Sales Of This Alcohol Have Dropped 18% Since The Start Of The Pandemic

In 2020, we raised a celebratory toast to ... just about nothing. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, weddings were postponed (via The Knot). Parties to celebrate graduations, birthdays, and anniversaries were put on ice, too (via University of Vermont Health Network). That explains why a lot of Champagne wasn't.

The latest numbers from Champagne producers, based in northeast France, show that the quantity of the bubbly wine sold worldwide declined by 18 percent in 2020 compared to 2019 (via Reuters). That could amount to a $1.2 billion shortfall for the industry.

The situation among the Champagne region's grape growers looked bleaker last summer, when Champagne makers expected to lose $2 billion in sales in 2020 (via Associated Press). Growers were even thinking about throwing perfectly good grapes away.

The final sales numbers for Champagne in 2020 were still bad, but they were better than expected due to a surge in sales at the end of the year. Maybe people around the world found something to celebrate after all: 2020 coming to an end, finally. Stores in Britain and France, to give two examples, reported that Champagne sales surged during the holiday season.

Champagne makers are hoping for a better 2021

The overall dip in Champagne sales was worse in some countries than in others. While France and Britain's bubbly end to 2020 may have helped, those nations still saw a 20 percent decline over the whole year — same as the United States. Japan celebrated even less, with a 28 percent drop in Champagne sales. Australia, which did a good job of controlling COVID-19 and is not under serious restrictions (via The Guardian), actually imported 14 percent more Champagne in 2020.

Of course, Champagne isn't just drunk when there's something to celebrate. It's also popular over dinner or while hanging out with friends at certain bars and restaurants. Just like your New Year's Eve party, these places have been shut down, too, in an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19. But maybe it'll soon be Okay to party or hit the bars once again. With a vaccine in circulation and the end of the pandemic hopefully in sight, Champagne producers say they are optimistic about their business later in 2021. That would be something to celebrate.