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UK gastropubs lead premium wine push

As British people’s taste for high-end wine continues to grow, the new wave of gastropubs sweeping through the country are their preferred place for drinking it, according to a leading distributor.

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Sales of premium wine in pubs is going up at the same time as drinking volumes decrease (Photo: Public Domain / Pixabay)

Premium wines supplied by distributor Matthew Clark that go on to be sold in gastropubs at over £20-a-bottle are up by 52%, according to figures from the company.

The flagship styles for this premium push in the UK are Sauvignon Blanc, growing 6% and accounting for nearly half of Matthew Clark’s premium still white category. Similarly, Campania wine sales grew by a staggering 130% in 2014.

The growth of the gastropub concept has been increasingly picking up pace in the UK. It is the definitive on-trade trend at the minute, as consumers continue to shun drinking in quantity in preference for drinking fewer, higher-quality drinks in boutique surroundings.

In May, the drinks business reported that research carried out by the London Wine Fair showed that gastropubs’ impressive wine offerings are one of the key reasons the sector is witnessing growth by tapping into consumer tastes.

“Better wine at reasonable mark-ups demonstrates a recognition that providing the consumer with better value will encourage them to experiment, try new wines and ultimately increase their spend; 41% of consumers say that they enjoy trying new and different styles of wine on a regular basis,” the report said.

Other areas of the on-trade are also seeing premium wine sales boom. Restaurants, for example, have seen sales of top-end labels up 14.5% compared to last year. Overall, premium still wine sales are up 10.7%.

Wine drinkers seem to be searching seeking out new producers from less well-known regions in their pursuit for premium pours. Simon Jerome, purchasing director at Matthew Clark, said, “Our customers are increasingly looking to up their offering of quality wines delivering good value as consumers are not only more willing to trade up but more interested in trying new things.”

As such, the company is expanding its range to include a more diverse array of styles and regions. Jerome said, “We have welcomed producers from all corners of the world this year which adds even greater character to our wine list. We have new producers from Australia, Argentina, USA, Spain, Hungary, Romania and the UK as well as France, Italy and New Zealand – all selected to fulfil growing customer demand for premium wines.”

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