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Interview, Part Two: Excelsior Maps Ambitious Five-Year Growth Plan

March 2, 2015

In part two of our interview with Marc Goodrich, the Excelsior Wines president reveals the company’s altered approach on new products and his ambitious growth plan.

SND: Excelsior has unveiled an array of new products over the past 18 months. How are they doing?

Goodrich: We’ve become very cautious on innovation, because new products have flooded the market for the past few years and warehouses are now full of them. So we’ve taken on a more gradual approach. Previously, if we launched something new in the Casillero line, for example, we’d go everywhere with it. But last summer, when we introduced Devil’s Collection—which features a red blend and a white blend—we tested it in about 20 markets, involved some key retailers and secured effective on-premise distribution. So far, Devil’s Collection is doing quite well. We’ll assess things in a few months, and if we’ve achieved our targeted results, we’ll expand into new markets. Another recent launch is Frontera Specialties, whose concept is to introduce consumers to lesser-known Chilean varietals like Pedro Jimenez and Pais. We’ve had mixed results with it, but we knew it would require patience. We’re seeing progress, especially on-premise, as people become more willing to try different wines. But if any new product isn’t working, we’ll pull the plug much faster than in the past.

SND: What gaps in your portfolio are you looking to fill?

Goodrich: We have good California brands in Little Black Dress and Five Rivers, and we’re currently working on a Central Coast strategy to develop a more robust presence there. We anticipate (introducing) something in 2016, and as always, we’re taking a look at what’s out there. But part of what we’ve done with Excelsior 2.0 is sharpen our focus on core brands. We’re not out chasing trends or looking to fill out the portfolio. We offer our distributor network a very tight, focused portfolio. That’s really the strategy we want to follow.

SND: Where do you want Excelsior to be in three to five years? How do you plan to get there?

Goodrich Our goal is to double our revenue by 2020. That will require annual revenue growth of around 12%, so it’s clearly ambitious. We’d also like to rebalance our business. Right now, Argentina and California collectively account for 16% of our sales, and we’d like to double that. So we want to continue growing our Chilean business, but we’re also targeting outsized progress for Argentina and California in order to have a more diversified business. We’ve started off this year with some excellent programs with key retailers, and our plan is to grow volume this year by around 9% and revenue by 15%. Again, our goals are very ambitious.

The full interview appears in the February 1&15 issue of Impact.


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