Prosecco boom helps Italian wine become the best seller in UK pubs

Wine from Italy is the biggest seller by country in the UK’s pubs, bars and restaurants. The latest Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA) market report shows over 64.6 million bottles of Italian wine, including still and sparkling, were sold in the on trade in the 12 months to September.

In total sales of Italian wine have gone up 7% in volume sales and up 13% in value, worth £1.1 billion, compared to the previous year. Much of the rise is attributed to the Prosecco boom in the UK, giving British pubs a much needed boost.

Sparkling wine is worth nearly £500m a year to the on trade, with another £400m from Champagne sales in the last year. 48% of volume sales is estimated to be from Prosecco alone, nearly 10m bottles.

Despite the success of sparkling and Italian wine in the pubs bars and restaurants, fears remain over the ability of UK pubs to thrive as rising inflation, currency devaluation and uncertainties surrounding Brexit mean that it is more expensive to import wine from the EU.

Overall wine volumes in pubs, bars and restaurants, have declined by 10% since 2013 but wine from the EU accounts for 62% of all wine sold in the UK on trade. This is up 9% since 2013, showing that consumers are increasingly looking to EU wines to enjoy with their meals and whilst out with friends for a drink. Nearly £7 out of every £10 spent in the on trade are on EU wines.

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: “The growth in popularity of wine from Italy has hugely benefited the British pub, bar and restaurant trade. The prosecco boom has made sparkling wine more affordable on a night out and encouraged people to try something new. We are increasingly seeing pubs expanding their wine lists, which is fantastic for the wine industry and consumer choice.

But our great British pub industry still facing growing pressures from high duty collections and decreased consumer spending but also from uncertainties surrounding Brexit. Wines from the EU account for 3 out of every 5 bottles sold in UK pubs, bars and restaurants and it is vital for UK pubs that trade flows remain open, easy and frictionless.

We are delighted to have moved on to the next phase of negotiations and hope that the government can deliver for the UK pub goer.”

British pubs are closing at an average 21 per week as landlords across the country battle against rising costs, high duty rates and the uncertainties of Brexit.

The UK is one of the key global hubs for the wine trade and last year the UK traded just shy of £2.3 billion in wine. It is the world’s second largest importer of wine by both volume and value.

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