Cheers - March/April 2016

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Page 40 of 59 41 March/April 2016 • 2016 GROWTH BRAND AWARDS WINE 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 at 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 its investment and is "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. Chateau Ste. Michelle also benefi tted from online and in-person promotions with 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's 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 Trade group The Wine Market Council pointed out in recent presentations that there are now more Millennial adults in the U.S. (79 million) than Baby Boomers (75 million), and all Millennials are now of legal drinking age. Boomers still account 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. Cheers: 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. Cheers: 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.

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