The economy is in a tailspin, people are getting laidoff left and right, so it’s no surprise that people aren’t as willing to shell out the big bucks for fancy French sparkling wine. Champagne sales have already declined over the past few months and don’t look like they’ll pick up before the end of the year.
AdAge: Champagne marketers are bracing for a brutal holiday hangover.
Makers of the luxurious French sparkling wine are entering the selling season that accounts for some 25% of its volume with the double whammy of a weak economy that’s forced consumers to trade down from the priciest alcoholic beverages and a weak U.S. dollar driving already lofty Champagne prices further skyward.
Add to that the fact that Champagne consumption is overwhelmingly rooted in bars and restaurants at a moment when people are going out less — and have little to celebrate.
Even worse, these factors were taking their toll well before the stock market’s September nosedive — shipments to the U.S. declined 17% through July, according to the Office of Champagne — and are widely expected to wreak havoc on year-end sales. November and December recently have accounted for about 25% of sales for the full year.
Also conspiring to make this New Year not very happy, the fact that only 39 clubs in Manhattan have applied for the necessary permits to keep serving alcohol until 8 a.m. So drink this year’s troubles away until 4 and then head home to pray for a better 2009.
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