• Sandeman to excite premium on-trade with new look aged Tawnies

    If Port house Sandeman gets its way then we will all soon be sipping chilled aged tawny Port straight from the fridge, or choosing which type of cocktail we like it served in. It is re-launching, re-designing and re-presenting its own aged tawny Port range with a look that deliberately looks to associate itself with the growth in premium spirits.

    If Port house Sandeman gets its way then we will all soon be sipping chilled aged tawny Port straight from the fridge, or choosing which type of cocktail we like it served in. It is re-launching, re-designing and re-presenting its own aged tawny Port range with a look that deliberately looks to associate itself with the growth in premium spirits.

    mm By November 9, 2016

    Sandeman turns to design gurus, Stranger & Stranger, to help re-create its aged tawny Ports for the modern, premium spirit-loving consumer.

    The Don: still very much part of the new look for Sandeman
    The Don: still very much part of the new look for Sandeman

    On-trade buyers and bars and restaurants have a great opportunity to use aged tawny Ports as a way of offering something  different, yet premium and discerning to their customers this festive period.

    Sandeman hopes its relaunched, revised, repackaged and redesigned aged tawny Ports range will encourage more premium on-trade outlets to serve them chilled, as aperitifs or in a range of specially devised cocktails.

    The Port house has long had a reputation for having some of the best quality and best aged tawny Ports on the market. A range that it has meticulously built up since it first started ageing Ports in the 1850s, and which remains at the core of its reserves today.

    It is now looking to capitalise on the fact it claims its aged tawny Ports have received more awards than any other Port house by including a new “Famously Awarded” wax seal stamp of approval on the new look range, which includes 10, 20, 30 and 40 year old tawnies. A range it breaks down as the 10 year old having received 42 awards in its time, 50 for its 20 year old, 39 for the 30 year old and another 50 for its 40 year old aged tawny.

    It has worked with award-winning design agency, Stranger and Stranger, to create a new clear glass bottle that has all the design queues of a premium or luxury spirit than a traditional Port. By using clear glass it hopes the aged tawny will stand out on the back bar. Its deep red colour, that lightens for the older more golden coloured aged tawnies, looks more like a bourbon than what customers might normally associate coming from the Port category.  The new labels also soften and lighten in colour for the older aged tawnies. 

    Back to the future 

    The new look Sandeman aged tawny Port range designed by Stranger & Stranger
    The new look Sandeman aged tawny Port range designed by Stranger & Stranger

    Rupert Lovie, marketing manager for Sogrape UK, the brand owners of Sandeman, told The Buyer that the Stranger & Stranger team spent time looking at the archives and records of Sandeman both in the Douro and in Porto to help re-capture the heritage and tradition of the brand, using some of the original fonts, whilst giving it a modern, luxury presentation. But ensuring Sandeman’s iconic The Don cloaked and hatted figure remained the centre piece of the design.

    He described the new look range as a “disruptive move for traditional Port” and the bottles are certainly a departure from anything else in the Port category.

    “We want to make a statement for the aged tawny Port category,” he said.

    Aged tawnies are already making a statement of their own, showing 30% growth in exports to the UK over the last year, compared to a 1% decline for Port overall, said Lovie. Hence the importance and focus Sandeman is putting on this new look range. 

    For the 20, 30 and 40 year old bottles it is also using the vinolok glass bottle closure common amongst premium spirits. In a move that deliberately positions these aged tawnies to sit alongside premium spirits both on the back bar but also, hopefully, in the minds of drinkers.    

    The glass closure works well, he aded, with aged tawnies, in that they have a longer shelf life of six to eight weeks, than a traditional Port.

    Attracting premium spirits drinkers

    “There is a definite cross over between premium spirits and our target consumer, which is a younger more engaged drinker,” said Lovie.

    Younger consumers who have also helped drive the resurgence and interest in cocktails across the premium bar sector. An area Lovie is very hopeful Sandeman, and its aged tawny Ports, can really make a difference with a number of initiatives planned next year around educating and promoting aged tawny Ports to the premium on-trade as being ideal for modern cocktails.

    It will also be looking to work with the trade in promoting the different serving occasions there can be for aged tawnies. “Like drinking them, chilled, straight out of the fridge,” said Lovie. “We want to show off its versatility.”

    It is an approach it has already started in Porto itself with its own pop up bar and a container-style bar outside its visitor centre and storage facilities in Porto where visitors and locals can try Port-based cocktails.

    Premium appeal

    The 40 year old carries a slightly lighter label to reflect the lighter coloured tawny aged port
    The 40 year old carries a slightly lighter label to reflect the lighter coloured tawny aged port

    Lovie said the new range would be aimed specifically at the premium on-trade and independent merchant sector. Very much in keeping with Sandeman’s overall approach to the UK market where it has a close to 50/50 split between on and off-trades. Far more than its competitors which are more dependent on the off-trade and more in keeping with the 90% plus share the off-trade now has with Port overall. Lovie said its strong on-trade distribution has been helped enormously by its close relationship with Matthew Clark. “We will be looking to leverage that,” he added. 

    The newly designed and relaunched aged tawny Port range is part of a complete rebranding exercise for Sandeman Ports which will see the Stranger & Srtranger-inspired look introduced to its other ranges throughout 2017. Starting with its Reserve Ruby by the early summer, then its LBVs  and vintage Ports throughout the rest of the year. 

    The recommended retail prices for the range are: £20 for the 10 year old, around £38 for the 20 year old, £60 for the 30 year old and around £120 for the 40 year old. 

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