Consumption of sparkling wine in UK increases for sixth year in a row

Publications that covered this story include the Metro, the Guardian and The Times on 18 December.
  • Does the increase reflect the Prosecco bubble amongst UK consumers?
  • 162 Olympic swimming pools of sparkling wine were consumed in UK last year
  • The weaker pound since Brexit has made English brands more appetising

The amount of sparkling wine consumed in the UK has increased for the sixth year in a row, our research shows.

Sparkling wine consumption rose 5% to 1.62m* hectolitres in 2016/17, up from 1.53m hectolitres in 2015/16. Consumption has now risen 77% since 2012/13, when 911,250 hectolitres were consumed.

The figures show that the equivalent of 162 Olympic swimming pools of sparkling wine were consumed in the UK last year. A hectolitre is 100 litres.

The rise reflects the growing demand for sparkling wine, which has become a popular alternative to wine and a substitute for champagne. Prosecco has become so popular that it is now served on tap in many bars and pubs**.

Demand has also partly been driven by the fact that many English sparkling wines, such as Chapel Down, Gusbourne and Nyetimber, are now widely recognised as a high-quality option, with several brands gaining international acclaim.

The weaker pound since the Brexit vote has made foreign sparkling wines more expensive, which has raised the appeal of English alternatives. English sparkling wine has also become cheaper abroad and is now sold in 27 countries***.

James Simmonds, partner and Head of our National Drinks Sector Group, says: “The thirst for sparkling wine remains unquenched as consumption hits new heights.”

“The soaring popularity of English sparkling wine in recent years means it is now stocked in most major supermarkets. It’s also a regular fixture on the wine lists at top restaurants which was unheard of not long ago. English brands are now competing with the best from around the world.”

“There is also a growing sentiment amongst consumers to buy British wines where possible.”

“The weaker pound since Brexit has undoubtedly provided a boost to the domestic industry as the price of imported Proseccos, Champagnes and Cavas starts to bite.”

“The popularity of sparkling wine has encouraged new entrants to the market – more and more wine producers and vineyards and being launched every year and consumers have an ever-growing array of home-grown options.”

Consumption of sparkling wine in the UK has increased for the sixth year in a row – consumption in hectolitres:

*HMRC, 2017
**Officially Prosecco must be served from a bottle
***DEFRA, 2017