Pub launches own-label wine to beat duty rise

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Pub launches own-label wine to beat duty rise
The Charles Lamb pub and kitchen in Islington creates an own-label wine so it can continue to sell European wines for a reasonable price

The owners of a pub in London have been working with a French vineyard to create an own-label wine range to help counteract the rising price of European wine.

The strength of the euro and the weakness of the pound has meant that wines produced in Europe have become significantly more expensive recently with many operators increasingly stocking cheaper New World wines to keep prices low for customers.

However, Camille and MJ Hobby-Limon, owners of the Charles Lamb pub​ in Islington said they were determined to continue giving their customers choice without making them pay through the nose for it, so they started dealing directly with one of their favourite French vineyards -Domaine St Hilaire - to see what they could do.

Camille said: "The strong euro and a rise in the duty on wine has meant that dropping into the Charles Lamb for a restorative glass of Grenache, or a soothing Sauvignon has inevitably become more expensive over the last year.

"We believe, however, that in these credit crunch times a glass of good wine is more essential than ever and we were determined to find a way to keep our prices down. The Charles Lamb pub has always had a policy of stocking European wines, and in spite of the price rises we had no intention of swapping to cheaper New World vintages. There had to be another way."

The couple now source wine directly from the vineyard in the Languedoc and buy it in bulk, cutting the price of each bottle by 20 per cent.

Artist Rob Ryan created a label especially for the wine with the pub`s name on it and it now sells own-label red, white and rose wines for £16.50 a bottle, or £8 per bottle to take away.

Camille added: "These will become our `house wines`, although we will still keep cheaper bottles on our constantly evolving wine list, along with much-loved classics and some more unusual varieties."

The Hobby-Limon`s bought the Charles Lamb in 2005 and have won positive reviews for their bistro-style food and well-stocked drink list.

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