Sherry sales ‘more than halve’ over past decade

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It may be a traditional Christmas tipple, but sales of sherry have more than halved over the past decade.

Last year, almost 10 million bottles were sold in the UK, less than half the 22 million bottles sold in 2005, according to The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

Other fortified wines have also seen UK sales slide over the decade.

The number of bottles of port sold has declined by a quarter and vermouth has seen sales tumble by two-thirds.

In contrast, sales of gin have boomed.

The WSTA earlier this month dubbed 2016 “the year of gin” after reporting UK sales broke the £1bn mark for the first time ever.

The WSTA blames the plunge in fortified wine sales – which include port and sherry – on increasing taxation.

It says that since 2007, fortified wine duty has increased by 53%, adding £1 to a bottle of port or sherry.

The sharp drop in the pound since the Brexit vote is also likely to weigh on sales as the cost of importing wine from overseas increases.

The body has launched a “Save Santa’s Sherry” campaign to and revive the sector.

“Whether it’s the sherry shared as an aperitif or left out for Santa, a port to accompany the cheese course at the end of Christmas lunch or vermouth shaken or stirred in a classic Martini – these drinks have been enjoyed by the British for centuries,” said WSTA chief executive Miles Beale.

“It would be incredibly sad to see the British traditions associated with these drinks, which have been passed down through the generations, disappear,” he added.