The next big thing

Wine in a can may not be new anymore, but along with a wide variety of cocktails, mocktails, premium soft drinks and more, it’s proved itself as ‘the next big thing’ for discerning retailers and environmentally conscious consumers unwilling to compromise on quality.

Back in 2022, we spoke to the founder of Nania’s Vineyard, James Bayliss-Smith to find out how a small urban allotment in Bristol underpinned the success of a new English wine brand. And why you’ll only find it in cans. You can watch the interview here: Candid interview: Nania’s Vineyard | Can Makers

It’s the story of an entrepreneur who saw the wide-ranging benefits cans offer to brands and consumers, from design to convenience, as well as their impressive environmental credentials, and knew the format would be the perfect partner for a new high-quality wine spritzer. Two years on, the brand has not only made its mark with consumers, but has so impressed a major retailer’s buyers, it’s been declared a winner on the popular Channel 4 show, Aldi’s Next Big Thing.

It’s not the only English wine in a can making waves. The Uncommon, another high-quality English wine has leveraged the accessibility, convenience and attractive format of the can, to help differentiate itself and to position itself as a premium brand. Anyone following announcements in the press about brands making waves in the drinks industry recently is unlikely to have missed the news that The Uncommon has secured £1.2m in funding to help meet growing demand.

And demand across multiple categories is rising with many new entrants to the market choosing to make their mark by adopting cans as the preferred packaging format. For these brands, the can is an obvious choice. Arguably the most accessible beverage pack format, it offers convenience and value while giving the brand a unique canvas to communicate with today’s consumers who want to know the packaging of the products they buy is properly recycled.

When Radnor Hills set about launching a new range of sparkling presses, the can was a natural choice, its superior environmental credentials marrying perfectly with the drink itself, crafted from a blend of our pure spring water and 100% natural ingredients. The design potential cans offer was seized upon and the Heartsease Farm range was subsequently awarded a Can Makers accolade recognising the distinctive design which has helped the brand to create a premium position in its market.

It’s something the craft ale and lager brands have been leveraging for some time. None more so than Genius Brewing which recently launched its Gen!us IPA. Aimed at quality and health-conscious ‘grown ups’, the Gen!us IPA can had to be eye-catching yet subtle, elegant yet distinctive – the resulting design took full advantage of modern can printing techniques to create a unique look in a market already awash with eye-catching and colourful creations.

Meanwhile, as Saturday Kitchen’s Olly Smith and other popular TV personalities take advantage of the wide variety of high-quality drinks now commonly available in cans to find the perfect food pairing, there’s no escaping that fact that traditional barriers in the world of premium beverages are falling fast.  In short, it’s not just Aldi that thinks cans are the next big thing.