Sunshine sensations!

With sunny days on the horizons, consumers will be keen to enjoy a refreshing, weather appropriate beverage at-home

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Brand Central

20 May 2021 | 0

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As staying in is the new going out, people have found innovative ways to mark special occasions throughout lockdown. Last summer, this resulted in a sales boom for alcohol. Kantar Worldpanel data said that in the four weeks ending 14 June 2020, take-home alcohol sales were up 93%. In the week leading up to the June Bank Holiday, shoppers spent an additional €60 million on take-home grocery categories, and a third of that spend was on alcohol.

Thankfully, Covid restrictions look set to ease over the coming months, but many consumers will remain cautious. With the fate of the summer hanging in the balance, there’s one certainty we can look forward to – the joy of sipping a refreshing alcoholic beverage on a sunny evening. And as the weather changes, so do consumers tastes, with rosé, Irish whiskey cocktails and infused vodka being the warm weather drink of choice for many. We see this reflected in the exciting new offerings launched by drinks manufacturers just in time for barbecue season each year, so read on to find out about the latest offerings and innovations sure to pique your customers’ interest this summer.

Do what moves you

Bacardí is continuing to roll out its Coconut and Raspberry flavours which give consumers a different option and are great in cocktails

A hero within the rum category, Bacardí reports that the brand has performed exceptionally well over recent years, showing the tremendous strength of the brand in the Irish market. Retailers consistently report that Bacardí is a favourite amongst their loyal spirit shoppers and the brand is fortunate to benefit from a high proportion of faithful consumers who buy into and believe in the brand. Bacardi has also been a firm favourite with bartenders who love to experiment with the versatility of the brand and make recommendations to consumers.

The brand’s festival programme at Electric Picnic and Longitude has been extremely successful in terms of recruiting new consumers into the brand. The programme gives them access to world class immersive experiential properties and opportunities to enjoy signature classics such as the Bacardi Mojito, while also allowing Bacardí to launch and trial new products in a more meaningful way. This is key for Bacardí, where there is a firm focus on NPD and innovation to continuously recruit new consumers, while also engaging existing fans of the brand.

Over the next 12 months, Bacardí will continue to create relevance with its young, on-trend target audience through the Casa Bacardí Festival Programme. Bacardí Spiced will be a key strategic priority for the brand as interest in the spiced rum market intensifies and Bacardí grows share within this segment.

The brand will likewise continue its rollout of flavours (Coconut and Raspberry), while also identifying trade up opportunities. In a recent interview with ShelfLife, Richard Brickley, market development manager of the Bacardí Martini portfolio at Edward Dillon & Co. Ltd, aptly summed up his optimistic outlook for the year ahead for Bacardí. “Covid has presented us with both an opportunity and a need to up-weigh e-commerce and brand and category education for consumers and trade will also be key,” he said. “So, a busy year ahead but one we are excited about and prepared for!”

Fiery passion

 Martini Fiero and tonic were made for each other – this contemporary vermouth is a blend of citrus and bittersweet orange with crisp white wines – a perfect aperitif when mixed with tonic. Its fiery colour and zesty, fruity flavours are 100% natural and are the result of a careful, considered blending process by Martini’s master blender, Beppe Musso. The sparkle of tonic water makes a perfect pairing with Martini Fiero’s bittersweet orange taste. Best expressed in a balloon glass with plenty of ice, a mix of 50/50 Fiero and tonic will ensure the delicate citrus aromas are carried evenly throughout this irresistible long drink.

Discover the possibilities within

This year Bombay is adding to its already popular portfolio by expending its ready to drink range. 2021 will see the introduction of Bombay Sapphire Gin & Light Tonic, a perfect gin and tonic to the standard you would expect from a bartender, expertly mixed and ready to drink, whatever the occasion.

Bombay Sapphire Gin & Light Tonic is an invigorating and refreshing drink, vapour infused with exotic botanicals, mixed with the perfect balance of light tonic. With only 90 calories and 30% lower carbs than the signature Bombay Sapphire & Tonic, this option still delivers the familiar refreshing, vibrant and stimulating taste.

Meanwhile, Bombay Bramble & Tonic is a rich bold berried flavour with no added sugar, featuring a blend of 100% natural blackberries and raspberries with the brand’s signature London dry gin mixed with a premium tonic.

A summer state of mind

Hope Beer’s latest, and always popular, Summer Seasonal is a hazy session IPA and with an ABV of 3.6%, it’s designed for light summer drinking. It’s heavy on the hops but not heavy on bitterness, tending instead towards the juicy, fruity end of the spectrum. Summer Seasonal 2021 is brewed with a combination of the freshest hops including Amarillo, Meridian and Belma resulting in flavours of orange, strawberry and other red fruits and berries. Hope’s head brewer Richie Hamilton describes it as “sessionable with a light body. The low level of bitterness allows the fruity hop flavours to come through.” Hope brews its beers to be the perfect accompaniment to food and suggests enjoying the Summer Seasonal with a packet of Clinton’s Cheese & Onion crisps!

Hope Beer will be celebrating its fifth birthday in June with the re-release of the Overnight Oats IPA from 2019, a previous limited edition and brought back following an online public vote.

Summer Seasonal, Overnight Oats IPA and Hope’s core range of five beers can be ordered directly from the brewery or from its island-wide distributor Noreast. For more information, visit www.hopebeer.ie.

Flying ahead

Hi-Spirits Ireland is launching the iconic Parrot Bay frozen cocktail pouches right on time for the summer season.

Parrot Bay is available in a range of tropical flavours includes Strawberry Daquiri, Mojito, Pina Colada, Margarita, and Passion Fruit Caipirinha

Parrot Bay frozen cocktail pouches revolutionised the ready to drink (RTD) landscape as one of the biggest innovations of the last decade and is now returning to Ireland this summer in the same convenient 250ml pouch providing two serves.

The range of tropical flavours includes Strawberry Daquiri, Mojito, Pina Colada, Margarita, and Passion Fruit Caipirinha, with a RRSP of €3 per 250ml pouch.

With the RTD category delivering +131% growth in Ireland in 2020*, Parrot Bay frozen cocktails should help expand the category even further and bring a unique solution for consumers that crave frozen drinks.

Parrot Bay is distributed in Ireland by Hi-Spirits Ireland and available in all major wholesalers. For more information on Parrot Bay, contact your local Hi-Spirits Ireland brand development manager, or email info@hi-spirits.ie.

*(Source: Nielsen Off-Trade Volume, Jan-Dec 2020)

Pure refreshment like no other

White Claw Hard Seltzer has only 95 calories, 4.5% ABV and just 2g carbs

White Claw Hard Seltzer is the phenomenal hard seltzer brand that revolutionised the US alcohol market. Following a May 2020 launch, White Claw has since become the number one hard seltzer brand and number two ready to drink (RTD) can brand in Ireland*.

The hard seltzer category in Ireland is now worth in excess of €6m, with White Claw leading the way. Having seen success with the launch flavours of Black Cherry, Raspberry and Natural Lime, White Claw will be adding Mango to the portfolio. White Claw Mango is the number two fastest selling flavour in the US will hit the shelves in four-pack formats.

White Claw is made from the finest natural ingredients; a blend of sparkling water, gluten-free triple distilled spirit, and a hint of natural fruit flavour, at only 95 calories, 4.5% ABV and just 2g carbs, White Claw Hard Seltzer delivers a wave of pure refreshment like no other.

Watch this space for more exciting innovation to come from White Claw in the summer.

White Claw Hard Seltzer is distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.

*(Source: Nielsen Ireland Total Scantrack excl Dunnes & Discounters 52 weeks to 28 March 2021)

Perfect summer drink


Aperol Spritz is the best-selling branded cocktail in the world

Signature serve: Aperol Spritz

Ingredients

  • Half prosecco (50ml)
  • Half Aperol (50ml)
  • Dash of soda water (25ml)
  • Orange slice

With some form of restrictions likely to be in place across the summer in Ireland, consumers will continue to seek out new and exciting drinks to make the best of their time at home.

In 2020 there was a 35% year-on-year increase in consumers enjoying cocktails at-home*, and 83% of consumers plan to continue to make cocktails at-home once we come out of lockdown**. “This surge in demand for at-home cocktail-making is a driving desire for cocktails like the Aperol Spritz, which is a great example of a spritz serve that is light, refreshing and easy to make – making it the perfect beverage for any at-home drinking occasion,” says Gavin Gillespie, premium spirits marketing manager, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland. As the best-selling branded cocktail in the world***, the Aperol Spritz saw huge growth in Ireland in 2020 and is set to continue again in 2021. “Retailers can look to capitalise on this growth by stocking Aperol in-store,” Gillespie adds.

A combination of Aperol, prosecco and a dash of Schweppes soda water, makes for a simple serve full of potential for bundles and cross-merchandising in-store – by merchandising the three core ingredients together, retailers can encourage shoppers to create the iconic spritz at home.

*(Source: Campari UK Cocktails @ Home Survey (n=1,500 consumers))

**(Source: Mixed Drinks @ Home Q1 2021)

***(Source: CGA Mixed Drinks Q1 2020)

Wild and wonderful

The Wild Geese Irish Honey Liqueur blends premium Irish Whiskey and 100% pure natural honey from Tipperary and Kilkenny

With a collection of over 70 awards in its trophy cabinet, The Wild Geese premium Irish spirits collection has range of delicious tipples ideal for making the perfect summer drink.

The Wild Geese Irish Honey Liqueur is a blend of smooth premium Irish Whiskey and 100% pure natural honey from the green fields of Tipperary and Kilkenny. Lifted aromas of honey and spice expertly integrated to give a multi-layered complex palate and a long-lasting finish.

Sublime on its own over ice or as a chilled shot, it also makes an excellent ingredient to a long or short drink mixer – perfect for sipping on a warm, summer’s evening.

Meanwhile, The Wild Geese’s extensive range of Limited Edition, Rare Irish, Single Malt and Classic Blend Irish Whiskeys are an ideal base for any number of refreshing summer cocktails such as the Irish Apple – Classic Blend rolled over ice with dry cider and apple and rhubarb juice; or the tart and refreshing Flying High – The Wild Geese Rare Irish Whiskey, stirred with ginger liqueur, Benedictine and orange bitters, served on the rocks and finished with an orange twist.

The brand is confident there’s a drink for every occasion in the Wild Geese award-winning range. Visit www.irishpremiumspirits.eu for further information and more tasty cocktail recipes.

A WOW offering

Wise Owl Whiskey (WOW) has a smooth deep taste

Listoke Distillery recently introduced its long anticipated Wise Owl Whiskey.

Listoke teamed up with the Great Northern Distillery in the heart of Ireland’s ancient east and the Boyne Valley to develop its initial premium Irish whiskey. The resulting Wise Owl Whiskey (WOW) is triple distilled and finished in a range of different casks to bring the final blend together.

Although a relatively young whiskey, Wise Owl Whiskey has a smooth deep taste that can compete with many premium Irish whiskeys. It is finished in an Imperial stout cask with a blend of grain and malt whiskey with a wee drop of peated malt.

This premium Irish whiskey is non-chill filtered to capture all its unique flavours and scents. No artificial colour or caramel is added, ensuring the honest integrity of this premium whiskey.

Wise Owl Whiskey has already garnered praise from whiskey aficionados and critics, with comments such as: “The light peatiness on first sip is lovely and really smooths out the flavour…a make you go back for more kind of taste” and “So smooth and yet full of flavour, a great sipping whiskey.”

Wise Owl Whiskey is available online at www.listokedistillery.ie.

Sparkling success

The new Kylie Minogue Rosé Sparkling Prosecco is housed in an iconic “lovers” debossed glass bottle

In under a year, Kylie Minogue Wines has sold over 1 million bottles of wine, making it one of the most successful wine brands ever to launch. The first female artist to have number one albums across five consecutive decades, Kylie is now celebrating selling her millionth bottle with the official launch of her new Rosé Sparkling Prosecco.

The Sparkling Rosé Prosecco is housed in an iconic “lovers” debossed glass bottle.

“I am unbelievably humbled and thrilled by the global response to Kylie Minogue Wines,” the pop icon said. “To sell over a million bottles in less than a year has been incredible, and testimony to the amazing producers and winemakers Kylie Minogue Wines have been lucky enough to work alongside. I have been incredibly touched by the joy our wines have brought to so many people in the last year, and I am excited this month to release our new 2020 rosé vintages including a very special Sparkling Prosecco Rosé – enjoy!”

Kylie Minogue Wines is an exquisite, elegant portfolio of bespoke wines, crafted with passion and integrity. Launched in 2020 in Ireland on Kylie’s birthday on 28 May, the rosé quickly become one of the most successful launches in its category ever.

This Signature range is comprised of three wines from France. A delicate and pale dry rosé made from Cabernet and Carignan grapes, a light and zesty Sauvignon Blanc from Gascony and a smooth and juicy Merlot from the Pays d’Oc. Kylie has an amazing Côtes de Provence Rosé a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Rolle and the latest addition, the Kylie Minogue Sparkling Prosecco Rosé.

An elegant sparkling Prosecco Rosé, it has notes of fresh strawberries, raspberries and blossom. Featuring a brightly textured and crisp palate, with a refreshing citrus finish, Kylie Minogue’s debut Prosecco Rosé is also vegan friendly. The Sparkling Prosecco Rosé comes from the prestigious  Zonin estate, a family-owned winery spanning seven generations which pioneered the premium D.O.C. Prosecco and celebrates its 200th anniversary this year. Located in the heart of Veneto on the picturesque hills of Gambellara, Italy lays the 4,000 hectare producing arguably some of the best Prosecco’s in the world.

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

Add passion to your drinks!

Passoã is a passion-fruit liqueur made in France, made with natural passion fruit and no artificial flavours. An incredibly versatile beverage, it’s delicious in cocktails and long drinks with only 17% ABV.

Refreshing and light, Passoã is easy to make and to share with friends. Check out Passoa.com for the best cocktail suggestions, including Passoã Sangria, Porn Star Martini, Passoã Fresh, Passoã Rosa to name but a few.

Did you know? Porn Star Martini started blooming on the London cocktail scene 15 years ago. And guess what? The original recipe was crafted with Passoã. It grew into a successful cocktail phenomenon. Its evocative name comes from the passion fruit, which is known to have aphrodisiac virtues. The sweet vanilla vodka flavours are balanced by the sharpness of the passionfruit and can be complemented by a shot of prosecco on the side.

Passoã is distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.

The icon of weissbier

Paulaner is the number one weissbier in Germany and one of the world’s favourites. Naturally cloudy and shining silky-gold in the glass under a really strong head of foam, at the first mouthful this weissbier classic has a mild aroma of banana. Finer palates detect a trace of mango and pineapple and the balance between sweet and bitter. Beer connoisseurs appreciate the fine note of yeast and the mild but sparkling mix of aromas. It is a typical beer garden beer, which brings people together all over the world.

Meanwhile, Paulaner Weissbier 0,0% is strictly non-alcoholic with great flavour. Thanks to its balanced combination of fine malt aromas, refreshingly fruity weissbier flavours and a pleasing hint of sweetness, the non-alcoholic Weissbier 0,0% can be enjoyed on any occasion. This isotonic thirst-quencher is brewed using the traditional Paulaner Weissbier technique and the alcohol is carefully removed after a thorough maturing process. A complex procedure removes all the alcohol from the beer, without losing any of its refreshing flavour. All these efforts pay off, as you can taste with every drop!

The popularity of Paulaner beer has always extended beyond the city limits of Munich. The special enjoyment of beer, the highly skilled brewmasters and the famous Bavarian way of life are just a few factors contributing to Paulaner’s success – locally and internationally. More than 2 million hectolitres leave the brewery each year – travelling from Munich Langwied to over 70 countries.

“Good, better, Paulaner” is the apt, well-known slogan of Paulaner Brewery. The name Paulaner has stood for the highest quality and Munich beer culture since 1634.

Paulaner Beers are distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.

Lager like it should be

Lost Lager is here; this planet first German-style pilsner from BrewDog has a 4.5% ABV.

According to BrewDog, lager is one hell of a beer if you make it right. Lost Lager takes back the ground lost over decades by lager monoliths. This is a dry-hopped pilsner made with classic German Saphir hops, giving vibrant citrus and stone fruit notes. Built from Bavarian yeast, it has a crisp clean taste.

This new beer is a carbon negative lager and, in keeping with BrewDog’s pledge to become a carbon negative company, the brand will plant a tree in its forest for every four-pack claimed.

As part of BrewDog’s ‘Buy one, get one tree’ initiative, the brand has launched a 12,000+ hectare ‘Lost Forest’ which is where the trees will be planted.

Lost Lager is brewed using surplus bread provided by local businesses, wind power from BrewDog turbines, and the new streamlined process used in the brewing process uses a third less water.

Lost is lager the BrewDog way – craft premium quality that is fuelling an environmental solution.

“Mind-blowingly delicious, this is lager like it should be,” says BrewDog, “with an extra dose of feel good for the planet.”

BrewDog Lost Lager is distributed by Barry & Fitzwilliam.

Celebrating Dublin’s unsung heroes

Proclamation Irish Whiskey is a smooth whiskey of complex character with a refined, clean taste

105 years ago, the famous words of the Irish Proclamation were immortalised into their distinctive print by three lesser-known Dubliners, William O’Brien, Michael Molloy and Christopher Joseph Brady, the printers of the Irish Proclamation document. Printed secretly during this time, the original document was created in two parts as the men had insufficient type to print the document all at once. Distinctive font along with a spurious ‘e’ are additional hallmarks of the original Proclamation, which together add another layer to a story in time, part of the backdrop to a significant period in Irish history.

Proclamation Irish Whiskey, launched in 2020, was created in honour of O’Brien, Molloy and Brady, to acknowledge the important role these unsung heroes played over a century ago in Dublin. A blended Irish Whiskey, created from the finest Irish grain and malt whiskeys, Proclamation Irish Whiskey is distilled and aged in new American Oak. It is a singularly smooth whiskey of complex character with a refined, clean taste. Matured in bourbon casks, the blend includes a touch of sherry finished malt to give a rounded, toasted finish.

“We have worked with our team of spirits experts, some of Ireland and the world’s leading technical specialists, craftspeople and spirits professionals to create this award-winning whiskey,” said managing director Stephen Cope.

Attention to detail has been paramount through all aspects of the whiskey creation and presentation, with the label design reflecting the physical attributes of the Proclamation. Blind embossing of the label and distinctive fonts including the spurious ‘e’ were specially redrawn to emulate those of the original document to celebrate Ireland’s independent spirit and pay homage to the work of the three printers.

The whiskey itself has been handcrafted for distinctive character and complexity, matured to perfection in expertly selected casks for depth of flavour. Tasting notes reveal an abundance of fruit and creaminess with a mellow finish.

Award-winning Proclamation Blended Irish Whiskey is available in a new look gift pack including an illustration of the then Sackville Street (O’Connell Street). Available in selected SuperValu stores, Carry Out off-licences and independent retailers nationwide, Proclamation Irish Whiskey retails at €35 RRP. For further information, visit www.proclamationwhiskey.com.

Opulent choices

Torres Celeste Crianza was the first Torres wine to be produced in the Ribera del Duero region in Spain, recognised as one of Spain’s finest. The wine, made from 100% Tempranillo grapes, at 900 metres altitude is aged in French and American oak barrels for 12 months prior to bottling. Celeste is an opulent wine brimming with fruit, body and colour: as unique as the night sky in the Ribera del Duero.

“On the nights of harvesting, these are the stars that guard and contemplate the birth of Celeste,” reads the bottle in Spanish; a sentence that shines in silver over a beautiful label with a sky map design that shows the constellations illuminating the Ribera del Duero as the grapes are ready to become wine.

On the nose, it’s dominated by ripe red berries, baked cherries and fresh plums, and complemented by a delicate touch of spice that grows stronger on the palate. Flavours of white pepper and nutmeg, as well as violets and a soft hint of roasted coffee beans are highlighted by a medium and elegant body. The wine’s mild acidity and present yet smooth tannins make it very easy to drink, and its mix between the fruit, the spice and the toasted lingers pleasantly on the palate.

In 2005, the Torres family decided to establish its winery in the municipality of Labastida, in the very heart of Rioja Alavesa and within the DOC Rioja appellation. The family was keenly aware of La Rioja’s strength as a winegrowing region and the possibilities it offers in terms of producing high-quality wines with unique personality and great aging potential.  This idea took shape after conversations with restaurant industry professionals and eventually gave birth to Altos Ibéricos. This is a wine for people who seek something different, but still want a Spanish wine. And it is a wine that builds closer ties to a new, modern and creative kind of gastronomy; an authentic and unpretentious way to enjoy tapas. The silky tannins of Altos Ibéricos combine particularly well with tapas made from fresh ingredients like red meat, fish, cheese and all kinds of cured meat and sausages.


Q&A with… Miguel Torres Maczassek, CEO of Familia Torres and member of the fifth generation

Miguel Torres Maczassek

Following Drink International’s crowning of Familia Torres as the ‘Most Admired Wine Brand 2021’, we caught up with CEO Miguel Torres Maczassek to hear how the company has adapted its 150th anniversary plans to fit the current times

Q: Congratulations on being named Drinks International’s ‘Most Admired Wine Brand 2021’. What were the factors that set Familia Torres apart from the competition?

Thank you, it is a great acknowledgement for our family and all our team, and we feel extremely proud and honoured for such recognition. As for the factors, I would say it probably has to do with being a 150-year-old family winery, with a strong environmental commitment and a constant pursuit of excellence in all our wines that can be found in 150 countries across the world.

We are a wine family with five generations as winemakers and we have grown vines since the 16th century. Our origins are in the Penedés (the oldest wine region in Catalonia with 2,700 years of history in winemaking) and near Barcelona, but later we also established vineyards and wineries in the Priorat and in six other Spain’s denominations of origin. We have made the wines that we like as a family and this has often meant not following the trends in the market. For example, our Mas La Plana black label wine is an historic Cabernet Sauvignon, something quite rare for a Spanish wine. Our Grans Muralles wine is made with ancient varieties that existed in Catalonia before the philoxera and it took us more than 30 years to recover these varieties.

Today we are planning for the future (and adapting to climate change) by planting vineyards in the highest mountain with slate soil in the Priorat or by planting the late-ripening ancestral variety Forcada on 700m in the Penedès by restoring old dry-stone terraces. We are focusing on making wines from singular vineyards or historic estates, and we believe our job is to preserve these unique places, care for the earth and carry on our legacy.

As a family-owned and family-run winery, we think more long-term than short-term; because great wines need deep understanding of the vineyards and soils, there are really no shortcuts. We always pursue to be a strong self-financed winery (we re-invest at least 95% of the profits every year) and we try give back to society through social projects that Familia Torres Foundation supports. During the past 15 years we have deeply invested in reducing our carbon emissions by 30% and communicating about the effects of climate change on viticulture.

Q: The official Torres website states: ‘The More We Care For the Earth, the Better Our Wine’. What are the key measures you have implemented at Torres to improve sustainability?

In 2008, we set up an ambitious environmental programme called Torres & Earth to adapt to climate change and reduce our carbon footprint. In 2019 we reduced our CO2 emissions by 30% per bottle across the entire emissions scope – from vineyard to consumer – compared to 2008 levels. This was our target for 2020 which we reached one year ahead of schedule, so we have set new goals: to reduce our direct and indirect CO2 emissions by 55% in 2030 and become Climate Positive by 2050.

We have managed to reduce our carbon footprint mainly thanks to the use of renewable energies, measures to improve energy efficiency, the use of hybrid or electric vehicles, the reduction of bottle weight, or working with suppliers with a smaller carbon footprint. And also by planting trees in the Chilean Patagonia.

But I believe vineyards have a great potential to capture atmospheric CO2 through regenerative viticulture. The objective is to reach a new balance based on increasing biodiversity and organic matter in the soil, thus enhancing the role of our vineyards to capture carbon from the atmosphere. This is a paradigm shift in vineyard management but totally necessary as I believe regenerative viticulture is currently the only solution that allows storing atmospheric carbon in the soil and fighting against climate change. We are totally committed to it and have established a five-year plan to regenerate over 500 hectares of our organic vineyards in Catalonia.

We also try to get other companies involved in the fight against climate change and therefore we created, together Jackson Family Wines, a collaborative working group called ‘International Wineries for Climate Action’ (www.iwcawine.org) that addresses climate change through innovative carbon reduction strategies.

Q: How has Torres navigated the challenges posed by Covid-19 and what are the key lessons learnt from this experience?

It has been very challenging indeed but luckily, we were able to adapt very quickly to the new scenario thanks to the amazing responsiveness, professionalism and sense of responsibility of all employees. Most of the staff still work from home and the viticulture and production teams are very conscious about all the security and protection measures that have been implemented since the beginning.

We had to cancel our 150th anniversary event and commercial trips, but we turned the situation into an opportunity and started organising virtual tastings, conferences and interviews, which helped us keep in touch with sommeliers, clients and journalists around the world despite the travelling restrictions. I am convinced that this “screen communication” will stay with us after Covid in a combination with face-to-face events, which in a way will be beneficial for the environment.

We learned how supportive our society can be in front of major disasters: all the solidarity showed by businesses and people was almost overwhelming. We also tried to contribute in the fight against Covid by donating surgical masks to local hospitals and nursing homes, we used our 3D printers to build protective shields that we also donated to hospitals, we provided food for a campaign where chefs were cooking for the families who were struggling in Barcelona…

Unfortunately, Covid is not over yet and I am afraid that the economic impact for many companies and sectors will continue to be very high. Like many other countries our normal life and economy was almost in a standstill state for months and still now, certain sectors like for example hotel, restaurants and bars are suffering intensely. As my family did before when having to face wars and other crisis, I am certain that the wine will find a way to continue despite Covid. I believe that today a glass of wine is more necessary than ever as we have learned how important it is to celebrate life with our friends and family.

But I have to say that although the past year has been very challenging, our sales in several countries – of course mainly in, wine stores, off-premise, monopolies and in e-commerce – have actually grown significantly and I am moderately optimistic for the 2021. One of the things we have seen is in this crisis (also in others in the past) that consumers have the tendency to stick or to come back to well established brands like for example ‘Familia Torres’ or our classic brands like Sangre de Toro, Viña Sol, Coronas or Viña Esmeralda. There seems to be a sort of time-less trust relation between the final consumer and our wines, which of course is great.

Q: How does Torres intend to build on its status as ‘Most Admired Wine Brand’ and improve on this even further in the future?

A: As a winery that exports to more than 150 countries, our approach has always been constructive and long-term. I am very satisfied how our wines have performed in these past years. We will continue to improve our presence in the gastronomy in general, but especially in the top segment with ‘Michelin star’ and ‘50 Best’ restaurants where our singular and single vineyard wines are well represented. In this sense it has helped that we have implemented a more specialized distribution approach, in which our fine wines are now more clearly focused on the on-premise, giving our classic brands a broader focus including the off-premise.

The good performance of our wines and brandies in the past years is thanks not only the joint effort of our Torres teams and our distributors, but also because we have been working on several innovative and premium projects that have been very well accepted by many wine lovers in the world on professional and final consumer level, such as Purgatori, Sons de Prades, Mas de la Rosa, etc. And we have several new projects planned for this year, such as a new wine with recovered ancestral varieties and a very special wine from Rias Baixas which has been fermented in granite tanks.

I think the key for us is to continue doing what we love, and this is to make wines with distinctive personality, that reflect their origins and landscapes. Every day we have to challenge ourselves and keep experimenting and improving our vineyards and wines so we can always go one step further. Finally this generation has an important job to do, and this is to make sure that the future generations can continue making great wines, and for that we have to keep fighting climate change and reach as soon as we can the carbon neutrality and help inspiring the wine industry to do the same thing.


Smooth and mellow

Conncullin Irish Gin has been widely commended by those in the know

Conncullin Irish Gin is handcrafted at the Connacht Distillery in Ballina. Co. Mayo. The inspiration for the name Conncullin comes from the two Mayo lakes, Lough Conn and Lough Cullin, where the distillery’s water source originates. The beautiful bottle design is also inspired by the clear water of the lakes and would no doubt take pride of place displayed on the shelf of any gin lover.

Made from a variety of carefully selected botanicals including elderberry flower and hawthorn berry, the flavours are big and bold with a strong berry nose.

Although it has kept a relatively low profile since its launch in 2017, Conncullin Irish Gin has been widely commended by those in the know, receiving a Gold Medal from the International Review of Spirits as well as being rated at 91 points by Wine Enthusiast magazine and most recently winning a Gin Masters Gold Medal in December 2020. This is a smooth and mellow gin ideal for savouring on the rocks, and also lends itself perfectly to a refreshing gin and premium tonic. Garnish with slices of pink grapefruit for an extra burst of flavour.

Stunning summer selection

Ampersand’s summer selection showcases offerings from renowned wineries

Ampersand Wines is all set for warmer days and brighter evenings ahead with a stunning selection of summer wines.

Launched last year to huge success, Mal.bek Rosé is expected to be another hit this year with its striking packaging and kendo shaped bottle. Originating from the Languedoc, where Malbec was originally found last century, this beautiful and modern take on Malbec rosé at €14.95 will give retailers an excellent and classy offering for their customers this summer, rain or shine.

Pasqua Prosecco DOC or Pasqua Audrey Hepburn Label, as it is more commonly known is one of Ampersand’s best-selling lines from Pasqua, one the top producers in the Veneto area of Italy. This product has had huge success around the world as a result of the combination of clever marketing, memorable packaging and a superb Prosecco Frizzante which now has the full entitlement of the DOC Classification. The name Audrey Hepburn comes from the Tiffany blue colour on the label that was inspired by the dress that was famously worn by Audrey Hepburn in the classic film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. (RSP €14.95).

Ampersand is very excited about the launch of its Cecilia Beretta Prosecco Spumante DOC Rosé Millesimato. The Prosecco Governing Body in Verona approved the new DOC Classification for Prosecco Rosé last November. The result is a big step up in quality and recognition of the increasing rosé market has seen this historic move.  The varietals blend must be 85% Glera and 15% Pinot Noir at minimum yield and all labels must also have Millesimato and state the vintage year. Cecilia Beretta has been to the forefront with this change in law and has produced a wonderful example of what the world is looking for. Retailing at €24.95, a top-quality product awaits.

Cecilia Beretta DOC Pinot Grigio Luna is one of Ampersand’s finest pinot grigios, also originating from the single estate of one of the top five producers in Italy, Pasqua Wines. All production and grapes are sourced on the estate. The grapes are hand-picked under moonlight to preserve acidity and the complexity that can be somewhat lost while picking under a blazing sun, thus giving the name Luna.  Cecilia Beretta has recently updated its packaging, labelling and changed the bottle from a Bordelaise to a Burgundian style. This wine retails at €11.95 and is excellent value for one of the top selling pinot grigios in the country.

LoLo Albarino hails from the top producer of albarino in the designated areas of Rias Baixas, Paco and LoLa. LoLo has quickly become one of the best and top selling albarinos in the country with sales growing each week. Recently voted as the top albarino in the world and award winner at the Irish Wine Show, this superb award-winning wine has striking packaging and is a steal at an RSP of € 14.95

The Asymmetric range of wines from Marlborough, New Zealand is a newly commissioned concept that includes a top-notch Sauvignon Blanc and a newly added Blush. The winery was recently acquired by one of the biggest wine companies in the world, Les Grande Chais de France and the quality and presentation of these wines is testament to its backing and at a price-point of €12.95, offers consumers superb value for money this summer.

If you would like more information or would like to stock any of these wines, contact your Ampersand representative, call the Ampersand sales line on 01-4130150, or send an email to info@ampersandsales.ie.


 

 

 

 

 

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