Legacy-free consumers and wine in a can

By , 28 January 2020



When I was in my twenties, it was with wry amusement that I noted that there was a multivitamin and mineral supplement marketed at the middle-aged with the tagline “When you’re old enough to want to feel younger”. Now I am middle-aged.

Problem is I still think Star Wars is cool (although the original Episodes IV. V and VI released in 1977, 1980 and 1983 respectively remain unsurpassed), I still listen to alt-rock (although I doubt another band will ever have the same impact on me as Nirvana did in the early 1990s) and Levi’s 501 are still my preferred brand and cut of jeans (although I’m told these are now proper dadware).

It was with more than a little self-recognition then when Brandon de Kock of consumer insights agency Whyfive made the observation during his presentation at the recent Vinpro Information Day that consumers are increasingly age agnostic, which is to say “as people live longer and take better care of themselves, older consumers feel and want to be treated as younger”.

De Kock pointed out that mobile communications company Vodacom was founded in 1994 so anybody old enough to own a cellphone then has accumulated 26 years of digital media experience, the consequence being that Gen X and Baby Boomers don’t always have to defer to Millenellias as being more tech savvy.

The upshot of this age-agnoticism for De Kock is that the wine industry should market to an attitude and not an age-group.

Another key observation that De Kock made was regarding the “youthification” of SA society – 27% of our population is in a 15-year band that spans the ages 20 to 35 compared to 30% in a 30-year band that spans the ages 35 to 65.

Moreover, a process of radical economic transformation is occurring. While the tax base of this country is very small – 2 million so-called TopEnders defined as those earning R40 000 or more pay 80% of all taxes – this segment was nevertheless growing fast having increased by more than half a million in the last three years.

This emerging group of young, affluent professionals obviously provides an exciting marketing opportunity. As they are relatively new to wine, they are not convention bound, status being far more important than playing by the rules. “The new consumer is legacy-free,” as De Kock put it.

De Kock’s presentation seems to have particular resonance at a time when wine in a can seems to be coming topical – see the offerings from Ben Wren Wine Co, CanCan by Renegade Wines, Chateau del Rei and Uncanny in this regard. The good folk at Renegade Wines – Jaap Pijl, formerly CFO and GM at Waterford in Stellenbosch and Francois Haasbroek of Blackwater Wine and also ex-Waterford – insisted that I sample their product and I’ll confess to some stuck-in-my-ways, forty-something skepticism at the prospect. Eventually, curiosity got the better of me and cans were cracked. Suffice to say, the sky didn’t fall (the Chenin Blanc happens to be pretty damn good, in fact – see here) and wine in a can moment might just have arrived.


3 comment(s)

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    Robert Williams | 29 January 2020

    As the leading researcher in this market, I’ll be visiting many of these fine vineyards this April. Visit my site for more info. We track over 400 winemakers who offer nearly 1,100 SKUs of wine-in-cans. WICresearch.com Robert.

    Ross Sleet | 28 January 2020

    This commentary and Brandon’s presentation is exactly what we are experiencing in the market place in South Africa and abroad. When you bring the barriers to entry emotionally down i.e. you don’t lecture, dictate how the consumer “should” engage with your brand, then you have an advocate for your brand as they become the voice. It’s about them, not us i.e. consumer first, brand second.

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