December 15, 2106
The Rise and Fall of Wine Coolers
Remember the eighties? Wine coolers were the rage!
The first one to appear on the scene was California Cooler followed by Seagrams and Bartles & Jaymes. Who could forget the many commercials of Frank and Ed sitting on their front porch and the ''thank you for your support'' tag line?
The rise of wine coolers, essentially a mix of cheap white wine, fruit juices, soda and sugar, was incredible, and sales reached hundreds of millions of cases.
What killed the wine cooler business was not so much a change in consumers' taste buds, but a change in taxation: Congress quintupled the wine excise tax from $0.17/gallon to $1.07/gallon in January 1991, and that made the blending of wines unprofitable. Not the first business killed by the wise men in Washington!
Now, if you want to hark back to the eighties, well, you make your own wine coolers. Chances are that they taste much better than the mass marketed cheap wine stuff did anyway, and your chances of NOT getting a headache are much better.