Brits Say Hello Prosecco, Goodbye to Champagne


It's official – Britain's wine-drinking public have spoken about their sparkling wine of preference and the results are decidedly Italian. 
According to the results of a study done by research company IRI, Prosecco sales rose a whopping 72 percent from the beginning of the year to mid-July. The grand total of purchases was more than $400 million. 
IRI analyst Toby Magill told The Guardian that the popularity of the Italian bubbly comes down to a pair of timeless principles: it's cheap and it's tasty. 
“Prosecco is a fashionable drink that provides a cheaper and excellent quality alternative to Champagne,” he said. “It’s no wonder that it now outpaces Champagne in value as well as volume and is being chosen above champagne at weddings. It’s quickly becoming the nation’s summer drink of choice.” 
Compared to Prosecco's phenomenal rise in sales, Champagne sales seemed a bit banal. According to the IRI study,  the French legend's total sales numbers rose just a hiccup: 1.2 percent for the year to date. Sales topped out around $375 million.
Prosecco also led the way in liters sold, skyrocketing 78 percent in the past six months. Champagne, on the other hand saw a slight drop in liters sold. The final numbers? A difference of more than 27 million liters: 37.3 million liters to 9.8 million liters. 
While overall Champagne sales were sluggish compared to it's Italian counterparts statistics, IRI noted that not all hope was lost for French producers. 
Top of the top-selling brands in the country – Moet and Lanson – were able to increase their sales as their bubbly brethren faltered. 
Experts say the fact that these two brands maintained growth while other brands fell behind is an indication that consumers may be moving away from bargain Champagne brands and choosing more affordable Proseccos instead. 
The rise of the Italian quaffer in Britian hasn't come without its small disputes, though. Earlier this year, The Independent (U.K.) reported that Prosecco producers were souring on bars who were offering Prosecco on tap, saying the practice violated specific EU rules which stated that Prosecco was to be sold exclusively in bottles. 
The small skirmish was just a bump in the road for Prosecco sales, though. England was the top consumer of Prosecco this past year. 
The article noted that England's thirst for the Italian bubbly was expressed well by the cost of department store Marks and Spencer's most popular brand of Prosecco, Conte Priuli. The $18-per-bottle quaffer's demand rose 268 percent in one year. 

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