Champagne Charges Ahead In U.S., Crossing 1.5 Million CasesJune 10, 2019
Sparkling wine is booming in all forms in the U.S., and Champagne—the most prestigious sparkler of all—is no exception. Last year, Champagne depletions in the U.S. increased by 4.5% to 1.54 million 9-liter cases, according to Impact Databank, with 13 of the top 20 brands posting volume gains.
While a number of Champagne brands are in growth mode, Moët Hennessy USA’s portfolio continues to play an outsized role, with its three top brands—Veuve Clicquot, Moët & Chandon, and Dom Pérignon—accounting for roughly 65% of total consumption in the U.S. Veuve Clicquot (+3.8%), Moët & Chandon (+2.1%), and Dom Pérignon (+3.5%), representing three of the top six Champagne brands in the U.S., each posted gains in 2018. “Much of this is being driven by rosé, which consumers tend to appreciate year-round because of how well it pairs with meals,” says Aygline Pechdo, vice president of Veuve Clicquot at Moët Hennessy USA.
Gregory Balogh, president and CEO of Maisons Marques & Domaines USA, the U.S. subsidiary of Louis Roederer, has also seen a significant uptick in rosé consumption. He notes that rosé Champagnes have been making inroads, in particular with the male demographic, and also are being consumed more regularly as aperitifs and with meals. “The rosé Champagne trend has been growing gradually for 10 years, but it has been increasing dramatically in the last five,” Balogh tells SND. “We don’t know where the limit is, though we know there will be one.” The Louis Roederer brand has been hovering at around 30,000 cases in the U.S.
Other Champagne houses have also been making significant progress. A number of players are making a push around innovation and marketing geared toward younger consumers. “Millennials make up a larger percentage of Champagne drinkers at 36% of U.S. consumers, while other markets are closer to 15%-20%,” says Bill Terlato, president and CEO of Terlato Wine Group, importer of Piper-Heidsieck. “The U.S. Millennial consumer is leading the trend. Millennials are willing to spend more on quality Champagne and consume it differently than their parents have.” He adds that Piper-Heidsieck depletions in the U.S. are up more than 40% year-to-date.
“Consumers are absolutely drinking Champagne on a wider variety of occasions, throughout the year, and it’s an ongoing trend,” says Michelle DeFeo, president of Laurent-Perrier U.S. “Half our volume last year was outside the final quarter. Even a few years ago, that number would have been below 40%. There has been a flattening out of seasonality in the category.” DeFeo cites two critical factors for the brand’s double-digit growth last year (+12.7% to 34,000 cases), including the consistent expansion of rosé, and the company’s new distributor, Winebow. Started in July 2017, the partnership has expanded Laurent-Perrier’s reach significantly.
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, imported by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, is also among those tapping into the culinary trend with the release of a new Champagne this fall, Terroir Premier Cru ($55 a 750-ml.), a higher-tier non-vintage Champagne that’s made to match with food.—Mary Keefe
|U.S.―Top Five Champagne Brands
(thousands of 9-liter case depletions)
|1||Veuve Clicquot||Moët Hennessy USA||500||519||3.8%|
|2||Moët & Chandon1||Moët Hennessy USA||403||411||2.1%|
|3||Perrier-Jouët||Pernod Ricard USA||73||78||6.1%|
|5||Nicolas Feuillatte||Ste Michelle Wine Estates||57||63||10.5%|
|Total Top Five||1,089||1,137||4.4%|
1 Excludes Dom Perignon.
2 Excludes duty-free.
3 Based on unrounded data.
Source: IMPACT DATABANK