Champagne's long association with luxury gives it premium pricing, but it may also be taking the fizz out of sales. "Champagne is the first casualty of a recession," said Spiros Malandrakis, senior analyst for alcoholic drinks at market researcher Euromonitor International.
"The problem with champagne is first the perception of luxury and higher-end consumption. It doesn't fit with the zeitgeist of Europe right now." Western Europe still pops the cork on the lion's share of champagne, buying around 169.9 million liters in 2012, or more than 70 percent of the year's total sales of 232.3 million liters, according to data from Euromonitor.
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A standard bottle of wine and champagne is about 0.75 liter, while a magnum contains 1.5 liters. "Western Europe will remain gripped by recessionary forces, high unemployment and austerity for the foreseeable future," likely weighing on sales there for quite some time, he said.