Summer vibes

As the temperature rises, the market for drinks goes in the same direction as consumers are open to trying new flavours and new drinks with an increase in outdoor social occasions. Fionnuala Carolan takes you through the top sellers for summer!


Brand Central

26 May 2023

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International data and insight consultancy, CGA’s sales data shows how summer traditionally lifts drinks sales and especially lager sales. It attracts more than half of low alcohol drink (LAD) serves across the island and grows its share of the market from June to August by 1.5 and 1.0 percentage points in Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland respectively.

“Lager sales always rise in line with the temperatures, so summer is a great time for suppliers and operators to cement loyalty, develop new brands and innovate,” says Sian Brennan, CGA’s client director, Ireland.

“Successful strategies will help increase share not just in the main summer months but all year round, as consumers continue their habits into autumn and winter,” she adds. “Taking a deep dive into sales trends and consumers’ summer preferences is the vital first step towards achieving growth.”

With this in mind, it’s a good idea to look at what’s new and fresh on the market to tempt consumers to try new drinks during the summer months. BBQs and outdoor parties are prime occasions for at-home cocktails so making sure you have the right mix to entice your customers to try new spirits and mixers is a good idea. We look at all the range of new and old favourite drinks on the market for the summer season ahead.

Beach life

For the past 34 years, Barefoot Wine has been a committed ally of the LGBTQ+ community and will unveil a new look for the White Zinfandel Pride edition bottle

The summer is in full swing for Barefoot Wine – from celebrating Pride with a striking rainbow label on their White Zinfandel Pride edition bottle – alongside the return of the incredibly popular Barefoot Beach Sports for festival season.

Sea Sessions, Ireland’s only festival in Ireland to feature beach sports, has announced the highly anticipated return of the incredibly popular Barefoot Beach Sports. Barefoot Beach Sports, an annual part of Sea Sessions, is sponsored by Barefoot Wine, and features volleyball, soccer, rugby, frisbee and yoga. This year’s Barefoot beach sports fanatics are set to join Sea Sessions headliners Kasabian, Becky Hill and The Coronas at the biggest beach party weekend of the year taking place from 16-18 June 2023.

In the spirit of Barefoot Wine, having a laugh is always a top priority with all proceeds going to the brand’s charity partners and event hosts Liquid Therapy, a multi award-winning charity locally based in Donegal.

For the past 34 years, Barefoot Wine has been a committed ally of the LGBTQ+ community, and this year the team will celebrate Pride the best way they know how by supporting LGBTQ+ causes and unveiling a fresh new look for Barefoot’s White Zinfandel Pride edition bottle. The eye-catching new label is inspired by the progress flag, as a mark of Barefoot’s long-standing advocacy of the LGBTQ+ community. To learn more about Barefoot’s history visit:

Barefoot is in the business of making great wine that has something for everyone, from sweet reds and refreshing whites, your customers can find their perfect match and enjoy with friends and family – life’s more fun when everyone’s together! The range includes Barefoot Moscato, Barefoot Cabernet Sauvignon, Barefoot Malbec, Barefoot Chardonnay, Barefoot Pink Pinot Grigio, Barefoot Buttery Chardonnay and Barefoot Pink Moscato alongside Barefoot Pinot Grigio, Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc, Barefoot Merlot and Barefoot White Zinfandel.

New to the market is Barefoot Buttery Chardonnay. Launched in the Irish market last October, it’s bursting with pineapple aromas and layers of toasty oak that perfectly complement the smooth vanilla finish.

Barefoot White Zinfandel Froze will be served at the 4 July Summer Party in the US Ambassador’s residence in the Phoenix Park. For more information go to

Dis is an Italian story

Disaronno is a versatile liqueur that can be enjoyed on the rocks or to create a variety of cocktails

Disaronno is sharing a twist on a classic cocktail which is simple to make and great to drink. The rich and bold Italian taste and elegance of Disaronno makes it a versatile liqueur that can be enjoyed on the rocks and create a variety of craft cocktails such as a refreshing Disaronno Sour or Disaronno Fizz.

The Disaronno Fizz is a low-alcohol drink with a distinct character. Using just three simple ingredients it’s easy to make at home and pairs perfectly with brunch.

The original taste and unmistakable aroma of Disaronno is combined with fizzy soda bubbles and lemon juice for a refreshing, thirst-quenching cocktail: an original and contemporary version of one of the must-haves of mixology, ideal to make your brunch even more special.

Disaronno is encouraging consumers to bring a touch of Italian spirit into their homes by sharing a Disaronno Fizz with friends and family over brunch.

DIY recipe for this easy cocktail to make at home:

  • 45 ml Disaronno
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Soda or sparkling water
  • Pour Disaronno over ice, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and top up with soda water. Stir and garnish with lemon zest.

Disaronno is distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.

Revolutionary beer

Punk IPA is going from strength to strength

Punk IPA is the beer that kick-started the BrewDog revolution. This scene-stealing flagship is an India Pale Ale that has become a byword for craft beer rebellion; synonymous with the insurgency against mass-produced, lowest common denominator beer. Punk IPA charges the barricades to fly its colours from the ramparts – full-on, full-flavour; at full-throttle.

Layered with new world hops to create an explosion of tropical fruit and an all-out riot of grapefruit, pineapple and lychee before a spiky bitter finish, this is the perfect summer drink to quench your thirst.

This 5.6% trans-Atlantic fusion IPA is light golden in colour with tropical fruits and light caramel on the nose. The palate soon becomes assertive and resinous with the New Zealand hops balanced by the biscuit malt. The finish is aggressive and dry with the hops emerging over the warming alcohol.

This fresh, full flavour natural beer is our tribute to the classic IPAs of yester-year. The post modern twist is the addition of amazing fruity hops giving an explosion of tropical fruit flavours and a sharp bitter finish.

Distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam, sales are at an all-time high and we don’t see the rebellious Punk IPA slowing down anytime soon.

Star quality rosé

Kylie Minogue Wines’ Alcohol-Free Sparkling Rosé is just 22 calories per 100ml which is around 80 less calories per glass than a standard glass of prosecco

In February 2022 Kylie Minogue Wines launched its first 0% alcohol Sparkling Rosé in Ireland, with flavours and acidic balance mirroring that found in wine. Through a blend of premium organic European grapes and green tea selected from the Liu-Da mountains of Yunnan province in China, Kylie Minogue Wines’ 0% alcohol production process provides maximum development of wine attributes without generating any alcohol. The careful selection of ingredients is reflected in the extraction process of the tea, with one bud and two leaves individually hand-plucked at a time. Brewed into a strong infusion and added to the grape ferment, the result is an additional mouthfeel and finish, rounded off with dried tannins to present a complex and finely balanced Sparkling Rosé, minus the alcohol.

Kylie Minogue Wines’ Alcohol-Free Sparkling Rosé is just 22 calories per 100ml which is around 80 less calories per glass than a standard glass of prosecco, making it a lighter alternative. (Source: 125ml glass of 12% ABV Prosecco contains around 108 calories).

According to Minogue she is over the moon with the incredible response to the latest addition to the Kylie Minogue Wines portfolio. “Our first zero-alcohol wine and a truly sparkling example what can be achieved in this area! This really is a tribute to my amazing Kylie Minogue Wines team – ever since we launched, we have focused on delivering many varietals of innovative and high-quality wine, for every occasion and person, worldwide. Our Zero Percent Sparkling Rosé is no exception, and I am beyond thrilled it has been received so well. Thank you for the continued support, and cheers to the new year, lovers!”

The Kylie Minogue Wines portfolio is distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.

Making you blush!

Villa Maria’s fresh new take on New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has landed in Ireland

Is it a rosé? Is it a sauvignon blanc? Villa Maria has created the best of both worlds with a New Zealand Blush Sauvignon. Ninety per cent sauvignon blanc, with just a touch of merlot (10%), Villa Maria Blush Sauvignon delivers the taste experience of New Zealand’s favourite white wine with a pale pink twist.

It feels like everyone is drinking pink these days, says Villa Maria head of marketing and communications, Sarah Szegota. “Instagram feeds and social occasions are dominated by the fun-factor pale rosés and pink spirits offer, and data highlights this rapid growth in rosé. Yet despite all the noise, growth and ‘Grams’, the rosé category remains dwarfed by sauvignon blanc. Villa Maria Sauvignon Blush gives you the best of both.”

“We’ve taken the cool, fresh, leap from the glass energy of our world-renowned Sauvignon Blanc and added a splash of merlot to make a wine with a delicate pink hue, bursting with fresh flavours of passionfruit and cranberry.” Villa Maria’s New Zealand Blush Sauvignon is distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.

New look and feel

The newly textured Cointreau cap provides better grip for an easier twist-off while simulating the skin of an orange

Cointreau has launched a redesigned version of its liqueur bottles, which are now made from “two-thirds recycled glass”. Describing the brand refresh as the most momentous of its kind in 140 years, both the bottle and the label have been altered. As well as looking to boost its sustainability credentials by using recycled glass, convenience and practicality was also a consideration when redesigning the bottle. The bottle has been made four millimetres taller to facilitate its grip and make it easier to hold. Similarly, the newly textured cap provides better grip for an easier twist-off while simulating the skin of an orange.

However, the bottle still displays traditional design features such as the Cointreau medallion.

Spirit lovers, both past and present, recognise Cointreau as a core building block in premium cocktails creation. Cointreau is the cornerstone of more than 350 internationally renowned cocktails such as the margarita, sidecar and cosmopolitan. It enhances your cocktails with its perfect balance.

For more than 30 years, the finest orange peels are carefully selected by Master Distiller, Carole Quinton, to create the definitive orange liqueur. Cointreau is distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.

Made with passion

With an ABV of 20%, Passoã is a great low alcohol option

Passoã is a passion fruit liqueur with a full-bodied sweetness that brings a twist and burst of zest to the palate. Made with real passion fruit from Brazil, Passoã is unmistakably tickled red with an intensely stimulating flavour.

It is the ideal ingredient for simple mixes, easy to make, drink and share. It is the perfect way to add a little passion to your favourite classic and frozen cocktails, with Passoã there are no boundaries to the delicious drinks you can make.

Passoã was created over 30 years ago. Since then, the distinguishing black bottle has become a household name amongst the cocktail novices. Cocktail parties at home are not complete without it. With an ABV of 20%, Passoã is a great low alcohol option, also when served with tonic water or ginger ale. Or the hero cocktail, our favourite the original Porn Star Martini! It is also distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.

What’s not to love?

What’s red, white and costs between €8 – €12? Every wine in Centra’s exclusive wine range, that’s what! Wines We Love is a bespoke wine collection created by Centra’s passionate experts featuring ten seasonal wines of the best value and quality to choose from.

The range has been refreshed just in time for summer with four new and exclusive wines from France and Spain including Comté Du Mirail Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay for €9, Ocho Y Medio Malbec for €10 and Un Jour Un Rosé VDF for €10.

The refresh of the range comes just in time as we are searching for wines to suit lighter summer eating palates, warmer nights and an array of get-togethers. The much-loved regulars like Don Simon Sauvignon Blanc, Pata Negra Toro and Ame De La Mer Sauvignon Viognier continue to feature in the range alongside the latest additions.

The Wines We Love range in Centra will be updated again in November so you can find the best seasonal wines in your local store all year round. For more information on Wines We Love visit and please drink sensibly.

Triple Gold at World Whiskies Awards

Oisin Mulcahy, head distiller and Michael Scully, Clonakilty Distillery, celebrate receiving the award for Best New Make Whiskey in Ireland

Clonakilty Distillery celebrates scooping gold for Best New Make in Ireland for their Single Pot Still Spirit at the World Whiskies Awards 2023. This comes after receiving the same honour in 2020.

Accepting the award at a ceremony at Merchant Taylor’s Guild Hall in London, Michael Scully, Clonakilty Distillery founder, said: “We are proud to be the first whiskey producer in Ireland to win this award twice, and see it as a confirmation that we are on the right path to launching a truly great whiskey in 2024, when we go to market with our single pot still whiskey for the first time.”

On the awards night, the distillery secured two further golds for Best Single Malt (12 Years and Under), and Best Single Cask Single Malt (21 Years & Over) in Ireland.

“Our success is a tribute to the team we have, and for their expertise, craftmanship and dedication to distilling quality spirits,” according to Scully. “This good news follows other recent victories, including the recognition of our Minke Vodka as one of the best vodkas in the world, and our Minke Gin as Ireland’s best classic gin,” said Scully.

Wine of the year!

Rioja Vega Crianza was crowned the winner of the title, Ireland’s Wine of the Year at the most recent Irish Wine Show

Rioja Vega has emerged as a prominent name in the world of Rioja wine, and it is no surprise that Rioja Vega Crianza was crowned the winner of the title, Ireland’s Wine of the Year at the most recent Irish Wine Show hosted by the National Off-Licence Association. The Semi-Crianza was also awarded the gold star for best in category, Old World Red Wine under €12 and these accolades are a testament to the exceptional quality of the wines produced by this renowned winery.

Situated in the heart of Rioja, Spain, Rioja Vega has been crafting outstanding wines for over 140 years. Their wines are a reflection of the unique terroir of the region, which is known for its perfect combination of soil, climate, and grape varieties. The winery uses traditional methods of winemaking, and the wines are aged in oak barrels for an extended period, adding depth and complexity to the final product.

One of the key factors behind the success of Rioja Vega is their commitment to sustainability. The winery is mindful of the impact of their activities on the environment, and they have implemented several initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint. They also work closely with local farmers to promote organic farming practices, which not only benefits the environment but also enhances the quality of the grapes.

Rioja Vega’s rich winemaking tradition dates back to the earliest days of wine culture in the Rioja region, making it one of the few wine cellars with such a storied history. Unlike many others, the origins of Rioja Vega predate the creation of the Denominación de Origen quality guarantee, which has enabled the winery to maintain the use of the Rioja name in its trademark. This is a testament to Rioja Vega’s dedication to preserving the authenticity and heritage of the region’s winemaking traditions.

Rioja Vega produces a range of wines, from entry-level wines to premium blends which are all available from Ampersand Wines. Their Reserva and Gran Reserva wines are also particularly noteworthy, with the latter being aged for at least five years in oak barrels and then further aged in the bottle for several years before release. Rioja Vega wines exhibit a perfect balance of fruit and oak flavours, with a silky texture and a long, lingering finish.

Rioja Vega’s wines have gained a significant following amongst Irish consumers and wine enthusiasts all around the world, and it is no surprise that they have been recognised as the winner of Ireland’s Wine of the Year. This accolade is a testament to the exceptional quality of the wines produced by this renowned winery, and it further cements their position as one of the top Rioja wine producers in the world.

For more information on Rioja Vega or if you would like to order, contact your Ampersand representative or call the sales line on 01 4130150.

Bringing poitín to the party

Little & Green’s sparkling canned cocktails are made with poitín

Straight from the heart of Dublin, Little & Green is an Irish drink that dares to bring poitín to the party. Inspired by local flavours tailored to an Irish palate, Little & Green’s sparkling canned cocktails are proudly made with poitín and are created with the drink innovators at Ireland’s Bar of the Year 2022, Bar 1661 for bold moments, on the go, cold from the can.

Made with two of Ireland’s leading poitín brands, Mad March Hare and Bán, the range launches with a pair of big on flavour sparkling cocktails. Sneaky Orchard is a refreshing Collins, a harvest festival of ripe pear, crisp apple, and elderflower flavours. Shady Bramble is inspired by Ireland’s deep, dense hedgerows and is bursting with flavours of wild juicy blackberry, raspberry, and violet.

Both are made with all natural flavours, no artificial sweeteners, vegan and gluten free. They are available in 250ml cans, with an ABV of 5% from select retail and on trade outlets nationwide and online at

Sponsoring the 2023 Irish Oaks at The Curragh

Wine lovers and racegoers alike were excited at the start of The Curragh flat racing season last month. Sharing in the celebration is premium Argentinian wine producer La Celia, who has announced its race sponsorship at the Irish Oaks races festival in July.

Founded in 1890 by Eugenio Bustos, La Celia’s roots grew from the trade of Bustos’ beloved horse for a single Malbec vine.  He was the first person to plant the Malbec variety – originally from France – in the Uco Valley.  Bustos named the vineyard in honor of his daughter Celia.

La Celia is the leading Argentinian wine from VSPT Wine Group in Chile (Viña San Pedro Tarapacá). With nine premium wineries, including La Celia, Leyda and Santa Helena, VSPT Wine Group is a Top 20 global wine producer, leaders in premium and sparkling wine sales in Chile, and a Top 5 producer in the domestic Argentinian market.

In Ireland La Celia is distributed by BWG in Spar, Eurospar and Mace nationwide.  The most popular La Celia variants in Ireland are the Finca La Celia Malbec, Reserva Pinot Grigio and Finca La Celia Rosé.  All of these will be available at The Curragh this Summer.

“We are thrilled to have La Celia on board with the Irish Oaks racing festival this year,” says Evan Arkwright, racing and sponsorship manager at The Curragh. “La Celia’s positioning as a premium Argentinian wine producer with a rich heritage, aligns with the values of The Curragh, making the racing season accessible to all consumers ”. For more information see /

A 100% malt masterpiece

The Powerscourt Distillery has made history with its latest release – one hundred years since a whiskey has been distilled in the county

The Powerscourt Distillery is proud to announce its latest release, a Single Malt whiskey that has everyone talking. Why? Because it is the first distilled whiskey from Co Wicklow in over 100 years! Whiskey enthusiasts and connoisseurs get ready for a new whiskey experience like no other. The Powerscourt Distillery has made history with its latest release – one hundred years since a whiskey has been distilled in the county, 100% malt, 100% distilled on the Powerscourt Estate and 100% Wicklow in a bottle! The Powerscourt Distillery Single Malt is available from 28 April at selected stockists nationwide and from the Powerscourt Distillery and Visitor Centre, plus the distillery’s online store. The RRP for the release is €55.

This whiskey’s complex flavour profile boasts a nose filled with toffee, baking spices, vanilla, dessert apples, pears, soft leather, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baked buttered pastry crusts. On the palate, enjoy rich notes of vanilla custard, soft oak, salted caramel, digestives, and tarte tatin, followed by a warming finish complemented by oak spices, soft leather, honeyed almonds, and stewed fruits.

John Cashman, the head of new product development for The Powerscourt Distillery and local Wicklow man from Rathdrum, said: “Our First Fercullen Single Malt release takes authentic inspiration from our unique location. It is a great honour to be involved in the inaugural release of a whiskey which was completely distilled here in Powerscourt Distillery. The whole team are exceptionally proud of this key milestone in our story, especially our first employee and senior distiller, Johnathan Graham, who, alongside our founding master distiller, supervised the first distillation in 2018. Our award-winning Master Distiller, Paul Corbett, has curated the final liquid – a sensational single malt worthy of the title “Spirit of Wicklow.”

“The spirit laid down at Powerscourt Distillery in 2018 is of exceptional quality. To have the opportunity to blend these liquids and establish the DNA of Fercullen Single Malt has been an honour. I look forward to blending many more releases of Powerscourt Distillery liquid in the coming years,” added Paul Corbett, master distiller.

Serving up the taste of summer 2023

Peroni Nastro Azzurro Stile Capri enters the sunshine beer category with refreshingly light, premium lager

Peroni Nastro Azzurro, the number two super premium lager in the off-trade, is aiming to drive value growth in the sunshine beer category with Peroni Nastro Azzurro Stile Capri – a refreshingly light lager with a subtle spritz of Italian lemon, offering lower bitterness and delivering exceptional quality and taste credentials for summer 2023.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro Stile Capri has a lower ABV (4.2%) than the brand’s core lager product and is aimed at younger consumers seeking great refreshment from the category. The brand-new addition to the Peroni Nastro Azzurro family is inspired by the taste and scent of Capri, an island in Italy’s Bay of Naples.

Peroni Nastro Azzurro Stile Capri will be available in retailers nationwide in 3x330ml and 10x330ml bottle packs from June.

Perfectly presented to drive an opportunity amongst a younger consumer and beer drinker, retailers can benefit from the launch by driving consumers to trade up within the category, making Peroni Nastro Azzurro Stile Capri the must-stock of the summer.

(Source: Symphony EYC, Dunnhumby. Based on sales in the 12 Week period ending 23 April 2023 compared to the 12 Week period ending 24 April 2022 for all measured stores in Republic of Ireland of products in the beer super category of the super-premium quality)



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