Sales of 19 Crimes, the Australian wine brand owned by Treasury Wine Estates, grew by 68.2% in value and 54.1% in volume through April 2020 versus the same period last year.

The figures, for the four weeks to April 18, reflect the high consumer demand for trusted and recognisable brands throughout the initial lockdown period, according to producer, Treasury Wine Estates (TWE). 

Ben Blake, head of marketing Europe, told DRN: “Even with increased competition 19 Crimes has seen significant sales uplift over this period.

“But sales success for 19 Crimes is not isolated to this period. Overall performance for 19 Crimes is standout, with increased rate of sale, distribution and listings. In the last 52 weeks total sales for 19 Crimes are up 83.4% (value) and 82.2% (volume).”

He also noted that recognised and much-loved brands play a big part in consumer buying habits, which is a trend that isn’t exclusive to the current coronavirus pandemic.

He said: “Strong, well-known wine brands are of crucial importance – and I don’t think the current situation had changed that. Big brands have a role to play in all circumstances. They help shoppers navigate a complex category and can introduce them to wine in ways they can easily trust.

“However, in this current climate we are adapting how we communicate to consumers with our great brands. We have moved a lot of brand communication and marketing activity onto their social media channels in order to reflect the current media preferences and consumers’ current lifestyles.”

TWE will continue to add new varietals to the 19 Crimes brand and Blake noted that the most recent addition, 19 Crimes Sauvignon Block, has been doing well.

“NPD has been – and continues to be – crucial to a brand like 19 Crimes. We are proud of our range of six wines, all of which offer something fresh and truly innovative to the category. Be that quality varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon or the Chardonnay; wines with great stories and labelling, like The Banished and our flagship Red Wine – or the Uprising, a wine that is blended with Rum, blurring the lines between the wine and spirits categories.

“This kind of innovation, as well as exploring new formats, is something we will continue to look at carefully in the future.

“The most recent varietal to join the 19 Crimes range is 19 Crimes Sauvignon Block, which has just been listed in Asda. It complements the Chardonnay varietal, and means that existing consumers are encouraged the discover the range in more depth and bring 19 Crimes into more drinking occasions.

“19 Crimes has a strong social media following and over the period of lockdown and beyond, will increasingly look to engage fans and shoppers on its social platforms via influencers and brand advocates. We will do this by teaming up with influencers to bring to life the brand in an authentic way through music and interactive Instagram sessions as well as through our Living Wine Labels technology.”

The brand’s unique AR technology labels have helped drive consumer interest and loyalty to the brand, he noted.

“AR technology has proven extremely successful at engaging consumers across all age groups – but especially amongst millennials. Not only does it encourage people to trial the wine, but it also sparks conversation within social groups.

“It is one of the most innovative technologies to be introduced into the wine industry and the brand continues to go from strength to strength – it has achieved 3 million downloads across five languages.

“The wine category needs to innovate to grow – but it can’t just be innovation for innovation’s sake. At TWE we have an NPD pipeline as we are always looking for opportunities to excite and engage shoppers. But it has to be innovation that taps into new trends and excites shoppers.

“For example, this can be about blurring the lines between drinks categories and offering new and different refreshment opportunities. I believe with Blossom Hill Gin Fizz we have launched something into the UK which has delivered on those consumer needs.

“We have seen an increasing demand for convenience and on-the-go formats in the last year – as wine cans value sales grew by 177.9%. To that end we have now launched Gin Fizz in cans, and we have seen good pick up in impulse, as well as a listing in Tesco.”