Super-premium wines and spirits have shown an unprecedented rise in sales over the 2016 Christmas period.

Dalcassian Wines & Spirits, one of Ireland’s largest drinks distributors, have reported a 25% rise in the sale of super premium brands but indicate the wider alcohol market remains static.

The company distributes over 100 wine and spirits brands to restaurants, bars and the off-trade in Ireland. They recorded a 20% increase in total turnover over the Christmas period, which Managing Director John Dillon says is down to the growth in premium and above wine and spirit products.

Gin, and in particular premium gin, was the clear winner this Christmas. The emergence of a wave of new high-end, small-batch craft gins from Irish distilleries and the increased availability of premium international gin brands has been instrumental to the rapid growth of the category over the Christmas period.

The new Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin was Dalcassian Wines & Spirits’ single largest grossing spirit brand over the Christmas period, followed by other premium gin and Irish whiskey brands in their portfolio including Opihr and Bloom gins from one of the world’s oldest gin distilleries, G & J Distillers in Warrington.

Super-premium whiskey also saw a spike in sales in December, with consumers opting for Irish craft brands such as the Irishman, Writers Tears and Dubliner Irish whiskey with a trend towards higher-end cask finished & single malt expressions.

Wine sales reflect similar trends – consumers are trading up but drinking less. Champagne is still holding its own and prosecco continues to make significant market gains.

Dillon says while last year gin sales were less than 25% of vodka sales in bars and restaurants, now some bars are reporting gin equalling vodka sales.

“This is particularly remarkable as this growth is from a very small base. The younger Millenial generation is driving this growth.”