2018 Drinks Predictions Tested

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12 September 2018

Each Christmas season, the wine and spirits industry releases its drinks predictions for the year ahead. As a bit of a self-confessed stats and insights geek, I decided to look deeper into three of these prediction and tested their accuracy nine months into 2018.

English sparkling wine has landed

Denbies Vineyard

Bibendum announced last December that its sales of English sparkling wine doubled in 2017, and predicted continued growth for 2018. The on-trade specialist supplier was not alone. English sparkling did well on the high street as well, with M&S reporting a 15% sales increase, and hopes for more in the following year.

The 2018 sales figures have not yet been released, but hype around English sparkling undeniably continues.  We know that supply is expected to reach some 6m bottles in 2018 (vs 4m in 2017). According to Wine GB, between 1.5m and 2m vines will be planted before the end of the year. On top of this, a Drinks Business article predicted that the 2018 harvest is to be the best in the country’s history thanks to the brilliant summer weather.

Verdict? Prediction on track

Boxed wine on top of alternative packaging

Waitrose released its annual food and drink report 2017-2018 back in November, anticipating a boom for bag-in-box wine. The Evening Standard was one of the first national newspapers this year to report on the growing bag-in-box trend. The article acknowledged that though the reputation for this format once carried cheap and cheerful connotations, mass perception is changing.

Companies like Dalston’s Deli Weino BIB where you can sample up to 30 different organic wines, producers like Le Grappin’s Andrew Nielsen, and suppliers like Vinnaturo, are quickly spreading the bag-in-box gospel. A recent Wine Intelligence Portraits survey also found that bag-in-box wine was popular amongst two of its key audiences.  Both Social Newbies and Generation Treaters are apparently motivated by drinking in social occasions where bag-in-box delivers bang for your buck.

Verdict? Prediction on track

And now for one that almost got missed….


The Cognac Experience at TT Liquor, London.

There wasn’t much mentioned by way of Cognac in the annual predictions. However, as the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC) is a Phipps client, we do follow it closely.  February saw a mention of it in a Drinks Business article. In the report, staff writer Edith Hancock referred to Euromonitor’s prediction that 2018 was the year that ‘Cognac becomes mainstream once more’.

The UK is Cognac’s largest European market and at a Cognac event back in February, Alice Lascelles at the FT said “An excellent cognac tasting today – reminded me how much I and a lot of bartenders love cognac. Lots of great new discoveries. Will be interesting to see if cognac can kickstart the renaissance it deserves.” 

And it looks like things are heading in the right direction with The Evening Standard’s Frankie McCoy declaring in a May 2018 article that Cognac was experiencing a millennial rebrand thanks to its use in cocktails. Lauren Eads also summed up in a Drinks Business article that Cognac turnover reached €3.2 million in the year to 1 August 2018. That is an impressive value increase of 5.4%!

Verdict? Roll on the 2019 predictions as we might well be hearing more about the Cognac renaissance.

To read more about another trend of 2018 – pink drinks, click here.


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