In Brief

Has the UK reached peak prosecco?

The Italian fizz is no longer seen as a luxury item but rum sales are on the up

The UK is set to hit “peak prosecco”, experts warn, as sales of the sparkling wine continue to rise but at a far slower rate than previously.

Research by the accountancy group UHY Hacker Young found that 35.8 million gallons of the sparkling wine were sold last year, an increase of 5% on the previous 12 months.

It’s the smallest increase in prosecco sales in the UK since 2011, says Sky News, and comes amid a rising cost of imports from Italy and France “because of the weakness of the pound”. 

UHY Hacker Young suggests the wine could be suffering from “brand overexposure through overstocking at supermarkets”. As a result it’s no longer seen as a luxury item.

Prosecco took off after the 2008 recession when people opted for the “less fashionable tipple” over its more expensive rival, Champagne, according to The Scotsman

“A 5% increase in sales is not at all bad but that comes after several years of double-digit growth,” says James Simmonds, a spokesman for UHY Hacker Young. “Unless the industry can revitalise its image this year, we may now be reaching ‘peak prosecco’.

The wine is partly a victim of its own success. “It is hard for a luxury product to make the leap into the mass market without losing its reputation for exclusivity”, says Simmonds.

The English wine industry could benefit. “A lot of English wine producers are now vying to capture the space left, as prosecco moves to the mainstream”, he says.

Other drinks could also do well. The decrease in prosecco’s sales might make way for 2018 to be “the year of rum, as rum sales have passed the £1bn a year barrier for the first time ever”, says Metro.

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