The arrival of The Chester Grosvenor’s Champagne and cocktail bar has taken centre stage after its refurbishment earlier this year, and it has got people talking about the timelessness of Champagne and whether Prosecco presents a realistic threat to the iconic tipple.
There’s no denying that the UK has developed a thirst for Prosecco in recent years, especially amongst the millennial market. In a poll by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA), a staggering 97% of 18-26 year olds asked said they frequently drank the Italian fizz, owing to its affordability and increasing cult status on social media as an everyday luxury. Scroll through Instagram on a Friday evening and you can all but guarantee a glass-clink shot with an accompanying ‘Prosecco time!’ caption.
However, despite Prosecco’s explosive growth in the UK market, Champagne sales have remained unchallenged, with approximately 300 million bottles sold annually. Rather, the sparkling wine category continues to grow as a whole, with the UK being the sixth largest market in the world. Champagne may have a higher price-point, but its everlasting prestige, element of unparalleled luxury and exceptionally well-managed brand image means that it has firmly kept its place as the pinnacle of sparkling wines.
One of the UK’s foremost 5* hotels, The Chester Grosvenor, has been serving Champagne since it opened in 1865. By the 19th century, Champagne was no longer reserved solely for royalty and the highest echelons of society and the public demand for the luxury tipple skyrocketed. This year, the 5* hotel opened a Champagne bar in its luxurious La Brasserie restaurant following a £350,000 refurbishment, making it the ultimate Chester city-centre destination for special toasts and, of course, race season celebrations.
For the May 2017 Chester Races, The Chester Grosvenor sold approximately 1,440 glasses of Champagne over the three-day festival. Due to the popularity of the new Champagne bar, this record is expected to be broken for 2018. The hotel has also found, since the launch of the new and improved ‘La Brasserie’, that the range of Champagne being ordered is evolving, with many guests opting to try some of the lesser-known Champagne brands on offer within the 5* hotel. On average, a staggering 720 glasses of fine bubbly is ordered per week
Head Sommelier at The Chester Grosvenor, Derek Scaife, comments: “Despite Prosecco’s surge in popularity, it poses little threat to Champagne’s enduring, universal appeal. As a Champagne-pouring hotel, we are very proud of the luxurious experience and atmosphere that we continue to provide to our guests.”
The bar serves an exquisite selection of drinks with a delicious brunch, lunch and dinner menu to accompany. The re-design has a contemporary feel, however, much like Champagne, ‘La Brasserie’ continues to stand the test of time.