Alan McVey, Maxxium UK's Business Sector Controller (Cash & Carry and Impulse), talks to Asian Trader about how the success of Maxxium's 4-bottle case sizes inspired them to run their latest competition to win a pair of new Ford Transit Courier vans as the top prize.

Q. Tell me about your latest competition and how retailers can enter?

Following research that we carried out with retailers, Maxxium UK launched a series of 4-bottle reduced case sizes over the past 18 months. We have had such a positive response that we decided to activate this competition as a ‘thank you’ to the off trade. Retailers can enter by purchasing any five of our 4-bottle cases of both The Famous Grouse and Courvoisier. They then simply enter their details on-line for their chance to win.

Our 4-bottle cases are designed specifically for the impulse channel, and their reduced the case size means a reduced cash outlay for retailers on our core brands – The Famous Grouse (20cl and 35cl) and Courvoisier (10cl, 20cl and 35cl). We have also implemented the same case reduction to allow retailers to tap into the Malts category with a similar case size on The Macallan (35cl) and Highland Park (35cl).

Q. What prizes can retailers win if they enter?

After asking a number of retailers what would be a desirable prize, a new Ford Transit Courier van was what they identified as a key requirement for any independent retailer and one which we believe would drive them to enter the competition. Two lucky retailers who enter will have the chance to drive away in one when the competition finishes.

Q. You are incorporating this in with C&C depot days, why should retailers come along?

With some of our key wholesale partners we will be building some great displays to support the competition. This will also help the retailers easily find more details about the competition in depot. Maxxium staff will be in attendance at key trade days where there will be some great promotional offers available, so retailers should look out for these dates and put them into their diary to come along and meet the team.

Q. When is the prize draw being made?

The competition goes live from 21 March and will close on 15 April. We will select the winner the following day on 16 April and they will be notified as soon as we can make contact with them. The winners will also be featuring in Asian Trader magazine, so we would encourage all retailers to get involved to win one of the fantastic vans.

Q. Along with the chance to win a van, how can you help retailers improve their spirit sales?

We launched Know Your Store last year as an overall support for spirits within convenience stores. This is a simple five step process which retailers can follow to ensure they get the basics right in terms of meeting their shoppers' needs in store. We estimate that a retailer could generate an additional 」5,699 per year by converting just ten of their existing customers into buying their spirits from their store rather than from a competitor. Retailers can request a support guide by sending their name and address details to or by calling 01786 430500.

Q. What are the key Maxxium brands that retailers should be stocking this year?

My advice to retailers is therefore to assess the list of best-selling brands and identify the correct range for their store. The key thing to remember is that retailers should be looking to match their range in store with the needs of their shoppers. Here at Maxxium UK, we supply the UK’s best-selling blended whisky in The Famous Grouse and the UK’s most popular cognac in Courvoisier. Additionally, Jim Beam is performing well within Bourbon, one of the fastest growing categories within spirits and Sourz provides the No.1 selling flavour shot range. As a starting point for retailers, these brands should provide a good branded option within their stores.

Q. What are the big occasions for spirit sales this year?

There are some obvious occasions over the year like Easter, Father’s Day and Christmas where retailers can maximise their sales by ensuring they have a good range of gifting options available. We are also activating the 'Win a Van' activity over the Easter period, to support the retailers with a great opportunity to maximise their sales over the next best-selling occasion for spirits after Christmas.

While added value items such as free glassware are great offers, retailers shouldn’t forget that spirits gifting is an occasion throughout the year. Having the right range of malt whiskies and cognacs across a range of prices and pack formats helps maximise this opportunity. While three quarters of shoppers would buy spirits as a gift from their local convenience store, retailers also have the chance to maximise their sales by offering gift bags or cards as an additional sale.

Q. What advice do you have on gifting like Father’s Day for example?

This is a great opportunity for retailers to maximise sales in the lead up to Father’s Day on 19 June. Ensure that you take account of the dads that your shopper might be buying for. With bourbon whiskey such as Jim Beam and malt whisky such as Highland Park or Laphroaig performing well just now, these should be considered as ‘gifting opportunities’ for a new generation of dads who are now discovering the variety of whiskies on offer.