New releases

Aussie drinks innovator launches TART Daytime Rosé

Canned wine just got a cool update with the launch of TART Daytime Rosé, a low-alcohol sparkling RTD with only 75 calories per serve.

The brand is the first release from The Daytime Drinks Company, founded by seasoned Australian drinks marketer Anoushka Szlagowska. Szlagowska has spent the past 12 years developing brands for Diageo, Lion and Fine Wine Partners, so she knows a thing or two about innovation.

“The idea for the product came a long time ago,” she told Drinks Digest. “The idea for the brand came much more recently. I’ve developed brands for some of the best spirits, beer and wine organisations in the world and have always had a desire to take the leap and do something for myself. TART has been meticulously built from broad cultural trends and deep category insights and a healthy dose of intuition.

“Core to the product proposition is ‘Better For You’. Many people think ‘Better For You’ is a recent thing and while it is true that it is exploding across every category now, it has been around for a long time. The opportunity for a lighter in alcohol, lower in calories, ‘Better For You’ wine was a hot topic 10 years ago. The challenge has been that the technology for wine innovation just hasn’t been there nor the real commitment to grow the grapes. Additionally, a large part of the wine industry is entrenched with deep tradition, so evolving and looking forward with consumer-led innovation can be a hard path to navigate.

“The idea for the brand largely came from my experience living in New York for the six years up until 2019. Canned wine is much more mature in that market, but more importantly, it’s not a category built on format extension, it exists in its own right as brands intentionally built just for cans. As I observed the rapid growth in the US and UK a big macro trend was happening around social inequity. I wanted to tap into some of those category insights and social themes for my brand, not because it was a ‘trendy’ thing to do, but rather it struck a chord with my own core values.”

Tapping into this social trend, TART is doing its part to help end period poverty, partnering with Moxie Tampons.

“Did you know one in five women in Australia can’t afford period products and some even have to resort to old socks or
newspaper?” Szlagowska said. “Let that sink in. At TART, we think every woman should period in peace. For every can of TART sold, we’re donating a Moxie tampon to a woman in need, so that we can help end period poverty in Australia. Because seriously WTF!?”

The canned wine boom

In the US, canned wine is now worth more than $86 million according to Nielsen, with the pandemic fuelling growth. One of the biggest brands in the market is Babe Wines, which was bought by AB InBev in 2019. Ad Week reports Babe saw a 182% increase in web traffic during the lockdown and a 7.6-fold increase of wine sales on its own site. 

Canned wine is also taking off in the UK.

“Canned wine in the UK has been in steady triple-digit growth now for two or three years and is worth over £10 million,” Marc Laventure, cofounder of Canvino, a brand producing canned single-estate wine from Lombardy, told Drinks International.

Richard Halstead, chief operating officer for insights and custom analytics at Wine Intelligence, added: “We are seeing increasing usage data, especially in the US, where canned wine awareness levels are now at 38% of regular wine drinkers, up from 23% in 2017. Our data is showing the main driver is convenience, and occasions are outdoor drinking and attending events.” 

Szlagowska agrees: “Having witnessed first hand the rapid growth of wine in can in the US, I truly believe wine in can has enormous opportunity in Australia. We have the climate, the culture, the laid back attitude and pretty open mind to do things our own way. In fact, we don’t even refer to TART as ‘wine in can’. We call it an RTD. It was purposely built to be ‘ready to drink’. It has all the benefits of portion control, expanded occasions, lighter style etc. This is how it is categorised in the UK and US – If you walk down any Tesco’s or Wholefoods aisle in the UK or the US, the RTD section will include wine.

“If I could change one thing, it would be how it is merchandised in store. I believe the opportunity exists to range in the cold fridge door with other RTD’s. For many retailers in Australia it is still in the ‘unsure what to do with it’ basket and subsequently sits on the ambient shelves. Vodka seltzers aren’t ranged on the vodka shelf, bourbon and cola’s don’t sit with the whiskey shelves. I believe retailers and consumers will soon be enlightened by the benefits and see it as a profitable RTD that expands multiple consumer occasions as they do in other parts of the world … it will take a brand to break the category wide one and I think TART can do this, as it’s also the coolest brand to come along in the category for a long, long time.”

Award-winning winemaker consults on TART

According to Drinks International, familiarity and the burgeoning offer may be driving the growth, but for premium retailers, an evolution in the format’s higher-end offering has made canned wine viable. 

The Daytime Drinks Company knew quality was critical. So it turned to James Halliday Wine Companion award winning winemaker Gwyn Olsen for advice on creating the wine range. Olsen is head winemaker at Pepper Tree Wines in the Hunter Valley.

“I reached out to Gwyn early in the wine development phase,” Szlagowska (above) said. “I might know what it takes to build a brand, but when it comes to the technical expertise to fulfil my vision for the wine profile, I needed to speak to a pro. Gwyn was an unbelievable consultant for the project and just an all round legend. It was important to me that I worked with someone who obviously had the expertise and palette, but more important that they bought into what the brand stood for. Gwyn is one of the best young winemakers in Australia and she is a massive supporter of the brand.”

Szlagowska said she decided to make TART a “daytime wine” – with just 8% ABV – because “let’s face it, the world doesn’t need another wine”.

“What TART does however is challenge the idea of what a wine can be,” she said. “I love wine, but it isn’t always suitable for every occasion,” she said. “TART challenges the perceptions of when wine should be drunk (more than 60% of wine is drunk AFTER 5pm). I personally wanted to create something for the daytime occasion and the data suggests it is a big opportunity. For this reason, I called it a Daytime Rosé – The lighter ABV and light, refreshing dry style lends to this claim. Lower calories and lower sugar are other benefits that are fast becoming cost of entry.”

As for whether there are more TART wines on the way, Szlagowska reveals that she has quite a few exciting ideas in development.

“I also believe TART could stretch into multiple categories given at it’s heart it is a rebel brand that doesn’t necessarily follow the rules of categories but champions the needs of consumers,” she said. “Our focus, however is to get some traction with our Daytime Rosé this summer so we can then decide what our next move is.

TART Daytime Rosé is available at Dan Murphy’s on-line and Booze Bud nationally.

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Categories: New releases