A Japanese supermarket group is slashing the price of this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau and selling the wine in plastic bottles in a bid to beat the recession.
Nearly 5m bottles of the 2009 vintage will hit the shelves in Japan next Thursday, 19 November, but there are fears that sales in Beaujolais’ biggest export market could fall by as much as 30% this year.
Japanese supermarket group Aeon is aiming to counter the downturn in consumer spending by selling Beaujolais Nouveau in PET bottles, at a knockdown price of JPY980 or US$10.90.
The wine is typically sold in Japan at around JPY2,000-3,000.
Aeon, the owner of Jusco and other retail chains, said it was the first time it had sold Beaujolais Nouveau for less than JPY1,000.
The company added that the PET bottles were almost indistinguishable from glass, and were ‘light, environmentally friendly and low-priced.’
Japan has long had a thirst for the light, easy-drinking style of Beaujolais Nouveau, but sales have plummeted since their peak in 2004, when about 12.5m bottles were sold in the country.
The move by Aeon comes a year after French group Boisset announced that it was shipping all its US-bound Beaujolais Nouveau in PET.
Boisset claimed a 40%-plus cut in shipping weights and a halving of greenhouse gas emissions as a result.
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Written by Richard Woodard