Close Menu

Canned Wine Co acquires competitor Copper Crew

Premium alternative packaging brand Canned Wine Co has acquired UK-based competitor Copper Crew as the first step in an expansion plan to widen its consumer base, co-founder Ben Franks told db.

Canned Wine Co acquires competitor Copper Crew

Both companies are founding members of Wine Traders for Alternative Formats (WTAF), a collective of wine brands dedicated to reducing the carbon footprint of wine by moving away from glass bottles.

Canned Wine Co’s acquisition of Copper Crew will allow the brand to reach a wider range of consumers with the goal of further elevating alternative formats in the eyes of consumers.

“We had the market and the commercial success, and they had a really cool brand that was fun and approachable,” Ben Franks FRSA, co-founder and head wine buyer for Canned Wine Co, told the drinks business yesterday. “We’re going to adopt it and have both brands coexist side by side, and get some more customers intrigued in canned wine in general.”

Franks hopes that raising the profile of canned products will allow them to be “treated as a legit alternative to glass and not just a niche alt format product”.

The brand has had success in the on-trade, where single-serve formats can reduce liquid waste. Copper Crew will be positioned to appeal to bar operators, particularly in festivals and events-led businesses, where “the quick serve grab and go market is really popular”.

But the new parent company wants to be careful about preserving brand image. Franks said: “We want to preserve what we’re really well known for which is that higher quality grape variety-led, vintage-led wine. We’re going to preserve all that in the Copper Crew brand — we’re not going to cheapen it at all.”

Canned Wine Co also plans to shift focus away from South Africa, where all of Copper Crew’s core wines have until now been sourced, introducing European wines and varietals into the range. Franks hopes this will align more closely with Canned Wine Co’s “sustainable approach”, sourcing wines more locally throughout Europe in order to bring down the carbon footprint of transporting the wines.

“We can everything in Northern Italy, so the main reason for moving it from South Africa to Italy is the sustainability piece,” he said.

This is just the first step in a much wider expansion plan for Canned Wine Co. “Copper Crew will be the first brand to have the ‘brought to you by Canned Wine Co’ stamp of approval,” Franks revealed to db.

Brand extensions will allow the alternative format company to have “touch points” in different areas of the market. “Copper Crew is the more fun events-led retail offering that’s very consumer friendly,” he explained. “And then hopefully over time, we will have that ‘brought to you by Canned Wine Co stamp on a limited run of extra fine wines on a small scale that we’ll release, or in a wider portfolio of wines that might end up in retail or other markets.

It’s about having a really strong portfolio and whenever you see the Canned Wine Co brand, you can trust it,” he explained. “We’ve always had the approach that the more players doing really well the better for everyone.”

Canned Wine Co will be announcing another brand launch at the London Wine Fair in May, the drinks business can reveal.

“We’re riding a really good wave at the moment. It’s still an emerging market, but the growth is definitely moving towards quality,” Franks said. “The drinking less but better trade-up is crossing over to cans, so we’re in a really good position culturally to be the brand leader in that space in the UK particularly.”

Copper Crew co-founders Oli Purnell and Theo Gough will become minority shareholders in Canned Wine Co as part of the acquisition, and the pair will continue on as brand ambassadors.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No