StateWays - March/April 2016

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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StateWays ■ ■ March/April 2016 34 2016 GROWTH BRAND AWARDS WINE Q&A with GRAN PASSIONE We caught up with Todd Nelson, marketing and communication manager for Winesellers Ltd., to talk about the company's Rising Star Award-winning wine, Gran Passione. SW: What are your activation plans for 2016? TN: We will hold true to the general principles of the brand by offering premium and unique regional Italian wines at competitive pricing. We've seen growth with other unique varieties such as the Falanghina from Campania, Salice Salentino DOC Riserva made from 100% Negroamaro and the two Piedmont selections—our Gavi DOCG (100% Cortese) and Barbera d'Asti DOCG Superiore. The growth in these SKUs, in addition to the ever-expanding Veneto Rosso Appassimento, will continue the growth trend for 2016. SW: What industry trends contribute most to the brand's growth? TN: In the current market, most consumers are attracted to fruit-forward wines, with price and authenticity being big factors in deciding what to buy. The Gran Passione range fi ts into the value-driven niche geared towards Millennials. BESO DEL SOL SANGRIA Bursting onto the scene in 2014, Beso Del Sol Sangria sold 29,000 cases in its fi rst year, followed by 65,000 cases last year. "Our on-premise strategy was the game changer for us in 2015," explains CEO Bradd Levitan. "An ambitious sales strategy, a careful allocation of funds and a network of relationships that have been cultivated over the course of the careers of our partners have propelled Beso Del Sol to the leadership position it's in now." The premium, all-natural sangria hits on several trends. "It fi ts into the macro-trend of sweeter, more fruit- forward wines, which has become quite popular among the Millennial population within the last year," says Beso Del Sol managing partner Larry Margolis. Moreover, the modern bag-in-a-box packaging ensures that quality lasts longer. "Our sangria costs less than half the price of making it yourself. It tastes better, it's fast and consistent and there's no waste because the product stays fresh for so long," says Stuart McGuire, partner/ vice president of national sales. Terlato Wines scored another Rising Star Growth Brand this year for The Federalist, a colonial-themed wine that found fans among Millennial males. In particular, the brand benefi ted from an app with which users could "Federalize" themselves in the style of The Federalist label art, and share messages with their friends. Other marketing by The Federalist for Millennial men included traditional advertising, from fi ne wine media to more target- centric outlets such CNN, GQ and ESPN. Something worked: The brand's sales shot up from 21,000 cases in 2014 to 110,000 last year—a 423.8% gain. Santa Julia made our Growth Brand list in 2016 with a Comeback Award. After dipping to 147,000 cases in 2014 (following successive years of 162,000 and 158,000), the Argentine wine brand rebounded last year with 183,000 cases. New packaging likely played a role in the turnaround. A redesigned label for Santa Julia Reserva "aimed to show the essence of the mountains of the Uco Valley in Mendoza," explains Jordan Sager, vice president of supplier Winesellers Ltd. Further tapping into the trends of authenticity and variety, the brand released Santa Julia Reserva Mountain. This line, launched exclusively for upscale grocer Whole Foods, "brought awareness of other unique varietals within the region," Sager says. "The program was a huge success." GETTING SOCIAL Social media continues to play a major role in the wine industry. Producing content and connecting with fans in these digital communities was a core component of many brands' marketing in 2015. 14 Hands won a Fast Track award for its steady growth. Rebekah Gunderson, marketing manager of supplier Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, attributed this in part to a win-win relationship with the Kentucky Derby. As a sponsor of the legendary horse race, 14 Hands was the featured wine at the Churchill Downs concessions and suites during Kentucky Derby week. This partnership is great for "providing content for social media as well as fantastic retail displays leading up to the May race," Gunderson says. New Zealand brand Kim Crawford had such success with online advertising that it has "nearly doubled our investment and are optimizing creative to be even more digitally dynamic," says Chloe Pfeiffer, spokesperson for supplier Global Imports & Spirits. Promoting hashtags was a popular way to increase online engagement. Another Ste. Michelle Wine Estates brand, Motto, launched a social media campaign called #WhatsYourMotto. The hashtag "encourages people to share their mottos as it relates to wine and their lifestyle," says Gunderson. The fi rst wine brand to enter our Growth Brands Hall of Fame last year, Chateau Ste. Michelle kept up the growth last year through its #mychateau campaign. This "drove targeted consumer engagement," says Jan Barnes, vice president/group brand director.

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