Premium vodka and rum lead Matthew Clark’s 2016 predictions

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Good-quality vodkas and rums will lead the continuing increase in premium spirits while premium lager will grow among the prosecco-drinking demographic, according to leading on-trade supplier Matthew Clark which has revealed its predictions for drinks trends in 2016, from beer and spirits through to wine.

Premium spirits
Premiumisation is a trend that can be expected to continue to define the spirits category in 2016, according to Matthew Clark, with vodka and rum leading the charge. In August to October 2015, Matthew Clark customers were buying an average of four more bottles of vodka per month in comparison to the same period the previous year. “Bond might have something to do with this craze,” adds Lauren Guest, Matthew Clark’s insight manager.

Matthew Clark also saw an increase in rum in the run-up to Christmas, driven predominantly by spiced rum, with customers buying on average an additional 1.6 bottles of spiced rum in comparison to the same time period last year. In response to this, Matthew Clark released a rum portfolio featuring over 70 rums of all styles from all over the world including Mauritius, Venezuela, Guyana, Cuba and Jamaica.

Beer
After continuing success for Matthew Clark’s Boutique Beers range (pictured), marketing director Geoff Brown predicts that beer generally will go from strength to strength in 2016. “According to YouGov’s recent September statistics, women are drinking less sparkling wine and moving on to premium lagers. In fact, the research shows that more women are drinking beer than prosecco. I am expecting to see this trend continuing into 2016.”

Justin Wylde, Matthew Clark’s beer, cider and softs marketing manager, adds: “Beer is going to be huge in 2016. It’s been such a talking point this year with people even planning on pairing beers, ales and IPAs with their Christmas menus. Popular pairings are mince pies with Frontier lager, duck pâté and Vedett IPA, and turkey with Big Hub Hibernation White IPA.”

Prosecco
Sparkling wine has been a particularly popular category for the wholesaler this year, driven by growth in demand for prosecco. Matthew Clark’s wine development specialist Simon Grayson says: “Prosecco was such a big hit in 2015, and we foresee continued growth, with 2016 witnessing the premiumisation of prosecco with customers buying ‘blingier’-looking larger formats like Bottega Prosecco’s gold magnums.”

As well as predicting an increase in sales of wines with interesting label designs, customers will also be on the look-out for larger-formatted bottles next year. Simon Jerrome, Matthew Clark’s purchasing director, says: “Magnums are great for sharing and we’ve seen an increase in demand for larger formats recently, which I predict will continue into 2016.”

Quirky grapes
This year, customers have been more daring than ever when choosing wine, and Matthew Clark predicts this trend will continue into 2016 with an even greater consumer interest in different wines of quirkier variety, such as Gruner Veltliner, Verdejo, Aglianico and Carmenere. Matthew Clark’s wine development specialist, Rachel Love, says: “We expect to see customers moving away from perennial favourites and delving into something a little different. New Zealand Pinot Gris is one to watch!”

Food pairing
Consumers are increasingly more willing to opt for wine-paired menus, according to Matthew Clark. Rachel says: “Food pairing is a trend that is continuing to grow. Consumers enjoy learning about what works well with food and also see it as an opportunity to trade up on wines without breaking the bank. Our customers realise that this is the best opportunity to sell more premium wines at a healthy profit. I believe we will continue to see this trend in 2016.”

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