spirit Group.
Port is the quintessential Christmas drink and a must-stock this quarter, but unknown to most there are many styles of this historic drink that make port a more flexible option than just something served by the fire after dinner.
For example consumers have recently rediscovered white port and tonic, a little-known but refreshing aperitif which is perfectly indicative of the array of styles that traditional port shippers produce. Graham’s Fine White Port is ideal for this mix, the ideal alternative pre-dinner drink: try two parts tonic to one part white port and serve with mint.
But of course full-bodied, red port shines at this time of year, and though many will reach for Ruby or LBV, Graham’s has a unique expression that is sure to please the traditionalists and adventurous alike: Graham’s Six Grapes. Sourced from the same vineyards that contribute to Graham’s famed Vintage Ports, Six Grapes closely resembles a young Graham’s Vintage Port in style: full-bodied, with rich black fruit on the palate, and fragrant blackberry aromas. This is Graham’s Reserve Port and can best be thought of as the ‘everyday Port for the Vintage Port drinker”, which has won a remarkable seven gold medals and two trophies at the most prestigious international tasting competitions over the last two decades.
Finally, for gifting (or your own special occasion) there is of course Graham’s 2011 Vintage Port, from what was widely praised as the “vintage of a generation”, with exceptional depth of colour and concentration.
Graham’s Port is exclusively distributed in Ireland by Findlater Wine & Spirit Group.
Freixenet (pronounced “fresh-eh-net”) draws on over 150 years of family-owned wine expertise to produce its exquisite cavas, each artfully produced in the traditional “méthode champenoise” style from their winery outside of Barcelona in Spain.
Freixenet’s most popular cava, Cordon Negro Brut, is often referred to as the ‘Black Bottle Bubbly’. As the number one imported sparkling wine in the world, the crisp and creamy Cordon Negro Brut’s delicate bubbles make this the ideal wine for any occasion.
Made in the Champagne style but using the traditional Spanish grapes of Macabeo, Xarel·lo and Parellada, Freixenet shares some of the toasty, yeasty characteristics of Champagne but adds the Spanish twist of tropical fruit and citrus in a light and refreshing sparkler.
But don’t save it just as an apéritif: its richer style means that this Cava can be enjoyed throughout a meal from start to finish, making it ideal for the smorgasbord of foods traditionally served up throughout Christmas.
More flavoursome than Prosecco and more affordable than Champagne, Freixenet Cordon Negro is a must-stock bubbly this Christmas.
Freixenet is exclusively distributed in Ireland by Findlater Wine & Spirit Group.
Flying the flag for Canada
It has been a great year for Molson Canadian, now Ireland’s fastest growing top 10 lager brand in the off-trade, growing 11% year-on-year and outperforming the market.
The brand’s phenomenally successful summer campaign drove massive consumer engagement. Molson Canadian focused on driving shopper engagement in store, giving consumers the chance to win over 4,000 prizes including steins, inflatable coolers, hoodies and mini fridges.
As part of this promotion, Molson Canadian sent two lucky winners to Canada for the trip of a lifetime. The company also gave lovers of crisp, refreshing Molson Canadian lager the chance to win one of five Molson Canadian SMEG fridges to keep their favourite beer at just the right temperature.
The promotion came hot on the heels of a heavyweight TV campaign showcasing the iconic Molson Canadian beer fridge in the beautiful town of Enniskerry which ran across top-rating shows and sporting events. The company also sponsored the ‘Indiependence’ festival, bringing music fans together to enjoy some of the hottest indie acts, while enjoying the Molson Canadian experience and increasing brand awareness.
Its Christmas brand campaign is sure to be popular with consumers, driving engagement in-store as they ‘Follow the red glow’ of the famous red Molson Canadian fridge. The brand will be rolling out a suite of high impact POS in stores which includes a limited edition illuminated POS display.
To become part of the Molson Canadian success story, call the Molson Coors team on 01-629-4101.
*(Source: MAT figures from Nielsen total off-licence September 2015)
Xmas Rules all wrapped up
Extreme wrapping, ‘Ladvent’ calendars and WKD’s much-loved branded festive-themed head wear are amongst the key components of the engaging, interactive digital ‘Xmas Rules’ campaign backing the popular RTD brand, and consumers in Ireland will also have the added bonus of being able to win VIP tickets to this year’s WKD Clash event – the brand’s ultimate party night.
WKD brand owner SHS Drinks will start unwrapping the WKD consumer ‘Xmas Rules’ campaign on social media from the end of November. The activity will embrace the madness of Christmas festivities when rules can be broken and over indulgence or wearing tasteless, kitschy jumpers can be justified just ‘because it’s Christmas’.
To get consumers in the festive mood WKD will be posting engaging content encouraging WKD’s 282,000 social media fans to share their own take on ‘Xmas rules’ and tell everyone what they are getting up to over Christmas. Those submitting the best posts and tweets will be rewarded with a gift from an array of WKD-style prizes designed to equip them for the festive season. Prizes will include WKD’s ‘Greatest Hats’ – a retro of WKD’s favourite festive head gear, including collectors’ Christmas classics such as the Brussels sprout and turkey hats and Christ-moose heads; Christmas jumpers; and WKD-branded gift wrapping paper.
Retailers can grab a slice of the seasonal action too with the brand’s distributors – SHS Sales & Marketing Ireland which supplies WKD to retail groups such as Dunnes, Tesco, Musgrave Retail Partners, Musgrave Wholesale Partners, BWG and O’Briens; and Barry & Fitzwilliam which serves wholesalers and smaller independent convenience stores – offering a selection of case deals and a range of account-specific promotions across the WKD range of flavours and pack formats.
Once again WKD has teamed up with music-streaming service Spotify to wow clubbers attending WKD Clash – WKD’s legendary, crowd-sourced, epic party night which will once again be hosted by celebrity DJ Lauren Pope, from ‘The Only Way Is Essex’, who this year takes to the stage with Ray Shah – iRadio presenter, ex-Big Brother housemate, and one of the country’s top DJs playing in some of Ireland’s best clubs and venues. Using the tagline ‘WKD Clash – It’s Gonna Be Legendary!’, the heavily promoted event will be staged on 1 December at the Angel Lane Nightclub in Limerick.
What do women want? Whiskey!
Targeted at women, Easy Tiger proudly presents its whiskey additions, Sour Caterpillar and Jambaloo to the RTD category. With the global whiskey market booming, it seems like people can’t get enough of it, and they’re not just men! It doesn’t matter whether it’s Scotch, Bourbon or Irish whiskey, women want it all! According to ‘Whiskey Women’ author Fred Minnick, women now represent nearly 40% of whiskey drinkers today, up from 15% in the 90s.
Sour Caterpillar is a classic whiskey sour. Intriguingly branded as ‘sassy lemon and lime juice and authentic flavors infused with the finest southern bourbon’, Sour Caterpillar has launched as a premium addition to the ready to drink category. Rebecca Tidey, brand manager for Sour Caterpillar said “sales in alcopops have seen a significant drop in the past decade whilst the premium end of the category is the only segment experiencing significant growth. Our products have launched to respond to consumer trends in the premium end of this section.” Retailing at two for €8, Sour Caterpillar has received fantastic response since it’s summer launch in BWG and will be launching in the UK with Morrisons in 2016.
Jambaloo is a sparkling infusion of five spiced bitter orange and ginger, infused with premium Scotch whisky. Based on a traditional Indian recipe, Jambaloo incorporates the authentic spiced flavours of India while combining it with premium Scotch whisky to create a unique and sparkling taste. Brand manager, Rebecca Tidey also said “research shows that the RTD category has come under pressure from rival categories such as beer, cider and wine, all of which are increasingly embracing a richer palette of flavours. Jambaloo has been developed to offer the consumer a RTD with a more sophisticated and unique taste.” Jambaloo retails at two for €10.
Premium whiskey steeped in history
Marking the centenary of the birth of their inimitable father, Jack, the Ryan family of the Beggars Bush Pub, Haddington Road, Dublin has released a Limited Edition 15 Year Old Cask Strength Single Malt.
The centenary Jack Ryan 15 Year Old Single Malt is the latest addition to what is a growing portfolio of premium whiskeys, expertly commissioned, from this independent and award-winning brand.
Already the Jack Ryan 12 Year Old Single Malt released in 2013 has gained distinction, winning the Best Single Malt 12 Year Old and under at the 2014 Irish Whiskey Awards.
Matured in Bourbon casks, the centenary Jack Ryan 15 Year Old Single Malt has a production run limited to 500 bottles worldwide, the first 100 of which are being made available exclusively to the Irish market this month.
“This 15 year old malt is a distinctive product with a smooth texture and uncompromised taste notes, providing a truly special gift for any discerning whiskey lover,” said Eunan Ryan, director, Jack Ryan Whiskey and son of Jack Ryan. “Its distinct pale gold colour, fruity aroma and flavours and its spicy, oak-infused finish are those of a premium whiskey.”
The contemporary Jack Ryan brand of whiskey is a descendant of the original Ryan’s Malt, commissioned by Thomas Ryan since 1913 and continually improved upon by his son Jack up until the 1950s.
Ryan’s Malt was sold in the family’s pubs which included, and still includes, Ryans Beggars Bush. Today, Jack Ryan is a brand built on craftmanship, heritage and the tradition of five generations and over 100 years in the licensing trade in Ireland.
This very special limited edition cask strength 15 Year Old single malt is individually signed and numbered by Eunan Ryan, and is available through the Celtic Whiskey Shop and other specialist licensed stores.
Way of the Desperados
Desperados got off to a flying start experiencing value growth of 38% MAT. Brand health scores are extremely positive with 88% of 18-24 year-olds aware of the Desperados brand, 56% having tried it and over 25% drinking the brand regularly or occasionally.
2015 was the year of ‘Way of The Desperados’ where no excuses were made for the brand’s upfront and bold attitude. Inspired by the combination of ‘beer + tequila = Way of The Desperados,’ the brand launched a series of never-before-seen parties where the ‘normal + abnormal’ were combined to create something completely absurd. First stop was Rave + Butcher Shop which took place on Dublin’s Camden Street followed by Bus Stop + Silent Disco and Bar + Dressing Room at Longitude. To finish off the year with a bang, Desperados turned the pensioner’s favourite game on its head for another absurd pairing of Neon + Bingo.
The campaign was supported by outdoor, social media, digital, PR and exciting off and on trade activations in key outlets. The bright and bold pack shot played a major role and was centre stage as the key focus across a number of different pieces of creative.
To keep up with all things Desperados, keep an eye out here:
Facebook.com/Desperados | @Desperados_IE | #WayOfTheDSP
(Source: Nielsen – total off-trade (incl. Dunnes) Sept 2015)
This Christmas, Moët & Chandon upholds the annual traditional end of year celebrations in its signature style. No festive table is complete without Moët & Chandon, so this season the Maison presents a limited edition collection, So Bubbly. The So Bubbly limited edition collection is end-of-year effervescence in a bottle. Bubbles are the incarnation of Moët & Chandon, symbolising its sense of celebration, savoire-faire, and pioneering spirit. So Bubbly features boundless bubbles that showcase the vibrancy and energy of the season. The dazzling bubbles capture the festive end-of-year ambience to brighten every table. A great addition to a memorable seasonal celebration, the So Bubbly gift bag and gift box (€50.49) are stocked by leading independents.