LCBO ‘TOP 10’ TRENDS FOR SUMMER 2013 - Part I
June 7, 2013 15:56 ET
With summer entertaining and weekend get-togethers top of mind for many, LCBO is advising its customers what’s hot for occasions of every kind this season. Low-calorie, ready-to-drink beverages, wines and spirits continue to be popular and the significant growth of Ontario craft beers and ciders remains unstoppable.
“Summer represents more than 30 per cent of LCBO sales, with each long weekend from Victoria Day to Labour Day bringing in better than two per cent of total annual sales,” says Nancy Cardinal, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing. “Our knowledgeable store staff has great ideas to help customers with summer entertaining and special occasions.”
Historical data shows that sunny weather leads to greater sales of beer and coolers - especially when tied to a long weekend - but if it’s too cold or rainy, sales soften slightly. Regardless of weather, this year’s Top 10 list for summer is the go-to guide to what’s trendy.
“Our customers are always looking for fresh, new products to make entertaining seasonal and inspirational,” says Shari Mogk-Edwards, Vice President, Products, Sales and Merchandising. “Long- standing favourites remain popular this summer but the Top 10 List is also packed with new products and varietals that will satisfy people looking to try something new.”
LCBO’s Top 10 for summer 2013:
1. SPIRITS: The spirits category does about 40 per cent of its business in the summer months. This year, tequila and gin are the trend-setters. Over the last few years, tequila sales have shown average growth of about nine per cent, being driven by the increasing number of deluxe and ultra-deluxe products coming into the Ontario market. These new high-quality items are perfect for sipping, or for mixing in super-premium cocktails. Gin is the ultimate ‘flavoured vodka’ crafted by infusing a neutral spirit with a unique blend of herbs and spices. So far this year, LCBO gin sales are up almost seven per cent, which account for increased customer demand for more complex spirits and vodka drinkers experimenting with new flavours. Both gin and tequila typically see almost half of their annual sales during the summer months. Flavoured vodkas continue to be popular, with cherry re-emerging as a favourite trend. Sales of this part of the product portfolio are currently up 11.5 per cent and LCBO has created the seasonal encore program with products from the Sweet Shop. Caramel, red liquorice, glazed donut and whipped cream vodkas (to name a few) are popular for refreshing cocktails this summer.
2. BEER & CIDER: The big story in beer this summer is India Pale Ale (IPA). First brewed in the early 19th century in England from pale malt, this brew was shipped around the world to Brazil, the Cape of Good Hope, and eventually India. It has since evolved into an iconic and highly sought-after style. LCBO has seen a 60 per cent increase in net sales of IPA beer over the last year and has added seven new craft IPAs from the U.S. and British Columbia. Cider continues to be a popular choice in many global markets, with strong sales at LCBO through the winter months. Last year, net cider sales increased by 60.4 per cent, and while the Ontario market is still dominated by Strongbow, new products including flavoured ciders, are making their debut this summer from Britain, the U.S. and Ontario.
3. EUROPEAN WINES: Hot weather means high demand for Italian whites – Pinot Grigio, Moscato, Prosecco – and better than 30 per cent of sales in these categories occur in summer. Lighter reds like Beaujolais from France and Tempranillo from Spain are also popular and will continue to be so in the coming months. These wines are perfect with appetizers, cheese or pizza and should be chilled for about 20 minutes to bring out their soft fruitiness.
4. NEW WORLD WINES: Blended wines from California lead the charge in the New World category this summer. Increasingly appealing because of their round, easy-drinking style, blends typically offer more flavour complexity and texture than single varietals and work well with many different food pairings. California Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and the popular Sangria will be available in 500mL Tetra Pak format this summer– perfect for cottage, camping, or picnicking. Known for exceptional Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand makes exceptionally food-friendly red wines that will pair perfectly with summer barbeque. Look for new red varietals such as Merlot and Cabernet-Merlot launching in the New Zealand section this summer.
5. VINTAGES: From Europe, Spanish and Italian whites are in demand and, with the Toronto International Film Festival around the corner in early September, luxury Champagne is also expected to be a popular indulgence. Affordable 2009 and 2010 Bordeaux will also continue to be must-haves. New World Pinot Noir from California, Oregon and Chile is growing in popularity, with sales up about 11 per cent this year. A typically lighter style, this varietal is well-suited to many foods and can be served slightly chilled. Product selection in the $18-$22 range has also been enhanced from reputable wineries in Australia, the U.S., Chile and New Zealand. On the spirits side, the trend toward small-batch, artisan spirits continues with especially strong sales of bourbon helping to increase VINTAGES whisky sales by about 25 per cent this year.