AccessMyLibrary provides FREE access to millions of articles from top publications available through your library.
Champagne sales are soaring as the drink casts off its exclusive, celebration-only image, writes Jane Bainbridge.
THE BACKGROUND - Champagne and sparkling wines are no longer the preserve of special occasions. Inspired by aspirations to the glamourous lifestyles of footballers and their wives, and enabled by falling prices, the Brits have become a nation of champagne Charlies, quaffing the drink with increasing frequency. Over the Christmas and New Year period, Etienne Dumont Brut champagne was the second bestselling product in Sainsbury's stores, outstripping even staple products such as baked beans and bread, with sales of 2m bottles last December.
SINCE THE NATION celebrated the turn of the millennium with a drop of the fizzy stuff, a taste for champagne has seemingly become engrained in the UK populace.
A sustained fall in prices has spurred drinkers' increasing familiarity with both champagne and sparkling wines, leading to a rise in sales of 23% since 2000 to an estimated value of pounds 1.22bn, according to Mintel.
Within the sector, champagne has risen most dramatically, at a rate of 30% between 2000 and 2005, taking its value to pounds 890m.
Volume in the sparkling wine category, which is worth pounds 330m, has grown, but its value is faring less well. Although premium wines, especially those from the Antipodes, are entering the market, there is a higher proportion of lower-priced …