We ‘Can’ Drink It

Wine in boxes, wine in screw top bottles, now we see wine in cans emerging, but how will the British market react?

The innovative wine maker Thomson and Scott launched its Skinny Prosecco featuring lower sugar content at Easter-time 2016, and it premiered in the June 2016 issue of All at Sea. A Skinny Champagne quickly followed and both have been attracting sales in the UK and USA.

This year, in May, they launched wine in a can – a sparkling rosé they call Thomson & Scott Sparkler Rosé (NB ‘Sparkler’ not ‘sparkling’). This is a premium Italian semi-sparkling ‘frizzante’ organic rosé made with a blend of Sangiovese and Merlot grapes, with no more than three grams of sugar per litre. The bubbles are created by a second fermentation before canning.

My tasting panel tried it at an alfresco lunch on a fine sunny day. Fridge chilled, we found it medium dry, refreshing and tasty.

At 10 per cent abv, certified organic, vegan and in 200ml cans 100 per cent recyclable, it ticks a lot of modern consumer boxes. Available in a six pack at £22.50 direct from thomsonandscott.com.

UNCOMMON CANS

‘The Uncommon’, launched in April this year exclusively at Selfridges, is a lightly sparkling wine claiming to be the first wine in a can using English-grown Bacchus grapes, grown in Surrey.

This can has taken 18 months of development by entrepreneurs Alex Thraves and Henry Connell in a crowd-funded operation. Their self-declared aim is “to bring the success of canned wine in the New World to England”. For ‘New World’ read USA.

The whole canned wine thing is much more dynamic there where the marketing is predominantly aimed at the millennials generation and they boast eco-green credentials for the packaging.

Of course, canned drinks are not new and are very convenient for boaters. We have had beers and lagers in ‘tinnies’ for years and ready-mixed cans for Pimms, Jack Daniels bourbon, Smirnoff vodka, G&T and a range of other ready-mixed cocktails.

GROWING INTEREST

Now, canned wine is catching on fast. Morrisons offers a canned sparkling Pinot Grigio, white or rosé, under the quirky brand name ‘Most Wanted’; £2.25 per 200ml can at 11.5 per cent. Sainsbury’s has a sparkling Pinot Grigio branded ‘PinotPinot’ at the same price and strength.

Both from Hungary, the fizz is created by CO2 carbonation, so not as much the real thing for some wine-lovers as the organically created fizz of the Thomson and Scott Sparkler Rosé.

Others are coming on the market, but so far canned wine in the UK only seems to work with fizzy wines. Some experts note that the UK is a conservative market using the consumer negative attitude towards wine boxes and screw tops to prove their argument.

But if the millennials get on board with the can, there surely will be a much more rapid acceptance among younger age groups and a host of wines in the can to come. So my advice is ride the surf wave and enjoy the new choices that will emerge.

Meantime I think the T&S Sparkler will do very nicely at home and on the boat.