Blog: Olly WehringCalais looking to trade white vans for wine connoisseurs

Olly Wehring | 22 November 2006

With border trade between Dover and Calais continuing its inexorable slide, some drinks retailers in the French seaside town are going for the ‘class’ factor.

But after a two-day press visit there last week, I stand to question whether the average UK punter is as classy as they would like. One of the wine merchants I visited, Calais Vins, reports to be an exception to the Calais market by posting year-on-year sales gains.

The store has gone for a range of good quality international wines, beers and spirits, ahead of quantity. Another tactic is to educate incoming customers, myself included, by setting up an in-house wine bar, or ‘coin de dégustation’.

Such an approach is a far cry from singlet-wearing Brits loading 99p Hock and 20p beer into white vans in the past, and has worked better than the path taken by the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Auchan - who seem to be languishing somewhere in between.

However, this model relies somewhat on the wine consumer veering towards expert level. And, while a segment of the UK market is certainly heading in this direction, the question of sustainability remains.

Surely it is the maturation of the UK marketplace that will dictate when the day-trippers are ready to swap Calais ‘vans’ for Calais ‘Vins’?


Are you fodmap-compliant? The latest health fad uncovered

Forget gluten-free. Fodmaps are the latest food trend, and if you work in the soft drinks industry it is important to know where you stand with them....


Baileys and the "bellwether of naffness"

Companies are very protective of their brand image. So it is refreshing to hear Diageo's Garbhan O’Bric, the global brand director for Baileys, speak the unvarnished truth when talking about the lique...


From pixels to pilsner - how video games are moving into alcohol

Alcohol companies love a good movie tie-in. A brush with Hollywood glamour seems to give marketers the warm and fuzzies, judging by the number of deals done over the past few years. The new James Bond...


Tax Free World Association - Day three: Beam Suntory's big boat and Patron's virtual home

just-drinks is in Cannes this week at the Tax Free World Association show. Here's the second part of Andy Morton's blog, which will keep you up-to-date at one of the most important dates in the Trave...

just-drinks homepage

Forgot your password?