Why Canned Wine is Here to Stay

Article from Foley Food and Wine Society – September 12, 2019
With recent coverage in publications such as the Wall Street Journal and Wine Spectator, canned wine is quickly rising in popularity with consumers, and becoming a major focus for top producers. This is because the sales of canned wine has continued to grow exponentially since 2017. Acrobat Wines began releasing their highly-acclaimed Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Rosé, and Chardonnay in cans this year, and has witnessed an immediate positive response from consumers. Here are some of the key reasons why canned wine is here to stay:

Canned wine is convenient

One key reason for canned wine’s popularity is its convenience. Being more durable than glass bottles, cans allow wine lovers to travel with them more casually, without having to worry about the special packaging and transport considerations that come with glass bottles. You drop a bottle of wine, it’s most likely to shatter. In addition to losing an entire bottle of wine, you’ve now got a dangerous situation with shards of glass to cleanup. Not a concern with cans.

Another benefit to cans is that you don’t need to remember to bring a corkscrew to open one. How many times have you brought a bottle of wine to a picnic and realized you’d forgotten the corkscrew? Not a problem with cans. We’re also seeing the rise in popularity of cans lead to an increase in overall consumption of wine, as it has led to more wine lovers bringing wine with them to parties and other events, when they previously may have balked at traveling with glass bottles.

Cans’ smaller portion size allows for more trials by consumers

Research shows that consumers are more likely to buy a bottle of wine if they have tasted it first. Standard can sizes are 375ml, which is exactly half of the standard 750ml bottle of wine.  That is equivalent to just over two 6oz glasses of wine. This smaller portion allows consumers to taste the wine before committing to buying additional cans, or moving on to a full bottle.

Cans are environmentally friendly

Another reason why cans are here to stay is because they are more environmentally friendly than glass bottles. One reason is because aluminum is more likely to be recycled than glass. Also, cans weigh less to transport, which cuts down on carbon emissions and reduces their carbon-footprint overall.

Cans appeal to wine drinkers of all ages and experience

The recyclable packaging and friendly labels are encouraging a younger audience to enjoy wine. Canned wines are an approachable introduction to wine, as they are made ready-to-drink as soon as they are purchased. Not only that, but canned wine is more affordable, especially for younger, millennial drinkers, who are just starting their careers, and may not have the disposable income of their predecessors. Priced at $6+ for a can of wine, canned wine is a budget-friendly option for anyone looking to enjoy wine, but not commit to purchasing a full bottle just yet.

So, sit back, relax, and enjoy some canned wine, because it’s here to stay and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Mulled Wine

sip me Mulled Wine Cocktail recipe to make at home

Did someone say mulled wine? Have a go at making some over the festive period with our recipe below.

Serves 2

What you’ll need…
  • 500ml (2 cans) No. 5 Red.
  • ½ orange, sliced into rounds.
  • 3 whole cloves.
  • 1 cinnamon stick.
  • 1 – 2 star anise.
  • Approximately 1 – 3 tablespoons sugar – to taste. (Feel free to use other forms of sweetener such as honey.)
  • Optional naughty extra: Dash of brandy (or your favourite liquor).
  • Garnish if desired: Slice of orange, extra cinnamon stick, extra star anise.

How to make it…

  1. In a large saucepan, add the wine, sugar, spices and orange rounds. Give it a quick stir to mix all the ingredients together.
  2. Simmer on medium to high heat until it barely reaches a simmer. (Avoid bubbling as this boils off the alcohol!) Reduce to a low heat and cover. Let the wine simmer for approximately 15 minutes or more, for maximum flavour.
  3. Using a sieve, strain and remove the orange slices, cloves, cinnamon stick, and star anise. Taste mulled wine to see if it is sweet enough. Feel free to add any extra sugar, honey or sweetener if needed to get it to your preferred taste.
  4. Serve warm in mugs, adding any additional garnishes if desired.
  5. Enjoy! Don’t forget to tag us in your creations on instagram.

Canned Wine Comes of Age

The category is no longer just a fad, as young consumers increasingly set aside the stemware and crack open cans of wine. By Augustus Weed for Winespectator.com, May 22, 2019.

Canned wine is catching on. It’s not unusual to find cans of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and rosé on store shelves and being hawked at music festivals. Once considered a novelty, cans have burst into the mainstream, enticing young wine drinkers to pop the tab with their easy-drinking style, convenient packaging and value.

Cans are one of the fastest-growing forms of alternative wine packaging on the market—a burgeoning category that includes bag-in-a-box and Tetra Paks, the same packaging being used for juice boxes. Last year, canned wine sales jumped 69 percent to more than $69 million, totaling 739,000 cases in retail outlets tracked by Nielsen. That’s up from just $2 million in sales in 2012.

Wine lovers can find an increasing array of brands from domestic and international producers packaged in aluminum containers. Some are new canned-only brands while others are established names in new packaging.

Many of California’s largest wine players are jumping into the game, including E. & J. Gallo, Treasury Wine Estates and Foley Family Wines. They join The Wine Group and The Family Coppola, which set the stage for modern American canned wine with its Sofia Mini Blanc de Blancs in the early 2000s.

John Wilkinson, managing partner at Bin to Bottle, a custom-crush winery in Napa, says that he had nearly 20 clients lined up to can their wine before he had even finished installing the canning line earlier this year. The nascent category is still evolving and Wilkinson admits that there is still a lot to learn about canning wine. “It’s still a little like the Wild West,” he said.

The popularity of canned wine typically spikes in spring and summer as wine lovers head outdoors. But that’s beginning to change. “There has traditionally been seasonality in the wine category, but what we see is a pretty steady demand year-round for cans and bottles,” said John Anthony Truchard, of JaM Cellars, who started packaging his Butter Chardonnay and Candy Rosé in cans last year.

“The outdoor and active sport community has certainly embraced the cans, and we are also seeing folks in big cities purchase them for the portion size for home or outings around town,” Ryan Harms, founder of Union Wine Co. in Oregon, told Wine Spectator. Union Wine Co. was at the forefront of the canned wine movement when it started packaging its Underwood Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris in 375ml cans—equivalent to half a bottle—in 2014. Since then, Underwood’s lineup has expanded, with 55 percent of its wines packaged in cans, totaling 244,000 cases worth of wine in 2018. And Harms expects that figure to nearly double this year.

The Millennial generation is driving much of canned wine’s growth, drawn to its portable and recyclable packaging. Cans are also lighter and more durable than bottles and can be enjoyed directly from the container, making them more park, beach and festival friendly than glass.

Think outside the bottle

“Millennials have grown up in a world where consuming wine outdoors—or any location outside of the traditional table—is more acceptable than generations past,” said Kate McManus, VP of marketing for Delicato Family Wines, which produces the Bota Box brand, one of the largest boxed wine producers.

While canned wine sales continue to grow, boxed wine remains the most popular non-glass wine package. Drawn by their convenience and value, consumers continue to reach for 3-liter boxes. A 3-liter box of wine contains the same amount as 4 standard-size bottles. The bag-in-a-box technology also protects the wine from oxygen, keeping it fresh for about two to three weeks after it’s opened.

Black Box leads the way in the boxed wine category, increasing production by nearly 1 million cases annually since 2015, according to Market Watch, a sister publication of Wine Spectator. The brand produced the equivalent of nearly 7.4 million cases of wine in 2018. Producers are also offering smaller, more portable options, such as 1.5-liter boxes and 500ml Tetra Pak containers.

Potentially more than picnic wine?

f the overall wine market, however, according to Nielsen. But some winemakers see a broader audience for canned wine. “I really think the target demographic is wide open,” argues Ron Penner-Ash, winemaker at Free Public, which sources wine from California, Oregon and Washington. Ron, who co-founded Penner-Ash winery, believes that higher-end wine in a can would make a good fit for golf clubs and sports venues.

The best canned wines are typically made to be fresh and fruity in style with little to no oak contact, and should be consumed shortly after canning. Harms says that’s the appeal of the Underwood wines, noting that they have “an implied ‘ready to drink’ quality, which allows them to lend themselves to the can better than other styles might.”

In recent official Wine Spectator blind tastings, more than a dozen wines scored very good, or 85-89 points on Wine Spectator‘s 100-point scale. Rosé and white wine show the most promise, such as West + Wilder’s White American NV (88 points, $20), sold in a three-pack of 250ml cans, one of the most popular sizes; and Ferdinand’s Rosé California 2018 (87, $9), a single-vineyard Carignan. Union Wine Co.’s snappy and fruit-forward Underwood Pinot Noir Oregon NV (87, $7) was the highest scoring red wine in a can.

“In the short time I’ve been doing this, the perception is beginning to shift,” said Matt Allan, who co-founded West + Wilder with his friend Kenny Rochford in 2018. West + Wilder is one of the new can-only producers trying to elevate the category by tapping established appellations such as Sonoma and Mendocino, and canning better-quality wines.

Whether cans will ever be more than easy-drinking sips remains to be seen. Producers admit that the appeal is less about the winemaker or where the wine comes from. “I’m not going to sit down at Thanksgiving with a can of our red blend,” said Penner-Ash. “It just doesn’t work in that setting, for me or for most people.”

How good is canned wine?

Eduardo Dingler explores the growth in canned wine sales in the USA, and now the UK – and at $25 dollars a can in some cases, it’s not just the house wines. So how good is canned wine? Decantor.com, July 23, 2019.

There are a number of advantages to canned wine, and it is currently enjoying increasing popularity in the United States, where it is seeing healthy sales.

This market started some years ago, with established wine companies such as the Francis Ford Coppola Winery producing ‘Sofia’ Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine in cans in 2004.

To date a number of wineries have contributed to the canned-wine world; in many ways elevating the quality and perception of the product.

‘Most canned wines on the market did not have a vintage, were not variety specific and did not come from a specific AVA or even vineyard. We wanted to show that you can put high-end wines in alternative packaging, and that they taste exactly same as they would coming from a bottle,’ explains Gina Schober from Sans Wine.

“There are a number of benefits when opting for cans instead of glass bottles – lower carbon footprint by reducing weight and promoting more efficient recycling are just the start,”

say Matthew Allan and Kenny Rochford from West + Wilder

‘In some ways it’s easy and non-pretentious to consume wine from a can,’ declares Sean Larkin, winemaker and proprietor of Larkin Wines.

‘More retailers are now stocking wine in cans in the UK,’ said Andy Howard MW in the August issue of Decanter.

Waitrose, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and the Co-op have increased their range, while English wine is also getting in on the act with brands such asThe Uncommon Bacchus.’

Another advantage of canned wine is faster chilling. This makes cans a good choice for picnics, concerts in the park and drinking by the pool, where glass is most likely prohibited.

The canned beverage industry has grown in many directions from canned cocktails to canned sake and, of course, several types of craft beer. The challenge is to prove that canned wine can exceed consumer expectations, with an exceptional glass of wine re-educating the way people drink.

Some canned wines demand prices upwards of $25 per 37.5cl can (equivalent to half a bottle of wine) such as Sans Wine Company Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, while the average price of most is around $5.

The varieties available in the marketplace are also quite diverse; from a number of rosés from Pinot Noir and Rhône to a good amount of sparkling or carbonated examples. Pinot Grigio goes all the way to red blends and Cabernet Sauvignon.

‘Another major advantage of cans is a reduced carbon footprint – aluminium has far higher recycling rates than glass, and the carbon effect of shipping lighter containers is significant,’ said Howard.

Although an exciting trend, there are a few important facts to consider, like ageability. When asked, producers mostly agree that canned wine is designed to be consumed soon after buying.

Another recommendation from producers is for consumers not to drink straight from the can but to drink out of a glass or plastic wine glass.

When asked about some of the challenges of this growing segment, Tony McClung, president of wine-industry consulting firm AMC Insights notes, ‘The production side is a large puzzle. The pieces include the can producer, the canning facility, the packaging company, the winery, the shipping company and the distribution network. All these pieces have not yet caught up to the demand.’

Talking about the all-important consumer demographic he said, ‘As we skew towards a younger generation, the market for alternative packaging will grow. They will then embrace the idea of wine in a can as they get older.’

There seems to be no stopping this nearly $50-million business that shows promising developments and considerable options for producers and consumers alike.