The brand grew 6% in volume and 7% in value in the past year (Nielsen, year to July 2016) and is the UK’s fifth bestselling rosé brand behind Blossom Hill, Echo Falls, Gallo and Barefoot, all from California.
Sogrape is encouraged to seeing value growth outstripping volume, because it shows it is increasing its footprint without discounting.
It bucks the trend of declining rosé sales – the category overall is down 9% in value and volume – and positive feedback from consumer events has convinced Sogrape the brand can follow in the footsteps of retro brands like Wispa and Dr Martens and make a big splash in the years ahead.
It toured the UK at various Foodies Festivals and Wine Gang events, encouraging shoppers to try the brand. “We wanted to see what people’s reactions were when we put a glass of Mateus in their hands,” said marketing manager Rupert Lovie. “I have been pleasantly surprised. There were no negative reactions.
“Older people said they used to drink it and it’s great to see it again, and younger people that had never tried it before liked it. It suits that summer festival environment really well.
“It has a very loyal following but in the 55-plus age group. Obviously we want to keep those customers but at the same time try to engage with Millennials and people in their 30s. I wasn’t sure how people would react to a retro brand and what they would think about its associations, but it has been a resounding thumbs up. It eclipsed my expectations.
“The other really successful thing was that people were buying it at the events. If people are tasting it and want to buy it then that’s an endorsement in itself. We sold a lot more stock than we were expecting.
“I think it fits with what UK consumers want. There’s a slight spritz to it. It’s light, only 11% abv. Prosecco is doing really well and it’s not too far off that profile. It has 16g to 17g sugar, so there’s a little bit of sweetness but it’s not too sweet and the spritz offsets that. People at the festivals that had tried it in the past were pleasantly surprised that it is not as sweet as they remembered it. It has less sugar than a lot of the commercial rosé competitors from California and so on.”
The brand has been backed by a £1.5 million marketing investment this year and the latest initiative is an app that lets shoppers know when their bottle of Mateus is at the correct temperature and perfect to serve.
“It’s been great to put investment into the UK and get good feedback from consumers,” said Lovie. “We are already planning for next year. It’s a question of building on what we have done, ramping up social media and doing more of the same.”