Wine glasses 3Beer is a declining threat to wine sales, Malbec is big, Millennials and Gen X are key to future wine sales, wine blends have a role to play, and fine wine enjoys support despite the recession.  These are some of the findings of American ‘Emerging Trends within Beverage Alcohol’, a presentation by Nielsen, and assembled from retail scans, consumer surveys, and other information sources. The presentation was attended by American Joe Roberts of 1WineDude blog, who summarised the key findings on his blog.  These were some of the highlights for him:

*   Wine sales are growing

*   Sales of wine at $20 or more showed a strong increase in November/December 2013. Wine sales in the $12 – 15 price range are also showing growth.

*   The share of beer is declining relative to wine and spirits, and adspend is now below 50% of total alcohol adspend.

*   Millennial (36 years and younger) and Gen X (30 – 50 year olds) wine buyers are increasingly buying wine, at the cost of beer.  They are motivated by enhancing their wine knowledge.

*   Prosecco and Malbec sales are booming.

*   Fine wine buyers are also buying more craft beer, the growth of sales of the latter being at 20% in one year!

*   Sales of flavoured spirits and flavoured whisky are on the up.

*   ‘Local’ is an attractive proposition, even to wine buyers.

*   Rosé is showing good growth, while White Zinfandel and Syrah sales are declining.

It would be interesting to track trends for the wine industry in South Africa.  The latest study we could find on Google about our industry was a 2012 SAWIS (South African Wine Industry & Systems) paper on ‘Liquor Consumption Patterns in South Africa’, which shows the dominance by far of beer over our alcoholic beverage industry.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  Twitter: @WhaleCottage

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