It was a massive announcement from the licensed wholesale company and a ‘positive step’, Martin told HRNI when it was announced that UWM were integrating HEINEKEN Northern Ireland into their business – a move that gives UWM responsibility for developing the HEINEKEN portfolio across Northern Ireland.
“Taking on the HEINEKEN brands is real positive move for UWM., It means that HEINEKEN has the belief in UWM wholesale and that we can develop their brands in this market. The beer and cider brands complement our wine portfolio and allow us to provide a premium offering to customers across all three sectors. This is great for our business and will
enhance our reputation with the trade”.
As well as the familiar brands in HEINEKEN’s portfolio (Heineken®, Desperados, Tiger and Sol), Martin and his team will work with the new apple cider brand, Orchard Thieves, which is launching mid-May into the NI market both in the on and off trade. Having launched into the ROI two years ago, Orchard Thieves cider reinvigorated the cider category at a time when the market had shown a slight decline year on year.
“The success of Orchard Thieves in the ROI market has been fantastic over the last two years,” Martin continued. “We are just coming to the end of Year 2 and the brand has already achieved great success.” he added. “It will be a soft launch at this stage but we know already that there is a big interest in the product, especially in border towns as people who head across to the south on a regular basis to socialise have become familiar with it.”
“Our plan is to seed it into the on and off trade initially, supporting the brand with a sampling campaign and quality POS to give the brand real standout on shelf.”
Orchard Thieves is a refreshingly crisp cider that delivers an instant apple hit. The new cider offering will go head-to-head with other premium brands such as Magners, Kopparberg and Rekorderlig. Orchard Thieves will come in 4 SKUs – 30 litre keg and 568ml pint bottle for the on trade and a 660ml bottle and 500ml can for the off trade.
And Martin believes the future of the NI market is looking good, despite the political uncertainty both locally and in Europe: “I’ve just started my tenth year in UWM as the Managing Director and finish my 32nd year in the business at the end of this month. In general, there is a great buzz about the place and on the whole people are confident about how the market is going. It is tough though, it’s a very competitive market and we have worked hard to ensure we have strong brands and loyal customers who have given us support over the last 30 years. We aim always to repay that loyalty by adding new products with supportive marketing.”
Despite the apprehension surrounding Brexit, Martin anticipates a bright future for UWM thanks to the hard work and dedication of his 49 strong team; “I believe we have the best team of people who know the trade and have a passion for it. I feel today that we are in a very strong position – we have talented and bright staff who are all committed to UWM.”
For more information on Orchard Thieves or any other queries please contact your local United Wine Merchants sales representative or on 02838316555.