Magnums, craft brandy and honey gin: Majestic’s tips for the big drinks trends in 2018

Majestic Wine has made a series of predictions for drinks trends in 2018.

More magnums

The retailer says it has seen a 378% increase in annual sales of super-sized bottles under £20. Rosés and house reds in 1.5-litre packs are proving particularly popular for weddings and parties. Buying director Richard Weaver says: “‘It’s is all about socialising around a bottle. Magnums create brilliant centrepieces for dinner parties and events, particularly if you’re cutting back on your eating-out spend.”

South American price rises

Abnormal weather has resulted in low yields that have dismayed winemakers on both sides of the Andes, so Chile and Argentina may no longer be safe bets for wines at the £6 or under price point, says Majestic.

Eastern Europe to the fore

The region’s wines have been an antidote to poor harvests elsewhere in Europe. Majestic sales from eastern Europe in the £5-10 price bracket were up +1,365% in 2017. It adds that initial reports from Hungary suggest its harvest is down only 3%, compared to an EU-wide average drop of 14%, while Romania is looking at a 60% harvest increase.

Beyond the pale ale

A recent survey of beer buying habits in Majestic’s 210 stores suggests customers are increasingly interested in local red ales or stouts, with only 8% choosing pale as their beer of choice.

Favouring fortifieds

Majestic has recorded a 25% increase in sherry sales in 2017, with consumers in their twenties and thirties buying into the category. Port volumes are up 18% and Madeira more than triple those of the same period in 2016.

Brandy balloons

Brandy looks set to be the next spirit to receive the craft treatment, according to Majestic. Iconic branding, a focus on provenance and increasing appearances in the ingredients lists of top cocktail experts has led to a new experimental take on the spirit, it says. Majestic especially points to Armagnac as the heir-apparent to flashy craft whisky brands.

Honey, I drank the gin

Majestic gins sales are 110% up on last year with over 120 new lines added this year. Rhubarb has been the major flavour trend, with rhubarb gin sales up 170% so far in 2017. The retailer tips honey to take over as the big go-to flavour for gin makers and drinkers in 2018.