Xmas cheer at this time of year

With consumer confidence at its highest for some time, publicans and retailers are cautiously optimistic of seeing better trade this Festive Season. Our Industry Report takes a look at how suppliers will be rowing in behind the on- and off-trade at this traditional high season for the drinks industry.

In figures that were music to retailers ears, consumer spending rose sharply again in September, a sure sign of confidence even before the Budget had been announced. It remained elevated at the end of the third quarter of the latest Visa Europe Irish Consumer Spending Index.

“This confidence is also reflected among the retail community who’re expecting a rise in spending this Christmas,” said Conor Langford, Visa Europe’s Country Manager for Ireland.

Andrew Harker, Senior Economist at Markit which produced the report in conjunction with Visa Europe, agreed.

“The data suggest that consumer spending continued to make a positive contribution to GDP, with recently-released official data backing up the findings from the Consumer Spending Index and signalling a strong expansion of Irish economic output in Q2,” he said, “Taken alongside positive news from retail sales, consumer confidence and business surveys, the Irish economy looks in good shape in the run-up to Christmas.”

The licensed trade should also benefit from this upturn in consumer confidence.



Christmas 2014

Along with confectionery, alcohol was one of the key growth drivers for the convenience market, the symbol groups and forecourts, reports Nielsen of last Christmas.

Higher levels of spend on promotions closer to Christmas were heavily driven by the alcohol market.

Out of this Whiskey and brandy delivered the most by way of increased sales in the multiples in the four weeks to 28th December last year compared to the four weeks to 29th December in 2013, delivering increases in spend of €850,000 and €800,000 respectively.

However Nielsen also points out that Irish people did not sacrifice their visits to the pub during Christmas 2014 and it backs this up by showing a 2.8% growth in on-trade value and a 2.9% growth in on-trade volume in the month of December compared with a year ago.

This compares with an off-trade rise in value of 3.8% at a time when volume was decreasing by 0.7% with prices driven up by duty rises.

Nielsen also points out that lager remains the Number 1 category within the total alcohol market and the key contributor to the strong on-trade growth and off-trade declines.

In Spirits, Nielsen points out that last December saw growth in the brown spirits market of 7% comprising a 1.4% rise in on-trade whiskey volumes and an 11.7% rise in off-trade, a 0.8% rise in on-trade brandy volumes and a 12.5% rise in off-trade volumes, coupled with an on-trade growth of 5.3% for cream liqueur volumes.

Cream liqueur volumes in the off-trade dipped 3.7% last December.

White spirits showed growth of 3% overall with gins up in volume by 11.4% in the on-trade and 8.7% in the off-trade in December 2014.

During the month, vodka showed volume gains of 6.4% in the on-trade and 5.0% in the off-trade.


Are your premises warm and comforting to customers on those cold December nights?

According to a report in the UK trade newspaper PMA scientists at two universities in America have identified cinnamon and some forms of orange scent as among the most pleasant smells that the human nose can detect, “… thus proving what many of us suspected all along – that there’s nothing quite as alluring or comforting as a simmering pot of mulled wine to get the senses tingling”.

Trace scents of cloves, star anise and wood smoke from an open fire also help evoke the spirit of Christmas in a pub, states PMA.



Bold new packaging for the King of Beers

Bud new packaging lineup copy

Budweiser’s new packaging design is launching in store now. Just like its beer, Budweiser’s new label demands only the highest standards. Maintaining its classic colours, the label features its famous fiery red overlaid with the iconic medallion and a new hand-scripted font. Its new label is a signature of quality and a mark of Budweiser excellence.

“140 years of brewing history shines through in our new packaging,” claims the brewer, “True to the past and ready for the future, Budweiser is placing as much attention to detail in our new design as we do with our beer. Watch out for the new packs in our exciting new Christmas advertising campaign too.”

Drink Budweiser responsibly, visit


World & Craft Beers & Ciders

Global Beer Bands have seen a major increase in interest. Barry & Fitzwilliam currently distributes the Wells & Young portfolio, the most popular of which is Banana Bread Beer, Waggle Dance, Bombardier and Coopers from Australia which has gained a very loyal following over the years. New additions to Barry & Fitzwilliam’s range include Anarchy and Marblehead.


Irish Craft Beers & Ciders

Barry & Fitzwilliam offers a fantastic new range of Irish craft beers & ciders including St Mel’s, Toby’s Cider, Kellys Mountain Brew, Mountain Man and Longueville Cider, The Cotton Ball Brewing Company and Killarney Brewing Co to name but a few.


Winter Star for Carlow Brewing Company’s 20th Anniversary

O'Hara's Winter Star Image 2015low

Christmas has come early to Carlow Brewing Company. The independent craft brewery, better known as O’Hara’s, is on the cusp of celebrating 20 years in business and has released three new brews in recent weeks.

“We’ve to get up very early in the morning to continue to not only meet the growing demand for high quality Irish craft beer” says Chief Executive Seamus O’Hara, “but to also innovate and experiment with new brewing techniques and flavours, which gives our loyal customers a reason to keep coming back and our prospective new customers the incentive to join the O’Hara’s community.

“We were thrilled with the reception for the first beer in our Hop Adventure Series earlier this year and that’s spurred us on to release these new brews.”

O’Hara’s made a splash earlier this year with its Hop Adventure Series and has been quick to satisfy customer demand for a second edition of the series. This time the Galaxy hop takes centre stage for a single hop IPA bursting with fruitiness and flavours of passionfruit, citrus and peach.

The brewery has just launched its 2015 edition of Winter Star, a warming and seasonal spiced rye ale, delivering rich and intense flavours balanced by cinnamon and orange zest and a biscuit-like warmth from the malted rye.

The Winter Star Spiced Rye Ale makes the perfect bedfellow for favourites like the award-winning O’Hara’s Irish Stout and O’Hara’s Leann Folláin.



Dalcassian Wines & Spirits has launched a diverse host of new brands in time for the Christmas celebrations. It’s on-trade portfolio now exceeds 100 different choices of wines and spirits, adding a record 70 new wines this year alone. People want to experiment – they want to select the grape varietals from both their European and intercontinental travels.

The new generation of Mediterranean winemakers have a fresher approach and the look and feel reflects Old World quality with New World attitude as seen with Dalcassian’s Paul Mas range.

It’s now exploring the entire world bringing in Sileni from New Zealand, Lagunilla from Spain, Tenuta Ulisse from Italy, Louis Martina from California, Casa Bianchi from Argentina, Elvaro from Chile and Wakefield from Australia, in each case offering a wide selection of options from pouring wine right up to classic reserves.

Perfect for extra-special festive outings is the exclusive range of premium Astoria wines which Dalcassian launched to Irish restaurants earlier this year. The Astoria taste owes much to the renowned climate of the Valdobbiadene vineyards in the Veneto region in Italy and the 40-acre Val de Brun estate located in the heart of this prized wine region.

High-end bars and restaurants across Ireland have given a great response to the launch of the Astoria Sparkling, Pinot Grigio and Pinot Noir range.


Moët & Chandon’s So Bubbly!

This Christmas, Moët & Chandon upholds the annual traditional end-of-year celebrations in its signature style. No festive table is complete without Moët & Chandon, so this season the Maison presents a limited edition collection, So Bubbly.

The So Bubbly limited edition collection is end-of-year effervescence in a bottle. Bubbles are the incarnation of Moët & Chandon, symbolising its sense of celebration, savoire-faire and pioneering spirit.

So Bubbly features boundless bubbles that showcase the vibrancy and energy of the season. The dazzling bubbles capture the festive end-of-year ambience to brighten every table.  For a great addition to a seasonal celebration, offer your customers the So Bubble gift bag and gift box (RRP €50.49).


Enjoy Sparkling Profits this Christmas with Black Tower Bubbly!

Black Tower Bubbly Pairlow
Black Tower, the iconic German brand famous for its easy and approachable wines, has seen exceptional success for its ‘Bubbly’ range here in Ireland: off-dry, slightly effervescent and at only 9.5% ABV, it’s the ideal fun-loving party sipper that can be enjoyed throughout the evening.
Black Tower Pink Bubbly and White Bubbly – the most recent addition to Black Tower’s range in Ireland – are semi-sweet and possess a delicate sparkle, making them easy to enjoy on any occasion, either on their own or with food.
The low ABV attracts lower duty here in Ireland which in turn means not only great value for consumers, but also increased profit margins for retailers, making Black Tower Bubbly the perfect wine to shine on shelves this Christmas.
“Sales of Black Tower White and Pink Bubbly are continuing to exceed all expectations,” says Jonathan Smith, Reh Kendermann’s Irish manager, “Being naturally lower in alcohol at 9.5% ABV, with a RSP of €11 Bubbly meets the growing consumer demand in the sparkling market for highly affordable, lighter-styled, commemorative wines.”


Luigi Bosca

Finca La Linda and Luigi Bosca Argentinean wines have been added to Barry & Fitzwilliam’s wine range.

Luigi Bosca has been working in the Argentinean wine industry for over 100 years. Currently led by its third and fourth generations, Bodega Luigi Bosca is one of the few wine-producing places that remains in the hands of the founding family throughout the decades and has become the paradigm of the national wine.

“ Luigi Bosca & Finca La Linda brands are amongst the finest producers of top class Argentinean wines,” comments Michael Barry Managing Director of Barry & Fitzwilliam.



Barry & Fitwilliam will be putting strong Above-The-Line support into the McGuigan range of wines, now the No 1 wine brand in the off-trade. The Black Label range comprises a Cabernet, Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Rose. It will have strong Above-The-Line marketing support for the Winter particularly on TV and radio with a major emphasis on Neil McGuigan’s IWC awards as “the Best White Winemaker in the world” for the third time.

McGuigan Frizzante Bottle Shotlow

McGuigan Frizzante was launched during the Summer but is an ideal Christmas Celebratory drink which will be backed up with a radio campaign. “Like Prosecco, Love McGuigan Frizzante”.








Casa Silva

Viña Casa Silva was born in 1997 following an old familiar longing to project on a bottle of wine the love and affection of a family for their land, the Colchagua Valley. With Don Emilio Bouchon, the first generation came to Chile in 1892 from St Emilion in Bordeaux. Since then Casa Silva has been devoted to the production of wines, pioneering the Colchagua Valley.

“Casa Silva is among the finest producers of top class premium Chilean wines” says Michael Barry of distributors Barry & Fitzwilliam.




The arrival of the world’s fastest-growing liqueur from Dalcassian Wines & Spirits, Licor 43, has been an instant hit. With 43 different spices and ingredients it’s versatile and ideal for Christmas cocktails.

Dalcassian has also just launched the Quintessential Gin collection of gins to Ireland – Greenall’s, Bloom, Berkeley Square and Opihr, from the world’s oldest gin distillery. Think versatility, think ‘twist’ and opportunity for bars to experiment with flavours and variety – Original, Spiced, Floral, Herbaceous – not to mention eye-catching premium packaging that adds an air of excitement and celebration to bar shelves.

Also set to stand out this festive season, the Diplomatico range of rums from Venezuela, launched here last month.

On the whiskey side, for bars and restaurants who want to offer twist and variety this Christmas, the Dalcassian portfolio includes The Dubliner Irish Whiskey Liqueur – a unique blend of honeycomb, caramel and whiskey flavours, Hellfire Cinnamon whiskey and Irishman single malt whiskey.

Dalcassian has also just launched Molinari, the world’s number one Sambuca.

Auchentoshan & Bowmore Scotch Malt Whiskies

Since the coming together of Beam Suntory, Barry & Fitzwilliam has acquired the distribution rights for Auchentoshan & Bowmore Scotch whiskies. The Auchentoshan (pronounced ‘Okken-toshan’) distillery was established in the Dumbartonshire estate of Auchentoshan in 1823.

Auchentoshan, meaning `Corner of the field’ in Gaelic, produces a delicate, smooth and light single Malt whisky. The subtle aroma and flavour of its spirit is achieved by the unique Triple Distillation process whereby the spirit is not distilled twice, as elsewhere in Scotland, but instead distilled three times producing even greater refinement to its character.

Bowmore was the first of Islay’s distilleries to receive a license, springing fully-formed into official existence in 1779. It’s likely that the founder of the distillery, William Simson, had been distilling in Bowmore since shortly after his arrival in 1766.



Disaronno is described as a ‘cool’ brand. With its distinctive square glass decanter and smooth almond flavour, it has a secret recipe said to include the pure essence of 17 selected herbs and fruits with an infusion of apricot kernel oil. It’s a very ‘hot brand’ internationally and B&F hopes to emulate that here – another brand supported by a Satellite TV campaign. Disaronno and orange juice is the perfect mix for Christmas. In the off-trade Barry & Fitzwilliam will be focusing on Disaronno Cavalli.



Glenfiddich Range with Glasseslow
Glenfiddich from Findlater Wine & Spirits is the most awarded single malt Scotch in the world having won more awards at the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC) and International Spirits Challenge (ISC) than any other single malt since 2000.
Established in 1876 Glenfiddich is one of the few single malt distilleries today remaining entirely family-owned. The first brand to market single malt Scotch outside Scotland, Glenfiddich now accounts for about 30% of all single malt sales worldwide.
The Glenfiddich 12 Year-Old – the original, signature single malt Scotch whisky – has been matured in select American and Spanish oak casks, the quality of which is exceptional as all are individually tended by an experienced team of Glenfiddich’s own on-site coopers. This ensures stringent quality control from start to finish, ensuring that the whisky develops its complex, elegantly rounded flavours with notes of fresh pear and subtle oak for which it’s famous.
Also available in Ireland is its 15 Year-Old Solera Reserve exemplifying the family tradition of innovation: aged in European oak sherry casks and new oak casks, it’s mellowed in the unique Solera Vat, a large oak tun inspired by the sherry bodegas of Spain and Portugal. Never emptied and kept half-full of whiskies since 1998, the Solera Vat Silky gives smooth layers of sherry oak, marzipan, cinnamon and ginger. Full-bodied and bursting with flavour.
Finally there’s the 18 Year-Old Ancient Reserve, finished in fine Spanish Oloroso wood and American oak to make a truly exceptional single malt with flavours of rich dried fruit, candy peel and dates.


Jack Ryan Limited Edition 15 Year-Old Single Malt


Marking the Centenary of the birth of their father, Jack, the Ryan family of the Beggars Bush Pub, Haddington Road, Dublin, has released a Limited Edition 15 Year-Old Cask Strength Single Malt.

The Centenary Jack Ryan 15 Year-Old Single Malt is the latest addition to what’s a growing portfolio of premium whiskeys, expertly commissioned, from this independent and award-winning brand.

Already the Jack Ryan 12 Year-Old Single Malt, released in 2013, has gained distinction, winning the Best Single Malt 12 Year-Old and under at the 2014 Irish Whiskey Awards.

Matured in Bourbon casks, the Centenary Jack Ryan 15 Year-Old Single Malt has a production run limited to 500 bottles worldwide, the first 100 of which are being made available exclusively to the Irish market this month. This cask strength 15 year-old single malt is individually signed and numbered by Eunan Ryan, available through the Celtic Whiskey Shop and other specialist licensed stores.

“This 15 year-old malt is a distinctive product with a smooth texture and uncompromised taste notes, providing a truly special gift for any discerning whiskey lover,” said Eunan Ryan, Director, Jack Ryan Whiskey and son of Jack Ryan, “Its distinct pale gold colour, fruity aroma and flavours and its spicy, oak-infused finish are those of a premium whiskey”.

The contemporary Jack Ryan brand of whiskey is a descendant of the original Ryan’s Malt, commissioned by Thomas Ryan since 1913 and continually improved upon by his son Jack up until the 1950s.

Ryan’s Malt was sold in the family’s pubs. Today, Jack Ryan is a brand built on craftmanship, heritage and the tradition of five generations and over 100 years in the licensing trade in Ireland.




Kilbeggan New Bottlelow

Ireland’s oldest and most-awarded distiller has produced this smooth, sweet taste and lovely malt finish – a characterising of its pot still that’s over 180 years old and still at the heart of Kilbeggan Irish whiskey.

The award-winning Kilbeggan collection incluees the older cousin of the original blend, formerly known as Greenore, Kilbeggan 8 Year-Old Single Grain, is completely unique as Ireland’s only aged Single Grain Irish whiskey. It’s matured for eight years in ex-Bourbon casks in the 250 year-old wareshouses at the distillery. To complete the collection Kilbeggan 21 Year-Old is a limited edition bottling of the oldest blended Irish whiskey from the Kilbeggan Distilling Co. Matured in ex-Bourbon, Port, Madeira and Sherry casks, this has been specially-selected by Masterblender Noel Sweeney.

Barry & Fitzwilliam distributes the Kilbeggan range here.


Jägermeister Spice – remix of a classic

Jagermeister Spicelow

New Jägermeister Spice will be a favorite drink during the cold winter months in Ireland. Through the combination of spicy cinnamon and smooth vanilla with the legendary ingredients found in the original Jägermeister recipe, the liqueur creates a warm, rich and complex taste experience – albeit one that is unmistakably Jägermeister. As a seasonal drink, it’ll be available in limited quantities from Barry & Fitzwilliam.

Best consumed neat in a tumbler or as a shot at room temperature to allow the unique flavor notes to shine through, Jägermeister Spice offers both new drinkers and longstanding aficionados an innovative drink to be enjoyed in any social setting.

Staying true to its roots, Jägermeister Spice takes inspiration from the original Jägermeister recipe based on the secret blend of 56 selected botanical ingredients. Like the original, it also undergoes around 380 quality checks during the production process and uses only the finest ingredients sourced from around the world.

With an alcohol content of 25% ABV, Jägermeister Spice is lighter in colour than the original and – to reflect the Winter flavour and spices – is presented in a brown tinted version of the iconic Jägermeister bottle – making it instantly recognisable.



Barry & Fitzwilliam’s promotional campaign for Harvey’s Bristol Cream Sherry will have its main emphasis on the “Harvey’s Rocks”.



WKD’s Xmas rules all wrapped up

WKD Xmas 2015low

Extreme wrapping, ‘Ladvent’ calendars and WKD’s much-loved branded festive-themed headwear are amongst the key components of its interactive digital ‘Xmas Rules’ campaign. Irish consumers have the added bonus of being able to win VIP tickets to this year’s WKD Clash event – the brand’s ultimate party night.

WKD brand owner SHS Drinks will start unwrapping the WKD consumer ‘Xmas Rules’ campaign on social media from the end of November, embracing the madness of Christmas festivities when rules can be broken and wearing tasteless, kitschy jumpers can be justified just ‘because it’s Christmas’.

To get consumers in the festive mood WKD will post engaging content encouraging WKD’s 282,000 social media fans to share their own take on ‘Xmas Rules’ and tell everyone what they’re getting up to over Christmas. Those submitting the best posts and tweets will be rewarded with a gift from an array of WKD-style prizes including WKD’s ‘Greatest Hats’ – a retro of WKD’s favourite festive headgear including Christmas classics the ‘Brussels sprout’ and ‘turkey’ hats and ‘Christ-moose heads’, Christmas jumpers and WKD-branded gift wrapping-paper.

Licensees can grab a slice of the action too with brand distributor Barry & Fitzwilliam offering selected stockists WKD promotional kits, a selection of case deals and a range of account-specific promotions running across the WKD range.

WKD has teamed up with music-streaming service Spotify again to wow clubbers attending WKD Clash – WKD’s legendary, crowd-sourced, epic party night on 1st December at the Angel Lane Nightclub in Limerick once again to be hosted by celebrity DJ Lauren Pope from The Only Way Is Essex who this year takes to the stage with Ray Shah – iRadio presenter, ex-Big Brother housemate and one of the country’s top DJs.

Clubbers can expect a fun mix of WKD activity which will include the WKD Promotional Team circulating and handing out WKD-branded merchandise, a ‘Looking good. Sounding WKD’ free photo-both equipped with WKD props to provide lasting memories of the event, a VIP meet-and-greet session and a range of Clash-themed WKD cocktail pitchers to provide groups of clubbers with a fun way to share and enjoy WKD.

Using the tagline WKD Clash – It’s Gonna Be Legendary!, the event is being extensively promoted via Spotify and other social media including facebook and twitter and consumers in Ireland will be given the opportunity to win VIP tickets to the event and to meet Lauren Pope and Ray Shah.

By focusing WKD’s Christmas support activity on three main areas – party nights and social media which are at the hub of WKD consumers’ lives and added-value promotional support for licensees to drive rates of sale – our aim is to bring additional momentum to WKD and RTD category sales during this key trading period,” explained Debs Carter, Marketing Director – Alcohol at SHS Drinks.

For sales enquiries contact: SHS Sales & Marketing 01 401 6200 or email:

Barry & Fitzwilliam 021 432 0900 or email:






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