Story by Dave Eckert
I never thought I’d say this, but I had a really good can of wine the other night. That’s right, canned wines are all the rage. And you know what? The few canned wines I’ve had were pretty darn good.
“Canned wines are blowing all the other wine categories away in terms of growth,” Gretchen Boock, CEO of Oregon-based Wine by Joe told me. “They’re growing by something like 60-percent while all the other categories are in the one to two percent range or even lower.”
Boock might actually be low in her numbers. According to an article in the USA Today, Nielsen reported a stunning 125% increase in sales of canned wine in the past year with sales up from $6.4 million to $14.5 million.
The same article cites a study from the Texas Wine Marketing Institute which was featured in The Wine Spectator. The study, a national poll of wine drinkers ages 21 to 39, showed canned wines to have the highest overall perceptions of quality, based on packaging.
Targeting those ever-elusive millennials, Boock says cans of Joe to Go have been well received.
“The younger demographics are interested in alternative things. They want sustainability. They want value. But, they’re still are attracted by a really nice package, so we’ve got to deliver there as well,” Boock shared.
Boock says Wine by Joe cuts no corners in making wine that goes into cans rather than bottles, and Boock says a can is a perfect vessel for wine, providing quality along with freedom. “Sure, it works for the younger folks, but it’s also perfect for someone like me. I’m in my 40’s. I have three kids. I’m constantly on the go. This is just so practical. It won’t break and you can take it anywhere,” Boock stated.
Wine by Joe is a newcomer to the canned wine market with their Joe to Go cans. They’ve just done their third run of canning, adding a Pinot Noir to their offerings of Pinot Gris and Rosé. Boock is optimistic about the future of canned wines while realizing these are early days. “We know that Wine by Joe in the bottle is our flagship and we can’t lose focus on that. But at the same time, the potential for growth in the canned wine arena is huge. We know that there are 10,000 Baby Boomers retiring every week and they’re being replaced by 10,000 Millennials. We have to keep an eye on that,” Boock said.
The tag line for Wine by Joe is “Really good wines at a really good price.” Boock says the company’s canned offerings deliver on both points. From what I’ve tasted, I can’t disagree.