Exclusive: TOG Aims For 300,000-Case Mark, Unveils Uncle Val’s GinMarch 21, 2012
Formerly the boutique wine unit of Don Sebastiani & Sons, Sonoma, California-based The Other Guys (TOG) has steadily grown since establishing itself as a stand-alone company in 2010. Focusing primarily on the on-premise wine sector, TOG had sales of 244,000 nine-liter cases last year. This year, it expects to approach the 300,000-case mark, with wine sales headed toward 285,000 cases and sales from its new 35 Maple spirits division expected to total 5,000-10,000 cases.
Launched last year, 35 Maple was created to tap into the craft spirit and cocktail trends. Last August, the division rolled out 4,000 cases of its first offering, Masterson’s rye whisky, which retails at $79 a 750-ml. Now, 35 Maple is gearing up to introduce Uncle Val’s Gin, a small-batch juniper-based gin priced at $35-$40 a bottle.
“While Uncle Val’s will also be handcrafted and high-end like Masterson’s, it’s priced to become the volume offering of the spirits portfolio,” says TOG president August Sebastiani, adding that the gin will be followed by the launch of a Dominican rum priced in the $60 range. “We’re bullish on craft spirits—people want something no one has heard of,” he explains. 35 Maple currently has distribution in 25 states, primarily throughout the West Coast and Midwest regions.
The TOG wine portfolio, of course, remains the core business. Its top seller is Leese-Fitch ($12.99), focused on California varietals. Leese-Fitch is followed by California-appellation label Pennywise ($10.99) and Plungerhead ($14.99-$19.99), a Zinfandel-only brand sourced from Lodi and Dry Creek. Three smaller brands, Hey Mambo ($9.99, featuring California red, white, pink and Chardonnay extensions), Moobuzz ($14.99, featuring a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Monterey) and The White Knight ($9.99, including a Clarksburg Viognier and California Moscato) round out the portfolio. According to Sebastiani, TOG is also considering a new in-house, direct-to-consumer brand, though plans for a launch are in the early stages.
|The Other Guys’ Wine Portfolio
(thousands of nine-liter case depletions)
|1 addition of columns may not agree due to rounding
2 2011 excludes a small amount of distilled spirits
3 based on unrounded data
Source: IMPACT DATABANK