Beverage Dynamics

Beverage Dynamics NovDec 2018

Beverage Dynamics is the largest national business magazine devoted exclusively to the needs of off-premise beverage alcohol retailers, from single liquor stores to big box chains, through coverage of the latest trends in wine, beer and spirits.

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16 Beverage Dynamics • November/December 2018 How bubblies have transcended holiday sales. S parkling wine was once mostly a special-occasion beverage — reserved for weddings, New Year's toasts and birthdays. No more. It's still the wine of celebration, but more consumers than ever consume bubbly as an every-day pleasure. Its growth is led by the white-hot trend of prosecco, though other types of sparkling wines are also seeing healthy sales. Consumers have "graduated, if you will" to drinking bubbly more regularly, says Marina Velez, manager of information services for the Beverage In- formation and Insights Group. "Consumers are willing to spend on Champagne or sparkling wine on a daily basis . . . We don't see that changing." In its Wine Handbook 2018, the group calls Champagne and sparkling wine con- sumption a "key driver of growth in the overall wine category," noting that bubbly sales were up 56% in 10 years — and nearly 6% last year. In addition to the continued popularity of prosecco, and the consumption of bubbly throughout the year, the increases are also driven by the habits of younger drinkers; the popularity of rosé wines; and the proliferation of single-serving packages. A few retailers reported devoting more shelf space to sparkling wine, although that's not always possi- BY LAURIE DANIEL ble. (One retailer likened allocating shelf space to a game of Tetris.) PROSECCO LEADS THE WAY Sales have been strong for domestic spar- kling wine, especially for a few brands. Mumm Napa, for example, was up more than 10%, while Scharffenberger increased nearly 9%. Imports, as a group, are doing even better. That's largely due to prosecco, which now accounts for 17% of U.S. spar- kling wine sales — though Champagne is also experiencing healthy growth. The only major imported category that's largely stagnant is cava, the tra- ditional-method sparkling wine from Spain. Although some retailers report success with cava, others speculated that prosecco's success has eaten into cava's market share. The wines tend to be sim- ilarly priced, and Brian Gelb, Total Wine & More director of imported wine, thinks prosecco's rounder, more fruit-forward fl avor profi le is seen as more accessible. Within most of the categories there are success stories that stand out. That's particularly true with prosecco, where La Marca continues to dominate. Its 2017 sales were up almost 25% over the previous year, according to the Beverage Information and Insights Group. That increase has followed a string of healthy years. La Marca, the top-selling brand of imported sparkling wine, has the benefi t of being imported by E. & J. Gallo, with its marketing and distribution mus- cle. La Marca winemaker Fabrizio Gatto offers his own reason for the brand's suc- cess: "La Marca has the charm to stand alone as an aperitif, but it also has the body and the acidity to pair beautifully with a variety of foods." WINE ALL YEARROUND PHOTO CREDIT: ©ISTOCK.COM/MARKSWALLOW BUBBLY SALES WERE UP 56% IN 10 YEARS AND NEARLY 6% LAST YEAR.

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