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“Indian consumers are quite ready for wine in a can”: Gaurav Sekhri, Director, Fratelli Wines

Friday, January 8, 2021, 11:00 Hrs  [IST]

Wine has become quite popular in India, as a premium alcoholic beverage, albeit with a tinge of formality around it. Now, Fratelli Wines, a homegrown brand has taken up the mantle to reduce the aura of formality surrounding wines, through its latest wine in a can offering, Tilt. Tilt offers several conveniences such as being easily carried around and easily refrigerated. Asmita Mukherjee spoke with Gaurav Sekhri, Director, Fratelli Wines, to know more about the brand’s strategy to popularize the wine in a can segment in India.


What is the USP of TiLT, in the Wine in a Can segment?

There has always been this constant feedback that wine as a drink can be intimidating, and youngsters keep themselves away from it. We wanted to introduce the young drinkers to the goodness of wine. As a result, TiLT has been made for the mindful millennial.

What we are trying to do is give the drinker a choice of a no-fuss drink with all the goodness in a form factor that they are comfortable with, as it will bring more people to wine drinking by reducing the formality around wines. From the sheer convenience of a person carrying around a can - be it in a bag or a container when on the move - simply put it in an icebox, or in refrigeration a few minutes before consumption, to the affordability factor, our canned wine sure does have its advantages.

Why did you decide upon aluminium as a material for the cans? 

Aluminium beverage cans is a sustainable solution in beverage packaging. We have done extensive research and experiments in the last couple of years to ensure quality and taste. We worked very closely with our can supplier – Ball Can, who are the largest manufacturers of cans in the world and have been in the business for 140 years, to understand the intricacies. We have also worked with with CFTRI labs in Mysore to do accelerated tests. We only launched these products once we were thoroughly satisfied, that the end customer will be given a product of superior quality. 

Are aluminium cans safe for packaging wine?

Ye,s they are safe and the flavours are retained as they are. Even in the international markets, some of the premium wine producers have all introduced wines in cans. We indeed believe that WIC (Wine in Cans) are here to stay, and this segment will only grow. 

What is your target consumer segment and market for this product?

Fratelli has always believed in creating new benchmarks for the Indian wine industry. After sensing a changing drinking culture for some time now, it was a conscious decision to launch TiLT as a drink for young India, with no shackles, no boundaries, and never say never. It speaks to the confident young adult, with an inclusive and inviting mindset, whose life philosophy matches our own: live your dreams, while respecting others. 

All we are trying to do is give the drinker a choice of a no-fuss drink with all the goodness in a form factor they are comfortable with, as it will bring more people to wine drinking by reducing the formality around wines.

From the sheer convenience to a person living in tier - I cities to the affordability factor for tier - II audience, Indian consumers are quite ready for wine in a can.

What were the difficulties that you faced while launching the product in the midst of the pandemic?

This year has been a year of unknowns; a year where you think on your feet, adjusting and adapting to all the uncertainties. For us as a business, the biggest unknown challenge and reality we had to face was the passing of my brother Kapil – who was the force behind Fratelli Wines.

Together we had been working on this project for the past 3 years, ensuring quality consistency and shelf stability, but it was his idea to speed track the launch with a wish to contribute to resolve the crisis that dawned upon local farmers in this pandemic. Right up until September, definitely Kapil had a choice to delay the launch of TiLT. That was an easy decision to make. But he chose for the business to go in the opposite direction, and believed that we will push through it. 

Amidst all the turbulence we still have launched a brand new category of wine in cans which has been our most ambitious and disruptive launch, and we look forward to developing that as a segment. 

How has the demand of TiLT been in HoReCa, since it’s launch? How are you planning to further penetration of TiLT in the HoReCa segment? Can you name a few of your HoReCa clients?

We have received some very positive feedback and uptake from various parts of the trade. While the lockdown played havoc earlier on, the establishments are now making a comeback to the new normal and are open for service. 

Overcoming a tough year we have now gradually made available at many leading hotel chains, fine dining / casual-dining restaurants and cafes, and definitely have plans for it to be seen at many more places across India eventually.  

The fact that the cans are easily stackable allowing any outlet to store in huge quantities, and easily refrigerated saving on the energy cost, makes it an easy pick. 

Where is TiLT produced and what is the current production capacity for TiLT at your plant?

It is produced in our winery at Akluj and we have a new canning line installed in the facility. The capacity has been designed keeping in mind a 3 year demand and growth in the category. We have enough grape production in our 240+ acres of vineyards and our partner farms to cater to demand for both the bottles and cans.

What are your expansion plans in terms of manufacturing facilities and sales geographies?

Currently it is already available in Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Punjab, Goa, Kolkata, UP, Karnataka, Assam, Meghalaya, HP. We are looking to take TiLT to every state and region in the next 2-3 months, eventually Pan India. We firmly believe that Indians, even in the Tier 2 and 3 towns are ready for a product which offers great quality with a comfortable price tag. 


 
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