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Top Champagne Marketers Toast Bubbly's U.S. Bounce
Champagne continues to surge in the U.S. market, propelled by a growing thirst for sparkling wines and a tilt toward higher-end offerings. Last year, U.S. volumes rose by 5% to pass the 1.5-million-case mark, according to Impact Databank. In terms of shipments by value, the U.S. overtook the U.K. to become Champagne’s largest export market in 2015, and it hasn’t looked back. Last year, shipments to the U.S. climbed 8.5% to €586 million ($684m), capping a four-year run in which they’ve expanded by 57%. Champagne’s top players remain confident that the market will continue to grow as consumers embrace the luxury side. “The perception of Champagne is changing,” says Renaud Butel, vice president at Moët & Chandon USA. “I think this is the tip of the iceberg for Champagne and for Moët in particular.” In the U.S., the Champagne market is dominated by Moët Hennessy USA’s Veuve Clicquot and Moët & Chandon labels, which combine to account for more than 60% of the category. In 2017, Veuve Clicquot crossed the half-million case mark in the U.S., rising 7.2% to 519,000 cases to complete a four-year span in which it has grown by more than 35%. Moët & Chandon depleted 434,000 cases in the U.S. in 2017, a 4.9% rise. “We set ourselves a challenge a few years ago with Moët & Chandon, which was to fully unleash the power of the brand and the portfolio,” says Butel. “And we’ve seen very good growth each of the past two years.” Progress is especially strong for the Moët Ice and Rosé expressions, Butel adds, noting that the Rosé is expanding by double-digits. With fourth-ranked Champagne brand Dom Perignon included in Moet Hennessy USA’s totals, the company accounts for more than 1 million cases of the 1.5-million-case U.S. market. Perrier-Jouët, ranked third and imported by Pernod Ricard USA, showed strong growth back in 2015 but has declined over the past two years, falling by 4% to 73,000 cases last year. Pernod Ricard USA also counts Mumm Champagne within its portfolio. Mumm reached 22,000 cases last year and has risen by nearly 50% over the past three years. Nicolas Feuillatte, ranked fifth and imported by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, slipped in 2017, dropping 7.3% to 57,000 cases. Meanwhile, Piper-Heidsieck—marketed by Terlato Wines and ranked sixth among all Champagne brands in the U.S.—leapt by 24% to 56,000 cases last year. If current trends hold, Piper could enter the top five by year-end. Overall, 14 of the top 20 Champagne brands in the U.S. posted growth last year—underscoring the strength of the market—with six labels advancing by double-digits. Impact has a full report on the Champagne category in its June 1&15 issue.   Top 6 Champagne Brands in the U.S. (thousands of nine-liter cases) Rank Brand Importer 2016 2017 Percent Change1 1 Veuve Clicquot Moët Hennessy USA (LVMH) 484 519 7.2% 2 Moët & Chandon Moët Hennessy USA (LVMH) 414 434 4.9% 3 Perrier-Jouët Pernod Ricard USA 77 73 -4.3% 4 Dom Perignon Moët Hennessy USA (LVMH) 61 58 -5.0% 5 Nicolas Feuillatte Ste Michelle Wine Estates 62 57 -7.3% 6 Piper-Heidsieck Terlato Wine Group 45 56 24.4% Total Top Six2 1,141 1,197 4.8% Other Brands 305 321 5.5% Total Champagne3 1,446 1,518 5.0% 1 based on unrounded data 2 addition of columns may not agree because of rounding 3 excludes U.S. duty-free Source: IMPACT DATABANK
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