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Kingsland shakes up business model with wider branded offer

Published:  05 June, 2014

Kingsland is shaking up its business with plans to launch fruit-flavoured wines, make brands more accessible to younger customers and offer deeper consumer insights.

"We realised about 12 to 24 months ago that we had to change our business," said managing director Andy Sagar, speaking to at London Wine Fair yesterday. He admitted that until recently Kingsland had kept its "head below the parapet".

The group has seen a fundamental change in its business in the last few years following its purchase of some of Stratford's Wine assets after it went into administration in September 2012, and its move away from contract packing. It also recently rebranded itself to bring Legacy Wines, its wine agency division, under the Kingsland umbrella. Neil Anderson, who joined as marketing director from Accolade Wines in January 2014, said the group was now aiming to "get people to reappraise Kingsland" and the services it can offer.

It now offers its own brands, retailer exclusives, a portfolio of wines from entry level to super premium, and the ability to pack different formats.

It is looking to offer consumer research, although it plans to "dig deeper" than a lot of the information already around, which Anderson said was "all quite similar".

Sagar said the firm could package around 110 million litres, but that it was currently doing 70 to 75 million litres. "We're continuing to invest in production and expansion. We're running at around 70% capacity."

Sagar added that the group was not going to find that volume of wine in the UK, and so was looking into wine and fruit fusion products, as "we've got the capability to do that". Anderson said the current launches of fruit-flavoured wines still look like "wallpaper" and that Kingsland would look to do something different. With that in mind it's looking at 'Juicy Grapes wines' and how to "dial up the fruit content but in a more sophisticated way".

Sagar added: "We can make very quick decisions; we have to become more proactive than reactive." He hinted that carbonation was also a "growth area" the group is looking at.

Kingsland's quirky New Zealand brand Shorn, is gaining market share and the company has around 50 brands in total. It has also trademarked Live as a brand, which it says will appeal to younger consumers. 

Anderson said: "New Zealand has been one of the fastest growing categories in the past five years and the brands are all quite similar. We're aiming for a slightly younger audience and engaging more with the consumer with Shorn. [Existing] brands aren't really engaging with anyone."

The company is also planning to further expand its sales team - it recently added Guy Young as commercial director, former managing director of HwCg until the agency was purchased by PLB in 2010. 

The firm, which is based in Irlam near Manchester, turns over £161 million annually and employs 300 people.