Sales of sherry in rapid decline

It may well be a traditional Christmas tipple, but sales of sherry have more than halved over the past decade.

Last year, almost 10m bottles were sold in the UK, less than half the 22m bottles sold in 2005, according to The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

Other fortified wines have also seen UK sales slide over the decade, the association reports.

For instance, the number of bottles of port sold has declined by a quarter, and vermouth  sales have fallen by two-thirds in the same 10-year period.

In contrast, sales of gin have boomed, with a thriving craft industry on this product aiding matters.

The WSTA earlier this month dubbed 2016 “the year of gin” after reporting that UK sales of the spirit broke the £1bn mark for the first time ever.

As for the drastic plunge in fortified wine sales, such as port and sherry, the WSTA has said that the blames lies with increasing taxation.

The association says that, since 2007, fortified wine duty has increased by 53%, adding £1 to a bottle of port or sherry.

The sharp drop in the pound since the Brexit vote earlier this year is also likely to weigh on sales going forward, as the cost of importing wine from overseas increases.

The WSTA has launched a Save Santa’s Sherry campaign in an attempt to try and revive the sector.

“Whether it is the sherry shared as an aperitif or left out for Santa, a port to accompany the cheese course at the end of Christmas lunch, or vermouth shaken or stirred in a classic Martini – these drinks have been enjoyed by the British for centuries,” WSTA chief executive Miles Beale said.

“It would be incredibly sad to see the British traditions associated with these drinks, which have been passed down through the generations, disappear.”


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