Merry makers

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Premium drinks will help retailers unwrap sparkling profits this festive season.

by Gaelle Walker

Concerns over the new omicron variant may well be on the up, but with no word (yet) on a return to lockdown, Christmas 2021 is promising to serve up a slice of much-needed merriment with friends and family.

That optimism has already led to a rise in smaller in-home gatherings and celebrations ahead of the festive season – with seven in 10 consumers having entertained friends at home last month and or planning to do so this month according to TWC.

TWC Director of Communications Sarah Coleman said: “With high future intent to entertain at home, retailers have an opportunity to target home entertaining occasions, to meet the needs of those that don’t want to go out, or indeed those who have enjoyed entertaining at home through the pandemic and wish to continue.”

Premiumisation will remain a key area of focus for those consumers. Accolade Wines Europe Marketing Director Tom Smith elaborates: “This year looks to be more promising and bigger than ever, as hopefully we can have the celebratory family Christmas that wasn’t possible in 2020.

“With many feeling like they ‘missed out’ last year, we expect there to be an increase in smaller, everyday celebrations in the run-up to the big day, with wine and sparkling playing a key role.

On Christmas Day itself Accolade expects to see more emphasis on celebrating and treating that will manifest itself via a rise in sales of premium drinks as shoppers trade up, but also in higher volumes of everyday options as shoppers treat themselves to more of their usual tipples.

As a result, “it’s important to remember tiering and pushing big brands alongside premium options,” Smith says.

For party-planning consumers bent on purchasing larger volumes in easy to serve formats, bag in box/wine on tap formats also look set to do well this year, Accolade adds.

Drinks for gifting will of course also help to drive sales, with premium spirits, including malts likely to drive sale here, Diageo says.

“Every Christmas, malts and whiskies prove popular as they make great gifts for family and friends – during Christmas 2020, malts had a strong presence in the scotch whisky category making up 17.2% in total value share,” Diageo’s Head of Category Development Hannah Dawson explains.

Craft beers and especially mixed cases, also looked set to serve up “great gifting potential,” BrewDog adds. The brewer recently unveiled a new Eight Beers of Christmas mixed case to tap in to the gifting and also trial opportunity.

According to BrewDog, mid-pack craft beer cans sales saw a growth of +113% last year, while small pack cans were up 57.8% year on year and total craft beer up 43.5%.

Festive stats
  • Christmas is key to recruiting new shoppers, with shopper numbers 2.7 times higher in December than the rest of the year and 61% of these new to the category says BrewDog.
  • 6-12 can multipacks over-index in the two weeks before Christmas, with share jumping from 17% at the end of November, to 23% at the end of December according to Brewdog.
  • Last year, premium drinks were up 27.4% in value year on year in the Off-Trade according to Diageo.
  • PMPs can help to unwrap plump profits at Christmas according to Jaegermeister UK, with PMP formats of its 20cl bottles currently growing at 52% year on year PMP formats of its 50cl bottles up 46%.

Moderation in mind

While the festive season has traditionally been a time of over-indulgence, the growing consumer trend towards moderation also looks set to play a key role this festive season in particular. And, thanks to the glut of premium quality low to no alcohol products launched this year alone, keeping a clear head certainly doesn’t mean compromising on taste or quality.

Accolade Wines expects no/low alcohol products to increase in importance at Christmas and expects to see sales rise 31% by 2024.

Helping it to cash in on this trend will be its dedicated seltzer line, Nine Yards which Accolade says was created to engage with younger drinkers and respond “to the changing alcohol landscape.”

Diageo is also hoping to tap in to the trend with its recent launch of new Gordon’s 0.0% and Tanqueray 0.0%. “Within the premium spirits category, alcohol-free variants a key consideration,” Diageo says.

“We wanted both innovations to show that you don’t have to compromise on taste or experience if you choose not to consume alcohol. Retailers can also take the opportunity to educate customers on no and low options by inspiring ‘at-home’ simple serves and aperitifs over the festive period,” Diageo’s Dawson adds.

Green thinking

Pernod Ricard UK’s Spanish wine brand Campo Viejo recently unveiled a new more contemporary look and raft of sustainability-led packaging upgrades across its range of red, white, rosé and cava varieties.

The changes include a new-look logo and crest also include a number of environmentally-focused changes such as the removal of the netting around the Campo Viejo Gran Reserva bottles – a move which Pernod Ricard UK estimates will save 6,330 CO2eq/kg in CO2 emissions.

Across the range, bottle labels have also changed from adhesive labels to recyclable FSC-certified PET paper, and a reduction in the label size and redesign of the graphic elements will use less inks and paper.

All Campo Viejo bottles are also made using 68% recycled glass.

Carbon negative brewer Brewdog will also be promoting its newly launched Planet Pale (4.3% ABV) sustainable craft beer across grocery and convenience this festive season.


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This publication contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under the age of 18 years old.

This website contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under 18 years of age.

This website contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under 18 years of age.

This publication contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under the age of 18 years old.