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Garçon Wines: Lockdown living highlights need for new wine packaging solutions

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Garçon Wines: Lockdown living highlights need for new wine packaging solutions

By Sonya Hook

 | 24 April, 2020

Garçon Wines: Lockdown living highlights need for new wine packaging solutions

The UK has now been living with lockdown measures for more than four weeks and over this time off-trade wine sales – and online drinks deliveries – have surged massively, while the focus on finding “earth-friendly” solutions looks set to play a much greater role in our future. 

Garçon Wines, which pioneered the concept of ‘letterbox-friendly wines’ back in 2017, was in a perfect position to tap into all of these growth areas, although like so many businesses it has also had to navigate the many logistical challenges posed by Covid-19.

DRN caught up with the company’s business development manager, Amelia Dales, to find out how Covid-19 has affected the business, and also to find out more about its collaboration with Accolade Wines and other projects:

How have sales been through March and April?

“The UK is experiencing significant growth in online wine sales during this period, with a shift in consumer buying behaviours working favourably for those with an existing online platform. It’s a similar situation in the US, with a number of e-commerce platforms quoting triple digit increases.

“Through March and April, we’ve seen almost a 600% rise in demand through existing business customers, who in turn have seen massive increases from end consumers, as well as a sharp increase in new enquiries from a wide variety of companies. Sales are strong and there’s no indication of this slowing down anytime soon.

“Garçon Wines offer a solution that’s optimal for e-commerce – our eco, flat wine bottles are made of 100% recycled PET, pre-existing not single-use plastic. Our bottles are 87% lighter than the standard UK glass bottle and won’t shatter during transport. Our bottle is 40% more spatially efficient, which also allows for more efficient logistics.

“This is further amplified through game-changing secondary packaging. We can offer Amazon frustration-free packaging (FFP), which is certified packaging suitable for single bottles and three bottles, with a six-bottle pack due to follow shortly. FFP certified packaging is currently rare for wine but soon to be preferential for all products sold through Amazon.

"We also offer Letterbox Wine® for gifting – the ideal surprise and delight wine gift that can be combined with other products or personalised with messaging and delivered directly into UK homes, through the letterbox.

 Can you highlight any successful collaboration projects?

“The challenging situation that we find ourselves in at the moment due to Covid-19 has led to a huge increase in online purchasing. With the on-trade mostly unable to operate, many are exploring new ways to safely access and enjoy wine at home and Letterbox Wine® is proving to be hugely popular. Demand has, during March and April, been totally unprecedented with some of our business customers and stockists experiencing more than forty-fold growth in sales compared to the same period last year.

“We have also quietly commenced a new collaboration with global wine giant Accolade Wines. This will see Accolade Wines’ much-loved brands in our sustainable bottle and we’re highly motivated to activate this multi-channel project with a number of brands, including the UK’s number one wine brand Hardys, will be offered in the sustainable bottle format. More details on the collaboration will be announced over the coming months. This collaboration will allow us to offer our business customers a world-class bottling service through Accolade’s multi-award-winning UK facility Accolade Park.

What are the key challenges for your business during this lockdown period?

“One key challenge we’re facing at the moment is quickly adapting to the increase in demand from existing business customers and ensuring we keep delays to a minimum. It was close to impossible to have predicted this surge in demand and the uncertainty of how long this period continues for means it’s challenging to forecast for the coming weeks and months.

“As a start-up, we benefit from the ability to be agile and reactive, whilst usually also being proactive, and having the fire-power of our UK-based bottle supply-partner Berry M&H, a global plastics packaging giant, we’re in a position to quickly activate larger scale production.

“As with so many others, working as a distributed team is new for us. It does present some challenges. Whilst we already conducted a large proportion of external meetings via video call we’re not used to conducting day-to-day activities from various locations.

“We chose to have a young, vibrant team, who all contribute to our company culture and enjoy human interaction. We have a responsibility to ensure we adapt our internal interactions to maintain the same positive vibe, passion and, importantly, productivity levels as we would do when operating from the office as normal.

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