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Exclusive: The Wine Group’s Flipflop Jumps Out To 600,000 Cases In First Year

January 9, 2012

The Wine Group’s Underdog Wine & Spirits division has a hit on its hands with its Flipflop wine brand, which debuted a year ago. Rolled out last January, Flipflop sold an estimated 600,000 cases in its first year on the market, according to Impact Databank’s projection.

Selling for under $10 a bottle, Flipflop was introduced with Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Moscato, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir and Riesling offerings, all from California, except for the Riesling, which contains Washington state grapes. This month, Malbec and Sauvignon Blanc varietals from Chile, as well as Sweet Red, Bubbly Chardonnay, Bubbly Moscato and Bubbly Pinot Grigio wines from California, are being added. Flipflop is also currently expanding distribution of its 1.5-liter format to several new states, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

The rise of Flipflop provides another growth engine in the Underdog portfolio to complement Cupcake Vineyards, which, along with E&J Gallo’s Barefoot, has been among the hottest brands in the wine industry. According to Impact Databank projections, Cupcake ($9-$10 a bottle) sold 1.8 million cases across its wine offerings in 2011—up from 1 million cases in 2010—as well as 150,000 cases of its new Cupcake Vodka label (around $17 a 750-ml.), which includes Original, Frosting, Chiffon and Devil’s Food flavors.

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