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Skinnygirl Wines On The Rise, But Cocktails And Vodkas Show Sharp Declines

June 9, 2014

Beam Suntory’s low-calorie Skinnygirl drinks line, acquired from brand founder Bethenny Frankel in 2011, has been among the more high-profile drinks franchises in recent years. In 2013, however, Skinnygirl’s vodka and premixed cocktail portfolios both encountered significant adversity, even as the Skinnygirl wine range posted impressive growth.

According to Impact Databank, the Skinnygirl Wine Collection surged 49% to 157,000 cases in the U.S. last year. Since launching in 2012, Skinnygirl wines have found an audience among female consumers, says Jared Fix, Beam’s general manager, mixables. The brand’s original wine portfolio—including California Red, California White and California Rosé—was extended last fall with four new varietals: Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Cabernet Sauvignon (all $11.99 a 750-ml.) and a seasonal Prosecco ($14.99).

While Skinnygirl’s wines have made progess, its pre-mixed cocktails and vodka range (including a core offering and several flavor extensions) declined markedly last year. Skinnygirl Cocktails fell 37% to 474,000 cases in 2013, after rocketing from 5,000 to 753,000 cases from 2009-2012. Skinnygirl vodkas, meanwhile, were down 21% to 76,000 cases.

Despite those sharp declines, Fix says Beam Suntory remains committed to the franchise and plans to continue pursuing new low-calorie drinks products aimed at its female consumer base. In April, the company introduced Skinnygirl Sweet’arita and Skinnygirl Sparkling Margarita, both at 19.9-proof and fewer than 100 calories per serving ($12.99 a 750-ml.). Also recently launched is a 1.75-liter format for the Sweet’arita and Skinnygirl White Cranberry Cosmo.

Likewise, Beam Suntory will seek to turn around the Skinnygirl vodka line ($17.99 a 750-ml.), which includes unflavored Bare Naked along with Cucumber, Tangerine, White Cherry and Meyer Lemon flavors. The company will continue to support Skinnygirl with a campaign touting low-calorie, “low-guilt” solutions to female consumers.

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