Aldi makes bold move with launch of Craft Wine range

26 September, 2016

Aldi is set to shake up the wine category with a new craft wine range, designed to attract millennials by using cues normally associated with craft beer or artisan spirits.

The retailer’s four-strong craft wine range, which was created in partnership with Origin Wines, includes Craft & Origin Organic White and Organic Red Wine 2016 (at £2.99 for a 50cl bottle) and No Monkey Business White Moskato 2016 and No Mokey Buiness Moskato Rose 2016 (each £2.49 for 50cl bottles).

Mike James, Aldi’s UK Wine Buying Director, told OLN: “The Craft Wine range is a collaboration between us and Origin Wines. It started a year ago when I was down in South Africa with them. We are constantly reading about wine being boring and comments that winemakers should learn from craft beer and boutique gins. We have all been reading about this but no-one has actually done anything about it.

“We decided to deconstruct traditional wine and take every aspect and change it. So we said that instead of putting it in 75cl, let’s put it in a 50cl bottle. And in fact, instead of a wine bottle, let’s do it in a beer style of bottle. And instead of screw cap or cork, let’s go with this beer bottle cap. And let’s not talk about food matching on the back like others do, let’s talk about fun and let’s be different.

So we did all of those things and we also made sure we have a wine in there which is appealing, we wanted a proper wine, and we didn’t want to dumb it down.

“We chose a sweet wine with a low abv, so a Moscato, which is naturally low in alcohol. The red is Shiraz-based. The red and the white are organic, which fits with the craft style.

“We came up with this and it could be an utter flop but it’s almost like if we don’t shoot we don’t score goals. People want something different and we are really behind it; it’s exciting for Aldi.

And we hope it will be a success but if it isn’t we will think of another way to engage with the millenial generation. Currently they are not very engaged with wine and the wine category as a consequence is declining year after year. The older wine fans are not being replaced by younger drinkers; this group is much more engaged by craft and beer.

“We have worked quite hard on getting the message across that even though this doesn’t look like a traditional wine it is a wine; we have put the word ‘wine’ on the label in quite a few places for each of the wines in the range. We will place these wines in the fixture with mini Prosecco bottles. It will sit next to those. We originally wanted to trial the range in with the wines and the beers but logistically this wasn’t going to work. So it will be next to Proescco Minis and we think the wines will attract the kind of shopper who likes Prosecco.

“But if a beer drinker accidentally picks it up I will be delighted and hopefully they will be pleasantly surprised with what they have bought.

“Two in the range are Moscato and they are less of a shock for people who don’t normally go for wine as they are sweet and less wine-y but we didn’t want to dumb down wine, so we went with this varietal. It’s almost like a premiumisation of the fruit fusion wine category.

“You have to sometimes back your gut instinct, and the supplier is also behind us on this one. If it does take off it will be great to be ahead of the curve. It is a really interesting product to work on because you have a nagging voice in your head all the time reminding you that this isn’t how we normally do it. We have lots of posters to encourage trial, and it took us a while to get these right.

“We can totally extend the range if it works. We have contracted the absolute minimum but if it works then we will do more. There is lots of other stuff in the background so we can definitely extend the range if it takes off.”

Aldi is also rolling out its Great British Brewing Co range of beers, which have been on trial in select stores since the spring. The five-strong range is now ready for a national roll-out, after a successful trial period. The beers will go into stores from mid-November.

The range comprises five ales from four brewers. The beers have been on trial at £1.09 per bottle but once the full roll-out is complete each will be sold at 99p each, according to Dan Hobson, Aldi UK’s buying director for beers and spirits.

He told OLN: “We wanted firstly to get high profile awards for these beers and secondly we wanted to work with smaller breweries. We didn’t want to do ‘pretend’ craft. So far we have secured some awards and we have been shortlisted for others, which is great news.

“The Land of Liberty Ale from Sadler's has been the most successful out of the five by far. The Coffee Porter is a surprise number two as porters are not the most popular beer style but it is a fantastic beer and the second bestselling in the range, and it has also secured an award.”

The Great British Beer Co comprises Red Rye IPA Ale, Spill The Beans Ale, Land of Liberty Ale, Sunny Dayz Golden Ale and All 4 One Lager.

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