Alcoholic drinks in 2021 in Bulgaria

Date: 24/01/2023 Comments: 0
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Alcoholic drinks in 2021 in Bulgaria

Alcoholic drinks market in Bulgaria reached almost 713 mln litres in 2021. While the picture was not as bleak as in 2020, when volume sales of alcoholic drinks fell significantly, due to COVID-19 measures, there was a further slight fall of -0,1% in volume sales in 2021, as the economy struggled to recover and factors such as rising inflation reduced consumer purchasing power.

“The negative picture was a result of Bulgaria’s most popular alcoholic drink, beer, registering a -1.1% decline in volume sales. This was also due to continuing falling population numbers, as well as limited foreign tourists. However, this was somewhat alleviated by most local Bulgarians choosing to holiday at home. Other alcoholic drinks performed better, with all registering volume growth and cider/perry (8.9%) and RTDs (9.8%) in particular reforming well”, said a spokesperson at market research company Euromonitor International.

The on-trade channel registered a recovery, with volume sales up on 2021, though volume sales were still lower than before the onset of COVID-19.

Low alcohol and alcohol-free is gaining traction. While this had already been prevalent in beer, it is not gaining also gaining value in other alcohol drinks such as wines. For instance, in 2020, only two wine brands were available, whereas in 2021, eight brands were on offer. In addition, the first Bulgarian non-alcoholic sparkling wine, PINAR, was launched in 2021. PINAR is produced from a small winery at the foot of the Rila mountain. These non-alcohol varieties are commanding similar retail prices as their alcoholic equivalents, as expertise is needed to create non-alcoholic drinks that have the same taste and aroma.

In addition, with the pandemic accelerating the shift to e-commerce, many players have started being more inventive with the online space, especially smaller players that find it difficult to negotiate selling space with the larger grocery retailers. For example, the Dragomir Winery Estate now offers virtual tours of its winery, as well a tour booking facility and also the ability to purchase their wines online.

Lastly, a significant development in 2021 was the arrival of hard seltzers in Bulgaria, following on from significant global success in recent years. Looking to capitalise on this success, Kamenitza Bulgaria launched the WAI Moment brand. The global rise in popularity of hard seltzers has been fuelled by a trend toward more health-conscious drinking habits and a preference for low-alcohol beverages, particularly among younger people. The low-calorie count is also a key driver of sales and it is expected that hard seltzers will have similar success in Bulgaria.

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