Sparkling wine sales in the UK have fallen by 3 million bottles in the last year as the UK market passes ‘peak prosecco’, research from UHY Hacker Young reveals.

Sales were 214m bottles in 2018, from 217 million bottles in 2017, with overexposure of prosecco in the last five years leading the drink to lose its luxurious image.

The decline marks the end of several years of growth, with 149m bottles sold in 2014, 183m in 2015 and 206m in 2016.

UHY Hacker Young said the ubiquity of prosecco-based drinks like Aperol Spritz may have contributed to it becoming less desirable to consumers.

This vast amount of fizz represents around a third of Prosecco produced in total every year, making the UK the country that consumes the most on the planet.

The UK is also the biggest consumer of Champagne outside of France, with around 22m bottles sold in the on and off trade in 2018.

Non-Champagne styles such as cremant have grown in popularity as a more affordable but high quality alternative.

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

UHY Hacker Young said younger drinkers were turning away from sparkling in favour of artisan, pink and flavoured gin.

Rum is also gaining in popularity, with Ableforth’s Rumbullion, Burning Barn and Dark Matter benefitting from a wave of consumer interest in British rum.

High import costs due to weakness in Sterling, and consumers’ preference for authentic and local products is giving British producers an advantage.

Martin Jones, partner at UHY Hacker Young 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.”

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