THE festive season can be the ideal time to boost sales of Champagne, according to Pernod Ricard UK.
The company, which owns the Perrier-Jouet and GH Mumm Champagne brands, insists licensees can maximise sales by taking the initiative and promoting the category properly.
Vicky Wood, marketing controller for Champagnes at the drinks giant, said licensees can make the sparkling stuff more appealing by offering a by the glass section on their lists.
“A helpful barman or an eye-catching display are proven sales drivers, but by the glass options or a cleverly set out wine list can work powerfully on their own, especially at Christmas,” said Wood.
“Champagne moments can be impulsive, but Champagne is an obvious and simple choice if those impulses are stimulated.”
Wood said Champagnes should be kept separate from sparkling wines on the drinks list, as listing them together can confuse customers.
Aside from this confusion, the two products tend to be consumed on separate occasions, she explained.
Availability is also said to be key: Wood advised licensees to ensure they have sufficient bottles of Champagne in stock and that they are chilled to the correct temperature – either three hours in a fridge or between 15 and 30 minutes in a bucket filled half with ice and half with water.
“And check there are plenty of bottles chilled for second purchases,” she added, “especially given that guests spotting others drinking Champagne will often be prompted to order it too.”
Education is another key component when it comes to making the most of Champagne, according to Wood.
“Staff who are educated on Champagne have the confidence to serve and sell it successfully and create a better experience for their customers, especially over the festive season,” she said.
To help with staff training, PRUK has produced a video with Perrier-Jouet and GH Mumm brand ambassador Neil Phillips.
Available on the company’s Champagne Assembly website (www.champagneassembly.co.uk) the video demonstrates how to correctly serve the drink.
Lastly, food pairing can be an effective tool for growing Champagne sales, advised Woods.
Among the pairings her firm recommends are cured Iberico ham with fried wild mushrooms paired with GH Mumm Cordon Rouge NV, and Pinot Noir-heavy wines with a traditional turkey dinner.
Lighter, non-vintage Champagnes are recommended for pairing with cheeses such as goat’s cheese and Brie, with aged Champagnes better suited to nutty, hard cheeses such as Parmesan or Gruyère.
“Champagne and celebration go hand in hand, but don’t forget about the food,” said Wood.
“It is excellent for pairing with many dishes: high in acidity, which serves to cut through the richness of foods, you may find your customers enjoy their bubbles even more when paired with certain foods.”
Image: Offering more Champagnes by the glass is among the advice being given to bars by PRUK.