Although it’s only been available in Publix since late July, Eppa is already delivering impressive sales numbers. More than half of Eppa’s Florida business is now generated at Publix. Nielsen data show that Eppa was the top selling sangria at Publix stores in Florida for the four weeks that ended Dec. 8 with a volume of $282,149 and 27,742 bottles. Compared with all still wines at Publix, Eppa ranks 12th in dollar value of sales volumes for wines sold in Florida during the same period, according to Nielsen data.
Publix spokeswoman Brenda Reid would not confirm those numbers, but said that for the year, Eppa ranks within the top 500 wines throughout the company and the top 300 in the Miami area. Publix sells over 5,000 wines.
Eppa’s founders have focused on building distribution in grocery store chains, so the number of restaurants and bars where you’ll find Eppa is limited. But that list includes some high profile locations like SoHo House in Miami Beach and Walt Disney properties in Florida and California. At Disney, Eppa consistently ranks as one of the top two cocktails on the drink menu, said Bradd Levitan, owner of Five Star Wine & Spirits, which serves as a consultant and broker to Eppa
The brand’s core audience is 70 percent female, from single urban professionals to soccer moms between the ages of 25 and 55. Eppa also has a core group of followers among young men in their 20s.
“I think we’ve broken through in the sangria category,” de la Pezuela said. “At least half of the people buying Eppa probably haven’t purchased sangria in bottles before. Eppa is becoming part of the regular rotation for people who drink red blend wines.”
Eppa’s founders believe a better comparison for their sangria would be wines in the $10-$12 price range, like the labels Cupcake and Menage a Trois.
The focus of their success has been about getting consumers to try the product and see the difference first-hand. While Eppa has had no traditional advertising, the founders have invested heavily in a tasting program that has included over 2,000 tastings during the last year.
“They want as many people to taste the product as possible,” Levitan said. “They understand that the pot of gold is down the road and you have to invest in the brand to get it to consumers. I’ve never seen a product take off like this. In my 22 years in the industry, it’s been the most successful brand launch I’ve ever been a part of.”