With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, Rachel Badham discovers that this year could see more consumers than ever turn the day of love into a home-drinking occasion

Following Christmas and New Year, Valentine’s Day is one of the first big occasions of the year for the drinks industry. From traditional Valentine’s tipples to low/no options and wine alternatives, now is the time for retailers to stock their shelves with occasion-led offerings.

Julien Lonneux, chief executive of Vranken Pommery, predicts rosé and sparkling wine will continue their reign as the season of love approaches. 

But while Valentine’s Day might offer a lucrative opportunity for retailers to put sparkling and rosé on the shelves, this year’s selling season has to contend with the ongoing cost of living crisis. 

And as the pressure of inflation mounts, Valentine’s Day 2023 could see more consumers than ever opting for a night in to cut costs. While this looks to be good news for the off-trade, educating consumers on what’s available and how to serve these drinks remains crucial for retailers hoping to boost sales and encourage trade-ups. 

With wine likely to be popular among consumers, Lonneux says Valentine’s Day is a prime opportunity for producers and retailers alike to advise shoppers on how to make the most of their wine-drinking experience. 

Emphasising the difference that small changes can make to the flavour and aroma of a wine, Lonneux says that for consumers enjoying Valentine’s Day at home, retailers should recommend serving sparkling options, such as Champagne, “chilled between 8° and 10°C which allows the drinker to enjoy the flavours of the wine at the most optimum level”.  

However, even after Dry January, there are still plenty of opportunities for low/no options.  Luscombe has named its Passionate Ginger Beer as its Valentine’s “drink of choice” as the brand targets consumers who are spending the day at home.  

Describing it as the “ideal celebratory, yet non-alcoholic drink” for Valentine’s, Luscombe says offering new renditions of well-known beverages is an easy way to engage consumers who are new to the world of alcohol alternatives. 

“This drink brings together the spice of ginger with the sweetness of passion fruit, offering a luxurious twist on a classic,” he says. 

Cutwater Spirits is expecting this Valentine’s Day to be a hit for the RTD market, particularly among consumers who are spending the occasion at home.  With a portfolio that includes Passionfruit Mojito, Vodka Mule and Rum Mint Mojito, Cutwater founder Yuseff Cherney predicts that “staying in is the new going out” this Valentine’s. 

Cherney also highlights the need for retailers to have a selection of products that can “imitate a refined cocktail bar experience at home”. And with the right range, coupled with advice for curious consumers, Valentine’s Day could not only see trade-ups, but returning customers ready to make the most of 2023’s home-drinking occasions.