WHILE YOU WAIT….INNOVATE
For those who offer varietal wines as part of their business, from casual dining chains to the mom and pop restaurant, from concessionaires who manage stadiums and arenas, for food and beverage managers overseeing operations at country clubs, to those in the cruise line and casino industry, right now while we live in these unprecedented times is when everyone is looking to streamline, to look for ways to mitigate risk, to make procedural blueprints more efficient, to seek new innovative ideas in order to bring more to the bottom line.
I am not a wine aficionado by any means. I am an advisor to a venture capital fund and investor. I seek companies that have identified a problem and bring a viable solution. When I was first introduced to the concept of varietal wines in a Polykeg I understood where the benefits were and the value add that this new innovation could bring to all of the verticals I mentioned above. But I also realized that when all was said and done, that the product itself that was being offered to the customers had to be of good quality or all of the ancillary benefits would just not matter.
So during the early stages of my due diligence I shared not only the general concept with the following individuals, but also had them do a complete tasting of each varietal. The first gentleman I brought it to was RJ Zinner, food and beverage director for Ibis Country Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, one of the top country clubs in the United States. RJ also happens to be a wine Sommelier.
After the tasting he commented that he would be comfortable serving these wines to anyone and from there he immediately saw all the benefits to this new delivery system.
He mentioned that prior to the pandemic, Ibis was scheduled to have nearly one thousand events during the first six months of 2020. The benefits to having the varietal wines offered through a keg and tab system far outweighed those of serving from the traditional “glass by the bottle” method.
The second individual I presented the wine to was Chef K, who has been with the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando since 1995 and held positions previously with Carnival Cruise Lines and Trump Taj Mahal Casino.
Currently Centerpiece is the contracted concessionaire for the convention center. He shared an equal testimonial as to the quality of the wines and immediately began to rattle off the benefits to having the varietal wines offered via the keg versus the bottle.
He highlighted sustainability, efficiency, waste not only tied to having half bottles of wine after events where there were multiple bar kiosks set up, but then the true trash factor.
He also mentioned from a standpoint of risk assessment that with the keg you have no broken bottles, nor do you have servers breaking the bottles at the neck when uncorking them, and even stated the number of employees that they hire for events who will cut their hands opening and closing screw top bottles.
He said that for convention centers, stadiums and arenas where they are now setting up the free standing kiosks in the concourses, casinos and cruise lines, he thought this was a “no-brainer”.
So after that part of my due diligence I focused on the competition in the keg wine space and found that while there are a couple companies that offer wine via the keg, all those competitors use a steel keg versus the Polykeg.
Below are some of the benefits of the Polykeg versus the steel keg:
- FDA approved “food grade” PET shell and liner preserves the original taste of the wine.
- The Polykegs are actually filled at the vineyards where the wines are produced thus giving them the freshest quality standards.
Shelf life of two years untapped, tapped still wine shelf life is six months, tapped
- Sparkling wine shelf life is two months
- Once empty the keg is 100% recyclable OR it may be re-purposed for agricultural or cleaning applications
- One 19.5 liter keg is the equivalent of 2.25 cases of either 750 ml or 1.5 L bottles
- Steel keg wines use gas blends in constant
- Contact with the wine to propel it from the keg thereby changing wine’s taste over time
- PolyKegs use the same connection as all domestic draft beers (US Sankey D) and are compatible with all draft box systems
The current varietals that are offered through the Polykegs are:
- Italian (Stucco)
- Cabernet Sauvignon blend,
- Chardonnay, Merlot,
- Pinot Grigio
- Prosecco Spanish (LaTue)
The final part of the due diligence was the numbers. Did the costs work out for everyone involved in the three tier system that is implemented in the United States? Sure enough it does.
So while most operations are shut down due to the pandemic the time is right to inquire about the benefits of what should be the newest innovation in the varietal wine by the glass delivery system, quality wines via a Polykeg versus bottles.
About VS Importing
VSI is an importer of quality Spanish and Italian wines delivered in a Polykeg, an FDA PET approved recyclable keg that is filled right at the winery.
Not only does this innovative method reduce the carbon footprint between the winery to the consumer, but the sustainability and sanitary benefits prove valuable in the changes that are being made globally after the recent pandemic.