What's hot - trends for 2017

Not only is this the time of year for Christmas parties, carols, turkey and fizz – it is also time to reflect on the year that was and look towards what 2017 has in store.

Our Market Insights team took to their crystal balls (and cutting-edge data tools) to see what’s hot for the year to come…

Here are our 8 trend picks for 2017:

1. The future is premium

Premium-quality drinks sales are growing at pace as people drink less but better. 15% of wine sold in the On Trade is over £20 now, which is an increase of more than 10% over the past two years. We’ve watched this trend evolve and have also seen sales of our premium and artisan spirits nearly double in the last five to six years. Also tying into this trend is the craft beer craze, which continues to go from strength to strength.

2. All about the Loire

Both reds and whites from the Loire are currently very popular. Traditional Loire (like Sancerre and Pouilly Fume) is well represented, but smaller regions still have a way to go. Their time is coming, and in 2017 we will see an increase in representation of smaller regions such as Touraine, Anjou, Saumur and Vouvray.

3. White from red regions

2017 will see a rise in popularity of white wines from French regions recognised for their red wines. We’ll see more white Rhones, white Bordeaux and white Beaujolais hitting lists. We’re also seeing massive growth for Spanish Tempranillo, showing very positive brand recognition for the UK’s favourite wine region – which means this trend has the potential to stretch to white Rioja. There are a growing number of white Riojas appearing on wine lists and it is a style that can succeed at all price points. A bold prediction maybe – but definitely one to watch.

4. Red is the next chapter in the ‘alternative sparkling’ story

The UK is still in love with Prosecco, but as On Trade fizz volume growth (+40%) is driven by lower prices (-8%), outlets are diversifying to offer customers a taste of something different when it comes to bubbles. Alternative sparkling is already an established trend, but we’re now seeing this expand to include sparkling red and Lambrusco – one in five of the lists analysed in Mode A/W 2016* contained at least one sparkling red wine.

5. Premium US whites

We’ve noticed a pattern for Chardonnays from the USA appearing at the top end of industry-leading restaurants' lists. While USA white volumes have dropped -24% in the restaurant sector overall, the category is premiumising and bottle prices have risen +13% this year.

6. Portuguese white

Portuguese wine has exploded in the On Trade this year (+25% value) and we couldn’t ignore the number of leading restaurants listing wines from Portugal. This country makes up a comparatively tiny share of the market (<1%), but was present in 40% of the Mode* lists analysed. We found equal representation of red and white on lists, unlike On Trade sales where white accounts for 26% vs 37% red (37% is rosé, meaning red outsells white 3 bottles to 2). This could be an indicator that now is the time for Portuguese white to catch up.

7. Austrian Reds

Austrian wine has been trending for a while now, but recently the trend has particularly evolved into Austrian reds. Over 1 in 3 of the wine bars analysed now list an Austrian red wine. Austrian whites are still present on lists, but are now joined by reds. This growth has been led by premium Austrian wine (up +5% volume this year) and is undoubtedly linked to the rise in popularity of Blaufrankish and Zweigelt.

8. Swartland

We’ve been banging the premium South Africa drum for a while now and it continues to do well in the On Trade (+8% value this year). It is possible this trend is driven by the increased quality of South African Sauvignon Blanc, the second biggest white grape after Chenin Blanc. One region standing out from the rest for producing superior wine is Swartland – appearing in nearly 1 in 3 of London’s trendiest lists.

*The majority of this trends information comes from Bibendum’s new analytical tool, Mode. This is a cutting edge data tool which captures On Trade wine trends as they emerge.

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