19 Crimes becomes 5-million-case brand

Treasury Wine Estates has revealed its 19 Crimes franchise has become a huge global success story, selling more than five million cases a year.

Tim Ford, Chief Executive Officer of TWE, told analysts this week that the company now has “a second global brand on our hands”, with 19 Crimes joining Penfolds as one of its most important ranges, generating around 16% of the company’s total sales.

It’s been a key driver of TWE’s recovery from China’s decision to impose prohibitive tariffs on Australian wine. In the US, EBIT rose 22.9% to $168.3 million in 2020-21, helping to offset the 14.9 per cent fall in EBIT in Asia.

In the US, the brand has expanded into beer and launched a celebrity partnership with Snoop Dogg. Snoop’s Cali Red finished the fiscal year as the number one growth skew in its category; while Cali Rose launched in March and was also very successful, finishing as the number 10 growth skew for H2.

“The United States has been the starting point for the growth of 19 Crimes,” Ford said. “It’s continued to yield fantastic results for a number of years, with the addition of innovation around its partnership with Snoop Dogg and more to come. We continue to engage differently to other wine brands with consumers and clearly it’s working. We certainly feel like we’ve learned a hell of a lot as we’ve built this in the United States.”

When Ford was announced as CEO of Treasury Wine Estates in October 2019, he received a text message from Snoop Dogg congratulating him. He still hasn’t met Snoop in the flesh yet, due to COVID-19 border closures, but says he’s looking forward to it.

Ford said the next big market for 19 Crimes was the UK, where it recently launched a 19 Crimes alcoholic seltzer range, with two flavour combinations: Lime Bitters and Raspberry and Black Pepper.

“We’ll continue to take what we’ve done in the US and roll that through the UK,” he added. “And it becomes part of the expansion plan of 19 Crimes; same in Australia, same in Asia. So those four are the sequence and, as we continue to build the market, slightly leading with America, into the UK into Australia and into Asia, we’ll then transpose the successes we’ve had, because it is about how we actually activate that brand and connect with those consumers.”

Pete Neilson, the Managing Director of Treasury Premium Brands said strong growth in Australia was led by 19 Crimes, Pepperjack, St Hubert’s The Stag, Wynns and Squealing Pig.

“19 Crimes continued its stellar performance with distribution gains, a strong NPD pipeline and engaging marketing campaigns, driving 152% increase in dollar sales in the UK, where it is now a top 15 brand, and also strong growth across other key markets in the region,” he said.

What’s next for 19 Crimes?

The 19 Crimes and Snoop Dogg partnership has been an inspired one for TWE. The launch exceeded its initial 12 month sales forecast in the first two months. It’s also successfully introduced wine to a new generation of drinkers: according to data from IRI, more than 20% of buyers of the Snoop Cali Red were new to the category.

19 Crimes Snoop Cali Red arrived on shelf in Australia in June. The Californian wine is a blend featuring Petite Syrah and Zinfandel and is currently available for retail stores for an RRP of $18. It launched with Snoop Dogg voicing motion-activated billboards in high traffic areas of Sydney and Melbourne.

Ben Culligan, ANZ marketing and category director said: “19 Crimes Snoop Cali Red needed to be disruptive and different from what we’ve done before. We wanted to do something that would capture the audience’s attention in a quirky and memorable way.”

Ben Dollard, President of Treasury Americas, revealed that more innovations and celebrity collaborations are on the way for the brand.

“Building on our innovation success, a second iconic celebrity will join Snoop as we expand the 19 Crimes franchise,” he said.

“Our new product will launch in spring our 2022 with standout our packaging and world class augmented reality, providing a terrific complement to Cali Red and Cali Rosé.”

Ford added: “It’s a brand that requires and will continue to have investment behind innovation, with partnerships and digitally enabled channels being key to that and bringing new consumers into the wine category. So yeah, it’s a pretty exciting future for the 19 Crimes franchise.”

TWE FY21 results boosted by premium wine brands

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