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UK importer launches distribution service for canned wines

Published:  26 January, 2022

Propeller, the hybrid importer founded by Jamie Wynne-Griffiths in 2020, is embracing new formats with the launch of The Can Collective.

The business will reportedly “offer retailers a consolidated source of selected top brands in a can”.

Functioning as a one-stop shop for canned wines, the opening portfolio encompasses six brands and 30 individual wines enabling retailers to curate diverse, compelling ranges. The brands include DEFY, The Canned Wine Co, Miss Vicky Joie, Bowl Grabber, Ocean and The Fishwives Club.

According to the IWSR, “Changes in shopping and drinking patterns during the pandemic have led to a shift towards large packaging formats, such as bag-in-a-box, and small packaging formats, such as cans. Canned wine in particular has been moving towards broader consumer acceptance for some time, and this trend has been hastened by the pandemic.”

A study undertaken by the firm in 2021 showed that bag-in-box wine sales were booming in the US, UK and Japan, while canned wine is performing well in the US, UK and Australia.

Corinne O’Connor, Propeller’s operations and marketing manager, said: “We want to see the entire wine fridge devoted to this format, bristling with beautifully adorned cans, emulating the delicious anarchy of the craft beer movement. And the cans that aren’t in the fridge deserve to be displayed alongside bottles from the same country or varietal, not relegated to the ‘miscellaneous’ section, next to the halves and BIBs.”

Propeller’s unique costing model will be central to the success of this initiative. “We are retained by our clients and don’t make a margin on sales,” added O’Connor.

“Our pricing is exactly as it would be from the producer direct, and this is key if they are UK businesses. Unit pricing for a can is pretty delicate if you’re going to enable a retailer to make a solid margin but keep the shelf price around £5-6. A traditional middleman’s margin would make that unviable.”

Propeller’s business has grown dramatically since its launch, representing 23 clients including Canopy from Toledo, Chile’s MoVI and The Rolland Collection from Bordeaux and Argentina.

Its distribution base covers the whole of the UK and includes strategic partnerships with Terroir Vines (Scotland) and The Decker Group alongside thriving direct relationships with some of the UK’s top retailers, including the Somerset Wine Co, Decent Drop, Kwoff, Brightside Wines and The Wine Library.