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Spirits retailer Lavinia embraces refills

Christel Trinquier

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Spirits retailer Lavinia embraces refills

Lavinia is joining the refill movement. And be it gin, cognac, whisky or rum, consumers appear to be taking a liking to the concept.

At its La Madeleine store in Paris, the wine and spirits retailer has been testing a refill concept for three months now. While it is still too early to give figures—apart from the €10 savings that customers make on average with each refill—digital marketing and development director Édouard Margain is confident: "Our customers have been very receptive so far and we hope to expand the concept to other references. For us it comes down to environmental responsibility: as a distributor, we also have our role to play".

For the time being, four brands have heeded the call for refills: Bourgoin cognac with its exclusive Nuage 2010 cuvée, Michel Couvreur whisky (blended malt Prima Contione), Clément rum (Secrets de Fûts Gourmand) and Parisian organic gin maker Lord of Barbès, a pioneer in the refill segment that currently operates 50 refill stations in wine shops. "Our selection and purchasing director Virginie Morvan has long been interested in the refill segment and Lord of Barbès’ initiative in the area was the trigger,” adds Margain.

For the moment, Lavinia offers refills only in the brands’ original bottles, which shoppers were able to get engraved when the bulk offer first launched. "However, we’re not excluding the possibility of refilling directly into our customers' own containers. Due to the need for legal notices, this would entail printing the labels in-store," Margain notes.

In the same spirit of sustainability, Lavinia is also looking to eliminate secondary packaging for BSA champagnes, or those that are not millésimé. "Unlike millésimés, brut champagnes are generally consumed quickly, which brings into question the need for a box that is thrown away just as quickly. We’ve asked our suppliers to come up with an offer devoid of outer packaging," Margain concludes.

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