Bottle shops say cask wine sales have dropped up to 90% since minimum floor pricing was introduced in the Northern Territory.
Bottle shop manager and liquor accord chairman Russell Reid told ABC News he sold an average of 500 wine casks in a three-month period last year, but had dropped to about 80 over the same period this year.
“I’ve seen an 86% reduction in cask wines over the past three years,” Reid said.
While there is no official data to confirm the drop in cask wine sales, a government spokesman told ABC News there were anecdotal reports of a shift away from cask wine, but said official consumption figures would not be available until later in the year.
Following the introduction of minimum floor pricing, a two-litre cask wine that was selling for $30 in Darwin this week was available from an interstate retailer for $10.
Reid said raising prices for cask wine simply meant problem drinkers had shifted to other alcohol products, such as hard spirits.
“People [who drink] will get it, whatever they have to do, whatever they have to pay for it,” he said.
Cask sales boom around the world
An Australian may have invented cask wine, but goon sales have suffered their steepest decline Down Under.
According to Wine Australia, the volume of red and white wine cask sales fell by 5% in the past 12 months alone. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has also revealed a 30% drop in cask sales between 2004 and 2014. The only segment bucking the trend is pink wine, with rosé cask sales increasing by 4% in the last 12 months.
Off-premise sales of cask wine are surging in the US. Market research firm IRI released data tracked from multiple outlets and convenience stores for the 52 weeks ending January 28, 2018 that showed two of the Top 10 wines in the country were boxed wines: Franzia at No.4 and Black Box Wines at No.6. Even more impressive was that Black Box sales were up 28% year-on-year.
“What happened is there’s been a shift towards the premium end of boxed wine,” Food & Wine executive wine editor Ray Isle told CNBC.
According to Amazon, sales of bag-in-box wines surged 212% last year in the UK and Australian products are leading the charge.
Sales of Banrock Station Chardonnay were up by 150% over June and July at the online retailer. Banrock Station Shiraz saw a 123% uplift.
“As the quality and breadth of selection increases, boxed wine is becoming more popular, particularly over the summer months when it can be easily transported from pantry to picnic,” said Sebastian O’Keefe, beer, wine and spirits store manager at Amazon.co.uk.
“We have already seen the evolution from cork to screw top and our customers are clearly shrugging off the preconceptions of boxed wine and embracing the ease and environmental benefits of switching from bottle to box.”
It’s a similar story in UK supermarkets. Waitrose recorded a 15% increase, while Sainsbury’s sales of its own label bag-in-box wines are up nearly 10% year-on-year. Meanwhile, sales of boxed wines at Asda were up 4.83% on last year.