French firm sees ‘wine-in-a-can’ sales boom – but most are for export

The main buyers of canned wine are in the US and Asia. Will the convenient, single-glass option ever take off in France?

29 October 2021

Canned wine is growing in popularity in France especially among younger people, one study found Pic: Dmytro Zinkevych / Shutterstock

By Joanna York

French drinks brand Cacolac is expanding its wine-in-a-can production for export, with a €5million investment into a new factory in the heart of Bordeaux’s vineyards.

The brand has been a leader in the field since 2012, and currently produces 60 million cans for a variety of drinks per year, six million of which are used for wine.

As its existing factory has reached capacity, the new factory at Léognan will increase production to an initial 25 million cans, rising to 40 million over time.

The brand mostly satisfies growing international demand for the convenient, single-serve option, with the option not as popular in France.

Director of Cacolac, Christian Maviel, told 20 Minutes that the new factory would be “exclusively dedicated to filling services for spirits, especially wine, for which there is a large demand”. 

However, the demand mainly comes from overseas, especially the US and Asia.

Mr Maviel said: “They look for practicality in packaging and don’t have the same relationship with the product that consumers in France do, where traditions are stronger.”

Will wine-in-a-can take off in France?

Traditionally, bottled wine is the most popular option in France. 

However, following growing interest in bag-in-a-box wine, there are indications that French consumers could become more open-minded towards canned options.

Wine wholesaler and importer Maison Le Star currently sells 80,000-100,000 cans of wine per year in France.

A representative from the brand told 20 Minutes that the product was not intended to replace bottles of wine.

They said: “That’s why we position the cans in the ‘snack’ area of the supermarket, with the salads, beers and sodas, rather than in the wine aisle. It’s a wine that’s ready to drink while you move around.”

The type of wine used for canned options also differs slightly. At Cacolac 10% of canned wine is red wine, 20-30% white wine, and the rest is rosé.

“We use good quality wine – that is essential,” Mr Maviel said, but he added that contents are “adapted to the ‘can’ concept meaning they are fresh and can be drunk more quickly. They are not wines to be kept for years.”

Cédric Segal, who owns Star Beverages, a company that helps wine producers produce canned versions of their wines said that of the 150 producers the company works with, most export the canned products overseas.

But some do sell in France “particularly in summertime for picnics and drinks before dinner”, he said.

Mr Maviel, from Carolac, added that canned wine was mainly targeted at younger consumers who were “disinterested” in more traditional options.

A study published by aluminium supplier Ball Corporation found that one third of people in France have tried wine-in-a-can, or would be open to trying it, with consumption increasing among younger generations.

Some 48% of people in France aged 20 and under, and 43% among people aged 35 and under, said they had tried canned wine.

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