Product-market fit, minimum viable product (MVP), design thinking, agile development… the process of creating products for specified markets takes on many different forms across many different industries. But the US wine industry is wholly unique in the fact that there are so many brands and products that make up the competitive set.
With thousands of winery brands and and tens of thousands of individual labels, featuring different varietals, blends, price-points, and quality, how is anyone in the industry supposed to know what’s next? As they say, hindsight is 20/20 but with US wine-volume sales remaining flat (or down, depending on the source) the time for innovation in the US wine market is now.
Talk to any importer/supplier in the business and you’ll hear different perspectives on how they create products for market. But here at Executive Beverage/Boutique Beverage, we’ve distilled it down to four key trend categories that we use to evaluate the potential of a new brand or label. And if you want to know what it is about this process that gets us really excited, it’s the development of products that cross over to capitalize on multiple trend categories.
Despite the shifting consumer perception of what’s hot now, a chilled glass of bubbles only seems to become more popular year after year. Recognizing this trend category, we’ve developed several Old World Crémants (both White and Rosé) and have taken it a step further to add hints of effervescence to a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and New Zealand Rosé. In addition, one of our current favorites is a Portuguese Vinho Verde priced just under ten bucks.
Domestic wines rules the US market but as consumer palates mature and they seek new tasting experiences, their horizons expand. Enter, thousands of years of wine-making prowess exhibited by France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, and Greece. Because of this ongoing trend, we continue to develop a portfolio that showcases the best Old World wines, all at approachable price-points that invite consumers into the fold and encourage discovery.
When we play outside of the lines, we thrive, and that’s exactly what this trend category represents. Whether it be something new with packaging, varietal, or origin, developing products like low-alcohol wine spritzers that travel or lesser known French blends, developing forward-thinking products might seem risky but we know of no other way to explore what’s next. It’s in our DNA something that our distribution and retail partners have come to expect.
Some consumers tend to believe that you need to spend more for a better quality product. That simply isn’t so. Our product development process typically starts by talking with our global network of winemakers to identify products that feature an elevated drinking experience with a high quality-to-cost ratio. Be it a Spanish Monastrell or a California Pinot Noir, we’ve curated a portfolio of products that are meant to be explored and enjoyed, while never breaking the bank.
It’s through these four lenses that we assess the marketability of products that we want to develop and we encourage you to do the same. Maybe not using the same criteria but certainly with an eye toward the future and how markets are evolving. Otherwise, we’re simply relegating our consumers to the “same old, same old, ” which does a great disservice to the entire industry.
Cheers to innovation and here’s to the next big thing!