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Sangria Sales See Upward Trend

August 23, 2013

Both bottled and restaurant-made sangrias have been growing in popularity of late, leading to a spate of new product activity in the category, as well as nascent efforts at premiumization.

The top four sangria-only brands in the U.S. market—Shaw-Ross’s Cruz Garcia Reál, E&J Gallo’s Madria, Biagio Cru & Estate’s Lolailo and Luxco’s Yago, respectively—achieved aggregate volume growth of 15% to 1.6 million cases last year, according to Impact Databank. Lolailo earned Impact “Hot Brand” honors, leaping 68% to 335,000 cases. Madria, up 13% to 405,000 cases, and Cruz Garcia Reál, up 5% to 548,000 cases, also posted solid gains, while Yago had a small decline.

While most major sub-premium wine brands have a sangria variety, the consumer bases of those products don’t often cross-pollinate with those of the sangria-only entries mentioned above. Stephanie Gallo, vice president of marketing for E&J Gallo—which in addition to Madria sells 1.8 million cases of sub-premium sangria under the Carlo Rossi brand—says consumers often stick with a preferred option. “Of consumers that shop major wine brand sangrias or sangria-only labels, less than 4% purchase both products,” she explains.

Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits recently entered the sangria fray with the acquisition of the Eppa label, which includes red and white variants. CEO Peter Deutsch says the brand’s $12 price point fits with the category trend, which is skewing more premium. “Premium sangria is hot,” he notes. “The category has grown by about 90% in dollar value over the past year.” Deutsch is also adding a sangria to the Yellow Tail brand in October.

Aveníu Brands’ Pomagria, made with pomegranate juice and launched last year, is also playing in the premium price tier at around $11 a 750-ml., which is a departure from the typical 1.5-liter size. “The smaller format is value-enhancing throughout,” says Joe Cannavo, marketing director of innovation at Aveníu. “And by using exotic ingredients like pomegranate, it’s something worth trading up to in the category.

While bottled sangrias are prospering off-premise, on-premise venues are emphasizing the category’s creative potential with their own proprietary blends. Denver’s new Al Lado, a Richard Sandoval restaurant, serves a “Sangria of the Week,” along with traditional red and white offerings. “We’ve taken the concept of sangria, and we’re making it to order, almost like a craft cocktail,” says general manager Kelly Berger. One popular concoction has been the Mexican Reposado Sangria ($8 a glass), a mix of Alysa Red wine, Exotico Reposado Tequila and muddled orange, lemon and lime.

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