Words can’t capture the look on my husband’s face the other night when I cracked open a nice, cool can of…wine?!
Okay, your expression right now might look a bit like his did, but hear me out.
One of the biggest beverage trends right now is single serve wine – and it’s getting even bigger with the start of summer and all it entails, from picnics in the park to rooftop barbeques to days at the beach.
Ground zero for this trend might be the seemingly unlikely city of Denver, where cans of The Infinite Monkey Theorem are produced at an urban winery in the heart of the city.
Owner and winemaker Ben Parsons explains. “In Colorado, everyone is very outdoors-oriented and it makes a lot of sense to have a product in an aluminum can. It’s lightweight, recyclable and you don’t have to worry about a bottle breaking.”
Though the winery opened in 2008, the canned concept came about several years later, in 2011, when the company introduced one canned wine. In just two years, the range expanded to four wines – a red, white, rose and Moscato – and the company has moved production to a larger facility. They are preparing to launch the product nationally in January 2014.
And while outdoorsy Coloradans and canned wine make perfect sense, these wines aren’t limited to this niche – and they are becoming increasingly upscale.
Doug Bell, the global wine buyer for Whole Foods Markets, says that the shelf space the company devotes to single-serve wines has grown significantly in the past five years.
Back then, he says there might have been “one or two facings” (basically, spaces) on the shelf. Today, he says, single-serve bottles from six to 10 different brands line the shelves.
“The consumer appreciates the convenience of the package,” Bell says. “It’s extremely versatile and we are ‘take anywhere’ consumers.”
He notes that single serve wines are a terrific alternative for places where a glass bottle isn’t allowed or appropriate, such as camping, the golf course, on the boat, and poolside.
Expanding on that list, winemaker Parsons says his company has been approached about selling their wines in sports stadiums and similar venues, and they participate in Brooklyn’s Great Googa Mooga festival – another place where having a typical bottle doesn’t make much sense.
Not surprisingly, the people enjoying single serve wines are almost as diverse and the places that carry them. Whole Foods’ Bell cites customers who maybe live alone and don’t want to open a whole bottle for one glass or perhaps are a couple with differing tastes – one likes red and the other white. For them, single serve wines offer flexibility and minimize waste.
But if you’re still not convinced that single serve wine is here to stay, heed these words from Bell: “We buy sodas, waters, coffee and beer…in a single serve size. Why not wine?”