Brits spent record £2.2bn on sparkling wine and Champagne in 2018

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Merry fizzmas: the festive season has traditionally been successful period for sparkling wine sales
Merry fizzmas: the festive season has traditionally been successful period for sparkling wine sales
In the past 12 months, Brits bought almost £2.2bn worth of sparkling wine and Champagne – more than in any previous year.

The latest market report from the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) revealed that almost 165m bottles of sparkling wine and Champagne were sold in the UK in 2018.

A record £1.5bn, the equivalent of 146m bottles, of this was comprised of sparkling wine sales alone.

However, while Brits are buying almost twice as much fizz as they were five years ago – with Brits buying around £1.2bn of Champagne and sparkling wine in 2013 – overall sales growth within the category is slowing according to the WSTA.

The popularity of Champagne and sparkling wine has provided the English wine industry with a welcome boost – especially in light of the 2018 heatwave that created near-perfect growing conditions according to the WSTA.

Last year, around 5.9m bottles of English and Welsh wine were produced by vineyards, with this year’s harvest expected to exceed 6m bottles.

Can’t allow ‘no deal’ Brexit to limit choice

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale commented: “Fizz is traditionally enjoyed over the Christmas holiday period, and 2018 looks to be another sparkling success for wine makers.

“UK consumers now have a far greater range to choose from than ever before, including world class English sparkling wines, cavas, Prosecco and crémants.

“But to allow consumers to continue to enjoy a wide range of quality sparkling wines, the Government cannot allow a ‘no deal’ Brexit, which will stifle trade and limit choice.

“The greatest gift for sparkling wine lovers this Christmas is a deal which allows for frictionless trade without tariffs.”

Spirits soaring

Moreover, the WSTA’s latest market report also revealed that liqueur sales had risen in 2018 with Brits buying the equivalent of more than 42m bottles of cream and non-cream liqueurs, worth £1.2bn, in 2018.

The surge in sales of liqueurs was helped by the unusually long hot summer and consumers becoming increasingly keen to copy drinks enjoyed on a night out as growing numbers of restaurants and pubs offer a cocktail menu.

Beale explained: “In the past, liqueurs have often been overlooked in the spirits category but the WSTA market report shows a surge in sales in the UK’s shops and supermarkets in 2018.

“This is partly down to Britain’s long hot summer when tall cocktails over ice were a welcome relief in the heatwave.

“But the liqueurs boom has also been influenced by people sharing cocktail creation trends on social media with consumers keen to recreate these drinks at home.”

According to data from CGA, three quarters (74%) of UK bars now offer cocktails with almost all cocktail consumers (98%) choosing to buy them when they are on promotion in happy hours or on two-for-one deals.

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