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Sampling machines see uplift in on-trade demand

Published:  18 October, 2012

Demand for wine sampling machines is growing as businesses outside traditional wine shops and restaurants look to expand their offer.

Manufacturer By the Glass has doubled sales in the past year, while Enomatic said lifting restrictions around the machines' usage meant business was booming.

Pub operator Frederic Robinsons is to trial By the Glass machines in 10 of its gastropubs, in bid to give consumers a premium choice of wines on the back of rising demand. Five of the eight-bottle machines will be rolled out to high-end tenants in November, with another five early next year, and plans to extend the concept throughout its estate.

The aim is to maximise potential of higher-end wines, which its wine and spirits buyer Noel Reid thinks will raise sales in the category by 20%-25%.

Reid said: "The move brings massive potential to the company and will further complement its destination site status, by giving customers the better quality option they want."

Gareth Lewis, chief executive of By the Glass, said it has seen a twofold increase on last year in demand for the machines. He said: "So many restaurants are now destination sites that people have to drive to, they can't drink a whole bottle, but they can have a glass, and now consumers are becoming more wine educated, they are demanding better quality. The machines remove the fear involved in buying a whole bottle."

Lewis expects to see a big jump into other areas of the trade, such as cinemas and private clients, plus coffee houses on the back of Starbucks introducing wine machines in the US.

Matt Beaton, managing director of Enomatic, said: "Now sampling restrictions have been lifted, and with new software developing all the time, there's no limit to the scope by the glass machines have, which now includes data collection to see what is selling well and what is not."

D&D sommelier Claudio Martins said the Enomatic machine has been "invaluable". He added: "Not only because it can showcase the restaurant's fine wine selection but also in relation to the elimination of waste."