According to GuestMetrics, based on its proprietary database of POS transactions of more than $8 billion dollars in transactions and more than 250 million checks from restaurants and bars across the United States over the past two years, there was a dramatic change in consumption of wine in on-premise during 2012, with a large shift in consumption from bottles to glasses. 

“Comparing 2012 against 2011, we see that the number of wine bottles ordered in restaurants and bars declined 13 percent, while the number of wine glasses increased by 4 percent,” says Bill Pecoriello, CEO of GuestMetrics LLC. “Given the large difference between the price, with the average bottle costing over $43 and the average glass costing $9.60, we believe this shift was driven by a consumer base that is still feeling pressure from a sluggish economic recovery, not to mention the unusually high level of uncertainty towards the end of the year with specter of the fiscal cliff.”  In total for 2012, wine by the bottle represented 13 percent of wine items ordered (vs. wine by the glass which represented 87 percent of wine orders), but given the significant difference in pricing, wine by the bottle accounted for 41 percent of total wine sales (vs. 59 percent for wine by the glass).

“Based on this large difference in performance between wine by the glass versus wine by the bottle, wine by the glass gained 220 basis of share of the wine category in 2012,” says Peter Reidhead, VP of Strategy and Insights at GuestMetrics. “Furthermore, looking at the drivers of sales in more detail, we see that the price of the average bottle of wine sold increased by 9 percent versus the more modest price increase of 3 percent for wine by the glass, which may have been part of the exodus from wine by the bottle during 2012.” 

“In terms of varietals, there were also some noteworthy shifts in the wine category in 2012,” says Brian Barrett, president of GuestMetrics. “The varietals that gained the most share of the wine category were Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Malbec, while at the other end of the spectrum, the varietals that lost the greatest share of the category relative to 2011 were Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Grigio. Despite the loss in share for those varietals they still held the top spots for 2012.  The top 5 varietals for 2012 were Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc. In our minds, this underscores the importance of restaurateurs as well as suppliers having an up-to-date understanding of the constantly shifting tastes of the consumer, in order to make sure their menus and brand portfolios best meet those changing demands.”

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