Malbec and hard seltzers among lockdown drinks winners

Argentinian wines and hard seltzers are among the lockdown drinking trends that look set to take root in hospitality following the reopening of the sector.

Retail sales data for 2020 shows sales of wines from Argentina, such as Malbec, soared 41% compared to the year before and are up more than seven-fold compared with 2016.

Rosé also saw a significant sales uplift compared to 2019, up 22% in volume with over 113 million bottles sold.

The data was revealed in the Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s (WSTA) latest market report which covers the year 2020 when retail sales skyrocketed due to the enforced closure of the hospitality sector for long periods.

The data also showed a big increase in the number of ready-to-drink (RTDs) products sold last year – for example gin and tonics and cocktails in cans, along with new products like hard seltzers.

The RTD category was worth £412m in 2020, up 23% on the previous year and almost double the value of five years ago when the category was worth £234m.

The growth in hard seltzers, which are low in calories compared with other RTDs, reflects increasing consumer interest in the concept of ‘mindful drinking’, which has already boosted categories such as low- and no-alcohol drinks and functional products like kombucha.

“With the hospitality sector once again being able to host people indoors [….] it will be interesting to see if these new home drinking preferences creep into consumers drinking habits when we are back into our favourite pubs and restaurants,” said Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA.

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