Winning in style

27 August, 2008
Page 24 
September saw the results announced of the world's two largest, and most respected competitions in the wine and spirits sector - the International Wine Challenge (see page 8) and the International Spirits Challenge. The trophies and medals for these are widely recognised as marks of excellence - and not only by the trade but, most crucially, by consumers too.

With this month's Drinks International you'll find the special supplement featuring all the Spirits award winners which was distributed after the awards presentations at a celebration dinner held at London's Claridge's Hotel.

The medal-winning products were on display for guests to sample during the evening but I found it particularly interesting to note just how much attention the different styles of packaging were attracting.

There is no doubt of the importance of presentation on shelf or behind the bar - after all, it's usually a split-second consumer decision that's being made.

With the trend in all categories being "premiumisation", there's been a move towards heavier, decanter-style glass bottles in the belief that consumers relate weight to quality - but is this really the case? Not necessarily, according to a recent WSTA and Wine Intelligence "consumer intelligence" report.

While the findings of this research relate primarily to wine, it is also worth considering its implications for spirits. The report confirms anecdotal evidence that glass weight and colour are not important choosing cues in the purchase of wine.

This means that a move to lighter glass in the interests of the environment is not likely to encounter heavy consumer resistance. The report also finds that people have an open mind to alternative forms of packaging for wine, such as PET or cartons, according to occasion - informal meals or picnics, for example. But most ruled out ring pull cans, which surprises me as I've just sampled some, still and sparkling, in Rexam Bevcans, which were in excellent condition.

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La'Mel Clarke

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