Daily Newsletter

28 March 2024

Daily Newsletter

28 March 2024

The French Kiss Club canned-wine maker eyes UK expansion

The wines are sold in Belgium and the Netherlands, and are set to launch in the UK this summer.

Eszter Racz March 27 2024

Belgium-headquartered canned-wine producer The French Kiss Club is scaling up production to expand into the UK market.

Speaking to Just Drinks at the food industry exhibition IFE in London yesterday (26 March) it said it was already in the process of significantly increasing production, having secured UK festival listings for the summer.

The company is aiming to get listings in the country’s retailers by “June or early July”, Sander Ghielens, general manager of The French Kiss Club, said.

The drinks maker produces and cans its wines in the Pays d'Oc region of France.

Ghielens said setting up the infrastructure in the UK involved some challenges due to Brexit regulations but the company’s warehouses are now ready to take orders.

He said the Ghent-based company plans to focus on festivals and events “to build the brand”.

“We didn't want to go into retail straightaway, because we want to ensure that the rate of sale can be there,” he said.

“So that's why we put a lot of effort and resources in building the brands, through festivals, events in general, to then make sure that the right traffic can be getting shared rate of sale in retail.”

Ghielens is yet to determine how much it will have to scale up to meet demand in the UK, but said it was “putting a lot of focus on the UK market because it's much more sizeable”.

He said the UK was a promising market for The French Kiss Club because “the category is already a little bit more developed” than in Belgium.

“[In Belgium] we are still investing in messaging and making sure that people are aware that canned wine is a thing, whereas in the UK, it's already much more developed. There are various brands available that we can be next to,” he explained.

He said competition in the UK was a positive for growing the category: “I think the different brands are sort of complementing each other by having different maybe different target audiences and different propositions.”

“So I think everybody's right now is helping each other out and making it more widely known. So right now, I think that's still a good thing.

“It's more of a fresh, innovative take on the wine category in general. Traditional bottles are really declining. The wine output in France, for example, is declining year over year, because it's just not as attractive. Maybe it's not coming in the right formats and in the right packaging anymore.”

He added older generations were more difficult to reach with “innovation” and new formats of packaging in the wine category, as they are “still very much used to drinking wine out of bottles”.

The French Kiss Club's target audience is 25-34-year-olds. “But what we see now from our first years of exponential sales is that we're reaching both male and female and also a [wider], older audience,” he added.

The company closed its first fundraising round last September, raising €500,000 ($541,000).

Its porftolio includes a white and rose in still and sparkling versions with an RRP of between £3.50 and £4.

It has made a 187ml format for the UK, compared to its standard 250ml can that is sold in Belgium and the Netherlands.

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