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Black Tower launches low alcohol wine

Published:  25 May, 2011

The latest firm to catch the low alcohol bug is Reh Kendermann ? it is launching a 5.5% abv wine called B by Black Tower.

The new Black Tower sub-brand B, available in white and rosé, is made by mixing vacuum distilled wine with regular wine. Reh Kendermann's joint managing director Nik Shritz told Harpers: "There seems to be the demand for it, and we are always looking to produce brands which consumers are looking for." Launched at LIWF, it is seeking UK distribution.

Shritz said that since Reh Kendermann's sister company specialises in de-alcoholising wines, it is "perfectly positioned" to offer lower alcohol wine.

The first UK shipment of Black Tower Pink Bubbly arrived with Morrison's last week, and Reh Kendermann has just signed an agreement with South African winery Waka Waka to bottle and distribute its wines worldwide. It has already started selling the wines in Germany, and Shritz said the UK is "still to come".

The 187ml market is proving strong for the company, both WeightWatchers and Black Tower are available in this size. For outdoor events, the 187ml PET bottle is also selling well. "We sold 80,000 187ml PET bottles at one event at Hyde Park last summer," said Shritz.

But Schritz admitted the UK market still has its difficulties, especially considering, "Germany's last vintage was the worst in 25 years." He said this made competing in the UK market very difficult, more so given the excise duty increase. "The prices for most of the wines has gone up, but even so we have swallowed most of the cost increases."

He said its WeightWatchers brand, which sells 100,000 cases per annum, has "enormous loyalty in the UK" and potential to grow. He added that in the last 15 years, UK off-trade sales of Black Tower have quadrupled, growing to 500,000 cases per year.