Sparkling wine sales fall by three million bottles – confirming that the UK has passed ‘peak prosecco’

Publications that covered this story include: City AM, Daily Mail, The Sun, Metro, The I and Daily Telegraph on 1 April 2019.
  • Have Brexit worries left fewer reasons to celebrate?
  • Pink and flavoured gin the new consumer favourite

Sparkling wine sales in the UK have fallen by three million bottles in the last year, to 214 million bottles in 2018, from 217 million bottles in 2017*, confirming our predictions, that the UK has passed ‘peak prosecco’.

Overexposure of prosecco in the last five years has led the drink to lose its luxurious image. Marketing prosecco-based drinks like Aperol Spritz have become near-ubiquitous in recent times, which may have contributed to it becoming less desirable to consumers.

With sparkling wine frequently being marketed as a celebratory drink, the current economic climate could be leaving people with few reasons to celebrate, partly explaining the fall in sales.

Prosecco  may be becoming a victim of fast-changing consumer tastes, with younger drinkers tiring of the sparkling wine trend and instead looking to alternatives like artisan gin. Pink and flavoured gin in particular seem to be gaining in popularity, with several major gin brands recently extending their ranges to include pink varieties.

The ‘ginaissance’ may not be the only trend threatening the sales of sparkling wine, with cocktails made with artisan rums also rising in popularity. Rum brands including Ableforth’s Rumbullion, Burning Barn and Dark Matter have all benefitted from a wave of consumer interest in British rum.

High import costs due to weakness in Sterling mean that some supermarkets are struggling to maintain prices. This is likely to deter consumers who increasingly value authentic and local products at more attractive price points.

Martin Jones, partner in our London office says: “After years of growing popularity for sparkling wine, we have finally passed peak prosecco.”

“Prosecco very quickly went from chilled bottles in expensive bars to t-shirts across the country. For a drink that trades on its luxury, being available everywhere can damage its image.”

“Can anyone blame drinkers in the UK for not cracking open the sparkling wine at the same rate over the past year? I’m not sure 2018 will be looked back on as a vintage year for celebrations by very many people.”

“Consumer tastes amongst the younger demographic can change very quickly. Just as quickly as prosecco became the must buy drink for young people, pink gin and rum could replace it.”

Sales in sparkling wine are falling for the first time in five years, suggesting the UK has passed ‘Peak Prosecco’

*HMRC Wine of Fresh Grape: year-end January 31