After a turbulent year for everyone, Champagne was headline news again as a barometer for the mood of the country.
Christmas for many is a time to celebrate. In 2020, despite the very difficult, changing circumstances and with a lot of families unable to get together, Champagne was still the popular choice of the nation to mark the festivities and the new year.
The celebration for the end of such a terrible year is tempered by the devastation to the hospitality industry, where so much Champagne is usually enjoyed. This is recognised by Kevin McKee of Champagne Taittinger and Rob Rand of Champagne Lanson in their summaries of the recent performance.
Kevin McKee – UK Director, Champagne Taittinger
“The last quarter of 2020 was bitter-sweet for Champagne. With the tier system and eventual closure of the on trade the hospitality industry saw its worst year ever. Champagne forecasts looked gloomy, so the uplift in retail sales took everyone by surprise, Taittinger was no exception. Champagne is normally associated with the good times and it seemed at odds that sales would pick up in this way. However, what became apparent was the British public wanted to make the most of Christmas despite the challenges. Households were smaller as a result of the regulations and we saw a trade into Champagne and particularly known names – Taittinger included. The same trend can be noted in wine. As people were unable to go out, enjoy the usual parties and dinners, there was more re-creation of special occasions at home, plus some had the disposable income to do so as they were not going out. Anecdotally there was a significant uptick in gifting too. All off trade channels benefited from this trend – multiple grocers & specialists, convenience, on-line and independents. Yes, the year end was better than expected in the off trade, but with the current demise of the on trade, it left little to celebrate.”
Rob Rand – Managing Director, Lanson International UK
“2020 was a busy year for Champagne Lanson in the UK with the launching of a new brand platform, refreshed packaging, a new advertising campaign and two new beautiful cuvées; Lanson Le Black Reserve and Lanson Le Blanc de Blancs.
Whilst we share the trauma that our customers in the hospitality sector continue to experience, Champagne's performance in retail should give confidence to everyone in our industry that our wines continue to be at the forefront of the British public's mind as the way to celebrate with family and friends. Not only was there volume and value growth in retail, but Rosé and Vintage led that trend as consumers traded up to more premium styles. We read with interest about "pent up demand" and "revenge spend" that will be unleashed in the on trade in second half of 2021 and look forward to supporting our partners with great activations. We live in hope that our events, in particular The Championships, Wimbledon and Chestertons Polo in the Park, will go ahead in their greatest capacity possible. Let's move forward with optimism in 2021 and keep in mind the joy and privilege it is to work in our industry.”
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