Accolade Wines Nick Pringle

Accolade Wines' Nick Pringle

As a former professional cricketer, Nick Pringle is well-aware of the power the game's biggest names wield over the public. That's why Accolade Wines has recruited the services of Glenn McGrath to promote its Hardys brand in India. Earlier this week, Pringle, who is now the company's commercial director for the Indian subcontinent, Africa, the Middle East, South & Central America, and Southern Europe, talks to just-drinks about the McGrath tie-up, as well as Accolade's market challenges elsewhere.

just-drinks: What was the thinking behind getting Glenn McGrath to promote Hardys in India?

Nick Pringle: We threw around a few names, but landed on Glen. He's an absolute legend in India, helped by the fanaticism around cricket in the country. We toyed with the idea of having an Indian cricketer (to promote Hardys), but some of the Indian cricketers can be polarising among consumers due to the inter-state rivalry.

j-d: What are you hoping to achieve for Hardys with the McGrath tie-up?

NP: It's about having a voice in what is still a fledgling industry (the Indian wine market). Hardys is already in 23 of India's states, but this takes the brand to another level. It is a good association in what is a difficult market, as alcohol advertising is illegal (in India). The partnership is (initially) for a year, but then who knows?

j-d: Which of the markets you look after are you most excited about?

NP: Spain, which is very much centred around the UK ex-pat opportunity on the islands. We've been on an upward curve there for maybe four or five years. But, we're now finding we're doing well in Madrid and Barcelona, so that's not just UK tourists. The Middle East is also an exciting market: Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Qatar. Sales are government-controlled, so we're limited on what we can do above the line. But, in international hotels, that's where we win.

j-d: Is there one market you are predicting great things for in the future?

NP: Nigeria, where you have the rise of middle class consumers and people progressing from beer and spirits. Wine is very much a status symbol in Nigeria, but it's a fledgling category. We don't have the scale yet, so it's not easy.

j-d: Where are you seeing challenges globally?

NP: The biggest challenge is in markets where import taxation is high, like India. It's interesting that, because of taxation in somewhere like India, Hardys immediately becomes quite premium. But, we have a lot of diversity in our portfolio, which a lot of our competitors don't.

Southern Europe is also generally challenging. But, to have Hardys as successful in Spain as it has been - considering it's a wine-consuming country - is a great performance.

Italy is similarly very tough. It's a different type of consumer that goes to Italy, compared to British people that go to Spanish islands. By default, people go local first in Italy (with their wine choice) and I get that.