You remember the Always Sunny where they poured wine into cans? It seemed like a classic move for the gang — it got them drunk, was gleefully dishonest, and stained the hell out of their teeth. Well, some business exec saw that and thought, “Viola! Get me a checkbook!”
At least that’s how I imagined the scene playing out when I heard that wine in a can was about to be a real thing. And yet somehow, in the years since the news broke, canned wine has grown from a clever marketing ploy to a $16.4 million/year industry. Even mainstream brands like FlipFlop have gotten in on the action. The rise of canned wine could be attributed to its portability: it’s easy to smuggle into summer music festivals and outdoor movies; or its eco-friendly qualities: aluminum is easy to recycle and the production of cans cuts down on costs; or the simple fact that people like alcohol and delivering it to them in new, convenient ways is always going to be a win. In truth, it’s probably a mix of the three.
At the root of this trend is a push to market wine in a more millennial-focused way. Because millennials don’t want to f*ck with corks.
“One of the challenges of the wine industry is all the knowledge people think they need to make a purchase,” Union Wine Co. Owner and Winemaker Ryan Harms told Uproxx. “The craft beer movement took a lot from wine packaging as it came of age, and we think we can shift some of our focus back to something that has more fun, rooted in craft but less stuffy.”
The Oregon-based winery’s Underwood cans were first launched as a promo item at Feast: Portland in 2013. Harms has since coined the term “beerification” to mark the wine industry’s push to be stylish without being snobby. “Beerification” sounds like something Charlie would say in his marketing pitch to make can wine profitable, but we’ll let it slide.