Wine gets the blues: A new hue comes to America
- After a lengthy regulatory battle in its native Spain, Gik blue wine is finally coming to the U.S., according to CNBC. Blue is not an legally approved wine color in Spain, so Gik was hit with a €3,000 ($3,597) fine. The label was updated to "99% wine, 1% grape must," and bottles were relegated to the "other alcoholic beverages" category.
- Grape must — or juice containing the skins, seeds and stems — and two different natural substances give Gik’s wine its vibrant signature color. The neon-blue sweet wine will be in stores in Miami, Boston and Texas this fall, with plans to expand to New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Washington, California and Nevada.
- U.S. regulators don’t take issue with blue color of Gik’s beverage, so it will be sold in the wine section. The average bottle will retail for $12 to $14.
Gik’s blue wine was an internet sensation last summer. Americans were so intrigued, they preordered 30,000 bottles on the company’s website. Unfortunately for those would-be customers, Gik got caught up in a regulatory battle that pushed back their shipments to the U.S. to this upcoming fall.
The brightly colored drink'sr target audience very likely resembles the wine’s creators: millennials. According to CNBC, a six-person team, all in their early 20s, was behind Gik’s creation. This demographic has contributed to the increased demand for higher-end wine, with a particular taste for sweeter profiles. In addition, millennials also have more adventurous tastes and want to try new flavors. Or, in this case, colors.
The color blue has historically been tricky for food and beverage manufacturers to duplicate without the use of artificial dye. But, it would appear Gik has found a solution. They combine fruit must with two different natural substances: indigo dye and anthocyanin, a pigment found on grape skin. This mixture creates the bright blue color the wine is known for. It will also be a selling point, since most consumers associate neon blue drinks and food with artificial coloring.
Wine sales, on a whole, are on the rise. Millennials in particular are swapping out craft beer for wine when out with friends or entertaining at home. Sparkling wines are growing at double-digit rates, and the U.S. wine industry noted a 1.9% CAGR from 2011 to 2016. Wine experts say this upswing can be attributed to an elevated interest in fine wine and increased product launches.
The question now is whether blue wine will find a happy home next to pinot noir and sauvignon blanc, or if it will go the way of Crystal Pepsi. At the $12 to $14 price point, a bottle can be picked up as a last-minute impulse purchase. Its biggest challenge may be convincing the same consumer to buy a second bottle after the novelty wears off.