By Kaitlin Ohlinger, Foodable Contributor
In a rapidly-changing business where it seems there is little left to reinvent, Union Wine Company’s founding mission was simply to prove that excellent, affordable wine could be made in Oregon. Their minimalistic and clean style has a way of emphasizing their “fuss-free” mantra without being trite. And while they certainly weren’t the first people to put wine in a can (looking at you, Sofia), they are certainly taking the idea and running with it, much to the delight of consumers, if social media is any indicator.
The 375ml can was a careful, yet also serendipitous choice. According to Union Wine Company’s owner and winemaker Ryan Harms, the idea originated during a “wine-induced brainstorming” session. Don’t most (if not all) good ideas come from such sessions? To the common eye, the 375ml can is a dead-ringer for a 12oz beer can, and this was not accidental. Ryan continues: “We… felt this format was a great intersection between form and function. Consumers are comfortable with this size can as it is close to a 12oz. can. We felt that familiarity was important for the cans acceptance to new consumers.” Acceptance, as it turned out, would be an understatement.
Breaking Down Pretense
Winning major points for practicality, wine in a can also manages to hit a very precise nerve with consumers. Take wine out of its glass bottle, and all of a sudden it becomes, simply, a beverage. A beverage that’s ready to be tossed into your camping gear, your cooler as you head to the lake or the beach, or just popped and sipped on a sunny porch.
The intention is not to “dumb down” wine drinking, but rather to celebrate its more lighthearted side. Don’t we want people to see wine as something they can enjoy every day, after all? Their hashtag, #pinkiesdown, is a brilliant rendition of this ideology.
Other Added Bonuses
One sneaky little added bonus to canned wine is that it is automatically protected from the effects of light and air. Freshness is almost a given. In addition, canned wine costs about 40% less to package than its 12-glass bottle case equivalent. It also makes an eye-catching and memorable by-the-glass (err… can) selection for a restaurant. They’re easier to recycle than glass bottles, and since they’re being served in two glass portions, there’s no loss of product to overzealous servers, bartenders, or heaven-forbid: managers.
Yet the question that’s on everyone’s mind: what about the taste? Does it taste like a can? Fun fact: in all canned beverages, there is a liner that protects the liquid from the aluminum. So your wine will not taste any more like a can than a beer or soda would. Wine seems somehow more fragile, more susceptible to this can-taste phenomenon. But rest easy; this is not the case. While being at the forefront of packaging innovation was never the goal, Ryan reiterates: “We are interested in bringing good wine to more people.”
They’re off to a good start.