Blog: LIWF 2012: Where was the fun of the fair?
James Wilmore | 25 May 2012
What's eating the grape industry?
I'd had a heads-up what the mood might be at the London International Wine Fair (LIWF) this week after being summoned to an unprecedented pre-event briefing by the organisers, where the broad message was: ignore all the carping, it's going to be brilliant! Was it brilliant? I'll leave you to make your own minds up.
But what struck me was a general air of despondence – particularly in the seminars. I'm told this is not a new thing. The only man who seemed vaguely chirpy was Dan Jago of Tesco. But then he would - he works for Tesco. (The story about his dad inventing Bailey's got an airing.)
He did have a moan though about the lack of innovation in the wine industry at the moment – in the product itself and marketing. At the same seminar, this was contrasted with the runaway success of Scottish craft brewer BrewDog.
Propelled by a razorsharp PR firm, Manifest, the Fraserburgh brewer is taking a relatively niche product to the masses in a fun and social media-savvy way. (Although many industry hacks I speak to have long grown weary of their guerilla-publicity tactics.)
Can a wine brand do a BrewDog? The general feeling was it was too much of a risk. But as Jago noted: “There's a lot of wines inhabiting a narrow flavour space”.
Slightly rich, some might think, as he went on to talk about the success of Tesco's Simply range, launched last summer, which includes Simply Sauvignon Blanc, Simply Muscadet... you get the idea. But with private label proving increasingly popular in these straightened times (45% of wine now bought in Germany is private label), these kind of products will be around for a while yet.
Another point, raised by writer Jamie Goode, was that consumers often feel confused by the “wall of wine” in a store.
And, as a first-timer walking around LIWF, this point resonated for me. So, though not aimed at Joe and Josephine Public, the fair would surely do itself no favours if, as occassionally mooted, it did allow non-trade folk in. Plus, some exhibitors, I understand, would hang their corkscrews up, never to return.
Lastly, I appreciate it's a place to do business for most, but was left thinking, where was the fun of the fair?
Follow me on Twittter: @jamescwilmore
Last year was tough for The Coca-Cola Co. So staff in Atlanta won't be pleased to read that Pepsi has overtaken Diet Coke as the no. 2 soda brand in the US. ...
A bit of football fun for a Friday. Anheuser-Busch InBev has released the ad that will accompany its new Budweiser 'Dream Goal' campaign, that seeks to find the UK's best amateur goal. ...
No sooner had Anheuser-Busch InBev taken a gentle pop at the craft beer segment during February's Super Bowl, than the world's largest brewer has challenged the sub-category's target market in New Yor...
- Comment - Diageo Spins the Guinness Wheel... Again
- Diageo's Labels Give Industry Something to Digest
- Comment - 'Craft' and the Danger of 'Romance Copy'
- Is A-B InBev/SABMiller 'Mega-Merger' Off?
- Who should Stock Spirits Acquire?
- Diageo lines up UK innovations push
- Craft is an 'abused' term - Pernod Ricard exec
- SPI Group 'disappointed' over Stolichnaya ruling
- Diageo's Guinness Golden Ale
- Edrington names European Travel Retail head
- Global rum insights - market forecasts, product innovation and consumer trends research
- Champagne: Less Than Bubbly
- Beer Market Insights Africa 2014
- ALDI 2015: Radically transforming Anglo Saxon grocery markets