Champagne market carnage but British entrepreneurship still sparkles.
Since January more than 280,000 people in Britain have lost their jobs – the biggest rise in 28 years – which has sent unemployment soaring to 2.2 million (worst unemployment figure since 1996). So its not surprising that Champagne shipments to the UK fell 50% in January and February, however industry leaders are confident Britain will remain the world’s no 1 market for Champagne.
One young British entrepreneur – a second year undergraduate studying geography at Exeter University who started his first business at age 17, recently branched out into Champagne and he’s already doing his bit to prove that you can grow a new business during the credit crunch.
Tom Ellis, 20, is the sole UK importer of Cote Des Blancs Grower Champagne House Leroux Mineau. Vineyards are spread across Oger, Mesnil Sur Oger, Avize, Bergeres, Vertus & Grauves and Tom’s battle cry is “Grand Cru Champagne at credit crunch prices”. He’s just launched a website www.lmchampagne.co.uk in time for the summer season and expects to treble Champagne shipments by 2010.
“Grand Cru represents exclusive quality as only 8% of all Champagnes can classify themselves as Grand Cru. There are only 17 villages that exist where the soil and climate is capable of producing grapes that can produce Grand Cru Champagne. I saw this as an opportunity to bring the finest Champagne to the UK market at the best possible prices, direct to my customers’ door. With Leroux-Mineau I can do exactly that”