For the first time in travel retail, Accolade Wines will introduce a new hard seltzer brand, Nine Yards, to visitors at the TFWA World Exhibition & Conference to take place in Cannes this month (Yellow Village D26).
The Nine Yards brand has already launched online, retailing at £2.50 per can. In global travel retail, the plan is to retail at £2 a can, with a three for £5 deal through Accolade’s travel retailer customers.
The hard seltzer category (alcoholic sparkling water) is a fast-growing phenomenon from the US, which is now growing exponentially in the UK and across Europe.
Accolade’s Nine Yards range includes three vegan-friendly, carbon neutral hard seltzer flavours – Morello Cherry, Watermelon and Pink Grapefruit, each at 90 calories per can.
With Nine Yards, Accolade said it is seeking to challenge the conformity in the looks of the other hard seltzer brands, as many of which come in white or light-coloured cans.
Instead, Accolade has gone for bold colours in the design of the cans for the three Nine Yards expressions, ‘which will give them great stand out shelf appeal’ it said.
This makes Nine Yards a natural fit for impulse purchases near the tills in travel retail stores selling alcohol beverages, insisted Accolade Wines.
Jeff Bond, Senior Regional Manager EMEA, Accolade Wines said: “The hard seltzer category will have a strong appeal to Millennial travellers, who want more natural products and lower ABV drinks that are better environmentally in terms of carbon neutrality and recyclability.
“We believe it is going to be a big performer for us in the travel retail channel.
HARD SELTZER CATEGORY ‘TO GROW +71% YOY’
“The main difference we see to our competition apart from the three outstanding flavours is that the Nine Yards brand will really stand out on shelf, which we expect will capture the attention of our travel retailer customers.
“We plan to make Nine Yards widely available in global travel retail, and we see it as a real opportunity for that increased basket spend and as an item for impulse purchase, whether that be through retailers in ferries, cruise ships, border stores or airports.”
Assessing the growth prospects for the category, Bond says the market for hard seltzer brands is quite embryonic in the UK, but is expected to grow +71% year-on-year to be worth about £75 million by 2023.
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Meanwhile in the US, where demand for hard seltzer brands has exploded, already more than US$3 billion of hard seltzer products have been sold in the year to date.
Looking ahead to the Cannes event, Bond said: “One of the main things buyers look for in Cannes is something completely new, and we certainly have that in a vibrant new brand like Nine Yards.
“It’s not clear how high the attendance will be in Cannes, but we think it is very important to re-connect Accolade Wines with buyers, and the travel retail community in general – it’s been very difficult to replace presenting your products face-to-face using only virtual means.
“I think that’s especially the case with brand new products such as Nine Yards.
“Attendance will certainly be much lower than we have seen before, but I see that as an opportunity to have more in-depth conversations with the buyers who have committed to going, not least about the potential of hard seltzer and our exciting new brand for the category.”