In this week's Grapevine I take a look at the rise and potential impact lifestyle brands, already so popular in the United States, could have in the UK off-trade. Keeping on the brands theme it also looks outside the wine trade and how specialist design agencies and brand activation companies believe wine businesses need to do build successful wine brands.
Ronan Sayburn MS, head of wine at the new private members bar, 67 Pall Mall explains how it is bringing a whole new experience to fine wine and dining. We look at key driving facts and figures behind the Australian wine scene and pick out those who have been in the news for the right reasons and those who have not. Well namely Tesco.
Here's a link to the full Grapevine and below is an assessment of lifestyle brands in UK multiples.
How lifestyle brands are breathing life in to the supermarket wine aisle
Before you get started, what do you mean by a lifestyle brand?
Well it’s basically a canny way of describing a new type of wine brand that is aimed at a specific male, female - or both - demographic group. It is quickly catching on with retailers and suppliers alike as they respond to the need to make the wine aisle less confusing and cluttered for the consumer.
So is this related to the big supermarket range culls of 2015?
Lifestyle brands are certainly gaining far more space on shelf as the major retailers look at more effective ways of really engaging with key consumer groups. It is also another sign the multiple wine aisle is being managed far more in keeping with the other main FMCG categories in-store. Wine ranges are being driven more by key suppliers earmarked as so called category champions, and based on detailed consumer analysis and their needs.
Sounds a bit like common sense to me?
It certainly does but that’s not something the supermarket wine category has been blessed with due to the inability of its major wine suppliers to really understand what consumers are looking for in the same way that bigger FMCG suppliers do. That is now changing as branded wine suppliers, both big and small, are now investing far more in consumer research, and coming to the supermarkets with these new lifestyle brands, and their distinct flavours, styles and formats that target specific consumer groups.
So what sort of brands are we talking about?
Barefoot and Apothic Red from Gallo or Most Wanted Wines from Off Piste Wines would be good examples. Brands that have built up a strong following and really connected with their consumer base through targeted social media activity, competitions and events. One of the biggest breakthrough brands of 2015 was Echo Falls Fruit Fusion which is aimed at bringing younger drinkers, mainly women, in to the wine category for the first time with fruit flavoured wines that provide a credible alternative to a fruit cider or cocktail. It’s hit a nerve and is already a £43m brand selling 1.1 million 9 litres in first year.
How will this category develop?As retailers and suppliers become more confident then expect to see braver and more innovative lifestyle brands that target those on health kicks like non-alcoholic wine brands such as Barrels and Drums which is doing well in Europe that is aimed at pregnant women.
And here's my Q&A with Ronan Sayburn.
My Week with Ronan Sayburn MS, head of wine at 67 Pall Mall
So in a nutshell what’s 67 Pall Mall all about?
It’s the ultimate private members bar for wine lovers where you can actually store your own wine and come here to drink and share it. We have the capacity to store up to 4,500 cases of wine. We want to give people the chance to taste and drink wines they may not normally get the chance to see. We have 250 wines by the glass, but want to go up to 500.
You opened in December. How has it gone?
We could not have hoped for a better start. Our membership sold out just by word of mouth. We have 1,400 members for the first six months, of which 33% are women, and we have 600 on a waiting list. We have already gone through four Coravin needles and are serving around 200 Coravin glasses a day. We have people come in who will try 10 wines that they would not normally be able to taste.
How much does it cost to join and what are the key benefits?
It is £1,000 a member and £500 for those in the wine trade. You can store your wine here and drink it for £20 corkage. We will look to buy wine from our members and they can also trade them with other members. We are developing an iPad wine list where you will be able to see that day’s market value for any of the wines on the list. We only have a mark up of between 20% to 40% which means people can drink some incredible wines at a very competitive rate.
What sort of tastings are you doing?
We can do bespoke tastings with winemakers anywhere in the world in our interactive tasting room where members can talk to a winemaker on a screen via an internet link.