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Constellation On The Success Of Simply Naked

January 4, 2013

To say Constellation Brands has stepped up its focus on innovation would be an understatement, as the wine giant launched 20 new wines in its last fiscal year. One of the most promising new entries is Simply Naked, a California brand that focuses on a pure fruit profile by specializing in unoaked wines. The Simply Naked portfolio currently includes Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Moscato, Sauvignon Blanc and a red blend, Undressed Red. Constellation plans to add to the line in the near future.

Launched in June 2011, Simply Naked ($9.99 a 750-ml.) sold nearly 200,000 cases in its first six months. The brand’s rapid rise continued in 2012, as sales for its current fiscal year (ending February 28, 2013) are expected to surpass 300,000 cases. Shanken News Daily recently spoke with Nicole Glenn, marketing director for innovation at Constellation Brands, to learn more about Simply Naked’s success and the company’s other innovation efforts.

SND: What was Constellation aiming to achieve with the launch of Simply Naked?

Glenn: We wanted to own the unoaked category and introduce consumers to a true expression of these varietals without the influence of oak aging. We’re still the only ones leveraging the unoaked positioning.

SND: How has Simply Naked’s launch differed from that of the many other new wines you’ve introduced of late?

Glenn: This was our first major new product launch since Constellation Brands pulled all of its operating companies under one banner. We test-marketed the brand for six months in seven key markets, and then we went national. We made a substantial investment in driving awareness through our television advertising campaign and by communicating the benefits of the unoaked proposition. We also quickly expanded the product line to seven varietals (having added the Sauvignon Blanc, Moscato and Undressed Red in early 2012). And there are more coming.

SND: How has Simply Naked performed since its introduction?

Glenn: We expect the brand to exceed 310,000 cases by the end of our current fiscal year. Simply Naked received the No.-3 Top New Wine Brand award in 2011 from SymphonyIRI. Its Pinot Grigio has become the No.-3 largest super-premium Pinot Grigio, according to SymphonyIRI.

SND: Which of your other new products are making a splash?

Glenn: We launched Thorny Rose in July 2012 with a portfolio of five wines. Sales have been strong since then, with over 100,000 cases shipped. Thorny Rose appeals strongly to Millennial wine drinkers between the ages of 25-35, but consumers of all ages appreciate its lineup of high-quality, approachable wines. We want to strike a balance between edgy and traditional with Thorny Rose, so everything from the modern packaging to the medium-bodied style is meant to encourage consumers to discover, adopt and share the brand with friends.

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