Wine in cans, heresy or genius idea?

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Canned wine seems to be making a definitive place for itself on the wine market. However, appeared 10 years ago in France, purists did not give much of his skin. A story that is reminiscent of that of the Bag-in-Box. Decried when it arrived in wine in the 70s, the BIB has however established itself as an essential packaging. So much so that in 2021, it represents 44% of the wine sold in supermarkets. A similar fate may well happen to canded wine. In France, several players share the market, boosted by new consumption patterns. The first French industrialist to believe in this concept is still Cacolac. Since 2011, its “In Can We Trust” division has been supporting its customers in the promotion of this new packaging.

Indeed, in addition to its famous cocoa drink, the brand has been developing on a new activity since 2011. This is the packaging of canned wine. It is necessary to warn purists, yes, wine in cans it is possible. Initially, it was a niche market that gradually gained momentum, especially among the younger generations who are ready for change. Indeed, the younger generation attaches less importance to the traditional bottle of wine.

On the contrary, it would be more tempted by novelty and originality. Two aspects that characterize wine in cans. Aware of this opportunity, Cacolac is therefore investing in this activity with a factory in Léognan. The latter should see the light of day at the end of 2022. In the meantime, it continues to develop its cans which have the advantage of offering a more practical, ecological and fun mode of consumption.

changing patterns of wine consumption

Wine in cans already acclaimed for export

Since France is very attached to its bottles of wine, it is not particularly surprising that these consumers remain puzzled by canned wine. However, to measure the potential of this packaging, we must look at its international development. Especially in countries that are less sacred to gastronomy.

Thus, in the United States, between 2017 and 2021, the volume of sales of wine cans increased by more than 3,800% according to Nielsen. Between March 2016 and March 2017, sales generated $5.9 million. Comparatively, between March 2020 and March 2020, they are the source of $253 million. In the last year year, sales of canned wines increased by 62% in value; 67% by volume.

Also in the United States, all the brands in the top 10 bottle sales are also available in cans (2). Thus, the growth observed on rosé in bottles is also reflected in sales of Rosé in cans, also leader in this market segment. Similarly, four of the five largest vineyards are positioned in the can wine market. E&J Gallo, The Wine Group, Constellation Brands, and Treasury Wine Estates.

The country has more than 900 references from all over the world. For comparison, there were 350 in 2018, an increase of 157% between June 2018 and June 2019. At the same time, the number of companies invested in this new segment has doubled from 125 to 350. This is also the case for the number of exporting countries. They were 13 in 2018, compared to 28 in 2019.

But the United States is not the only market with significant growth. In reality, the progression is even better in the UK, according to Nielsen. It grew by 155% between 2018 and 2019, to a value of £2.4 million.

wine in can vandra cacolac bordeaux
Vandra Can Wine – In Can We Trust / Cacolac

Packaging in line with new ways of consuming wine

The reasons for the success of wine in cans turn out to be numerous and remain valid in most Western countries.

First, the can is a practical content. It is simple to transport and allows you to consume wine without carrying glass. It is easy to open, not requiring a corkscrew. Then it is intended to be finished at the opening, unlike a bottle that must be closed.

The can also offers wine new opportunities for consumption. The bottle remains popular for meals at the table but for festive occasions or outdoor reunions, the can is adept.

It is also much more ecological and economical. For good reason, aluminum is totally recyclable. And the design costs of a can are lower than that of a glass bottle.

In addition, contrary to popular belief, a can is perfectly able to preserve the qualities of the wine. This is evidenced by the good wines packaged in cans in the United States. You can find entry-level wines from $ 1, but also very good wines, up to $ 25 a can.

Can packaging also makes it possible to control its consumption. Where a bottle pushes to drink too much to finish it, a can represents a glass and a half of wine. What on the one hand to have a more responsible consumption. And on the other hand, allow yourself to try a wide variety of wines.

The last factor explaining the success of wine in cans is the design. Where bottles have only labels to attract attention and most of the time bend to traditional codes, cans exploit their entire surface and rely on their innovative dimension to offer colorful and aesthetic packaging. This is far from anecdotal since 64% of consumers choose a new product solely for its attractive design, according to a 2016 Freeman study. Nielsen even claims that the best packaging of cans attracts 31% more attention. They would increase trials by 64% and increase sales by 41% compared to conventional packaging.

vineyard distribution of wine new packaging

What trend in France?

France does not adopt wine in cans as quickly as its Anglo-Saxon cronies, but still more than many would like to believe. Thus, according to a Norstad study published by Ball Corporation, the consumption of wine in cans has increased during the lockdown. Thus, 48% of French wine consumers aged 18 to 24 drink wine in cans or plan to do so. By way of comparison, these figures are 51% in the United Kingdom and 68% in the United States. The difference is therefore not so marked.

On the other hand, the older the population, the less it is seduced by wines in cans. Thus, among 25 – 40 year olds, 43% are open to it. The figures drop to 35% for 45-54 year olds. Then to 20% in 55s.

However, aware of the potential of wine in cans, and the large pool of customers to be developed, some French operators are embarking on the concept. This is particularly the case of the Bordeaux vineyards Producta, the Provencal Moncigale, the Maison Le Star. Or companies dedicated to production and marketing in cans such as Uchronic. In the Bordeaux region, Cacolac leads the way.

wine in can in can we trust cacolac bordeaux
Wine cans produced by Cacolac in Léognan, near Bordeaux – In Can We Trust

Cacolac, the Bordeaux actor of wine in cans

With its “In Can We Trust” division, Cacolac is the first French manufacturer to have positioned itself on the can wine market in 2011. From now on, its recognized know-how for this specific packaging makes it a popular player for wine and other alcohol producers.

To be able to meet the demand, the company launches the construction of a new building of 2000 m2 on the land of CACOLAC in Léognan, near Bordeaux. It therefore further strengthens its historical territorial anchorage in Gironde. For good reason, since its creation nearly 70 years ago, the SME has maintained its local presence, contributing at its scale to the local economic dynamic.

With the development of its cans business for wine and other alcoholic beverages, CACOLAC is opening up new perspectives, in connection with the entire fabric of wines and spirits of the Bordeaux region first. But also from all over France and internationally.

To do this, the company is investing 5 million euros for “In Can We Trust” to significantly increase its production capacity by 2022. It is thus preparing to go from 9 million cans per year to 25 million, then to 40 million. A development that should open about fifteen new positions, in addition to 47 already existing in Léognan.

Sources

  1. “In Can We Trust: Cacolac builds a site dedicated to wines in cans!” Cacolac, Press release of 15/09/2021
  2. 2019 Wine-in-a-can market implications, WIC Research
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