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Henkell gets new look and launches Viola

Henkell has repackaged its German fizz and tweaked its style to capitalise on the expanding market for sparkling wine in Europe.

The new look sees the Henkell bring its trademark fleur-de-lys to a more prominent position

The new look sees the Henkell sparkling bring its trademark fleur-de-lys to a more prominent position in the centre of the bottle as well as soften the look of the labels to increase the brand’s appeal to women, according to Andreas Brokemper, CEO of the Henkell Group.

As for the wine inside, Brokemper told the drinks business that the best-selling Henkell Troken had undergone “small changes”, with, in particular, the sugar level falling slightly from 24 g/l to 22 g/l – a move to “increase the elegance”, he said.

Describing the sparkling wine as “the same creamy style but a bit fresher” Brokemper said that the changes to the fizz had been made following consumer research in its key markets of Germany, Austria, Sweden and Canada.

Speaking about the feedback from such an exercise, he recounted, “They told us that they like Henkell today, but they would like it even more if we did it this way.”

The repackaged fizz was unveiled for the first time at ProWein in Germany – a country that accounts for half of Henkell’s 1.5 million annual case sales.

While Brokemper said that the brand’s sales were “stable” in Germany, he stressed that growth had not been possible because Henkell had put through small price increases in the last year.

“The German market is a very specific market; it is very price driven,” he said, adding, “Only 5% of the German sparkling wine market is above €5.”

With Henkell Trocken priced between €4.99 and €5.99, Brokemper explained that the brand was not active in the very low priced but high volume segment of the German retail sector, while stating that Henkell was the only German sparkling wine brand to increase its price index over the last 10 years.

The last big change to the Henkell brand was 25 years ago, he said, although there was a small packaging revision in 2006.

Further explaining the motivation for updating the look and taste of Henkell, he said that it was partly prompted by the growth in sparkling wine consumption.

“We made the changes because consumption habits are changing – 20 years ago, all sparkling wines were gold and black, and drunk by celebrities, but today we need to be a bit different because sparkling wine is increasingly for everyday consumption.”

Beyond German sparkling wine trends, Brokemper recorded the phenomenal growth of Prosecco fizzante sales in Germany between 1995 and 2009, followed by a rising demand for “good Prosecco spumante”, which continues today.

He also highlighted the emergence of the “sparkling cocktail trend” in Germany, starting with the Aperol spritz craze – a combination of Prosecco, Aperol and soda.

“Aperol spritz started in Italy among university students and then spread to Austria, and from there to the southern part of Germany,” he recorded.

“People liked it because the colour was attractive and the bitter style was popular,” he continued.

Today, however, he noted that the market for this combination was “stable” and, he added, “I suspect that it will decline this year”.

But the sparkling cocktail trend continues he said with Ugo, a marriage of Prosecco, elderflower and lime, and a combination Brokemper described as “booming”, with a “huge market”.

Furthermore, he commented, “The flavour of Ugo fits much better with the taste of Germans, it’s similar to Moscato, and they love it, and now it’s in Switzerland and the Netherlands.”

Skewed towards young and female consumers, he said that the sparkling wine market is Germany was up by 3-4% in 2013 , “driven by the sparkling cocktails”.

To capitalise on this development, the Henkell Group, which owns Mionetto Prosecco, has produced a Mionetto ready-mixed Ugo – “all you have to do is add mint” said Brokemper.

It’s also hoping to create a new trend for the future with the launched of Mionetto Viola: a Prosecco and violet ready mixed sparkling cocktail (picture, above).

“We tested various combinations with consumers, such as rose, but the violet had the best results, so we have introduced something new, and we will sell it outside Germany too,” he said.

Brokemper has been on the Henkell board for the past 12 years but took over as CEO in January last year following the retirement of Hans-Henning Wiegmann, who had been at the helm of the group since 1992.

Brokemper told db he had ambitious growth plans for the company, which also owns Alfred Gratien Champagne and Catalonia’s Cavas Hill.

“We are sparkling wine specialists and it is a growing sector,” he said, adding, “Now is the right time to establish the category and the brands in it globally, because the sparkling wine market is a stronger branded market than the still wine market.”

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