Every glass counts, so make it a good one...

06 April 2018

Every glass counts, so make it a good one...

Wine drinkers across Britain are prepared to spend more on quality wine in premium outlets, according to the fourth Liberty Wines Premium On-trade Wine Report, developed in partnership with CGA.

The report investigates how wine sales in premium restaurants, hotels, gastropubs and bars are thriving in stark contrast to continued decline in the mainstream on-trade.

Liberty Wines has combined specialist on-trade sales data with bespoke consumer research to analyse the market over the last five years, revealing the drivers behind the sustained growth of the premium on-trade wine market.


The report findings show:

  1. Every glass counts - The total on-trade market has contracted by over two million cases in three years, but consumers are spending more on wine when they go out.
  2. Flight to quality - Value is increasingly important to consumers. Value means quality at every price level, not lower prices.
  3. Premium advantage - Average bottle prices have risen almost three times faster in the premium on-trade than in the rest of the on-trade since 2014.
  4. Sparkling success - Spending on sparkling wine and Champagne in the premium on-trade has increased +149% since 2013. English and Welsh sparkling wines have enjoyed double digit percentage growth every year since 2013 (albeit from a low base). 
  5. Europe prevails - More than 6 out of 10 wines drunk in the premium on-trade are European, with wine sales from France, Italy and Portugal growing in 2017.


Looking deeper into the wines behind the numbers, the report uncovers the preferences of the premium on-trade consumer. Regionally specific wines from Australia, quite often made from unusual grape varieties, are attracting a new crowd, while the search for elegance also manifests itself in the continued rise of Pinot Noir. 

  • No more ABCs *–Chardonnay growth is being driven by sales of high value Australian Chardonnay which has gained momentum with +17% volume and +25% value growth. *Anything but Chardonnay.
  • More to New Zealand – Sauvignon Blanc is still NZ’s top-seller, but Pinot Noir is increasingly successful, now accounting for 20% of premium on-trade wine sales from New Zealand.


While Londoners lead the way in experimenting with new styles and varieties, the report pinpoints the reasons behind successful wine sales in premium on-trade outlets outside the capital.

David Gleave MW, managing director, Liberty Wines, says “It is clear there remains capacity for growth within the premium on-trade, despite the uncertain economic climate, especially if consumers can experiment more and drink better wine.  One of the most positive aspects is that the growth derives from a much more diverse range of grape varieties than in the past.  This bodes well for outlets with the skills required to put together an adventurous list.

“Our research illustrates that, value at every price level is vitally important to the premium drinker.  This is shown by the continued rise of the average selling price.  As part of the value offered by outlets, consumers expect to see a well-laid out wine list supplemented by good glassware and educated staff.”

LW POWR 2018_keyfindings


To learn more about the report or to request a copy, please email your usual contact or [email protected]