Ready-to-drink cocktail sales remain strong, and with this trend, Martini & Rossi expands this category into the freezer space.
This wine company, known for its sparkling wines and vermouths, debuted its latest products, Frosé and Frosecco, just before Memorial Day, and sales of the new products are going strong, says Jennifer Pisciotta, vice president of global marketing for BACARDI, which owns the Martini & Rossi brand.
The Frosé is a frozen rosé cocktail, and it’s a lower alcohol by volume cocktail, 6.5 percent ABV, made with premium Italian wine and cane sugar instead of corn syrup. The Frosecco is a frozen prosecco cocktail, and it, too, is a lower ABV cocktail made with premium Italian wine and cane sugar instead of corn syrup. Both come in 10-ounce serving size pouches.
“We’ve seen that there’s been an explosion, really, in prepared cocktails and the ready to drink space, but we didn’t see as much innovation in the frozen wine space,” Pisciotta says.
Pisciotta points out to several recent statistics of growth in this category – including one study that pointed to an 80 percent growth in this category for 11 weeks strong since the quarantines and stay-at-home orders began being implemented, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread.
But Martini & Rossi had planned for this dual debut, long before anyone ever heard of the coronavirus. “We did a Frosé test pilot last summer in key markets throughout the country to make sure that our product met key (consumer goals), and we launched just ahead of the Memorial Day weekend,” she says.
Because of the pandemic, Frosé and Frosecco was marketed heavily in grocery stores. “When we launched, it was nationwide, and it was heavily in grocery,” Pisciotta says. “Because we launched during this pandemic, we focused on getting the right displays inside of stores, and then, we focused on driving socially through digital with the right influencers.”
The brand’s launch strategy seems to be working, as sales are growing, she says. “It’s doing really well in grocery, and we’re seeing it be picked up by more grocers, and it’s expanding in distributors,” Pisciotta says. “We’re seeing a great response so far.”
The main response from customers, she says, is that they are embracing the flavors of both drinks. “Our Frosecco does have notes of lemon, and it does taste like a regular Prosecco wine – it’s a little celebratory, and we wanted to make sure we could deliver on that taste,” she says. “While it doesn’t have bubbles, it does hint on those light notes you get when you taste Prosecco.”
“It taps into a lot of consumer trends – the desire for convenience, to be able to make those quality cocktails at home; you don’t need a blender, you don’t need lots of ingredients, and you can enjoy it either straight from the pouch or put it in a glass,” Pisciotta says.
The packaging is also right on trend. “Pouches are becoming increasingly more mainstream,” she says. “We’re accustomed to buying it in food, and we do see it across the beverage categories. It’s more convenient than glass because it doesn’t break, and it’s lightweight.””
The pouch’s material is also on trend. “It’s also the only recyclable pouch on the market,” Pisciotta says. “That also taps into consumers’ desire to be able to recycle it. It also shows our commitment to sustainability.”
The team at BACARDI will be examining the metrics of sales for these wine cocktail pouches, and perhaps new flavors will later be added to the frozen Martini & Rossi cocktail line.