Flavoured spirits, one pour cocktails and sparkling wines will be hot for the holidays



    TORONTO, Dec. 5 /CNW/ - LCBO predicts flavoured spirits, ready-to-drink
cocktails and sparkling wines will be some of the hot items for holiday
entertaining this year.
    "People are entertaining with mixed drinks again and flavoured spirits
are the base of many of today's popular mixed drinks," says Bob Downey, LCBO
Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing.
    Sales of flavoured spirits at the LCBO were up 13.6 per cent in the last
12 months over the previous year, driven in part by the introduction of
appealing new flavours like pear, blueberry and pomegranate.
    "We predict ready-to-drink products that make mixing drinks easy will
also be very popular," adds Downey. "Our new range of bartender-quality One
Pour Cocktails allows you to make great drinks just by adding ice."
    Sales of One Pour Cocktails have exceeded $3 million since their launch
in August and are still growing. This represents one of the most successful
product line launches ever at the LCBO.
    "This is also the biggest time of year for Champagnes and sparkling wines
which are perennial favourites as festive drinks," notes Downey. "More than 30
per cent of our annual Champagne and sparkling wine sales take place during
November and December."
    LCBO sales of Champagne alone increased 8.6 per cent in the last 12
months. This growth is expected to continue through the holiday period.
    VINTAGES, LCBO's fine wine and premium spirits business unit, also
predicts solid growth as shoppers often trade up when holiday entertaining or
gift giving. VINTAGES sales have increased almost 20 per cent in the last year
with VINTAGES Champagnes up more than 30 per cent. Ontario Icewines are also a
popular Vintages holiday item.
    Ontario VQA wines are also expected to do well during the holiday period
as sales this year have risen by more than 12 per cent. VINTAGES VQA white
wine sales rose 35 per cent during this period and VQA reds were up 26 per
cent in the last year.
    "Our local wines continue to win over customers and their versatility as
food-friendly wines will make them popular choices for holiday entertaining,"
notes Downey.
    LCBO gift pack sales are expected to top $30 million by December 24 - $5
million more than last year and LCBO gift cards are projected to top $16
million - $3.7 million higher. Specialty-beer gift packs, including the new
Ontario Craft Beer Discovery Pack, are also predicted to be popular. LCBO
sales of Ontario craft beer are up by more than 35 per cent compared to last
year.
    LCBO December sales are double any other four-week period and last year
totalled more than $500 million. The average per person transaction at LCBO
stores in December is $47.62, compared to $35.20 during the rest of the year.
The biggest LCBO selling day of the year is typically just before Christmas.
Last year, it was December 22 with sales of $42.6 million.
    From April to November, LCBO staff challenged almost 1.4 million people
who appeared underage or intoxicated, a 12 per cent increase over the same
period in 2006. More than 90,000 were refused service, up almost 10 per cent.
LCBO and MADD Canada have also launched a new social responsibility education
campaign to encourage Ontarians to prevent friends and guests from driving
after drinking.
    For more information about the LCBO holiday promotion, Gifts Yule Love,
entertaining ideas and responsible hosting tips, call the toll-free LCBO
Infoline at 1-800-ONT-LCBO (668-5226). In Toronto, call (416) 365-5900 or
visit your nearest LCBO store. The TTY number for the deaf and hearing
impaired is 416 864-6898 or 1-800-361-3291. Consumers can also access the LCBO
website at www.lcbo.com and VINTAGES information at www.vintages.com.







For further information:

For further information: MEDIA CONTACT: Chris Layton, Media Relations
Co-ordinator, Tel. (416) 864-6772, Cell. (416) 587-3729, Email:
chris.layton@lcbo.com


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