Written by Antonia Tolich, Consultant at IRI.

We’ve witnessed the success of canned formats across all categories recently, as more and more Australians turn to smaller alcohol formats with no sign of slowing down.

Cans are outperforming bottles across virtually all liquor categories, which is unsurprising as cans have been the preferred format for beer and dark RTDs for a while now. Bottled beer, for example, is now in decline -7.6 per cent, while canned continues to see value growth +6.1 per cent. This aligns with what we’ve seen across RTDs, with both light (-2.0 per cent) and dark bottled RTDs (-1.2 per cent) seeing slight value decline.

All categories have been successful in recruiting a younger audience, with the wine industry continuing to drive innovation in this space and looking to broaden appeal from the traditional wine drinker to appeal to a younger audience and compete with other categories as shoppers leave for seltzers and other pre-mixed drinks. The adoption mainly stems from the fact that they are typically lighter and more convenient to carry around, particularly if you’re going out socialising.

Consistent with what we have seen across other categories, canned wine is outperforming total bottled wine in Australia at +12 per cent, bringing in $11.8M in annual sales, while bottled wine is in flat growth with +0.4 per cent. We have seen growth of canned wine slow in the last year as it is a much more mature category dating back to the 1990s, and are seeing a reduction in the number of active products due to decreased ranging as other categories become more successful in driving shelf space with innovation – for example, hard seltzers and other RTD products.

Canned wine is still a small market making up less than one per cent dollar share of total wine. Interestingly, still canned wine is the major growth driver seeing value growth of +39.4 per cent while sparkling canned wine continues to see a decline of -0.9 per cent. We have seen most of the growth coming from well-established brands in the category such as Pizzini and Barokes which are driving growth through still canned wine, while Yarra Burn canned Prosecco and rosé have led the way for NPD growth off the back of recent innovation. Squealing Pig was a major growth driver in 2019 delivering nearly $2.1M in annual sales but is now in value decline -32 per cent and losing share to competitors.

It will be interesting to keep an eye out for any new innovative brands that can shake up the category this year and steal shelf space back from other categories. One example of this can be found in the launch of Tart canned wine last year from Daytime Drinks Company, which taps into the ‘better for you’ space. Using lower calories and ABV than traditional bottled wine, like Tart does, is what product innovation in the category should be focussed on, in order to compete with the booming seltzer category.

The trend of premiumisation was prominent in wine during COVID with the shutdown of on-premise venues, which helped prompt a spike in Champagne sales. But we may see shifts in liquor shopping behaviour as shoppers are now all out of lockdown and continue to seek convenience in relaxed outdoor settings while socialising.

Brands and retail outlets will need to continue to educate drinkers on the taste profile of canned wine if the category has a chance of competing with the likes of RTDs.

Source: IRI Market Edge Liquor Weighted Market, MAT to 06/02/22

This article originally appeared in the April edition of National Liquor News. Read more from this issue here.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.