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Morrisons re-launches own brand drinks

Two years ago, one of the UK’s biggest food retailers with over 500 stores nationwide – Morrisons – embarked on its biggest own brand project to-date, taking over 10,000 own label products and reviewing, reformulating and rebranding them.

This month Morrisons launched its new range of own brand beers, wines, and spirits, redeveloped with the clear intention to demystify the drinks category and help customers make the right purchase for them.

New UK bottling strategy

Morrisons has also introduced changes to its wine bottling strategy, in line with wider improvements to its approach on sourcing, merchandising and promotions.  

The new bottling strategy involves the bottling of over half of the retailer’s ‘under £5’ Morrisons own brand range in the UK.  The range is first blended and selected by Morrisons new sourcing team and then shipped in bulk to the UK where it is bottled by Accolade at its state-of-the-art bottling facility in Bristol.  The decision to put wine from a number of global supply points through one UK-based bottling point, located as close to the source of demand as possible, will ensure the own brand wine is in optimum condition for the end consumer.  This also reinforces Morrisons commitment to supporting British industry wherever possible.

In addition to the immediate quality benefits, the collaboration with Accolade Wines provides obvious environmental advantages. Transporting wine in bulk and bottling in-market cuts transportation emissions, improves logistical efficiency and reduces costs.

According to Morrisons head of wine operations, Mark Jarman, “Morrisons collaboration with the state-of-the-art Accolade facility is an exciting development in line with wider improvements to the way in which we source and buy wine. This move will enable us to get a lot closer to the product and increase our control over the end result – from the quality of the wine we source and blend all the way through to bottling and delivery to our stores. It will allow us to closely manage quality and drive synergies while also taking cost out of the supply chain.” 

The  portfolio

The own brand portfolio now consists of a new range of 148 wines (74% of which are completely new), six ales (all of which are new), nine ciders (55% of which are new) and 29 spirits (17% of which are new), tiered in such a way so as to help customers choose the right drink according to occasion and budget.

According to Steve Mosey, category director of beer, wines and spirits for Wm Morrisons Plc, “We’ve listened to our customers and heard many are often confused and daunted when it comes to buying beers, wines or spirits.  We understand they often need help and reassurance to make the right purchase, which is why we’ve introduced some innovative changes to our offer. We’re very confident that with this re-launch our customers will find the right choice for them within the Morrisons own brand range.”


All of the liquids have been sourced and blended to ensure they offer customers great quality, while new labelling has been introduced with integrated ‘signposts’ such as QR codes, tear-off labels and Taste Test numbers.  The enhanced range aims to provide an improved customer proposition by giving customers the reassurance to know they are making a purchase that they will enjoy and which will match the occasion/food it is being bought for. 

Morrisons: Developed for those quick and easy mid-week dinners, the Morrisons range is priced under £5. Each of the wines in this range are clearly identified on the label by variety, for example ‘Shiraz’ or ‘Pinot Grigio’, making it effortless for those who know what they like and are looking to make a quick, easy purchase. For those who aren’t quite sure what they want, carefully hand-drawn fonts describe the flavours such as ‘fresh and citrussy’ and serving suggestions such as ‘fantastic with fish’.

Morrisons Signature: The wines in Morrisons Signature range, priced between £5 and £15, each have a unique story to tell about provenance and heritage, offering an element of discovery. These stories are shared on the back label of every Morrisons Signature wine, and brought to life through the stunning designs which adorn the front label. A tear-off label on the back allows customers to keep the information on the wine should they wish to purchase it again.

Beers, ciders and spirits

The relaunch of Morrisons own brand beers, ales, ciders and spirits is in line with Morrisons commitment to give customers the confidence they are making the right choice.

The distinctive labels have been designed to create maximum standout and generate excitement within the drinks aisle as well as to provide reassurance that the choice is right for the occasion in mind. For example, front labels on our premium Morrisons Signature range bring the provenance of each beer, ale, cider and spirit to life.

The range of Morrisons own brand ales comprises six SKUs, all new to Morrisons, whilst the range of ciders is made up of nine SKUs, four of which are new:

Morrisons Signature Golden Ale and Morrisons Signature Amber Ale hail from the Black Sheep Brewery, where every recipe has been perfected using the finest quality ingredients and traditional brewing methods. All ales are fermented in time honoured Yorkshire Square vessels for a distinctively dry and refreshing flavour.

Morrisons Signature Dark Ale is produced by Everards Brewery, Morrisons Signature IPA – Marstons is from the award-winning Marstons Brewery, and Morrisons Signature Seasonal Golden Ale and Signature Seasonal American Red is crafted by Titanic Brewery, which is committed to brewing great beer locally, for local people.

Morrisons Signature Organic Cider is produced by H Westons and Sons, a family cidery and expert cider makers since 1880.

A diverse selection of spirits is also available within Morrisons own brand portfolio, and whether it’s Morrisons Signature XO Brandy, aged for five years, or Morrisons Blended Scotch Whisky, the front label on the bottle takes clear and vibrant design cues from the spirit’s heritage, to give customers the reassurance they are purchasing an authentic product. 

The new own brand BWS portfolio has already started to hit shelves, and all are available in Morrisons wine aisles and/or online at

29 October 2013 - Felicity Murray The Drinks Report, editor