Wine shoppers turn to low-alcohol and cider

18 February, 2011

Shoppers are dropping out of the bottom of the light wine market and putting their cash into cheaper categories such as low-alcohol wine, British-made wine and cider, the latest Nielsen figures have revealed.?Light wine sales dropped 2% by volume in the year to December 25, although they grew 3% by value, mainly because of tax hikes and inflation.?Meanwhile, sales of British wine have grown 65% by value and 50% by volume, and alcohol-free and low-alcohol wines have increased sales by 75% and volumes by 40%.?Nielsen analyst Stewart Blunt said British wine keeps prices low because, at typically 8% abv, it avoids a lot of the duty incurred by higher alcohol wines.?Low-alcohol wines – defined by Nielsen as 5.5% abv and below – have driven the NAWLAW category to around 1% of the market, powered by South African producer First Cape’s Café Collection range.

“There is a gap at the cheap end of the wine market,” said Blunt. “If you can find a bottle of British-made wine for £2.49 or less, it’s an acceptable alternative to wine for some people. If you’re strapped for cash you don’t want to give up all creature comforts.”?Cider has also benefited from cost-conscious shoppers, boosting value sales by 9% and volumes by 6%.?Blunt added: “People who would have gone to the trendy pink wine are turning to alternative trendy ciders and potentially saving a bit of money.”?Ginger beer and multipacks have given the previously struggling RTD category a serious boost, with the sector growing 13% by volume and value.?It has also been helped by burgeoning sales in pre-mix cans, but this is a tiny part of the market, according to Blunt.

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