Blue wine is not something you expect to see on the menu or at your local supermarket. But that might change with Gik blue wine, the creation of a Spanish company creating new market space in a highly competitive industry. Gik is now sold in over 25 countries including the US. As of December 2017, the company has sold roughly 400,000 bottles. Taig Mac Carthy, one of the founders of the company, tells us more.
Gik is radically different from all the other wines on the market. It combines red and white grapes with organic pigments to produce a vibrant blue colour that immediately sets it apart from the competition.
Our inspiration was – appropriately enough – blue ocean strategy. We wanted to see if we could open up new space in a highly competitive market by going for differentiation and low cost simultaneously.
None of us had any experience in winemaking. Our team of six consists of two engineers, two business school students, one designer and one DJ. In order to create the wine, we had to partner up with the University of the Basque Country and the food research department of the Basque Government.
Winemaking is a bloody red ocean of competition. Just think about what you see in the supermarket: hundreds of different bottles, all competing on traditional factors such as age, grape, location and – primarily – price. But, up until you’ve paid and opened the bottle, you have no idea what you’re buying.
What’s more, as competition intensified over the years, the demand for wine has stagnated. This has led to global overproduction. In Spain, the problem is so significant that many vineyards are forced to pour their wine away.
So we were definitely crazy to go into this industry. But we figured, if [yellow tail] can do it, so can we.
It was never our intention to make wine for the wine connoisseur. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Our tagline is: ‘We make the wine that connoisseurs don’t want you to drink!’
Rather than go after the regular wine drinkers, we wanted to appeal to a broader and younger public. The ‘gin-tonic generation’ sees their drink as an extension of their personality and beliefs. Today they turn to beer or spirits. Wine is too intimidating and – simply put – boring. But our wine is none of that. It’s different, it’s fun and it’s easy-to-drink. And it’s blue!
We sell our wine at €10 per bottle. While this number might sound straightforward, it was actually set in a strategic manner. The Price Corridor of the Target Mass tool encouraged us not merely to benchmark our offering against other wines.
It also got us to look at products that have different forms but that serve the same function or objective. So we went into supermarkets to compare prices of things like flowers, sushi and chocolate. At the end of the day, we’re not selling a drink. We’re selling a product to enjoy, to share and to cheer.
Remember how we said that some Spanish winemakers are forced to pour their wine away? This turned out to be a huge opportunity for us. These winemakers have the means of production but are lacking demand, so we saw our chance to create a win-win. By putting their underutilized resources to work, we don’t have to invest heavily in machinery or property. And, since we have such low-fixed costs, we are able to scale quickly. So the future looks bright, or should I say blue.