Well, as the recent trends goes, wine is no longer confined to glass bottles and the trend is fast catching up even with the traditional wine making countries as Cans are enormously getting popular in striking a chord with millennial wine drinkers. This trend is only set to spread across the globe –surely to help bring convenience to wine fanatics everywhere.
So why the canned wines surging in popularity? Perhaps it is kind of a response to snobbery long associated with wine. But then this is only an argument for behavioral snobbishness. What matters most are the technicalities that are driving some renowned producers towards this alternative packaging? According to renowned oenologist Rajiv Seth, as with screw caps, wine in a Can won’t ever suffer from cork taint, so that’s the benefit. But does the metal can make the wine taste different? Well Cans are both non-oxidative and blocks all ultraviolet light and for wine provides a very stable environment, says Seth. However, getting the grape varieties right also matters. According to Seth aromatic varieties do well in the anaerobic format; whereas, wines with harsh tannins are not well accommodated in canned environment.
Elaborating his point, Seth says “Cans are going through the same evolution as screw caps,” as the canning technology has progressed enough to make Cans present a totally new packaging with seductive looks presenting a brand new concept of convenience that wine has been longing for so long.
So how do Aluminium Cans compare with glass bottles from an environmental perspective? Well here too Cans score better on a number of arguments as while producing a tonne of virgin bottles from sand requires around ten times less energy than a tonne of virgin aluminium from bauxite, informs Seth. From an environmental point of view, recycled aluminium cans are seen as the most eco-friendly packaging option. Cans can be recycled infinitely with no loss in quality and require 90% less energy than recycling a glass bottle. Logistics emissions are significantly lower using cans rather than bottles: cans are lightweight, stackable, extremely efficient to pack and require much less packaging due to lower breakage rates. Additionally, cans chill much faster, meaning less energy is needed.
Although “ the concept of “wine in a can” is brand new and so far has only penetrated in to a little-toehold in the overall wine market, but according to Nielsen data, sales of canned wines have picked up and touched $47 million last year in the United States, a growth rate of 53 percent from the previous year. (By comparison, Tetra-Pack wines totaled $195 million in 2017, and keg wines reached $330 million; both categories are also growing by double digits.) When the overall wine market is growing only modestly, this trend is particularly noteworthy.
According to recent trends, Fine wine producers have started taking the category seriously, and an increasing number of them are planning to join the bandwagon of Canned wines which will soon induce a luxury niche in the fast-growing format that is somehow missing till now. For years, canned wine was seen as a cheap alternative offering convenience in an attractive package, but recently, it appears that the same perception evolution that occurred in the screw-cap market is happening with canned wine.
But does the can affect the taste of wine? According to one producer it took some early trials to understand how different wines with different acid levels react to the inside liners of cans and that made the producers adapt some changes in the compositions of their wines for more consistent results. This producer further insists that every new producer should have their cans tested by Ball Inc. which is one of the biggest producers of the quality cans worldwide, as they’ll red flag any chemical composition issues and test the shelf life.” Today, according to a blind tasting test conducted by WIC last year, the difference in taste between canned and bottled wine is negligible.
Today for a great number of producers, Ignoring Cans as a segment means ignoring a younger set of consumers as the smaller servings also make it possible for all consumers to try better wines for a lower price and Cans are an effective way to avoid stress on the pockets of these young consumers. As premium wine increasingly joins the canned wine category, retailers and restaurants are also figuring out how to position canned wine to leverage its potential. According to some key players “Even established fine wine importers and distributors are recognizing cans value and its potential”.
Worldwide, the popularity of canned wines is undeniable: according to Nielsen, off-premise sales of canned wine in 2019 grew 79.2 percent for the 52-week period ending December 28, 2019. In comparison, during the same period, overall wine sales from off-premise outlets increased just 1.4 percent year-over-year.
According to WIC-Research a firm based in Pennsylvania, as the bigger players like E&J Gallo, The Wine Group, and Constellation Brands are now aggressively joining the canned wine wagon, The number of wine companies, canning wine grew 180 percent (from 125 to 350) between June 2018 and June 2019, Showing that the trend is going to stay for long time now.
“Today, even the quality driven producers are planning to can their terroir-driven juice and expect to be treated the same way as they would be for the bottle, but in a smaller, endlessly recyclable package that could be consumed anywhere.”