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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18 Beverage Dynamics • November/December 2018 parkling Wine is Korbel, the best-selling domestic traditional-method sparkling wine and No. 3 U.S. bubbly brand overall. In addition to pro- moting Korbel's use in occasions like brunch, the company offers seasonal-themed wrapped bottles – like a Valentine's Day wrap for its brut rosé and a "poolside" wrap for summer. MILLENNIALS LOVE BUBBLY Younger wine drinkers appear to be the most willing to consume sparkling wine throughout the year. They're also helping to drive the overall growth of the category. The Wine Market Council found that significantly larger per- centages of people in their 20s and 30s report regularly drinking sparkling wine sometime during the year, compared with older age groups. "Millennials have attached themselves to the (sparkling) trend," Velez says. The conventional wisdom is that younger people might balk at spending $40, $50 or more for a bottle of bubbles. However, some retailers report that Champagne sales are strong in that age group. "The younger crowd drinks a lot of Champagne," says Tim Alberdi, owner of the Redneck Wine Co. in Tampa, Fla. He cites the success of so-called grower Champagne in his store. Still, most retailers see brisk sales in the lower price categories. Alberdi, for example, says, "We sell a lot of the under-$20 Cali- fornia stuff." Less expensive French wines, like Crémant d'Alsace, also sell well in his store. Meenu Singh, manager of the Wine Specialist in Washington, D.C., calls $20 the "sweet spot." RISE OF SPARKLING ROSÉ The rosé trend in still wines has also extended into sparkling wine. "I'm seeing a lot more sparkling rosé come across my desk," Gelb says. And the wines are performing so well at Total Wine that store displays have been reconfigured to group all the spar- kling rosés together, he says, instead of putting, for example, rosé Champagne with the other Champagnes. "Rosé has been booming," says Xavier Barlier, senior vice pres- ident of Maisons, Marques & Domaines USA, Champagne Louis Roederer's U.S. sales and marketing arm. He says MMD has sold out all of the Roederer rosés it carries, both French and domestic, including the version from Roederer-owned Scharffenberger. Rosé, Pechdo says, has "helped us … get more consumers to Champagne." Rosé Champagne is more expensive, but consum- ers are willing to pay for it, she adds. The power of rosé is such that the Prosecco DOC Consor- tium is considering certifying a Prosecco Rosé DOC, starting in 2019. The wine would be a blend of Glera, the traditional white grape and pinot noir. A number of prosecco makers, including Mionetto, make rosé, but it can't be called prosecco under the current regulations. SINGLE-SERVING AND OTHER INNOVATIONS Yet another factor driving growth is the introduction of new products, especially single-serving packaging. Although some of the more traditional bottle shops don't deal much with the small bottles, Gelb estimates that Total Wine has seen 20 to 30% growth in sales of single-serving bubbly for some months. (Admittedly, that's on a small base.) "If I open up a 750 of sparkling, I'm committed to drinking the whole bottle," he says. Single-serving bottles (and cans) "make sparkling wine that much more accessible." Mionetto's Ceola agrees. "We see more consumers appre- ciating the single serving. They don't have to open the whole bottle." He says the format is "growing probably faster than the regular 750s." Mionetto is just one of the prosecco producers that have found success with the so-called minis. La Marca is the leading producer, according to the Prosecco DOC Consortium, which also notes that minis are sold only in the U.S. La Marca's Gatto says the minis' "inviting size" attracts new consumers. Moët is one Champagne producer that has wholeheartedly embraced the small format. Butel calls the Moët mini "another opportunity to go beyond the traditional occasions" for Cham- pagne. The company has even developed vending machines for the minis for a few on-premise accounts, as well as a device called a "sipper," a conical insert that allows consumers to drink directly from the small bottle. "New products bring new consumers to Champagne," Butel says. One of those new products is Moët Ice Imperial: a sweeter, more condensed bubbly that's meant to be served over ice. A rosé version was recently introduced. Veuve Clicquot has its own versions: Rich and Rich Rosé. With new products, younger drinkers and its growing pop- ularity throughout the year, sparkling wines' growth shows no signs of going flat. The Beverage Information and Insights Group projects that consumption of sparkling wine will continue to grow about 6% a year, compared with 2017 figures, through 2021. "Across the board, the sparkling category is very healthy," Gelb says. BD A NORTHERN CALIFORNIA RESIDENT, Laurie Daniel has written about wine for more than 20 years. Her wine column appears in several Cal- ifornia newspapers, and her articles have appeared in magazines such as Wines & Vines, Food & Wine, Wine Country Living, Drinks and the Wine Enthusiast. PHOTO CREDIT: ©ISTOCK.COM/AZMANL

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