Inside the Box

Inside the Box

I love living in Minnesota for the four seasons and I enjoy all of them. Since summer is special and short-lived here, we are pretty good about making the most of when the weather is favorable to be outdoors. There have been a few developments in the wine industry that we think are pretty cool, and will make some of our outdoor activities in late summer and early fall – hiking, camping, tailgating – a little more fun.

We have become accustomed to the 3-liter box wines, which have almost replaced the 1.5 liter glass bottles. We still carry a few brands in the larger glass format, but most are being replaced by the boxes. We think everyone wins with this development, and we continue to search
for more options in the box category. The value over similar quality glass 750ml sizes is stunning. We have also seen a nice response from customers for the one-liter Tetra Pak, which is currently dominated by the Bandit brand. The Tetra Pak, in my opinion, is brilliant. It is super lightweight, very strong, holds a full liter (standard glass bottles are 750ml) is fully recyclable and is just about as efficient as possible for space and weight. These are great for hiking, camping and any outdoor activity where glass seems unwise, impractical or outright impossible. It’s also not merely a packaging ploy, but the wine is surprisingly high quality, and it over-delivers in what I consider to be challenging circumstances, including outdoors around
a campfire, being consumed from less than- optimal glassware (plastic cup?)— it is easy for the flavors of wines to be overwhelmed by the smells and flavors of the great outdoors. These wines do not disappear into the background.

The most recent development and one we are quite excited about is the rapid expansion of the “beer” can as wine container. The standard beer can is typically 12 ounces, or just a tick shy of a half bottle of wine. Some of the new wine products are in that 12-ounce format, and some are in a slightly larger can that measures a clean 375ml (technically 13.2 ounces). Last year we saw Underwood come to market with a Pinot Noir, a Pinot Gris, and a rosé. They now have a sparkling wine—and some new competitors, namely House Wine and Dark Horse, each with its own varietal lineup. The only drawback is that people might forget that they are drinking wine (at 13.5% alcohol) and not beer (at 4-5% give or take). So don’t forget that a can of wine is half of a regular-sized bottle of wine! That said, the half-bottle size is spectacular! I have been a fan of the 375ml glass format for many years, arguing that it provides great flexibility and opportunities for wider choice and selection in many situations. The cans add to that list
of situations, and are ultra-light, strong and also fully recyclable. We think these developments are fantastic and hope you check them out soon.

-Andy Hall, Surdyk’s Wine Department Manager

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