You may be surprised to know that the origins of New Year’s and Champagne date all the way back to Julius Caesar himself. However, it wasn’t tradition to celebrate at midnight until the 1800s, and it is well known that champagne was a big contributor to those parties since the mid-century.
At the end of the 19th century, it was uncommon to see something other than champagne served at a New Year’s party. In the years leading up to the turn of the century, champagne sales soared from 6 million bottles per year to nearly 30 million bottles. And during the 1930s, a popular New York restaurant dubbed it the most fashionable, upper class thing to drink.
Even during Prohibition, the champagne market wasn’t affected as much as people may think. The U.S. still imported champagne by identifying less direct routes. After Prohibition was repealed, champagne consumption returned in full, reaffirming its tie with New Year’s traditions. As we know today, the tradition of champagne toasts still holds true.