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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35 StateWays ■ ■ March/April 2016 2016 GROWTH BRAND AWARDS WINE RASPBERRY SPARKLETINI Raspberry Sparkletini won a Fast Track award in 2016 after posting gains the past fi ve-plus years. This includes 11.2% growth over 2014 sales numbers, an increase of 39,000 nine-liter cases sold. "That means we have a product that makes people happy," says Michael Arons, director of marketing and brand development for supplier Carriage House Imports, Ltd. Carriage House has a line of Sparkletini wines, with Raspberry as the top seller. The Sparkletinis are not just for the holidays: "Every occasion is better with a little sparkle," Arons says. "They mix well with vodka and mimosas." With a low price point, $5.99, and ABV of 5%, Raspberry Sparkletini is an accessible drink for a wide range of consumers. What's next for the line? "We want to start a trend with an accessible sparkling rosé," Arons says. "There aren't many of them." Chateau Ste. Michelle also benefi tted online and through in-person promotions from content created via successful partnerships with Alaska Seafood Marketing, Food Lifeline, Alaska Airlines, Camp Twin Lakes and the Washington State University Wine Science Center. Mark West, an Established Growth Brand winner from Constellation Brands, effectively used social media as a "proud supporter of the men's health movement," says Sylvia Bronson, Mark West director of marketing. "Mark West spread the word about healthy eating through the Healthy Grilling platform and Ultimate Marinade Challenge on Facebook," she adds. "We also ran a set of targeted 'Dating 101' ads on Facebook to remind consumers that having fun is part of a healthy lifestyle." Line 39 won a Fast Track Growth Brand award this year, and hopes to carry that growth through 2016 with a digital focus. "2016 will mark the fi rst year that we invest in a fully integrated media campaign, heavily weighted in digital," says Alex Parra, director of marketing for supplier O'Neill Vintners & Distillers. "Our goal is to reach over 65 million impressions across digital, mobile and print." MILLENNIALS AND VARIETY All Millennials are now of legal drinking age. And, as Parra points out, a recent study by the Wine Market Council reported that the 79 million consumers in the U.S. age 21 to 38 drank 159.6 million cases of wine in 2015. The wine industry is still fi guring out the ramifi cations. One thing seems to be certain, though: Experimentation is IN for this group. "We see that younger Millennial consumers are interested in trying new varieties and wines from regions they may not have heard of," explains Jordan Sager, vice president of Winesellers, which supplies the La Fiera wine brand. La Fiera earned a spot on the Comeback Brands list for posting increased for the past two years after a dip in 2013. Winesellers positioned La Fiera, which includes wine varietals from all over Italy, as "providing a vehicle to experiment at value-driven price points," Sager says. POS AND IN-PERSON Even with the near-universal expansion of digital strategies, POS and in-person marketing remains critical for success. "We very much appreciate articles in periodicals or blogs on the web, but sometimes that can be counter-intuitive," says Tony Leonardini, partner/winemaker of BNA Wine Group. "In the end, the consumer speaks with their purchase, and focusing on their trends is most important. BNA Wine Group's Butternut wine became a Rising Star after growing nearly 40% to 58,000 cases sold in 2015, compared to 42,000 last year. "We are still heavily into social media and online promotions, but the face-to-face interaction is more important than ever," Leonardini says. Cava producer Freixenet won a Comeback Brand award as the brand continues to grow after a 2013 dip in sales. The Spanish sparkling wine brand is big on social media, but also sponsored the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival, says Danielle Fritz, brand manager, import brands for Freixenet USA, and offered a value-add option in-store to allow consumers to "Costumize" their Halloween-themed bottles. Fast Track Award winner Nobilo from Global Imports & Spirits also benefi tted from physical connections. "The quality is in the bottle—consumer events and sampling is a key area of investment," says Pfeiffer. Global Imports & Spirits also carries the Italian wine Ruffi no, which in 2016 is "thrilled to partner with Italian icon San Pellegrino on a nationwide at-retail promotional program," Pfeiffer says. Ruffi no won an Established Growth Brand Award for its consistent growth during the past fi ve years, climbing from 713,000 cases sold in 2011 to about 1.13 million last year. The Roscato fi zzy red wine brand by Palm Bay rocketed up sales charts in recent years. A Rising Star in 2015, Roscato has grown from 45,000 cases sold in 2011 to half a million last year. One part of their success? A focus on tastings, according to the Palm Bay team. Chilean wine brand Epica was a fellow Rising Star winner that relied on in-person marketing. "Tastings played the greatest role in achieving this status," says Rod Simmons, brand manager at supplier Shaw-Ross International. "The feedback from tastings was that the consumer loves the style of the wine, being fruit forward, with the range covering almost all major varietals."

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