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Sales fizz at Matthew Clark

High end Prosecco and English sparkling wine have helped to drive a 40% year-on year uplift in fizz sales at Matthew Clark, one of the UK’s largest on-trade suppliers.

Bottega Prosecco, a recent sparkling success story for Matthew Clark

Building on its buoyant sparkling wine sales over the Christmas period, this latest surge is underpinned by a 57% rise in Prosecco volumes and 145% boost for English sparkling wine.

“People are willing to spend more when they’re out; they want a top restaurant experience,” explained Emmy Webster, marketing communications manager for Matthew Clark, at a sparkling wine tasting hosted by the company in London this week.

Nevertheless, she added: “We’re probably not quite there with people saying ‘Let’s have Champagne’,” highlighting the opportunity this leaves open for cheaper sparkling wines such as Prosecco and English sparkling wine.

In order to meet this demand, Matthew Clark has recently added a number of new lines to its portfolio. These include Bottega Prosecco, whose sales have been increasing by 20% month-on-month; Chapel Down, whose sales have grown by 201% year-on-year; and the latest arrival, fellow English sparkling wine brand Camel Valley.

Jason Banner, regional sales manager at Matthew Clark, pointed to a positive knock-on effect for Champagne as a result of this sparkling sales uplift at lower price points. “It’s all really being driven off Prosecco and now that’s driving Champagne growth too – it’s bringing people into the category,” he told the drinks business.

Although growth in the Champagne category has been more modest, Matthew Clark reported a 3% value and 1.5% volume rise in its last quarter compared to the same quarter in 2014. Meanwhile the company’s sales to “high end” hotels has increased by 8% year-on-year.

“At last the market’s turning,” remarked Banner. “Champagne is going on by the glass more and more, which helps. It’s driven by non vintage and prestige; rosé is a bit flat.”

Despite this growth for non vintage Champagne, Banner highlighted the threat posed by top end Prosecco and English sparkling wine to on-trade outlets’ house sparkling offer, which has traditionally been filled by a brut NV Champagne.

“There’s been a decline in non vintage house Champagne and that’s because of people like Chapel Down, which sits at that house price point,” he commented. Likewise with Bottega Prosecco, Banner observed: “At £35 to £40 on lists it’s almost ahead of house Champagne level.”

With this sparkling wine event forming part of a series of five focused tastings held by Matthew Clark over the summer, Webster emphasised the importance of providing regular opportunities for customer interaction and stressed that the company’s annual portfolio tasting remained key to this programme.

“We still do portfolio tastings and will continue to do them,” she remarked. “Events are so important to give your customers the interaction with brands, products and people. A lot of our competitors are stepping away from big tastings but we see it as a big opportunity to engage with our customers.”

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