‘Collective force’ of Wales’ top drinks producers helping to boost sales

A collective of Wales’ best drinks producers have joined forces to launch a sales-driven year-round campaign following the success of a consumer campaign which gave a boost to orders during the Christmas holiday period in 2020.

‘Drink Welsh’, supported by the Welsh Drinks Cluster, will allow consumers to discover the breadth of Welsh drinks available, including wine, beer, cider, spirits, water, soft drinks, health drinks, tea and coffee.

The launch of the Drink Welsh website follows on from the successful ‘Make it a Welsh Drinks Christmas’ event – a month-long showcase of the quality and diversity of Welsh drinks – which saw Welsh consumers place over half a million pounds of festive orders as they rallied to support Wales’ independent producers.

Until 2020, direct to consumer sales only represented a small proportion of overall revenue for many Welsh brands. As a result, the effect of lockdowns on the hospitality industry forced the majority of producers to overhaul their sales tactics.

Now, following one of the toughest years in history for the country’s drinks industry and in a bid to support Wales’ drinks industry all year round, the producers at the heart of the industry have created ‘Drink Welsh’ to act as a virtual shop window for Wales’ drinks industry. Complete with interactive maps, the campaign aims to help consumers discover producers both on their doorstep and further afield and buy directly from independent drinks producers.

Drink Welsh will give consumers access to exclusive competitions and the latest offers from across the industry.

One business that signed up to the ‘Make It a Welsh Drinks Christmas’ campaign and has remained involved in the newly launched Drink Welsh initiative is Gwinllan Conwy Vineyard. Its owner, Colin Bennett, said: “Between a significant decline in tourism and cellar door sales, as well as hospitality and on-trade sales also taking a hit, 2020 could have been one of our toughest as a business to date. But with the support of the Drinks Cluster and its virtual events throughout the year, we saw a big spike in traffic to our website. This spurred us to update our website and expand our online presence, which we probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. The icing on the cake was a big boost in sales by the end of the year thanks to ‘Make It a Welsh Drinks Christmas’.

“The collective force of the Cluster has not only made it easier for consumers to buy from us directly, but is giving them a chance to discover and try producers they might not be familiar with.”

The campaign to support hard working producers was conceived and co-ordinated by the Welsh Drinks Cluster, an organisation established and funded by Welsh Government since 2017, which works in partnership with drinks businesses, academics and the trade to create and develop a thriving Welsh drinks sector.

Andy Richardson, chair of the Food & Drink Wales Industry Board, said: “Prior to the pandemic, our energetic drinks industry represented one of Wales’ most diverse sectors. The work of our passionate producers has captured international attention and praise, but like all businesses the pandemic has seen them face unprecedented hardships. Despite the knock-on effects from a halted hospitality sector, a decline in cellar door and on-trade sales, these producers have worked harder than ever.

“Following in the footsteps of the successful Make it a Welsh Drinks Christmas campaign, Drink Welsh will allow producers to reach consumers in new ways and consumers to experience the quality products they make.”

Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said: “Despite a year of unimaginable adversities, through hard work and determination, the businesses that make up Wales’ dynamic drinks sector have persevered. Regardless of the challenges they have faced, this ambitious industry has sought new ways to reach customers. It is imperative that these pioneers are supported.

“The success of the Make it a Welsh Drinks Christmas campaign proves that demand is high for what Wales has to offer. I have no doubt that Drink Welsh will continue that trend to allow new and repeat customers to support this vital industry and enjoy the exceptional quality products it produces.”

The Drinks cluster is facilitated by Levercliff on behalf of Welsh Government. Levercliff is a team of specialist food and drink experts using knowledge, insights and considerable experience to help clients build their brand and transform their business.

For more information go to: https://drinkwelsh.co.uk/