Wine sales in the premium on-trade have shown strong recovery despite immense challenges, finds the 2021 Liberty Wines Premium On-trade Wine Report.
Identifying and analysing key trends that helped the premium on-trade to rebuild wine sales, the report highlights opportunities for all sectors of the hospitality industry to improve wine list profitability – at a time when this is crucial to businesses’ survival.
Now in its sixth edition, the report is produced in partnership with CGA, which analysed wine sales in Britain’s premium bars, restaurants and hotels alongside Liberty Wines’ data. Three distinct trading periods between 2020-21 lockdowns (summer 2020, autumn 2020, spring 2021) were examined.
“We hope this report, which comes at a time when the on-trade faces multiple challenges, will offer valuable insight into wine list opportunities," says Liberty Wines managing director David Gleave MW. "We know how important it is that on-trade wine sales deliver both happy consumers and healthy profits and hope the report’s insights will prove useful in both areas. It’s been encouraging to see evidence of a steady recovery of wine sales in the premium on-trade and confirmation that sustainable growth is achieved by refusing to compromise on quality.”
Key findings of the report
1. Premium proves resilient
Wine sales in the premium on-trade continued to outperform the rest of the hospitality sector during the pandemic, except during ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ in August 2020. The success of the premium on-trade had become increasingly apparent by June 2021 when still wine sales had reached 88% of 2019 levels.
2. Spend increases as consumers seek quality
Spend per bottle continues to rise in the premium on-trade and was significantly higher in spring 2021 versus spring 2019. This indicates consumer interest in higher-quality wine and recognition that value can be found at all price points.
3. Premium wine drinkers increase experimentation
Premium wine drinkers’ desire to try new and diverse wines increased further as the pandemic provoked a reversal of the usual passage of trends from the on-trade to the off-trade. The growth in popularity of independent wine retailers during lockdown, and their ability to encourage consumers to explore new wines, accelerated a trend that was already established in the premium on-trade prior to Covid-19.
4. An increased thirst for Champagne
Consumers’ thirst for quality-focused Champagne is growing. Champagne’s value share of premium on-trade wine sales has increased since 2019, along with an increased spend per bottle of 5%. Volume recovery has also been strong with sales reaching 95% of 2019 volumes by June 2021.
To access the full report, please click here.