Champagne and sparkling wine is on a roll lately, outpacing wine overall for a 4.1% total volume increase in 2014, with continued growth expected this year. On-premise, however, the story is quite different: the category barely gained volume, posting a mere 0.4% increase, according to our recently completed study, On-Premise Wine: Opportunities, Challenges and Innovations. Why the pop at retail but barely a blip on-premise?
The soft on-premise traffic and sales likely was an issue last year, but as momentum picks up in 2015, restaurant operators should look to tap into the growing appeal of sparklers in the broader market. Some are already doing so, and a few are bringing the bubbly onto their cocktail menus. Yard House showcases three sparkling cocktails – Elderflower, Grapefruit and Raspberry – involving Prosecco, while Old Spaghetti Factory offers a Lemon Basil Sparkler featuring limoncello, fresh basil and lemon and Prosecco. Others are menuing sparklers ranging from $20 to upwards of $300 per bottle, along with by-the-glass options. While Champagne occupies the largest share of menu space, Prosecco is the fastest growing style.
Younger consumers and women call for sparklers on-premise most often, and Hispanics overindex on calls for all styles of sparkling wine in restaurants and bars. Making Champagne and sparkling wine more accessible and appealing to key customers can enable your venue to capitalize on its off-premise growth trend.