On the occasion of Henkell Freixenet's annual press conference, we exclusively asked Dr. Andreas Brokemper about his view of the future of the wine trade:
What are your expectations for the future?
Brokemper: We are optimistic. There are still imponderables, but it is foreseeable that the vaccination against the Corona virus will now proceed quickly. It is important that people regain a sense of security. People want to travel again, go out and experience something outside their own four walls. In the past few days, outdoor pubs have reopened in England, which has been incredibly well received. People are thirsting to go out again.
Do people consume differently?
Brokemper: Definitely. What we are seeing is an increased category and quality awareness. In Prosecco, we had the highest growth in Spumante. People would rather spend €8 euros on a Prosecco Spumante from Mionetto than buy a Frizzante. In addition, one should not overlook the fact that people put a lot of money aside during the pandemic. This is not being spent quickly now, but people are consciously consuming more quality-oriented products.
In recent years, the sparkling wine category has been expanded by many new product categories. Is there a danger that the sparkling wine category will fray?
Brokemper: Years ago, I would have agreed more. What happened at the beginning? We first had Sprizz. lLater came Hugo and then many other wine-based drinks and cocktails. In addition, we have a strong increase of canned wines in other countries. The idea of convenience plays a big role here. Sales of wine-based beverages are constant tosteadily slightly decreasing. Today, I would say that people pay more attention to established categories and are more quality- conscious. In this respect, people remain loyal to higher-quality categories and brands. We see this clearly in our figures.
Henkell Freixenet is an internationally positioned company. Are they unique or is there anything comparable?
Brokemper: Our structure is certainly exceptional. According to the IWSR, we are the world market leader in sparkling wine. And indeed, we are market leaders with our products in many countries. The closest thing to us are some spirits companies like Diageo, Pernod Ricard or Campari. They also do a good job. But their focus is usually more on spirits, ours on wine and sparkling wine.
What importance do you attach to direct-to-consumer sales in the future?
Brokemper: There is nothing better for a company than to be able to welcome its customers directly to its own premises. We already have many activities in this area at the various locations of our group. We receive over a million visitors a year. ButAnd, of course, they mean more theonline sales in the online area. Indeed, we have activities here as well,. wWe operate online shops, some of whose sales have grown by double digits. This area will continue to exist and gain more importance in the future, just as travel will come back.
The questions were asked by Dr. Hermann Pilz