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Published:  23 July, 2008

First Quench, the UK's largest multiple specialist operator, will change its name to the Thresher Group from 1 March. The move coincides with the launch of a globally sourced range of wines that will be available to other independent outlets. The company said the name change would enable more of the company's communications to reinforce the Thresher brand, while removing the distraction of a corporate identity not relevant to customers'. Currently, around half the group's 2,000 shops - those sites where wine represents up to 50% of sales - are branded Thresher'. The other 1,000, where wine accounts for less than 10% of sales, will continue to trade as Haddows in Scotland and Victoria Wine in England and Wales. The new range of 11 branded wines, Origin, features wine sourced from around the world under a single brand name. The Chardonnay for 2003 is Chilean, while the Shiraz is Californian and the Merlot Argentinian. First Quench said that this could all change next year, if the buyers find better value and taste elsewhere in the world'. Ten of the 11 varieties in the Origin range are from New World producers, with only a 2002 Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley waving the flag for the Old World. Origin will be offered exclusively in 1,400 mostly Thresher shops, but could also be rolled out to the on-trade and independent grocery stores. The range will start with a 2002 Argentinian Chardonnay/ Chenin and an Argentinian Malbec/Merlot, which will retail for 3.99. Next up the price scale come a 2002 Australian Cabernet Sauvignon, a Chilean Chardonnay and a Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc, which will all retail for 4.99. A 2001 Californian Pinot Noir and Californian Zinfandel, and 2000 Californian Shiraz will retail for 5.99-6.49, while at the top end a 2000 Californian reserve Cabernet, a New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and an Australian Barossa Shiraz will cost between 6.99-9.99. Announcing the new Thresher name and the Origin brand, Thresher Group's chief executive, David Williams, said: We've made significant progress since the business was acquired by Nomura's Principal Finance Group [in October 2000]. Our customers tell us that they want to shop at a retailer that offers them convenience, service and differentiation and this is the thinking behind our focus on the Thresher brand. At the same time they've asked us to "remove the gamble" in buying wine. Origin represents just this, and is a further example of our willingness to innovate on the basis of consumer insights.'