Wine Spectator: Beam's Skinnygirl Brand Enters Wine Market

From Wine Spectator:

One of the biggest drinks industry success stories in 2011 expands to wine next month. Skinnygirl will introduce three low-calorie California wines priced at $15 each: a red blend made primarily with Syrah, a white blend made primarily from Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio, and a rosé blend featuring Grenache and Syrah. Each of the 2011 vintage wines will check in at 12 percent alcohol and 100 calories per 5-ounce serving.

The Skinnygirl brand is the brainchild of entrepreneur Bethenny Frankel, who parlayed her fame as one of the original Real Housewives of New York into multiple reality spin-off series on Bravo, three books and a career focused on healthy living. Skinnygirl became one of the fastest-growing brands in the spirits industry on the strength of its flagship low-calorie ready-to-drink margarita, introduced in 2009.

The Skinnygirl margarita hit 90,000 cases sold in 2010, according to Impact Databank, leading to Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc.'s purchase of the brand in March 2011. (The sale price was not disclosed.) Last year, sales of the margarita, sangria and white cranberry cosmo jumped to 595,000 cases. Frankel, who remains the face of the brand following the sale, was influential in determining the final blends and flavor profiles of the new line of wines.

"I wanted [Skinnygirl] to taste approachable, not too dry and not too sweet, a very drinkable blend," Frankel told Wine Spectator. "I'm not a wine snob—I've found great wines at Trader Joe's. I didn't want this brand to try to be something it's not."


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