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UK sales of sparkling wines hit £1 billion for first time

Published:  11 March, 2016

Sales of sparking wines in the UK - excluding Champagne - hit £1 billion for the first time in 2015, according to figures released today by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

Sales in the off-trade account for some 67% - or £709 million of the £1.057 billion total - with the on-trade accounting for £348 million.

However, on-trade sales volumes rose 49% in the last twelve months, more than double the 21% growth of sparkling wines in the off-trade.

In the last twelve weeks alone, on-trade sales volumes have rocketed 53%, with the off-trade steady at 19%.

Value growth is lagging slightly behind volume in the on-trade, up 44% over the year.

In Britain's pubs, sparkling wine sales are up 270% - or £95 million - since 2011.

The sparkling wine category includes English sparkling wines such as Nyetimber, Chapel Down and Ridgeview, as well as Prosecco and Cava.

Champagne sales, which have a separate measure, are also thriving, up 13% year on year on the on-trade over the last twelve weeks, and up 5% at retail.

The UK remains the world's leading export market for Champagne, according to data revealed by the Comité Champagne earlier this week.

Champagne exports to the UK grew 7.3% by value in 2015, and 4.5% by volume.

The UK buys four times as much sparkling wine as it does Champagne, however, with only 17% of all fizz sales coming from Champagne.

The WSTA is projecting that over 800,000hl of sparkling wine will sell in the off-trade this year, double the 441,000 hl sold in 2012.

Miles Beale, chief executive for the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: "Sparkling wine has once again experienced excellent growth, which is fantastic news for our expanding English wine industry.

"However the UK has the second highest duty rate and sparkling wine is among the highest taxed alcoholic drinks in the UK and is taxed 28% higher than still.

"This is why we, and many others, are asking for the Chancellor to cut wine and spirits by 2%.

"Not only would British drinkers get a fairer deal but a cut would bring more revenue to the Exchequer. We could all celebrate!"