This week I look once again at the highlights of some of the more interesting - and offbeat - stories from the world of food and drink for the Q Awards Weekly Wrap. This time up there's news of a new Most Wanted wine range, what sort of supermarkets we can expect in the future, a new family affair microbrewery in Edinburgh from former Scottish & Newcastle chief, John Dunsmore and why astronauts will soon be able to enjoy a dram in space - if only they were allowed to drink.
I'll tell you what I want, what I really, really want - Most Wanted wines launch
With a distinctive logo, that would not be out of place as a fashion label, the new Most Wanted wine range looks to appeal to the 25-45 age group that are regular wine drinkers, but are not that fussed about knowing all there is to know about how they are made.
That said they want to drink a wine that takes them out of their comfort zone, that directly appeals to them and has sense of adventure, reliability and philosophy that they can buy in to. But, as the brand says, it is still “wine without the whine”.
It is also a highly attractive demographic for major British high street retailers as they are willing to pay that little extra for wine in what is termed as the premium mainstream sector of £8 to £10.
The Most Wanted range looks to offer classic styles like Pinot Noir, but also introduce people to more modern wine varieties like the Spanish white wine, Albarino or the Argentinian red, Malbec.
If you are interested then you can already find them in your local Sainsbury’s, Co-op, Bargazin Booze or Booth stores and online at Tesco Wine by the Case. They will also soon be cropping in major convenience stores across the country.
For example, Sainsbury’s is stocking Most Wanted Pinot Noir, which comes from the Nelson region in New Zealand with a recommended retail price of £9.99. Tesco Wine by the Case has the Pinot Noir and is also selling the Most Wanted Sauvignon Blanc from Hawkes Bay also in New Zealand at a RRP of £8.99 and the Malbec, from San Juan in Argentina at £7.99.
The brand is trying to create an online community through its Most Wanted Insider site, where people can share their wine experiences and talk to the brand owners about how and why they like to drink wine. It might also potentially give them some ideas about what new wines they could introduce in the future.
Supermarkets to become fun zones with events to attract shoppers of the future
We can expect big changes in the way major supermarkets try to convince us to go to their stores in the future, with the emphasis less on buying day to day products, but more on having fun and even a family day out.
That was the view of top supermarket expert, Joanne Denney-Finch who works with all the major players as part of her role as the chief executive of the retail trade body, the Institute of Grocery Distribution.
She predicts the big weekly shop is slowly becoming a thing of the past as we prefer to stock up on items throughout the week and keep a closer eye on how much we are spending, and potentially wasting on our groceries.
But it is what we get to see in-store that will be the big change in our supermarkets in the months ahead, she predicted. Currently our major stores are all designed and layed out to cater for those big trolley shops.
But major players, like Tesco, are looking to drastically streamline their ranges to make their stores easier to shop, and more efficient to run.
They will soon have large areas of floor space to do something very different. Like host in-store tasting areas, demonstrations, special events, even invite in local producers and host farmers markets in-store.
Denney-Finch told delegates at the IGD’s annual conference this week that: “There’s radical change ahead, as shoppers continue to call the tune. The winners will be those that embrace shopper power, reset standards and redefine concepts putting shoppers first.”
"Madchester" and Andy Warhol inspiration for new Edinburgh Beer Factory
“If you can’t beat them, then do it yourself” could well be the motto of the latest craft beer business to hit a back bar or retail shelf near you soon.
The Edinburgh Beer Factory is the new venture by John Dunsmore, former chief executive of the brewing giants, Scottish & Newcastle and C&C Group, the companies behind national brands such as Newcastle Brown Ale, Fosters, Kronenbourg 1664 and Magners.
What’s more the Edinburgh Beer Factory is a true family affair for whilst it has John Dunsmore at its helm it also has his wife, Lynne, and daughter, Kirsty as founding members.
But whilst John may have the business background he has brought in fresh brewing talent from local Heriot-Watt university and head brewer, David Kemp and Mike Meletopoulo.
The inspiration for the “factory” element of the new urban microbrewery comes from two of John’s personal heroes, Andy Warhol and Tony Wilson, founder of Manchester’s Factory Records, home of New Order and Happy Mondays in the 1980s and 1990s.
John said: “Innovation can happen in big companies, but it happens despite being big, not because of it. I’ve been excited by the creativity and agility I’ve seen in smaller companies and it’s spurred me on to create something from scratch.”
He added: “Scotland can be great if it makes things happen, and this is exactly the right set-up to do just that: small and nimble; young and old; male and female.”
Its first brand is named after Scots-Italian Eduardo Paolozzi, the Edinburgh-born inventor of pop art. The ‘Paolozzi’ is a 5.2% lager based on a historic Munich style and features Eduardo’s artwork ‘Illumination and the Eye’ on the bottle’s label.
The brewery will pay a charitable donation to the Paolozzi Foundation for every bottle sold.
The brewery plans to open to the public next year.
For the astronaut that has everything: a glass you can drink whisky from in space
What is it with spirits companies and and space? When they are not busy sending up samples to mature in space they are working on ways to help astronauts of the future enjoy a tipple, alcoholic or not, out of an actual glass.
Yes, there may be more pressing issues to worry about but Ballantine, which has already taken its own whisky in to space, claims to have created a gravity proof glass.
Not surprisingly the glass would be ideal for serving whisky in, the snag is pouring it in to the glass without it turning it in to modules of liquid and disappearing around the space ship. Well hear is the answer.
Thanks to Ballantine, it commissioned the Open Space Agency to create a glass that could be used in "zero-G environments" - or in another words, space.
By inserting a nozzle that fits into a one-way valve in the bottom of the glass, the whisky sits on a stainless steel base, plated in rose gold, that can create the surface tension necessary to hold the whisky down. The liquid then passes through channels on the sides of the glass all the way up to the golden mouthpiece. Here's how:
- roll the whisky in your hand so the heat warms the rose gold metal attached to the glass
- roll the whisky in your hand so the heat warms the metal and in turn moves to the liquid
- move the glass down before moving your nose to where the vapours are resting
- and finally move the glass upwards to capture the whisky in your mouth. The easy bit.
So there you have it. Print it off and keep and don't ever complain about not being able to buy a present for your astronaut friends in the future.