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Have RTDs paved the way for canned wine in India?

Indian wine producers are putting their hopes in aluminium as the thirst for entry-level, easy-to-drink products grows among millennial consumers.

Indian wine producers are putting their hopes in aluminium as the thirst for entry-level, easy-to-drink products grows among millennial consumers.

India’s per capita wine consumption currently stands at less than 100 ml, translating into below 1% of overall alcohol sales. In contrast, the global average is around 13%, showing just how far behind Indian consumers are when it comes to drinking wine.

But all that is tipped to change. According to Business Insider, Millennials and their quest for experience over intoxication are boosting the Indian wine market.

Wine is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10% for the next five years. Tapping into this growing domestic interest, the Indian producer Fratelli Wines is on a mission to make wine more approachable for consumers. The company’s deputy general marketing manager, Jayanth Bharathi, explained that the winery wanted to introduce something easy to drink without the snobbery sometimes associated with wine.

As such, in October 2020 the Mumbai-based brand came up with its canned wine collection, TiLT by Fratelli Wines, which includes a red, white, rosé and sparkling wine. It is one of the only two Indian brands that have canned wines in its portfolio, the other being Sula Vineyards with its Dia Sparkler, also launched in 2020.

Since its launch the brand has reported good growth for TiLT, with 15-20% annual growth since it was first released.

Co-founder and winemaker Alessio Secci predicts that canned wines have the scope to become more popular in India, and thinks that more companies will follow suit. “There is a general push for RTD in the liquor industry and the current trend is indicating a positive outlook for canned wines,” he says.

Indeed, John Distilleries told the drinks business this month of its plans to introduce canned wines for its Big Banyan wine range. Aeisha Sahni, the company’s head of wines, said that the project is still in the research and development stage and would probably be launched in a year or two.

Sahni added that the company decided to add canned wines to its portfolio due to the advantages that single-serve offers over bottled wines, which have to be consumed within a few days of opening them.

But not all Indian wine brands are looking to branch out into cans. Grover Zampa Vineyards, Chandon India Winery and Vallonne Vineyards all told the drinks business that they are not actively thinking of entering the canned wine market.

Sumit Jaiswal, Grover Zampa’s vice president of marketing and exim, explains that while there are brands that may want to introduce ready-to-drink wines, as a fine wine brand Grover Zampa is determined to create a more premium portfolio.

Jaiswal predicts that it will take a few years before canned wines thrive in the Indian market. He explained that consumers still view wine as a lifestyle drink, and prefer the experience that comes with bottled wines. Nevertheless, he concludes: “Once young wine drinkers start taking on wines in a more casual manner, it can gain traction in India.”

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