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Canned Wine “Hot Brands” See Further Gains Ahead

March 22, 2019

The canned wine segment continues to be a significant growth area in the U.S. wine market. Last year, canned wine sales in Nielsen channels jumped by 69% to $69.1 million on a 47% volume increase to 739,000 cases. Among the brands driving gains in the canned segment are two Pacific Northwest labels that recently earned Impact “Hot Brand” awards for their 2018 performances.

Oregon winemaker Union Wine Co. has carved out an impressive niche in the canned wine arena with its Underwood label. Launched in 2014, Underwood has grown into one of canned wine’s leaders. With growth of at least 40% in each of the past three years, the Underwood brand—including both canned and bottled offerings—closed 2018 at 400,000 cases overall. “We remain very bullish on cans,” Union founder and owner Ryan Harms tells SND, noting that the brand’s canned volume nearly doubled in size last year to 244,000 cases.

Though Union Wine Co.’s canned lineup initially consisted of only a Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, the portfolio now includes a rosé, white and rosé sparklers, a white blend, and wine coolers (all $6-$7 a 375-ml. can). Expansion has been enabled thanks to the opening of a new winemaking facility last March, which has more than doubled Union’s total capacity.

Seattle-based Precept Wines also made the domestic wine Hot Brands roster with its House Wine brand, whose sales shot up nearly 25% last year to 338,000 cases. The label includes a line of cans, launched in 2017, which includes Brut Bubbles, Chardonnay, Grapefruit Spritz, Pinot Noir, Sangria, and seven others. Precept has positioned House Wine to compete with Underwood by pricing its canned offerings at $5.50 a can, while its 3-liter boxes retail for $20. In their first full year on the market last year, House Wine’s canned offerings jumped out to 111,000 cases.

Precept and Union are far from alone in seeing further upside in canned wines. Terlato Wine Group is competing in the segment with its Seven Daughters brand ($15 a 4-pack of 250-ml. cans), as is Latitude Beverage with its Lila label ($12 a 4-pack of 8.4-ounce cans). The Wine Group debuted cans under Ava Grace last year ($5 a 375-ml.), and is rolling out a canned format for Cupcake this year. Meanwhile, E.&J. Gallo added cans to its Dark Horse brand ($7 a 375-ml.) last spring, and is seeing strong growth for its Barefoot Spritzer cans.—Danny Sullivan

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