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Mosel winery taps into Star Wars mania

One wine producer is capitalising on the mania surrounding last night’s unveiling of the latest film in the Star Wars franchise – and that’s a Mosel-based own-label specialist.

star wars zgm
ZGM first unveiled The Smurfs Berry Mix and Star Wars Apple-Cassis at ProWein in March this year, although this picture was taken at ProWine China in November, where the products were prominently featured

Earlier this year Germany’s Zimmermann-Graeff & Müller (ZGM) gained the licence to create a Star Wars branded drink, which is has been distributing in Europe and Asia in time for yesterday’s launch of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Although it looks like a sparkling wine, the product is in fact a non-alcoholic drink, which is made using carbonated apple and blackcurrant juice and natural sweeteners, and sealed with a screwcap.

According to Alexander Salov, who manages ZGM’s business in Asia-Pacific, it is very expensive to get a licence to produce anything using Star Wars branding, but worth it, particularly because Disney plans to release a new Star Wars film every year for at least the next three years.

The Star Wars fizzy fruit drink was first unveiled at ProWein Germany in March this year along with another similar product featuring branding from the children’s comic book and TV series The Smurfs. However, it was at November’s ProWine China show, which is held in Shanghai, where the products were most forcefully promoted.

But ZGM’s first licensed brand was launched two years ago, when the German wine company unveiled a Hello Kitty “Berry Mix”, which is sold in China, Switzerland, Austria and Germany.

The product sells more than 3 million bottles, with around two thirds of sales within Germany and much of the remaining going to China, where Taiwan is a big market for any Hello Kitty branded products.

Although Hello Kitty is extremely popular in Japan, Salov told db during a discussion at ProWine China that ZGM can’t get the licence to sell its branded fruit juice in Japan, pointing out that all its licensed brands must gain the rights to use the name and imagery country by country.

It can’t sell them in the UK or USA either.

Looking ahead, Salov said that ZGM is planning to work with Disney to produce a range of fizzy fruit drinks for all the producer’s major upcoming films, and confirmed that the German company will be launching a licensed brand for Frozen II, and a further one for a new version of The Jungle Book, two films which will be first shown in summertime next year, while a further branded drink will come out in time for Finding Dory, a Disney-Pixar film about a blue tang fish due for release towards the end of 2016.

Hello Kitty ZGM
ZGM’s Hello Kitty branded drinks were first introduced two years ago and last year sold over 3 million bottles

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