Rumours of a sherry renaissance have been substantiated by Gonzalez Byáss' decision to relaunch its dry fino Tio Pepe brand.
The sherry category has long been considered the tipple for elderly relatives, vicars and funeral guests and has spent the last decade languishing in the doldrums. However, UK distributor First Drinks Brands has unveiled a new-look bottle and a marketing campaign aimed at moving Tio Pepe closer to the booming wine sector in an attempt to lure new recruits to the drink.
Jeremy Rockett, who headed the campaign while marketing manager at First Drinks, said: "Sherry has traditionally been seen as a sweet, dark, sticky spirit that never leaves the drinks cabinet. We want to emphasise the dryness and subtlety of Tio Pepe and challenge people's perceptions of fino sherry."
In an attempt to blur the boundaries between fortified wines and the dry white wine market, tasting notes, serving suggestions and a sweetness indicator have been included as part of the new look.
To accompany the relaunch of Tio Pepe, Gonzalez Byáss has invested £2million in a 2001 publicity campaign including print, poster and washroom advertisements using the strap-line "Always look on the dry side of life".
Style bars will also be targeted as part of an on-trade sampling and serving initiative earmarked for the spring and summer months.