With 2016 looming, we thought it would be a good time to pick the brains of our buyers, sales force and category experts to find out what they're tipping to be big in the On-Trade next year.
Reflecting the increasingly adventurous nature of consumers in the UK, we're anticipating; 2016 will see consumers attracted to funkier labelled wine along with more diverse grape varieties and regions. We also anticipate premium lager, along with world and specialty beers to continue to up their game, growing amongst the Prosecco drinking demographic, with premium Gin, Vodka and Rum also enjoying increased limelight.
Our Wine Development Specialist in the north, Rachel Love, foresees an increase in sales of wines with interesting labels and packaging for 2016. She said, “We’re seeing customers attracted to wines with bright colours, eye catching designs, and more playful names, like our recent range additions from Casa Rojo. Not only is the liquid brilliant, but the packaging acts as a real dinner table conversation starter.” Matthew Clark Assistant Wine Buyer Judith Nicholson added “We’re seeing labels becoming a key focus for suppliers like the Georg Sandeman’s 2000 vintage special edition Ports where the labels feature all the key moments in the House’s history, a great way to make recommendations– consumers love a good story!”.
As well as interesting label design, customers will also be on the lookout for larger formatted bottles next year. Simon Jerrome, our Wine Purchasing Director said “Magnums are great for sharing and we’ve seen an increase in demand for larger formats recently, which I predict will continue into 2016.”
This year, we've seen customers have been more daring than ever when choosing wine, reflecting the more educated consumer wanting to try something new! We're predicting this trend to continue into 2016 with an even greater consumer interest in different wines of a diverse nature, such as Gruner Veltliner, Verdejo, Aglianico and Carmenere. Wine Development Specialist, Rachel Love, said “We expect to see customers moving away from perennial favourites and delving into something a little different, New Zealand Pinot Gris is one to watch!”
Prosecco gets an upgrade
Sparkling wine has been a particularly popular category for everyone this year, driven by growth in demand for Prosecco. Our Central, South and West, Wine Development Specialist, Simon Grayson said “Prosecco was such a big hit in 2015, and we foresee continued growth, with 2016 witnessing the premiumisation of Prosecco with customers buying ‘blingier’ looking larger formats like Bottega Prosecco’s Gold Magnums”.
We've seen a consumers trend when it comes to food and wine matching, and have noticed consumers are willing to pay for for this tailored experience. Rachel Love said “Food pairing is a trend that is continuing to grow; consumers enjoy learning about what works well with food and also see it as an opportunity to trade up on wines without breaking the bank. Our customers realise that this is the best opportunity to sell more premium wines at a healthy profit; I believe we will continue to see this trend in 2016”.
Beer gains new ground
However, while 2015 may have been the year of Prosecco, Geoff Brown, Marketing Director at Matthew Clark predicts that next year’s big hit will be beer. He said “According to YouGov’s recent September statistics, women are drinking less sparkling wine and moving on to premium lagers[i]. In fact, the research shows that more women are drinking beer than Prosecco. I am expecting to see this trend continuing into 2016.” The beer category has been going from strength to strength with Christmas 2015 seeing our customers revamping their beer offering. Justin Wylde, our Beer, Cider and Softs Marketing Manager said “Beer is going to be huge in 2016, it’s been such a talking point this year with people even planning on pairing beers, ales and IPAs with their Christmas menus. Popular pairings are mince pies with Frontier lager, duck pâté and Vedett IPA, and turkey with Big Hub Hibernation White IPA. With so many styles to chose from, I'm definitely expecting more outlets to take advantage of this diverse category".
Premiumisation is a trend that can be expected to continue to define the spirits category in 2016, according to our Insight and Spirits teams, with premium Gin, Vodka and quality Rum leading the charge. We're seeing our customers are buying an average of four more bottles of Vodka per month in comparison to the same time period last year (August – October). “Bond might have something to do with this craze” says Lauren Guest, one of our Insight Managers. We've also seen an increase in Rum in the run up to Christmas, driven predominantly by spiced rum with our customers buying on average an additional 1.6 bottles of Spiced Rum in comparison to the same time period last year (August – October). Ahead of the game, we've released our Rum portfolio featuring over 70 Rums of all styles from all over the world including Mauritius, Venezuela, Guyana, Cuba and Jamaica. Head to our spirits page to check this out! [i] AB Inbev Woman & Beer research by Flysearch based on 1,000 women in the UK over 25 years of age, September 2015