Majestic credits ‘hipsters’ with Sherry revival in UK

UK retailer Majestic has attributed a surge in sales of Sherry to the rising popularity of the fortified wine among “hipsters” and younger drinkers, a demographic that it credits with kick-starting a Sherry revival in Britain.

Open jamon sandwiches with white wine on wooden table

While sales of Sherry, and the wider fortified category, have long been in decline in the UK, premium, drier styles of the fortified wine from Jerez appear to be picking up, according to Majestic.

In the past year to date, sales of Sherry at Majestic have increased by 46%, with premium Sherries in the £10 – £15 price range increasing by 71%. Best-selling styles, say the retailer, include Manzanilla and Fino, which are increasingly finding a home as a cocktail base. In response, Majestic has said it would be boosting its online range of fortified wines for next day delivery.

“Good sherries are high quality, food-friendly wines that are tapping into the changing preferences of the generation that light the fuse under craft ales and craft gins,” says Joe Aylmer, Sherry buyer at Majestic.

“It’s no longer a social faux to opt for Sherry in bars. Sherry can be used as an ingredient in cocktails, with tapas or simply served ice-cold on a hot summer day. It goes great with tonic as a low ABV alternative to G&T too. It’s a complete reinvention of the style.”

Earlier this year the IWSR, as part of its 2016-2021 forecast report, projected that volume sales of premium Sherry would grow 18% from 2016 to 2021, continuing an upward trend since 2011, albeit at a slower rate, helped by a boom in premium Spanish restaurants and interest by younger consumers.

However while the tide might now be beginning to turn in favour on Sherry, the category faces a long road to recovery. While total sales of Sherry in Great Britain grew by 8% last year – a positive step – the Consejo Regulador de Los Vinos de Jerez’ last annual report, from 2015, revealed that Sherry sales had all but collapsed in the category’s top five markets over the last decade, with global exports nearly halving since 2002.

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