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Are Cans the Future of low-alcohol wine?

Canned wine made huge strides in 2021, both from a technical and a sales point of view, and this will continue in 2022. However, the big innovation will come from industry building new product sub-categories in wine that hit both of the growing trends of the 2020s: wine in a portable, single serve format, with a low-alcohol formulation that turns it from wine to a wine-based sparkling drink.

When Nielsen surveyed US off-premise canned wine sales for the 52-week period ending in 2019, canned wine had shown a 69% rise in sales from the previous year, making $79.3 million in sales.

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Canned Wines are re-imagining the wine experience

Wines are often paired with celebration and luxury). Seasoned oenologists have spent years learning the right ways to enjoy a wine and also propagating that knowledge further to wine enthusiasts, one flute at a time. Beginners often seek guidance before accessing a wine. Wine drinking, therefore, becomes an interesting, educating, and explorative process.

Canned wines are now available globally. Consumers are still debating whether it is a trend that will evolve or a fad that will fade away. Two prime reasons are believed to drive canned wine sales — convenience and sustainability.

Canned wine, more convenient

Canned wines are easier to carry around and consume across different locations and points in time. Beer was first canned in 1936 and immediate attempts were made to can wine as well. It took a great amount of trial and error to make canned wines. The biggest challenge was the stability of this wine as the elements in the wine would react with the lining of an aluminum can. This led to the corrosion of the aluminum can and the wine would often leak. A rotten egg smell would also emanate from the can when opened. It was only in the early 2000s that Barokes, a wine producer from Australia, successfully packaged wine using an innovative process across wine production, packaging, as well as the filling process.

Canned wine is sustainable

Sustainability is another one of the strongest reasons behind the popularity of canned wine. Canned wine is the only closed-loop winemaking process. The cans are 100% recyclable. They cool faster than other ways of packaged wine and require less energy to chill. More than 20 billion glass bottles of wine sealed with cork are sold each year. These wines are then packaged into a 12-bottle cardboard case which weighs more than the wine. Shipping these bottles requires additional packaging material which either gets reused or ends up in a landfill.

Consumers are happy because they can carry their portable wine cans to every occasion and also exercise portion control. There is a lesser wastage when it comes to wines in cans which are smaller servings. The wine also stays fresher since freshness is sealed by nature and light doesn’t directly interact with the wine. Canned wines are therefore cherished at festival circuits

Canned wine: better flavor, taste more

Canned wines allow for customers to choose beyond the conventional 750ml bottles or surprise themselves by trying a variety of wines. Canned wines also bring variety where beverages don’t need to be shared and can become personal for the consumers. The aromas of the wine are intensified so that it tastes good out of a can. The same would be too crowded a sensory experience if consumed in a glass which also affects the wine’s tannins. Canned wines have also paved the way for wine coolers to enter the market.

Sans Wine Company from Napa Valley wanted to include premium, organic, single-vineyard wines in their canned wines offerings. In 2015, they created an exclusive range using stainless steel fermentation and aging, eliminating the oak that overpowers the grape in such wines. Premium wines packaged in cans—vineyard specific, variety specific, vintage-dated wines is the promise of Sans Wine Company made possible through their canned wines. Some other celebrated canned wines include Underwood’s Rosé Bubbles and Riesling Radler, Canned Oregon’s Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, Artomaña Txakoli Xarmant, Companion Wine Co. Skin Contact, Scarpetta Lambrusco, and many more.

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Canned Low-Alcohol Wine RTD

The continued growth of Ready-to-Drink (RTDs), especially in the US, is being led by an unprecedented bout of innovation in the category, and remains on course to grow substantially in 2022, according to forecasts from the IWSR. More astute RTD manufacturers are looking for ways in which they can premiumise their offering, which at the moment is largely focused around spirits-based beverages, using premium branded whiskies, rums and gins to drive consumer demand up the price ladder.

Eventually, Wine Intelligence think, the same logic of successful RTD innovation – marquee brands, better flavors – will be applied to premium wine products. The first movers here will be the sparkling wine producers, especially Champagne houses with an eye on extending their reach into the low alcohol / single serve space.

Canned Wine is here to stay. Not just to stay but to evolve in the consumer’s desired ways to become a part of their biggest moments as well as laidback evenings, one can at a time.