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article imageAfter booze in a box, now comes wine in a can

By Rob Edens     Nov 18, 2013 in Food
Miami - After screw caps, glass-sized bottles and boxed wine, wine makers are starting to market wine in a can in an attempt to cut costs and reach new markets.
The idea will surely raise hairs in the Old World, but wine in a can seems to be catching on around the world. Wine has always been a product steeped in tradition but, as Bloomberg reports, a good number of wine drinkers around the world have already demonstrated their willingness to break with the past. Bag-inside-a-box wine such as the unapologetic Franzia has become the world's best-selling brand, with 6.5% of the market in North America.
In July, Miami-based Friends Beverage Group became the first major producer in the US to make the leap, announcing a new line of canned wine, "Friends Wine in a Can", launched in partnership with the low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines. The company is offering two varieties – muscato and sangria – made from premium French grapes, which can also currently be found in major retailers across 20 U.S. States according to FoodBev.
This week, Oregon’s Union Wine Company announced that it will sell its Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris in eight-ounce cans. Owner Ryan Harms says that selling his wine in cans will save the company upwards of 40% on its packaging costs compared to traditional glass bottles, but the company also wants to be on the forefront of the wine drinking experience. "We wanted to come up with a product that embodied our company’s philosophy of making great craft wine minus all the fuss," says Harms.
Beyond the US market, wine in a can has also recently made its appearance in the UK and France to much media fanfare, but it is in Australia that the idea first gained traction over three years ago. According to LA Weekly, canned wine was developed by Australians Steve Barics and Greg Stokes after a "shattered-glass-meets-jacuzzi" episode. Sold under the brand Barokes, the entrepreneurial duo sells their wine, available in Blanc de Blancs, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Blanc de Noirs, in 250ml cans for around $10.
Aside from lowering shipping costs, it is hoped that canned wine will be better adapted to changing consumer habits and help popularize the beverage among new demographics. The old glass bottle just isn't appropriate for many contexts. For Ben Parsons, owner of the small, Denver-based winery Infinite Monkey Theorem, which experimented with canned wine as early as 2011, "it made a lot of sense to find a container that would enable people to put it in their pocket and go for a hike or a picnic or to a concert."
More about wine industry, canned wine, Innovation, Friends Beverage Group, Alcohol
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