Pandemic repositions Champagne as ‘not only a celebratory’ drink
The pandemic has helped reposition Champagne as more than a celebratory drink, but as ‘essential’ in times of deep crisis.
Speaking to db, commentators from the Champagne sector outlined how lockdown culture had a reverse effect on how consumers viewed Champagne, describing the spike in demand as a way to increase happiness during the “dark days”.
“When the first lockdown hit in March 2020, we were concerned that consumers would tend to avoid Champagne and cut back on wine consumption in general. However, after the government announced that wine was an ‘essential’ with the off trade permitted to open, there was a significant return to drinking better and more often than pre Covid,” said James Simpson MW, managing director of Pol Roger.
“This [during the pandemic] is precisely when we realised that it [Champagne] was not only a celebratory beverage. The crisis has unveiled that people were enjoying some Champagne moments in some more intimate settings, finding some taste and pleasure in a home cooked meal for two, paired with a great bottle of Champagne, on a Thursday night. Something they might not have done before Covid. It was followed by the celebration of being able to meet family and friends again, which emphasised the phenomenon,” explained eighth generation family member of Champagne Drappier Charline Drappier.
According to commentators within the category, consumers began to trade up and premiumise their drinks choices. According to Majestic Wine chief commercial officer Robert Cooke: “Customers have been happy to spend a little bit more per bottle across lockdowns – as wine represents their ‘treat’. As a premium category, Champagne has benefited from this in particular.”
Champagne Agents Association and MD of Mentzendorff Andrew Hawes admitted: “Looking back at the pandemic and the impacts of that, Bollinger had an incredible year last year – we’ve never sold so much Bollinger.”
As a result of being made to stay indoors and stay away from friends and family amidst enforced lockdowns Castelnau CEO Pascal Prudhomme, revealed that “online sales of Champagne increased” largely due to the fact that consumers have wanted ways to raise a smile and “have been keen to bring a little sparkle into these dark days”.