Champagne Toasts Another Strong Year in the U.S.

Economic Downturn Causes Drop In Champagne Sales
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA - DECEMBER 29: Bottles of champagne are seen on display at a Costco store December 29, 2008 in South San Francisco, California. As the economy continues to falter, sales of sparkling wine and champagne are down this year compared to a 4 percent surge from last year. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Photograph by Justin Sullivan — Getty Images

The champagne industry can toast another strong year of shipments to the crucial U.S. market, where demand rose for the third consecutive year in 2015.

The industry’s trade association, Champagne Bureau USA, reports that 20.5 million bottles of champagne were shipped to the U.S. last year, an increase of 6.6% from the prior year. As Bloomberg notes, shipments for the French-made beverage are the strongest they’ve been in eight years.

The strong demand in the U.S. market is important to the champagne industry as it is the second largest export market, only trailing the U.K., which imported 34.2 million bottles in 2015. Globally, champagne shipments increased nearly 2% to 312.5 million, Champagne Bureau USA said.

Part of what’s fueling the increased demand for champagne is that producers have managed to promote interest in the beverage beyond the end-of-the-year holidays. Typically, 40% to 60% of champagne sales are booked in the final two months of the year, but there is greater interest now around Valentine’s Day and during the summer season.

Champagne executives say that’s because of increased interest in Rosé (which even has a nickname among many male fans of the beverage, who recently have taken to calling it brosé).

“There is a lot of champagne consumed during the summer time, driven by rose champagne,” Bollinger CEO Jerome Philipon told Fortune during a recent interview.

Philipon says more American consumers have discovered that champagne is a cool and refreshing beverage, making it suitable for consumption during the warmest months of the year.

“Rosé has really driven the volume of champagne outside of the year-end time,” he added.

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