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Beaujolais gains popularity with Millennials

Published:  20 November, 2014

Beaujolais Nouveau Day is here - and this year the festivities are shaking off their fusty image and attracting younger drinkers.

Beaujolais Nouveau Day is here - and this year the festivities are shaking off their fusty image and attracting younger drinkers.

That's according to research for Bibendum carried out by the Wilson Drinks Report, which says Beaujolais is building momentum with 25 to 34 year-olds, as well as remaining popular with the over 55s.

Beaujolais NouveauSwansea celebrates Beaujolais Day in styleThe wine is now starting to attract younger drinkers too, accorind to new research for Bibendum carried out by Wilson Drinks Report

Swansea's Morgans Hotel is hosting a major celebration for Beaujolais Day and has done for the past 13 years, with 600 covers expected at its restaurant and specially-erected marquee. Food and beverage manager Jonathan Thyer told "When we started doing it, there was a lot of businesses and the older generation, but now there's a lot of younger people too. The entire age range is out today across Swansea."

He anticipates selling at least 100 bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau today alone, alongside a pallet of Prosecco, one of each of its house wines, and Veuve Clicquot. It is offering a special three-course lunch for £29.50, with one bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau selling for around £20.

Although Beaujolais Day was most popular in the 1980s, Thyer said it has "never really gone away in Swansea", with many firms taking a half day and heading out for lunch.

Marks & Spencer has also enjoyed staggering success with Beaujolais Nouveau in the past year. Last year it sold 40,000 bottles, an increase of 300% on 2012, and is forecasting to see at least another 50% this year. It is also introducing the UK's first Beaujolais Nouveau Rosé.

Overall the wine team said that Beaujolais "remains a hugely popular category for M&S and sales are steady year on year". Total sales stand at 270,000 bottles of Beaujolais wines a year, with over 100,000 bottles of Fleurie alone.  

Wine Intelligence findings show wine from Beaujolais, and not just Nouveau, is now the 10th most purchased region in the UK (bought by 12% of wine drinkers in the past three months) and is one of only two regions in the top 10 to have grown in penetration over the last two years - the other being Prosecco. 

Bibendum says it sold 27% more of the average Beaujolais versus the average bottle of wine over the Christmas period last year, and is predicting increased popularity this year.

Mark Riley, sales director at Bibendum, said: "Following the 'Nouveau craze' of the Eighties, Beaujolais wine developed a negative reputation among consumers who associated Gamay-based wines with the slightly sweet, simple light bodied wines that characterise Beaujolais Nouveau. Beaujolais wine has seemingly been suffering from the backlash ever since. Beaujolais has moved on since then and the quality and value coming from the region is exceptional. It is therefore hugely encouraging that consumer interest is on the rise among a generation of consumers who are approaching the category with no preconceptions."