ONE of the country’s leading alcohol delivery firms has seen sales bubble up during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Sparkling Direct, based at Semington Turnpike, specialises in next-day deliveries of champagne, prosecco and wine gifts.

It also sells a wide range of alcohol gifts including gin, whisky, vodka, rum, liqueurs and port, as well as chocolates.

Company bosses say they are getting more orders during the pandemic than at Christmas after a surge in managers cheering up their house-bound staff with bottles of bubbly.

Jason Tiffin, co-founder of Sparkling Direct, said: “It’s not just your high-end companies we’re taking orders from.

“We’ve had a spike in sales from small businesses too as they try to keep up morale in the workforce.

“We recently had a big corporate order sending bottles to frontline NHS workers to thank them for the amazing job they’ve been doing.”

“It’s fantastic to be able to play a small part in lifting the spirits of the nation.”

The independently-owned online store reported a 325 per cent year-on-year rise in sales for April driven by thank you-themed gifts, with £30 bottles of prosecco inside an inscribed wooden box becoming the company’s best seller.

The fizz firm has also seen demand for 80th birthday-themed gifts quadruple – including record sales of pensioners’ favourite Harvey’s Bristol Cream – as families find new ways to treat their isolated parents and grandparents on their special day.

Other popular thank you gifts include yellow label Veuve Clicquot champagne for the higher price tag of £60.50 and a fine Argentinian Malbec for £28.25.

While the virus caused average checkout baskets to take a minor dip from £68 to £46 and international orders dropped, the booming demand for buying gifts online has refilled the company’s earnings with a huge increase in order numbers.

Mr Tiffin said: “Champagne sales tanked in the 2008 recession and I would expect to see a drop in the next quarter as corporate customers tighten up on expenses.

“I'm confident that prosecco will continue to be a driving force for us this year. It’s so huge and has completely taken over in the last five years.”

Set up in 2002, Sparkling Direct was one of the first online alcohol delivery companies on the market.

Mr Tiffin and Paul Higgins, both ex-duty-free store managers at Heathrow Airport, launched Sparkling Direct after the EU abolished the single market loophole in 1999.

Mr Tiffin said: “When they stopped duty-free, online shopping was just starting to take off and there was a gap in the market for mail order booze.

“You would see so many business travellers struggling to carry several bottles of champagne for their clients or employees, so I thought an online delivery service would have a strong appeal for corporates.

“It was a steep learning curve. We had to design our own packaging as we couldn’t find anything suitable for protecting bottles in the post.

“Our first ever order was for a shipment of 12 bottles of Lanson champagne to somewhere in Scotland, all of which arrived completely smashed. We’ve come a long way since then.”

The company was forced to change tack after the financial crisis in 2008 when firms started to reign in expenses, leading it to move into to the high-end consumer market with personalised gifts.

Today, the e-delivery service employs eight people and appears first in Google behind only Amazon for prosecco delivery and sells a large amount of its stock through the online giant.

Despite the pandemic, Sparkling Direct is providing next-day delivery across its range when ordered by 4pm Monday to Friday. Visit