UK sales of sparkling wine top £1 billion

10th March, 2016 by Arabella Mileham

Sparkling wine sales in the UK have soared to over £1 billion for the first time, new figures from the WSTA have revealed.

WSTA cheif executive Miles Beale is pressuring the chancellor to make cuts to wine and spirits

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale is pressuring the chancellor to make cuts to wine and spirits

Sales of fizz at retail hit £709m in the twelve months to January 2016, with the on-trade contributing a further £348m, the latest Wine and Spirit Trade Association Market Report has revealed. This amounts to around 800,000 hectolitres in total, it said, almost double the amount sold in 2012.

Sales have been buoyed in the last 12 weeks, with retail sales rising by around 20% on last year’s figure, to £229m or 255,000hl by volume. This was enough wine to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool, the report found.

Volume sales were even stronger in the on-trade, with bars, pubs, clubs and restaurants seeing a 49% lift in the last 12 months, or 53% in the last 12 weeks. Growth of sparkling wine in pubs have been particularly strong in recent years, up 270% since 2011, which is worth around £95m – and the WSTA argues that it could hit 1000hl by 2020 if it continues to grow at the same rate.

The sparkling category includes Prosecco, Cava and English sparkling wine as well as bubbles from other countries including New Zealand and French Cremant. Currently more sparkling wine is sold in the UK than Champagne, and now accounts for around 58% of sales by value or 8 out every ten bottles sold.

Champagne sales also grew in the last 12 weeks, up 5% by value at retail, and 13% increase across the on-trade. .

Miles Beale, chief executive for the WSTA said the growth was ‘fantastic news’ – particularly for the expanding English wine industry – but noted that sparkling wine was among the highest taxed alcoholic drinks in the UK, around 28% higher than still wines.

“This is why we, and many others, are asking for the Chancellor to cut wine and spirits by 2%. Not only would British drinkers get a fairer deal but a cut would bring more revenue to the Exchequer,” he said.

Online sales of sparkling wine – including Champagne – have also performed strongly in the UK, according to the latest Wilson Drinks Report. Sparkling was the only sector to see both volume and value growth in the 3 months to 27 June 2015.

To find out more about the key trends and growth opportunities within beers, wines and spirits retailing, purchase and download a copy of the latest WDR report here

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