Champagne is the heart and soul of sparkling wine. With over 300 years of wine-making history dating back to the monasteries of the 17th century, Champagne has established a reputation for the world’s finest sparkling wines. However, Champagne is not just for a celebratory toast or a rare indulgence, with tastes premiumising and sparkling wine in fashion it can become an everyday drink for many!
Champagne first achieved worldwide fame when the Industrial Revolution created new money. For centuries, Burgundy was Champagne’s biggest competitor in fashion. By chance, Champagne happened to be the current trend when the nouveau riche were on the rise. They were captivated by the pop of the cork and liveliness of the bubbles and came to the conclusion that this drink suited their celebratory lives of perfectly. The nouveau riche quickly made Champagne the chicest drink in London, Paris and New York, doubling Champagne sales in the process.
Ever since those days, the wine has symbolized the “good life” which people could aspire to and is the reason Champagne is inextricably linked to happiness and celebration! And isn’t that what the trade should be all about? Happiness and celebration! Particularly in the build-up to Christmas (it's just 10 weeks until December!), when consumers look to trade up on their regular spending habits, the opportunity arises to kick-start Champagne sales and attract high-spenders. Upping the choice and availability to consumers increases the opportunities for premiumisation. Large formats such as Magnums are a great way to heighten the sense of ceremony/special occasion and offering more Champagne by the glass, or wine flights will encourage trading up from cheaper sparkling wines. Here we explore five of the key trends you can use to grow your champagne sales.
Champagne and Food
Champagne by its nature contains high levels of acidity and a small amount of sugar, two elements which can complement ingredients in almost any food, from delicately poached fish to red-hot Asian styles. The bubbles in Champagne can aerate and enhance flavours in your mouth; the texture also works with the acidity to cleanse your palate and can be fun to match with certain crispy or cloying foods. Good food pairings enhance the dining experience while packaging the cost of Champagne into a set menu price makes it more palatable to buy, and more comfortable for your staff to make the sale.
Service is everything in this industry. Make sure it’s the perfect serve and where possible add theatre, with ice buckets, pouring from a magnum in front of them, or carrying from bar to table through the venue on a tray, making everyone else want a bottle. Perhaps the most essential element is stemware. Make sure you have a glass that suits the wine, although coupes look nice the aromas escape very quickly – for young wines a tall, thin flute works perfectly, while for older Champagnes, use a broader glass that curves back in towards the top, and only fill a little way. The slight amount of liquid means that small slow bubbles deliver the aromas slowly.
What is a Champagne flight? Simply said, it is the perfect opportunity to treat oneself to more than one glass; from a more practical view, it’s an excellent opportunity to show the diversity of Champagne and offer up-sell to higher margin making cuvees. There are many different ways you might approach Champagne flights, such as via a tipsy afternoon tea, ‘Flight Club’ or as pairings right through a 3 course set menu. Matthew Clark can support you with anything you might need to deliver a Champagne or wine flight in your venue; the printing of materials, hosting and or educating your staff to organise, as well of course providing you with the essential – Champagne.
The cocktail market may be worth half a billion pounds, but there is still plenty of room for it to grow, especially where sparkling wine is concerned. The Bellini, Pornstar Martini, and the Champagne Cocktail are three of the On-Trade’s most popular serves, showing the appetite consumers have for wine cocktails. So while for many, the idea of adding anything to Champagne is considered sacrilege, people have been enjoying champagne cocktails as far back as the mid-1800s. Adding Champagne to a drink instantly elevates the occasion, and the amount you can charge.
Wines can often be overlooked when building a back bar display, with focus falling on spirits – but wine is a very profitable category for your business and should be allocated adequate space. Create displays using Champagne. If you’ve got it, you may as well flaunt it. Using Champagne as a key focus on your back bar displays will drive the rate of sale of what is a profitable serve. Ideally, make sure you’re using dummy bottles, which most brands will be able to supply, as not to waste stock under the bright lights. 52% of customers have not chosen their drink brand by the time they reach your bar, leaving you room to persuade; 12% of consumers have bought champagne in the last 3 months, so there is a larger market interested in purchasing a bottle than many expect.