The reason why fizz is utterly brilliant is because a flute in the hand feels like an instant upgrade.
A glass of sparkles is that kiss on the cheek after a bad day. It is an antidote to a negative mood and an immediate smile-maker. A treat, but it needn’t be a rare one.
As anyone knows, making people feel a bit special is extremely rewarding. Ask any nice person. They’ll tell you that lifting spirits can have a knock on effect for them too.
Positivity is contagious. Suddenly, everyone is happier.
You see, holding a teeny stem on a tall glass of bubbles is the restorer of all good vibes.
Watch their faces. You’ll see it happen.
In the on-trade, if you make people feel special it means people will stay at your place longer, not just drink but probably dine too. Call their friends and ask them to come and join them. Or, later down the line, recommend your venue to others. “What a great place - so welcoming and friendly. You must try it,” they might say.
Mighty is the power of the elegant flute.
Ask around and the sales figures illustrate how, of late, Champagne has seen a dip in volume but is also enjoying a lift in value. However, the sparkling wine category (and within this we include Prosecco) is soaring. Listing the figures from CGA Strategy, we’re looking at an uplift of 40.8% in volume and 45.4% in value. Sparkling wine outperforms the entire wine market, and whilst Champagne struggles, it still performs better than still wine.
This is an up-spike that really shouldn’t be ignored.
When you’re considering listing any wines, sparkling or not, take into account how you want your guests to feel about your place. Are your wines a reflection of that?
Make no mistake, hand someone a glass of bubbles and that could have been the moment you made their day infinitely better.
You’re in control of happiness.
So, let’s learn a little about its fan base.
If we accept 61% of people drinking Champagne in pubs and bars are also drinking Prosecco - which the CGA Peach Brand Track, July 2015 tells us is the case - we can also identify these people are also higher income groups, particularly graduates aged between 25-44 years.
For sparkling wine suppliers, this means they’ll be targeting accounts with this kind of clientele.
“The key focus for us is the type of outlet that takes pride in both their food and wine lists,” says Maurizio Zanella, president of Franciacorta, reminding that “a ‘by the glass’ sparkling wine menu with accessible and informative descriptions of the wine will encourage consumers to trade up and try wines they might normally consider too expensive by the bottle, maximising margins for the outlet.”
But it’s not just about raising the morale of the glass-holder. Fizz has an incredible knack of elevating the overall impression of everything around it because it has existed for so long in people’s mind archives as a 'posh drink'. Everything that sidles up near it becomes less drab by association.
It will be then that you realise that what you’re also selling is the impression someone wants to make upon others.
“Champagne spends a lot of money on giving itself a first class image and a prestigious feel to it and if you can capture some of that ‘feel’, if you can take a bit of that prestige and add it, then that's great for your business,” says Matthew Clark Champagne and wine development manager, Michelle Cartwright.
By the glass
There are also many ways that you can make the margins of serving Champagne by the glass work for your bar.
“If you're selling a product like Champagne you need to create the right environment for it. One place I worked, we used to put Krug on by the glass. [It was a] premium product [and] super expensive, so we used to sell it at £25 a glass. We didn't make a huge amount of money on that - circa £5 a glass,” says Cartwright, but explains that even though the margins were really low, they still made £5 a glass on it.
“If I was selling my normal Champagne, I might have bought that for £8 a glass and I might have sold it at £13, so I've still made £5 a glass on it but I made a better margin. The point is, if a customer comes to your place, and is sold a glass of premium Champagne at a decent price [you often see Krug on wine lists at £70- £80 a glass] - you do take a little bit of a hit on the margin but you still make a decent cash margin.
"Plus, you can also be sure that after starting with Krug, the customer is not going to downgrade to a bottle of cheap Pinot Grigio for £15. They're going to go straight up to a nice white Burgundy or a decent Chablis, because they've already entered a luxury environment. As a result, your customers will have confidence in you and your wine list.”
If your bar is looking to raise its reputation, this could certainly help show the offer is a premium one.
Unquestionably the on-trade sparkling market is dominated by Champagne and Prosecco, but there are other wines out there to consider. For instance, Cava and Sekt may not have become big consumer bar cries just yet, but people’s understanding of the quality of fizz that is now available is continuing to grow. Cava producer Juvé & Camps main aim is to remind pubs and bars that there are other options that have the quality to rival any sparkling region.
“With the recent trend in stylish Spanish themed bars and restaurants, we have seen that UK consumers are looking for a Spanish alternative to better-known sparkling wines,” says Meritxell Juvé, deputy director of Juvé & Camps Cava, admitting that “it is imperative for us to be seen in high-end outlets within the UK that reflect our commitment to quality and our premium image.”
In the meantime, the fizz category continues to expand.
Companies like Frizzenti, which has been offering Italian sparkling wine on tap to UK pubs, bars and restaurants since 2007, has helped many venues benefit from the growing popularity of Prosecco. It’s the more efficient side of the sparkling wine category with both speed of serve and space-saving environmentally friendly kegs helping many an outlet serve bubbles by the glass – much to the chagrin of the bottle-filling Prosecco producers frequently cited in the national press as furious about the whole affair. But then, there’s no passing off here. It’s just another offer: Sparkling wine on tap.
Take full advantage of the trend for fizz and you won’t be sorry.
Go on, spread a little happiness. Oh, and smile.
You might have just made someone's day or, maybe, even their year.