Melbourne-based Single Serve Packaging Pty. Ltd. has already sold 350,000 Lupé Wines-branded PET single-use wine glasses to Australian, Japanese and Singaporean customers since January 2012.
But 26-year-old entrepreneur Georgia Beattie, who launched the company in November 2011, has her sights set on China. She plans to create a relationship with a Chinese winemaker and start producing the glasses there in the next 12-24 months.
“China is our No. 1 [priority], but we need to warm up first,” she said.
Beattie had the idea of a single-serve plastic wine glass while attending a 2009 music festival. She witnessed the limitations of wine packaging when a bar manager could not serve wine because “it was too hard at outdoor events.”
Shortly after her epiphany, Beattie saw a BBC television show in which British entrepreneur James Nash pitched the same idea. She flew to London a week later to meet Nash, who is now director of Surrey-based Wine Innovations Ltd. He had already developed single-serve PET glasses in the United Kingdom under the brands Italian Job and Le Froglet.
Beattie bought the rights to manufacture, package and distribute the glasses in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region.
“It allowed me to tap into what [Nash] had spent seven years developing. He already had the molds and the technology,” she said.
“We purchased a machine from Wine Innovations. They shipped it and installed it in our premises in Melbourne.”
Beattie used the industry connections of her wine-retailer father, Brendon Beattie, to source the wine.
“We have chosen our favorites and the most appropriate wines to put in single-serves. We wanted to introduce the packaging with outstanding wines to prove the concept is not just a gimmick.”
Lupé Wines' varieties are sauvignon blanc, rosé, chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. Lupé Wines are sold at retail stores, hotel minibars, “high-end” fast-food outlets, catering companies, cinemas, festivals and outdoor events. “Our main customers are outdoor events and festivals across Australia, where they can't serve wine in glass due to liquor licensing regulations,” Beattie said.
The glasses are manufactured and filled at Single Serve's purpose-built factory. “Our factory is split in the middle, with injection molding on one side, and the filling line and warehouse on the other. This means we produce as required and watch quality control closely. We can also tailor glasses' colors or sizes as required.”
Beattie said Single Serve started exporting Lupé Wines to Japan and Singapore in late 2011, before distributing in Australia. “Japanese consumers were more open to new packaging innovations and happy to give the concept a go,” she said.
Beattie is now in talks with the Singapore Grand Prix organizers.
Beattie said the patented single-serve glasses will launch in the U.S. and South America soon under a different brand. Nash has sold the patented technology to other buyers.
Phase one of Single Serve's strategy was introducing the single-serve concept to the Australian and Asian markets. Beattie said phase two involves packaging well-established wine brands in the PET glasses. “We are currently doing a packaging run for Rosemount Wines. In July, we filled for Wingara's Deakin Estate, which was mostly sold in Singapore.”
Single Serve's annual sales are about A$1 million (US$1.06 million).