Convenience Comes In A Can

There are two industries that thrive only when they can realize cost savings by providing more convenience to customers: the airline and cruise line industries. Reducing weight, maximizing storage, and providing luxury amenities all benefit their bottom lines. Which makes it a mystery all the more that the air and cruise line industries don’t demand high quality wines in alternative packaging. Hopefully, with growing awareness by both industry buyers and the wine industry of alternative wine packaging the two travel industries will begin doing so.

Spirit Airlines, based in Florida, has announced it will begin serving wine packed in a single-serve aluminum can. As noted in the announcement:

“Spirit likes the cans because they are easier to stack and store on airplanes with limited storage space. They also weigh less and airlines are obsessed with making their planes lighter to save on fuel.

“This is the latest cost-saving move from the Miramar, Fla., airline, which charges $3 for a drink of water and $35 to place a bag in the overhead bin.”

Friends Fun WineThe wine is made by Friends Fun Wine, also based in Florida. The wine will be low alcohol (6%), and is targeted towards the casual, sweet, flavored wine drinkers with selections like White Moscato and Strawberry Moscato.

Air and cruise lines could save even more, and provide more mainstream and higher quality wines with other alternative packaging, such as bag-in-boxes, rigid pouches, flexible single-serve pouches, plastic single-serve cups (like Copa di Vino), and plastic PET bottles. All cut down on weight, provide more convenience and ease in serving, and – like the can – offer varying price points, wines, and qualities, from value/economy to super-premium priced wines.

Read the full article on The Press Democrat:

Spirit Airlines starts serving wine in cans

The Growing Acceptance by the Industry Establishment

There is no denying that Jancis Robinson is one of the most established and respected names in the wine industry. So it is even more important to take note when such a prominent figure of the wine industry establishment acknowledges and comments on the growing use of alternative wine packaging, much less endorses the benefits of such.

Rigid wine pouches by AsdaRecently on her website she poses the question, “Why does wine have to be in a bottle?” – especially those wines bought for immediate enjoyment. She notes the growing popularity in the U.K. of the 1.5-L rigid pouch and PET bottles, even commenting on their increasingly stylish packaging of the latter. Her main take on the benefits are on the environmental savings in production, packaging weight, and recycling, quoting Michael Schmelzer of Monte Bernardi in Chianti Classico discussing their move to Tetra Pak® for a line of their wines:

“… Compared with wine in glass, a litre of delicious organic wine in Tetra Pak costs 75% less in packaging, and 50% less to transport. These savings allow us to offer a wine that retails at 35% less, while giving our customers 33% more wine (a litre v 750 ml).

“… The current lightest glass bottle weighs only 10% lighter than a standard glass bottle*, a saving of 40 grams, which equals the total weight of a one-litre Tetra Pak!

Europe in general has been leading in the adoption of alternative wine packaging. U.K. grocer chains Asda and Sainsbury both launched private label rigid pouches in their stores, with the producer and co-packer IPL saying that actual growth outstripped their production projections by 400%. Both are expanding other control labels with the rigid pouch package.

With the industry establishment – media and trade – recognizing the potential for expanding business and providing economic and environmental benefits, the growth of alternative wine packaging as a market segment is only beginning.

Read the full article on

Why does wine have to be in a bottle?

Read the press release on The Grocer:

Asda and Sainsbury’s try out wine vessel alternatives


Oregon millennials embrace “Growlers”

The (relatively) tiny Oregon wine industry continues to lead the pack in innovation and marketing and is projected to enjoy double digit growth in the coming year. Citing increased consumption by newly-legal-to-drink Millenials, Oregon wineries find cost-effective ways to deliver wine to the masses in 64-oz reusable jugs called growlers. In an interview with Steve Thomson, executive vice president of King Estate Winery states “Wine on tap is a really, really hot project around the country right now,” Thomson said. “It’s exploding.”

And a bill passed last month by the state legislature allows customers to fill 64-oz. reusable jugs, called growlers, with wine in grocery stores, restaurants and wine shops licensed to sell alcohol.

The growler bill, which passed both houses unanimously and was signed into law on April 11, applies a common microbrew practice to the wine industry. Previous law allowed wineries to sell wine in growlers, but did not allow non-winery businesses to do so.

Now, wineries can distribute wine in kegs to restaurants and grocery outlets that opt to sell wine on tap for customers to fill up their growlers.

Businesses will receive the wine in 5-gallon stainless steel kegs rather than bottles. One keg is equivalent to about 26 bottles. A nontoxic gas called argon is used to pressurize the kegs and keep the wine fresh.

As a result, wineries will cut costs on glass, paper and corks, and will presumably sell more wine, Thomson said..

Already, Thomson said, King Estate sells about 600 kegs a month to restaurants across the country, including several in Eugene, Portland and Seattle. Selling wine in kegs is about 5 percent to 10 percent cheaper than selling it in bottles, he said.

Thomson said he expects the Millennials will fill up on wine growlers more than the Baby Boomers, who tend to buy bottled wine from grocery stores.

“It’s a great market,” said Jonathan Oberlander, owner and winemaker at J. Scott Cellars in west Eugene. Oberlander said his winery started selling wine on tap a few years ago and has doubled its sales in the past two years.

The kegs Oberlander sells to local restaurants cost anywhere from $260 to $390, depending on the type of wine.

Sundance Wine Cellars in Eugene, which sells wine from J. Scott Cellars, hopes to offer customers the option of filling up a reusable jug full of wine in the next few months, manager Randy Stokes said. Every business must be approved by both the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau and the state before it can begin selling wine in reusable containers of no more than two gallons. Stokes is in the process of having the federal bureau approve the change.

So far, Stokes said, customers are intrigued.

Thomson said the wine on tap and growler law is an example of local wineries adopting beer industry techniques to be competitive. Wineries need to think outside of the box to appeal to young drinkers, he said

“If you’re not pushing for creative ideas,” Thomson said, “you’re not going to stand out from the pack.”

To read the full article that appeared in the Register-Guard on May 19, 2013 please click here