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| 23 February, 2018
A sneak look at the data ahead of the WSTA’s next market report shows Brits continue their love affair with sparkling wine.
Latest sales data shows that over 120 million bottles of fizz were sold in in British shops and supermarkets alone, worth over £850 million, in 2017.
When sales from the on trade are added to the off trade the number of bottles of fizz sold in total last year will go beyond the 140 million bottles sold in 12 months to September 2017.
The UK’s sparkling wine trade has enjoyed rapid growth in the last five years with volume sales up 89% and up 206% by value. Although sales are now slowing and no longer showing double digit growth, more sparkling wine was sold in the UK last year than any previous year.
The popularity of fizz has helped to boost the English wine industry, which was confirmed by Marks and Spencer who saw a 15% rise in English sparkling wine sales last year.
Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said:
“Fizz is traditionally enjoyed by couples on Valentine’s Day, but it is clear from booming sales, over the last five years, that sparkling wine is a drink enjoyed all year round. UK consumers now have a far greater range to choose from than ever before, including world class English sparkling wines. To allow consumers to continue to enjoy a wide range of quality sparkling wines, the WSTA is calling on government to redress the UK’s excessively high duty rates which have helped leave Britain with the fourth most expensive alcohol prices in Europe.”
Liz Williams from Marks and Spencer said:
“We have seen sales of English sparkling wine go from strength to strength at M&S over the past few years and we currently sell 17 English sparkling wines across our stores. Sales of English sparkling rose 15% last year versus the previous year and we anticipate that this trend will continue in 2018, particularly in light of a royal baby, two royal weddings and a World Cup this year! English sparkling rose has also been doing well, with a year on year increase of around 10% across our English pink fizz range. It’s wonderful to see M&S customers buying into locally made wines and to be supporting English winegrowers – the quality of English sparkling gets better every year and there are new producers starting out all over England so we predict a very bright future for home grown wine!”
The sparkling wine category includes Prosecco, Cava, Cremant and English sparkling wine amongst others all of which have found their way onto drinks menus in bars across the UK.
Prosecco takes up the lion’s share of the sparkling wine sales in the UK with Brits expected to have bought around 85 million bottles in the UK last year, according to IWSR.
This month saw London’s first all-prosecco bar, Prosecco House, open near Tower Bridge.
Brits pay a whopping £2.77 tax per bottle of sparkling wine, which is 28% higher than still. This meant that fizz drinkers paid almost half a billion pounds in duty to the Treasury last year. The French pay the equivalent of 6p a bottle.
The UK alcohol industry is one of the most heavily taxed in Europe, with British drinkers paying an extraordinary 68% of all wine duties collected by all 28 EU member states, despite accounting for only 11% of the population.