Can Making an NA Wine Elevate Your Overall Brand?

New Zealand-based Giesen has put real effort into producing its 0% line of wines, investing in its own spinning cone machine and putting winemaker Duncan Shouler up to the task of educating the public about its newest products.

But as Dry January (or Damp January for people who are simply reducing their alcohol intake) nears its end, Giesen’s management team is curious to see how their overall brand might benefit.

While the 0% line is now prominently featured on restaurant menus, at bars, in high-end grocery store beer and wine caves and on retail shelves, Giesen still very much hangs its hat on producing estate, full-alcohol Sauvignon Blanc.

And yet, it’s possible that the NA product could help introduce new consumers to its existing products that contain alcohol, said Giesen’s US Brand Ambassador Jeremy Snyder, who joined other Giesen representatives on a conference call with media.

With NA wine having little representation on retail shelves, the apparent viability of Giesen’s offering could help its other products pop out on crowded shelves and wine lists.

“I think in the next 12-18 months, we’ll sell more of the 0% than we will our estate Sauvignon Blanc,” said Snyder, citing early growth projections discussed on the call. “We have customers who are being introduced to Giesen through the 0% who will see our estate Sauvignon Blanc on the shelves and say, ‘I didn’t know they made full strength wine’ and maybe buy our bottle as opposed to the competition.”

The 0% portfolio is a permanent fixture in Giesen’s repertoire and is now widely distributed in the United States and worldwide. Shouler said the idea was born when he and his team couldn’t drink wine for a month and decided to give drinking alcohol-free wine a try.

“There was nothing good out there, so we tried to make one,” Shouler said. “We started with Sauvignon Blanc, and got feedback from other members of our staff, who thought it was a great product. The rest, as we say, is history.”

The recap sounds succinct, but the company has devoted serious capital to growing their NA lineup, including putting $2 million into its own spinning cone steam distillation setup, hiring a team of spinning cone specialists to operate it, and working them around the clock in shifts.

Today, Giesen’s NA portfolio includes a Rosé, a Sauvignon Blanc, a Red Blend and a Riesling.

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