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Boxed Wine Surge Accelerates, Led By 30% Growth In 3-Liter Segment

May 13, 2020

Already one of the fastest-rising areas of the wine market, boxed wines have only continued to grow in importance this spring, with sales surging amid the broad shift to the off-premise. The 3-liter boxed segment is leading the way, with volume up by nearly 30% in IRI channels in the year-to-date through April 19, while 5-liter boxes advanced by 8.3% over the same period.

Delicato-owned Bota Box is the leader in the 3-liter segment, earning an Impact “Hot Brand” award after jumping 15% to just under 8 million 9-liter cases in the U.S. last year. Volume soared 58% in IRI channels in the year-to-date through April 19. Among the most recent additions to the Bota Box lineup is Nighthawk Gold Buttery Chardonnay, which launched last year in an effort to tap into the growing popularity of full-bodied Chardonnay. While the brand includes 1.5-liter boxes and 500-ml. Tetra Paks, Delicato executive vice president of marketing Jon Guggino notes that the 3-liter category in particular continues to grow and gain acceptance, and the company’s marketing efforts remain largely focused on that format. Last year, Delicato invested $10 million in the brand, including a new “This is how we Bota” campaign.

E.&J. Gallo also won a Hot Brand in the boxed category with Barefoot On Tap, a 3-liter offering that rocketed out to 1.2 million cases in 2019 in its first full year on the market. The triple-digit growth has kept on going so far this year. “Alternative packaging is, and will continue to be, a growing part of the Barefoot portfolio,” notes Barefoot vice president of marketing Anna Bell. “The overall alternative packaging table wine category is growing at double-digits, and Barefoot alternative packaging is seeing even higher growth rates.”

Gallo is set to take another leap forward in the 3-liter boxed segment with its pending acquisition of Black Box from Constellation—part of a 30-brand deal worth $1.1 billion and slated to close by the end of this month. Black Box took a step back last year, slipping 2.7% to 6.85 million cases, according to Impact Databank, but saw 17% growth in IRI channels this year through April 19.

The 3-liter brands above retail at around $20. A step down the pricing ladder, The Wine Group’s Franzia brand, best known for its 5-liter format ($17), was down 3% last year to 22.5 million cases, according to Impact Databank. But it too gained momentum in IRI channels through April 19, with volume up by close to 10%. Last year Franzia saw a full packaging revamp, new line extensions, and a multi-million dollar marketing campaign, representing its first major push in three decades.—Daniel Marsteller

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