The pulse is down today on news that makers of the drink synonymous with celebrations are predicting a less-than-bubbly new year.
Etienne Auriau of Laurent Perrier, which makes $100-a-bottle Grand Siecle Champagne, told Bloomberg that despite seeing numbers rise in the first 10 months of 2011, slower November and December sales combined with a tough economic forecast in Europe have him somewhat pessimistic about the approaching new year.
“Consumption is very tied to the economic situation,” he warned.
That epiphany could bode ominously, and not just for Laurent Perrier shareholders. Champagne sales are up this year over last to 328 million bottles, but notwithstanding that recent success, sales volumes are still down from their peak in 2007. That was right about the time the U.S. economy went into crisis.
Sparkling wine is certainly an unproven economic indicator, but when you look at the financial turmoil sweeping through Europe, it’s easy to understand the foreboding outlook of manufacturers of those things that best symbolize success.