The Oenophiliac

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Percy Fox hits back at criticism of big brands


Blossom Hill brand owner has hit back at criticism that brands are low quality and overpriced — Percy Fox boss says brands have consistency, and that consumers decide what they will pay.

At Harpers debate at LIWF last week, big brands were slammed by industry leaders, who said own-label wines were more exciting, and experiencing “phenomenal growth”.

But Simon Lawson, managing director of Percy Fox, Blossom Hill brand-owner, told Harpers: “I think it is really important to find the optimium balance between price and quality. With Blossom Hill we’ve got that absolutely spot-on. It’s been on the market for 20 years and been very consistent in its performance.

“Are brands generally overpriced? Ultimately it’s for the consumer to decide. There is a question in my mind that if brands are selling 80% of their volume on promotion, then clearly when brands are on promotion, customers believe they are stronger value.

“But for a brand like Blossom Hill, which sells around 50% on promotion, I would suggest that the pricing mechanic there is much more equitable.”

The firm has spent £2 million in communications backing Blossom Hill in the last 12 months, and is focusing on its Taste the Sunshine programme, as well as on Yellow Tail and Arniston Bay mini bottles.

“We are doing a lot of new things and want to focus away from price, and how to bring more value into our brand. There are plenty of suppliers still willing and able to play the price game,” said Lawson.

Around six weeks ago it launched a Facebook page for Blossom HIll, which has already attracted more than 22,000 fans.

It has not yet started a Twitter feed for the brand, but Lawson said “it is on the agenda, we’d be foolish not to engage with it”.

Speaking at the debate Tesco’s Dan Jago predicted there will be fewer brands in the next five years, instead he said the supermarket was seeing “phenomenal growth” of Tesco own-brands and particularly Finest, rather than mainstream ones.

Robin Copestick, founder of wine broker Copestick Murray, criticised well-known brands in the UK as being “overpriced and generally very poor quality”.

Story by Gemma McKenna

Courtesy of Harpers Wine and Spirit Trades Review

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This entry was posted on May 24, 2011 by in News..

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