|SITT 2012: Independent retailers ‘lifeblood’ of wine trade|
|Written by Laura Heywood|
|Monday, 24 September 2012 16:06|
Independents are the “lifeblood” of the wine trade and must be provided with bespoke, one-to-one services to ensure the sector’s long-term growth.
That’s according to a group of specialist suppliers who are championing the independent sector at SITT Autumn, taking place in London today, September 24.
“Independent restaurants, bars and retailers are the lifeblood of the industry – this is the area where you find many of the movers and shakers, the mavericks and the go-getters,” said Damon Quinlan from Swig, ahead of the event.
Independents “appreciate a bespoke approach” from suppliers, according to Lee Evans, managing director of Condor Wines. “Every customer has different requirements and the key point is we do not standardise our service offer.”
Bancroft Wines also aims to support its independent customers “on a personal and individual basis”, said managing director Neil McAndrew. “We have a specific list of products for the independent trade and we will continue to source new, exciting wines,” he added.
For Vintage Roots, 99% of its business is supplying smaller independents, often with “trade-exclusive wines”, said director Neil Palmer. “Our buying (still 100% organic) is focused on quality and value for money, and being up to date with any general wine trends.”
The biggest challenge for specialist importers is maintaining strong relationships with smaller independents, according to Rupert St Aubyn from St Aubyn Leschallas Wines. “We prefer longer-term loyalty, rather than a good promotion over a short period and then another wine appears,” he said.
St Aubyn added that long-term commercial success for the indie supplier sector “can only be ensured with excellent long-term relationships with individual indies”.
“This is a two-way process, and requires loyalty and commitment on both sides.”