Accolade reports 108% yoy revenue hike as company layers up GTR listings

By Faye Bartle |

Accolade Wines Cannes 2023

Martin MacKinnon, General Manager GTR & Regional Sales Director EMEA, Accolade Wines.

Championing travel retail as a “perfect place for new innovation”, Accolade Wines is strategically growing is worldwide duty free and airlines business, with 2023 revenues tracking at 108% year-over-year.

Martin MacKinnon, General Manager GTR & Regional Sales Director EMEA elaborated: “Our performance in global travel retail is in line with our growth’s ambitions thus far in 2023.”

Within this, Accolade’s GTR EMEA business is growing solidly year-over-year, he revealed, underpinned by established listings for key brands including Hardys, Mud House, Da Luca prosecco, Echo Falls and Flagstone.

These are complimented by a wave of new GTR listings for ‘innovation brands’ such as B.Ink by Grant Burge, Jam Shed and Wise Wolf – all of which were a key focus for the company at the TFWA World Exhibition in Cannes earlier this month and are being utilised to attract new shoppers in the wine category.

In this video interview filmed in partnership with Bluedog Group, direct from the show floor, MacKinnon, talks us through some of the key launches.

During a press gathering and special tasting event on the stand in Cannes, MacKinnon dug deeper into business dynamics, revealing that the three innovation brands mentioned above have been performing “exceptionally well” in the channel due to Accolade’s fast-growing business from UK passengers travelling by ferry on the Dover-Calais route and overseas via UK airports.

“We have a refreshed portfolio through P&O and DFDS that will offer consumers fantastic savings versus domestic, especially since the duty changes that were implemented in August this year,” he said.

In addition, Accolade’s GTR exclusive line – Hardys Premium Selection – is “performing well” across major airports in Europe and the Middle East following a design refresh and quality upgrade earlier this year.

Further afield, the Australian domestic travel business is back to pre-Covid levels, said MacKinnon, with business from Qantas at 104% of 2022 levels and Virgin back at 100% passenger numbers and delivering strong revenues. Accolade Wines’ Australian GTR business overall is now tracking at 105% of the 2022 level.

In Asia, MacKinnon reports a GTR business win for Cathay Pacific’s Economy Class and “rising revenues “with Lotte Duty Free at Singapore Changi Airport bolstered by the return of Chinese passengers.

Accolade Wines Cannes 2023

From left to right: Accolade Wines’ International Sales Manager – Distributors & GTR Alexandra Wilding; General Manager GTR & Regional Sales Director EMEA Martin MacKinnon; Channel Sales Director EMEA Jeff Bond; Trade Marketing Manager Sophie Jobling; and International Key Account Manager – GTR & Distributors Paul Campbell.

While in Cannes, guests at the tasting event were able to sample the new GTR exclusive from Hardys, The Eight.

It’s extremely rare, with just eight barrels produced and just 2,000 bottles available, yet is already for sale at Sydney and Melbourne airports and will soon be launching in the EMEA market too.

Hardys celebrates its 170th anniversary this year, with striking new advertising featuring archive photos aside their more recent counterparts, such as Thomas Hardy, the brand’s Founder and Winemaker in 1853 next to today’s Chief Winemaker Helen McCarthy (reflecting the story of how the Eileen Hardy wine collection has evolved through the years).

Accolade Wines Cannes 2023

The rare GTR exclusive Hardys The Eight awaits travelling consumers at Sydney and Melbourne airports. 

The core portfolio is clearly taking a turning the spotlight this year, as opposed to premium wines.

“We have focused on our premium portfolio for the last few years, which was the right decision at the time. But this year, with an eye on our strategy in travel retail, we felt that representing this particular portfolio at TFWA Cannes better reflects where we are strong in the channel and where we believe the most growth will come from in the near future,” said Channel Sales Director EMEA Jeff Bond.

“This is why we will hero Hardys, Jam Shed and our new innovation B.Ink by Grant Burge, as these are becoming ever more popular domestically and are generally at great price points for GTR.

“Premiumisation remains a key theme for us in the airport channel, but there is also great potential in airports for the lower price point lines that have been successful for us in our ferries, airlines and cruise business. Our listings and activations for 2023/24 will be focused here.”

Accolade Wines Cannes 2023

Left to right: Advertising creatives to celebrate the 170th anniversary of Hardys Wines; retails for under £10 in travel retail; Jam Shed is a ‘disruptive’ brand that Accolade is investing its efforts in.

Accolade is striving to be “the wine company that our customers and consumers want to engage with most” and is taking a three-pronged approach to achieving its goal as MacKinnon described: “First, that we have the best and most capable people. Second, that we have terrific brands to excite consumers. And then most importantly, that we bring this together into solutions that drives value into the wine and alcohol category for each of our customers.”

Accolade Wines’ low carbon footprint stand for Cannes was designed and built by doplr, part of the Bluedog Group. It featured a re-usable (modular) aluminium frame and timber and is now being stored for adaptation and use in future years.

READ MORE: Accolade Wines to champion sustainability at TFWA World Exhibition

READ MORE: Accolade Wines’ EMEA Sales Director calls for aligned sustainability criteria

READ MORE: Accolade Wines tracks consumers ‘trading up’ to fine wines in travel retail


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