Argentinian wines, rosé and ready-to-drink cocktails were some of the drinks that had significant uplift in sales during lockdown, according to the WSTA market report.
The report uses data from alcohol sales from supermarkets, shops and pubs, bars and restaurants, across 2020 – though of course many hospitality venues were closed during the lockdowns, so purchasing shifted to supermarkets and retailers.
Wine retailer Majestic reported 150,000 new customers and an online sales increase of 300% during the first UK lockdown, while purchases of both still wine and spirits in the on-trade were down 60% in volume terms on 2019, according to the report.
Argentinian wine and rosé
Sales of Argentinian wines grew 41% compared to the previous year, with UK drinkers buying 50 million bottles over the year.
Rosé wine sales increased by 22% compared to the previous year, with over 113 million bottles sold. While rosé had the biggest percentage increase, it is still the smallest in terms of volume compared to white and red wine.
‘With pubs closed and the opportunity for fun in short supply it appears that people have been looking to break up the mundane by exploring new tastes and tipples,’ said Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA.
‘This has clearly benefitted Argentinian winemakers who had been steadily gaining more UK customers in recent years but made a massive leap in sales last year. Similarly, rosé has been on the up in recent years but was given an extra boost in 2020 during the lockdowns and the warm weather. Interestingly, the rosé trend continued during the winter months.’
Another category that experienced significant growth was the ready-to-drink category (RTDs) – such as bottles or cans of pre-mixed cocktails – which grew 23%.
In 2020 the category was worth £412 million in the UK, which has almost doubled from five years ago when it was worth £234 million.
‘RTDs is another category which has been gaining ground at a rapid rate. Last year consumer curiosity and convenience drove a real boom in the variety of mixed drinks cans on the market, with consumers trying out new drink experiences in smaller packaging,’ said Beale.
A Wine Intelligence report in 2020 showed that people saw drinking as a ‘lockdown treat’, but that in the UK there was a shift towards volume and value purchasing- a reversal of the previous trend moving towards ‘less but better’.
‘With the hospitality sector once again being able to host people indoors from Monday, it will be interesting to see if these new home drinking preferences creep into consumers’ drinking habits when we are back into our favourite pubs and restaurants,’ said Beale.