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Top wine trends of 2012 – part 8

In this latest installment of the drinks business top 10 trends for 2012, we forecast that reduced alcohol wines will win more shelf space.

After years of waiting in the wings, lower alcohol wines look set to break through thanks to big brand investment in image and quality. Reporting 66% growth in the UK for its lighter and sweeter styles during the last year, Accolade Wines will be pushing its 5.5% abv wines, Banrock Station Light and Banrock Station Moscato, with a £1 million marketing drive.

The brand owner is hopeful that this Moscato style can enjoy the same success it has seen in Australia and the US. In the latter, Nielsen data shows that Moscato sales have seen volume and value growth of more than 95% since 2010. “We are simply giving some people what they want, and that’s lower calories and lower-alcohol wines,” explains Neil Marolia, brand manager of Banrock Station.

Moreover, Marolia points to external pressures which are forcing large brand owners in particular to give this area of product development serious consideration. “The government’s Responsibility Deal is challenging us all to bring out lower-alcohol products and we have responded to that,” he remarks.

It’s not just the brands who are driving this trend; the multiple retailers are also working hard to develop the category. “At Sainsbury’s we’ve made a commitment that by 2020, we’ll double the sales of lighter alcohol wine and reduce the average alcohol content of own-brand wine and beer,” reveals Dyer.

However, he believes that more work needs to be done on improving the image and communication of the low-alcohol sector: “The industry must be mindful to label lighter wines in a clear and compelling way.”

For more detailed analysis of the rise of reduced alcohol wines, see the drinks business Trends Report 2011.

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