The Liberty Wines Premium On-Trade Wine Report 2016

01 September 2016

The Liberty Wines Premium On-Trade Wine Report 2016

The annual Liberty Wines Premium On-trade Wine Report highlights a positive 2015 but warns of challenges ahead...


The premium on-trade continues to grow year-on-year with sales of wine in premium restaurants, hotels, gastropubs and wine bars thriving[1], despite the decline of wine sales in the total GB on-trade, according to the latest Liberty Wines Premium On-trade Wine Report developed in partnership with CGA Strategy.


The report reveals that over the last three years, the growth of white wine in the premium on-trade has outstripped the overall growth rate of the market[2]. In fact, in 2015 Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio together accounted for over a third of sales in the premium on-trade[3].


Sparkling wine sales continue to outperform the whole wine category in 2015, demonstrating solid growth, according to the data compiled by CGA Strategy. In the premium on-trade market, sales have increased 32.9% by volume and 58.3% by value. Champagne retains the lion’s share of this market, selling more than double the volume of Prosecco at four times the value.


David Gleave MW, managing director at Liberty Wines, commented: “Our insight shows that the premium on-trade wine market is currently flourishing. We believe this is due to more consumers choosing premium venues when dining out, coupled with people spending more on wine when they do.”


“However, we must not be complacent. Although people are drinking less but better, we can see a polarisation of the style and varieties of wine consumed. We know from research that women usually order wines they have tried before or brands they recognise. The wine category is also facing increased competition from craft beers and artisan spirits. We need to work harder to engage consumers, adapt offerings to include different serve sizes and encourage experimentation by guiding consumers to ‘drink outside the box’ in the premium on-trade. For example we have seen solid growth of Chenin Blanc in the capital, which could be explored elsewhere across the UK.”


New for the 2016 report is a comprehensive consumer survey to supplement the data compiled by CGA Strategy. The research states that 39% of consumers surveyed state a good range of wines by the glass would encourage them to try different wines, with younger customers more attracted to this[4]. Also, 40% of consumers state knowledgeable staff would encourage them to try new wines, with 25-34 year olds most keen to hear staff recommendations[5].


David Gleave MW, continues: “We can’t ignore that we are looking at a period of significant economic uncertainty ahead. This means the industry needs to up its game and adjust to the changing premium on-trade environment. We are faced with a significantly weakened pound, which will have an impact on wine prices.  It is therefore crucial for us to embrace changes, including the rise in casual dining as well as the changing palates and demands of younger consumers who openly state they look for guidance when ordering wines.”


The Liberty Wines Premium On-trade Wine Report also reveals that:

  • Pinot Noir has moved from ‘one to watch’ to a significant player in the premium on-trade. It is the second most successful red variety after Merlot with 13% of the red wine market share by both volume and value
  • London’s market share of the premium on-trade is 51% by volume, 58% by value and London drinks six out of 10 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc in the premium on-trade
  • Despite premium on-trade growth overall, just four countries have increased wine sales every year from 2013 – 2015 by volume and value: France, Spain, Chile and New Zealand



For more insight into what motivates wine drinkers, what trends are developing and what action to take to capitalise on this information, please get in touch with Liberty Wines via [email protected].


[1] 6.3% by volume and by 9.4% value

[2] 9.9% v 6.3% by volume, 11.8% v 9.4% by value

[3] 36.8% by volume and 35.6% by value

[4] 42% of 18-24 year olds state a good range of wines by the glass would encourage them to try new wines

[5] 44% of 25-34 year olds state knowledgeable staff would encourage them to try new wines