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Sparkling wine continues to fizz with on-trade sales up by more than half in a year

Published:  15 September, 2015

Sparkling wine is the star performer in the drinks trade with the value of on-trade sales up by more than half in the year to July 7, according to Nielsen figures in the third quarter market report from the Wine & Spirit Trade Association.

Sales - not including Champagne - increased 52% to £292 million with volumes up 29% over the same period. The average price for sparkling wine in the on-trade rose 17% to over £36 per litre.

Over the same period, take-home volume sales of non-Champagne sparkling wine increased by 26% to 693,000hl and value sales were ahead by 25% at £626 million. Champagne volume sales were flat over the same period in take-home while value was up by just 1%.

But Champagne fared better on the on-trade where sales were up 17% by value and 4% by volume.

In still wine, South Africa is threatening to overtake France on volume sold in the off-trade. Both countries saw a decline over the year, but France dropped 11% and South Africa just 6% to leave a difference in volumes over the year of just 14,000hl between the two countries.

The difference between the two for the 12 weeks leading up to June 20 was just 3,000hl.

France is currently in fourth place in the table of leading countries by volume behind Australia, Italy and the USA.

France is still easily the market leader in the on-trade where CGA figures showed New Zealand to be the fastest growing of the top 10 countries, with value sales up 34% and volumes 24%.

In spirits, there was strong take-home trade value growth from spiced rum (+24%), imported whiskey (+14%), tequila (+10%), non-cream liqueurs (+10%) and gin (+6%).

On-trade spirits value growth was driven by single malt whisky (+20%), tequila (+19%), golden rum (+18%) and gin (+17%).

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said: "It is hugely encouraging to see such outstanding growth in sales of sparkling wine and gin over the last quarter, with consumers benefiting from lower taxes and the impact of lower inflation.

"However, the broader wine and spirit market remains sensitive to change with mixed trading conditions seen across the on- and off-trade.

"It is, therefore, important that we continue to call for sustained support from the government for an increasingly valuable British industry.

"The levels of taxation for the wine and spirit trade remain high in absolute terms, and we look forward to making the case to reduce this further in the Budget next year."

Total alcohol sales were up 1% by value in both on- and off-trade.