Launched in 2014, the Miami-based Friends Fun Wine (FFW) took a global position immediately. FFW products are produced in Germany and available in the US, China, Korea, Taiwan, Costa Rica, Bulgaria, Nigeria, and in its newest markets, the Caribbean, Latin America, Western Europe. That’s because its CEO and co-founder Joe Peleg, a Cornell University Hospitality Management graduate, had already established himself in the international food and beverage industry over a 30-year career.
At its inception, FFW concentrated on regular table wines in cans. But soon enough the company’s focuse changed: “…to create a new category of low-alcohol flavored wines that offer consumers an alternative to beer.” With the motto: “ We believe that wine is for each and everyone. ” The company targets consumers exploring wine for the first time.
According to FFW, the entry-level consumers have no “…stuffy perceptions that Americans currently have about wine and wine culture.” They are the kind of wine consumers who respond to low alcohol, low calorie wines with infused flavors—and so, FFW offers 250 ml. cans of 5.5% alcohol-by-volume wines with names like Coconut Chardonnay, Cappucino Chardonnay, Strawberry Moscato, Peach Moscato, Espresso Cabernet and Red Sangria. The company recently introduced into the U.S. market its products in 750 ml. Bordeaux-style bottles adorned with graffiti, landscape and pop art paintings by Miami-based POP and Graffiti artist Miguel Paredes; they come in three flavors—Coconut Chardonnay, Strawberry Moscato, Red Sangria—and they sell between $5.99 and $7.99.
Obviously, FFW has hit on a winning formula. Scott Morris, VP Public Relations, Marketing Communications and Social Media says “…sales have increased each of the last 2.5 years, with over 200% growth…average sales velocity at major retailers is two times the industry average of sales by cases per week. During in-store tastings we average about 36 bottles/hour (4 hour tasting).”
FFW has attracted the attention of Rochester, NY-based FIFCO USA.
Formerly known as North American Breweries, FIFCO USA has holdings in Labatt USA, The Genesee Brewing Company, The Magic Hat Brewing Company, Portland Brewing Company, and Pyramid Brewing Company. FIFCO USA also owns the malt beverages, Seagram’s Escapes and Seagram’s Spiked.
At its 2018 national sales meeting, FIFCO USA Chief Sales Officer Josh Halpern let it be known that the company will introduce new line extensions, brands and segments in 2019. FFW is part of the plan: this week, FFW and FIFCO USA announced “a strategic marketing and distribution agreement.”