Popular champagne brands such as Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot and Bollinger are struggling to keep enough stock on shelves at bottle shops in the lead-up to Christmas.
Explosive growth in global demand for champagne, a poor 2021 harvest and supply chain and logistics issues are contributing to the shortage.
Moët Hennessy CEO Philippe Schaus told Bloomberg last month that the company is running out of some of its top champagnes as the world celebrates ‘the roaring 20s”.
“We are running out of stock on our best champagnes. As people are coming out of COVID-19 there’s been pent up demand for luxury, enjoyment and travelling,” Schaus said.
And the effects are being felt in Australia.
“The champagne shortage is real,” Emperor Champagne chief executive Kyla Kirkpatrick told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“Leading into Christmas, consumption has been bigger than supply on certain products, so we’ve been allocating customers, rationing the big brands and trying to move them to other products.”
Australia is the world’s sixth-largest market for champagne, with COVID-19 lockdowns fuelling growth. Volumes increased by 16.5% between 2020 and 2021.
Champagne Bureau Australia director John Noble agreed that champagne was “flying out the door”, but insisted there was no reason to panic.
“There is plenty of champagne, but we might notice the one we traditionally buy is not available. Maybe today’s the day to try something else,” he said.
Will history repeat for bubbly fans?
Low stock supply, increased freight costs and record demand in the lead up to Christmas 2021 led to what one industry veteran described as a ‘once in a lifetime’ global shortage of champagne.
Pernod Ricard account manager Ken Mehr said that the relaxing of social restrictions in the US and Europe had put even more pressure on supplies.
“I have never seen anything like this,” he said. “People have been limited by the pandemic in so many ways. They can’t travel. So if nothing else they want to drink champagne and they want the best stuff.”
Some brands including Ruinart were completely out of stock, with doubts the would return to the market before the new year.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that buying limits on Champagne had been introduced at Dan Murphy’s in Double Bay.
Dan Murphy’s Double Bay is the retailer’s biggest grossing store for Champagne. In 2019, customers at the store bought the most Champagne in the country during the Christmas season.
“Shoppers in Sydney’s Double Bay were horrified on Monday to spot a sign inside their local Dan Murphy’s advising of a national fizz shortage and advice that they would be limited to buying just two cartons of Billecart Salmon, Veuve Clicquot, Moet et Chandon, Louis Roederer, Perrier Jouet and Bollinger per day,” the SMH noted. “That’s a meagre 12 bottles.”
On a sign titled ‘Champagne National Shortage’ the store manager wrote: “The following lines are [subject to] a two carton limit until 31st December 2021. The limit applies daily. No more than 2 cartons can be purchased of each product in one transaction.”
However, Endeavour Group said it was well prepared for Christmas 2022.
“We have pulled forward a fair bit of stock, and we’ve gone really broad in terms of the range we’ve got this year. We’ve got a fantastic range of over 200 different types of champagne,” said Dan Murphy’s managing director Agi Pfeiffer-Smith.
“There are amazing champagne houses all over France. We tend to sort of focus on a few key brands – but I think we’ve got really a broad range of fantastic product.”