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Blog: Thumbs Down to the Canned Spirit Wines

Posted: Thursday, 06 June 2013 17:59

Blog: Thumbs Down to the Canned Spirit Wines

June 06 : Florida based low-cost Spirit Airlines is thinking out of the box and has announced pouring wines out of the cans instead of the usual quarter-bottle in what one of our elitist ministers once called the 'cattle class'. Whatever be their reasons, I feel it is a disgusting idea and must give it a Thumbs Down.

Spirit Airlines is thinking outside of the bottle, reads the news report in Seattle Times based on the news item in Associated Press. Starting this week, passengers can purchase white Moscato or strawberry Moscato wine in the 250 mL aluminium cans. As may be expected, the wine is of lower alcoholic content of 6% and presumably quite sweet - and in all likelihood is not even wine, or fruit wine but simply fruit infused wine.

Sourced from the Friends Fun Wine, a Florida company, it will cost $7 a can, roughly the cost of a standard bottle of mid - level Indian wine and a lot more expensive than the 750 mL wine bottle of a low end branded wine selling in a US Supermarket, like Sutter Home which the airline will continue to sell for the same price, but for a fourth (187 mL) of the quantity in a standard bottle.

Supposedly, Spirit likes the cans because they are easier to stack and store on airplanes with limited storage space. They also weigh less and airlines are obsessed with making their planes lighter to save on fuel. Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza says that wine connoisseurs may shudder and there might be some jokes but he is also sure passengers will spend $7 for a can or $12 for two cans to sip some wine.

It is disappointing and unimaginable to think that the US wine drinkers who are considered to be getting more sophisticated and are generally trading up continuously, barring the immediate past recession, would need to stoop to such low levels when the world is generally drinking less but better wines (remember the cliché - life is too short for bad wine).

It is disgusting to hear the CEO of the airline reportedly saying, ‘People adapt. Your choices at 30,000 feet are pretty limited.’ Apart from sounding very cocky, he is implying that the passengers travelling by Spirit Airlines are hobos and vinos who are addicts who need their hourly feed of alcohol. By making the statement, the CEO has also validated my long-time stand that the so called Duty Free shops are a ‘rip-off’ as they have become mini shopping malls with captive customers who make a lot of impulse buys and do last-minute shopping without comparing the prices. Sitting in the aircraft, the choice is much more limited.

Mercifully, there are some passengers who the airline would have to overcome. “My wine consumption stops at a plastic bottle,” reportedly said Ben Granucci, an aviation enthusiast from New York. “I just don’t want that metallic taste in my mouth.”

In fact many airlines choose to carry quaffable varietal wines from Chile, South Africa and Australia in a plastic bottle and they serve by the glass in the economy class. Spirit could surely sell a pre-determined quantity to the customer (the high price they are apparently charging would absorb any possible wastage).

The good thing about the two biggest democracies in the world though, is that they are both free countries with choices. Selling bad food in the airplanes was reason enough for many fast food chains to develop at the airports. Selling really cheap wine would either find some happy American novices or the company will be forced to change its policy. Living in a free country gives me the option to criticize the wine policy of an airline that I hope never to travel in (I will be travelling to the US in a couple of months but with internal flights through United Airlines)

This allows me to give a Thumbs Down to what I feel is a horrendous idea.The idea of serving wine in a can by the Spirti Airlines is in bad Spirit and should be canned. 

Subhash Arora

Tags: Spirit Airlines, Friends Fun Wine



Subhash Arora Says:


That’s OK for young white wines as they remain fresher when screw-capped. Ditto with reds. Jury is still out on whether screw-caps will be ok for age-worthy red wines. It becomes a personal choice with Australians desperately trying to push screw-caps more and more. You would not find any top quality wines with screw-cap outside Australia. Good question, Arun. Thks. Subhash Arora

Posted @ June 13, 2013 10:35


Arun Sood Says:

What about wine in screw on bottles??? Arun Sood, PhD

Posted @ June 13, 2013 10:15


Yegas Naidoo Says:

Reported with your usual erudite insights Subhash and your critical comments are validated. Your clever conclusion of canning the spirits is spot on. I am pleased SAA continues with unfailing commitment to serve, across all Classes, interesting and objectively selected wines on board.

Posted @ June 13, 2013 09:57


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