Over 590 Champagne brands were on offer on the Belgian market last year. 69% were produced by wine growers, 27% by Champagne houses, and 4% by cooperatives, revealed the Inter-industry Champagne Committee on Tuesday. Belgium remains the 5th largest importer of bubbly, with over 9.7 million bottles in 2014, which represents 6.67% of bottles shipped (from Champagne wine cellars) in the world.
“The Belgian market offers an exceptionally wide range of brands, wider than anywhere in the world except in Champagne itself of course,” adds Thibaut Le Mailloux, Communications Manager for the Committee.
Champagnes with little or no added sugar (Extra Brut or Brut Nature) saw their sales increase by 20% in Belgium, but remain a niche market, with exports rising from 0.1% in 2003 to 0.66% in 2014. “Consumers have an open mind and are increasingly trying out different types of Champagne,” says Thibaut Le Mailloux. Whether it seems ‘greener’, ‘less fattening’, or ‘more original’, sugar-free Champagne is slowly on the rise.
Rosé Champagne rose by 3.6% but “Belgians drink very little Rosé compared to the worldwide market share of 11%,” highlights Mr. Le Mailloux. Non-vintage Brut sales increased by 1.5%, whilst semi-dry Champagnes represent 3.5% of the market. As for prestige vintages, their sales rose by 1.4%.