According to the latest Liberty Wines Premium On-trade Wine Report sales of wine in premium restaurants, hotels, gastropubs and wine bars are thriving. Sales in this premium part of the on-trade are continuing to grow year-on-year – despite overall decline of wine sales in the UK on-trade.
The new figures developed in partnership with CGA strategy – released today – show that this is largely down to the growth of white wine. In 2015, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio together accounted for over a third of the overall sales in the premium on-trade.
Liberty's latest report also showed the ongoing love that the on-trade has for fizz, with sparkling wine sales continuing to grow and outperform the whole wine category in 2015. Sales in the market have increased by 32.9% by volume and 58.3% by value. Champagne specifically shows no signs of slowing down, retaining the lion's share of the premium market, selling double the volume of prosecco at four times the value.
'We believe this is due to more consumers choosing premium venues when dining out, coupled with people spending more on wine when they do,' said Liberty Wines' managing director, David Gleave MW.
'People are drinking less but better. We can see a polarisation of the style and varieties of wine consumed. The wine category is also facing increased competition from craft beers and artisan spirits. We need to work harder to engage consumers, by guiding consumers to "drink outside the box" in the premium on-trade.'
New for the 2016 report is a comprehensive consumer survey to supplement the data. Of the consumers surveyed, 39% stated that a good range of wines by the glass would encourage them to try different wines, with younger customers more attracted to this. Meanwhile, 40% of consumers revealed that knowledgeable staff would encourage them to try new wines – highlighting the importance of quality training in the trade.
'The industry needs to up its game and adjust to the changing premium on-trade environment,' continued Gleave. 'We are faced with a significantly weakened pound, which will have an impact on wine prices. It is therefore crucial for us to embrace changes, including the rise in casual dining...'
The research also revealed Pinot Noir has moved from 'one to watch' to a significant player in the premium on-trade, being the second most successful red variety after Merlot – with a 13% market share.
Liberty Wines took the Merchant of the Year trophy in this year's Sommelier Wine Awards.
Top 5 grape varieties by volume:
Top 5 wine producing countries
Wine market share of premium