WBWE PRESENTS: Robert Williams
Founder of WICresearch.com
Robert Williams, one of the speakers, who triggered the most interest during the WBWE, talks about the furore over canned wine and points out some keys on this packaging trend in this interview for the WBWE.
-What can you tell about your time at the WBWE?
We hope that our participation at the WBWE has helped inform the bulk wine market about the potential of wine-in-cans (WIC) as a true category. It’s no longer a fad. The industry infrastructure continues to expand, with more companies putting in dedicated canning lines for wine. We have also learnt more about the unique requirements and demands of the world bulk wine industry.
– How do you see the future of the wine industry?
We see a continued narrowing of segments into smaller, more defined categories. The diversity is amazing, as producers listen to the voice of the market and adapt.
– Which markets are currently showing the most potential for wine cans?
Certainly the greatest potential right now is the vibrant US market, where we track nearly 400 winemakers who offer over 1,000 SKUs of WIC. But the UK and Australia are growing quickly, as are Europe, South America, and South Africa. Growth is driven by what our research found are the 6 drivers: Convenience, Occasion expansion, Sustainability/cost savings, Quality, Portion control/Variety, and Visual image/branding. In the US, all the top wineries, top varietals, top distributors offer cans, and now the top beer companies are serving the market; and other countries are experiencing the same
-Could you briefly explain how a canning line works and if there is any special requirement about wine?How long can canned wines preserve their quality? Are there oxidation or reduction problems?
To address any possible issues regarding oxidation or reduction, the three factors are the wine, the can/lining and the process. Briefly, the empty cans are loaded to the line, cleaned inside, filled, dosed with a shot to remove oxygen at the head and end capped. Then they are palleted and inventoried. Care should be taken with the finished WIC, since denting of the can may influence the integrity on the lining.
– What do you think about Vinsafe technology?
Vinsafe technology from Barokes publishes an industry-leading 1 year warranty, although they have won over 400 medals against bottled wine – many being 3-4 year shelf-life. But the fundamental rule is good wine is good wine. Barokes (Vinsafe) pioneered wine-in-cans in the late 1990s, and has tremendous intellectual property and experience involving the three variables mentioned earlier.
Robert L. Williams, Jr. Ph.D. has 30-years experience as a practitioner in Fortune 50/500 companies, and as a Marketing professor at US universities. He is a partner and co-founder of WICresearch.com, a leader in the fast-growing wine-in-a-can (WIC) market and GastroGatherings.com. Recent work includes the 1st quantitative studies on the WIC market; the 1st blind taste test of identical wine packaged both in a can and bottle; Lead judge at the 1st International Canned Wine Competition, and various industry presentations at Wines&Vines, and B.E.V. NY. WIC research’s work has been widely quoted globally in Forbes, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Wine Business Monthly and Retail Wire.