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Consumers have accepted wine in cans: Fratelli’s Gaurav Sekhri

NEW DELHI :

After a year of setbacks, including the passing away of its co-founder Kapil Sekhri in 2020, Fratelli wines has said that the company is growing steadily despite the pandemic and has started a rebranding exercise for its single varietal range of wines. Last year, the company had also launched its wine-in-a-can concept, Tilt, and is looking to close this year at a top line of nearly ₹150 crore said Gaurav Sekhri, the company’s current director in an interview.

Fratelli is an Indo-Italian wine made through a partnership between three families: Alessio and Andrea Secci from Italy, Kapil and Gaurav Sekhri and Ranjit and Arjun Mohite Patil.

The rebranding will pay homage to Kapil Sekhri. The new colour palettes and silhouette change for the bottle and a new label, is also designed to capture the attention of younger wine enthusiasts.

Edited excerpts from the interview:

 

Has the pandemic disrupted the wine business at all?

We have seen that despite covid-19 disruption in FY20-21 our topline grew, we actually grew our business. Of course, cans also contributed to that happening, so although the institution business was decimated in all hotels and restaurants. Consumption at home went up, and thus retail sales, and that compensated (for the loss in institutional sales). We finished last financial year, just a shade below ₹110 crore topline. We are looking to finish the current fiscal between ₹140 crore and ₹150 crore.

And even now, institutions are not fully open, there is hardly any event or conference; there are no international tourists, etc. With all that factored in, we think we should grow between 25 and 30%, this year.

Why did you decide to rebrand Fratelli?

The rebranding is primarily driven by the fact that we have forever been told even though Fratelli is very high-quality wine, it has been sold in a not so nice looking label. The label has been around for more than a decade. In the process we all deliberated if there was a way for us to connect back to our story and portray how three families came together for this business.

Does it mean it is important for alcohol brands to keep reinventing?

No, I don’t think so. I mean, Old Monk is still the same Old Monk since ages. It isn’t necessary for any brand in any industry to rebrand unless there is a need and we felt our labels were not communicating properly the quality of wine that was put in and I think we needed to upgrade.

Has the rollout been implemented across the country?

It is being rolled out as we speak. With alcohol each state (in India) acts as a country in itself, that is, it has its own set of rules and label registrations and process. With that challenge, keeping that process in mind, we’ve done a sort of a staggered rollout. But by the end of December, all major cities and bases will have the new labels.

You had launched your wine in a can concept last year. How is that product doing?

Yes, ‘Tilt’ has been a great validation of a concept which was conceived by Kapil (Sekhri). He had thought that to make wine more (popular among masses), we have to bring it closer to consumers.

Globally, thanks to covid-19, there is a trend where everyone and everything is becoming less formal. Nobody wears ties anymore; people don’t even go to offices and so a lot of formality has been removed. And, I think that’s reflective of how we consume as well. So putting wine in a can is basically that where a lot of young consumers feel are just happy to drink good wine. They don’t necessarily want to put it in the appropriate glass.

Is it a product targeted at young consumers only?

We are now dispatching our product into markets where we’ve never seen bottles go for more than a decade that we’ve been in business. We always expected young people to like it, the obvious places where the product is doing well is where a lot of footfalls are there of younger people going.

But a pleasant surprise has been that even in a senior home, senior people living spaces when we went and did tasting, they all loved it, because a lot of them in any case, don’t want to drink more than a glass or two in an evening and they all felt a bit silly opening a bottle and wasting it.

We had not anticipated this but it has happened. So overall we’ve got the validation we needed you know we’re sort of going all guns blazing.

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