Canned wine has had a refresh. The UK market alone is now already worth over £3.5m and has grown 125 per cent over the last two summers. Now the sector has produced the first UK winemaker to achieve B Corp status.
The Uncommon has been certified by B Lab, the not-for-profit behind the B Corp movement which asks whether companies are working for the “benefit all people, communities, and the planet”. Those certified must meet rigorous social and environmental standards and achieve goals beyond shareholder profit. The Uncommon joins a community of 4,000 businesses globally, including Patagonia, The Body Shop and organic food pioneers Abel & Cole.
“Our ultimate ambition is to be the most sustainable wine brand in Europe,” says Henry Connell, co-Founder of The Uncommon. “We wholeheartedly believe that our format and small footprint has a part to play in the future of the wine industry.”
Easily chillable, premium quality young wine in infinitely recyclable aluminium cans – some with corn starch labels – have come of age. They are now things that we will choose to sip at home, rather than be forced to drink on trains and at festivals.
After doubling production for the fourth year running in 2021, the Uncommon is also set to launch two new products this spring, joining their four strong range of English sparkling wines and spritzers.
The Uncommon uses grapes grown and hand-harvested within fifty miles of its Peckham HQ from vineyards in Surrey, Kent and Hampshire. Connell and his co-founder Alex Thraves gave up their corporate jobs to realise their dream, making their first 150,000 cans after buying 65 tonnes of grapes.
They are not alone in trying to revolutionise the industry. Canning quality South African Cape wine is Cambridge’s Copper Crew, named after its two ginger-haired founders and school friends Oli Purnell and Theo Gough. While studying at Harvard, Purnell discovered that canned wine was being served in the French Laundry, a Michelin 3 star restaurant in San Francisco. “When I discovered that the States didn’t just have wine in cans but that there were some really fantastic ones, that’s when I got excited,” he says.
Research by wine sellers Laithwaites suggests that Brits chuck away around two glasses of wine a week – the yearly equivalent of 17.3 bottles per household or 624 million bottles in total. With canned wine, there’s no excuse.