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Joiy Wines to launch canned range into Whole Foods US

Joiy

Kiwi canned wine manufacturer, Joiy, is expanding into the US after a win in an international canned wine competition drew the attention of major supermarket chain Whole Foods.  

Having already launched into Canada, where it is now the nation’s biggest-selling canned wine range, Wairarapa-headquartered Joiy Wines is expecting to double its sales this year. It currently produces more than 700,000 cans annually, distributed into five markets. 

Cath Hopkin, co-founder of Joiy Wines, says launching into the US represents the company’s largest export opportunity to date and could see production volumes increase to over 7 million units per annum – 10 times the current output – providing a significant boost for growers, particularly in Marlborough.

The international canned wines market is estimated to reach more than US$807 million by 2028, with a growth rate of 13 per cent per annum – three times the pace of the bottled-wine wine market. 

“Originally we could see that the spirit and beer categories were thriving in small formats and yet wine was nowhere to be found,” said Cath Hopkin, co-founder of Joiy Wines. “We then saw an opportunity to specialise in this category and moved our entire product range into cans.”

According to Hopkin, the growth of canned wines results from the increasing demand among millenials for small format options which deliver a more portable, environmentally friendly and portion-controlled product for this health-conscious segment.

Joiy’s range of canned wines and seltzers.

“We are seeing small-format wines resonate strongly with millennials as well as our core target demographic aged 35+ who are choosing these products for a range of convenience and health reasons – such as portion control, lower alcohol, sugar and calories,” Hopkin added. 

The company’s range spans New Zealand’s most famous wine varietal, Sauvignon Blanc, along with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Rose and sparkling varieties, and fruit-flavoured seltzers.

Chris Archer, Joiy Wines winemaker and co-founder, says when the pair first proposed producing canned wine, they were met with a lot of resistance from the local wine industry. In contrast to the industry-led transition from corks to caps, the growth of canned wines has been consumer driven and has evolved over a longer time frame.

“When we first set out to develop a market for canned wine it was at a time when the industry had not been telling a compelling story which was able to connect with the next generation of consumers and was losing share to competing products like RTDs.

“The first years of development we were met with a lot of ‘raised eyebrows’ from the industry. Many were surprised at what we were doing as it went against their traditional pathway, making it a very lonely time for us.

“Today there is much greater recognition that the level of innovation we are introducing is the way forward for New Zealand wine and are now spending a lot of time on the speaking circuit as a case study.”

Archer says the entry into the US market will put pressure on an already limited local grape supply, especially given the prospect its production volume could increase 10-fold overnight.

“We are also getting a lot of export success in Government-run monopoly markets like Canada, and more recently Norway, where we can compete on a level playing field against much larger suppliers,” he says.

Archer says having started out making wine at the age of 17, he is proud of how far the venture has come.

“Joiy was all about making wine accessible to all people for all occasions, not restricting it to ‘on-the-table’ and the sometimes-daunting prospect of opening a full standard bottle,” he says.

The brand was born out of a desire to demystify the wine industry and its ‘wine speak’ by showing it to be fun.

“We know that for those that do not grow up with wine, the beverage can be off-putting – the words are foreign and there is a lot of pomp and ceremony which is great in one way but can also be really quite negative in others.

“It’s been a “roller-coaster” ride and we’re a team of two and while it can present some challenges it means we can move quickly and respond to consumer trends and desires,” she says.

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