Sherry, and the cream of society

As regularly as Halley’s comet, every few years the next effort to re-position sherry (or cognac or Scotch) appears. Each time the approach is the same. Diagnosis: lack of appeal to young people explains the perilous position of the product. Solution: change the packaging and show young people buying the product and snogging passionately, preferably at the same time. Engaging though these images may be, history suggests that this approach is not the answer. Sherry, despite its long-term decline, remains one of the biggest-selling alcoholic drinks in the off-trade. Spanish sherry is a unique and delicious product whose styles trip mellifluously off the tongue: fino, manzanilla, oloroso. It takes a discriminating consumer to appreciate decent sherry, which may explain why its core drinkers are women of mature years and judgement, drawn in the most part from the better classes of society. Quite apart from the inherent appeal of such a consumer base, I note that while 20to 34-year-old men will decline in numbers from their current ten per cent share of the population, over the next two decades, women aged over 45 – the heartland of sherry – will increase proportionately, from 21 per cent to 25 per cent. What a wonderful marketing opportunity.

Dominic Moseley

Moseley Consulting

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