On my podcast, The Irresistible Factor, I recently chatted with Mark Warren, the president and co-founder of Fitvine Wines, about how he and his business partner, Tom Beaton, introduced Fitvines in 2015. Both former athletes and crossfit members, they identified a whitespace in the wine industry and were determined to bring healthy, delicious and affordable wine to the market.
Here are some of the most interesting bits I learned about the brand from our interview. Learn all about the growing success of Fitvine Wines here and how they crush grapes so others can crush life.
A determination to fill a void in the market. Mark and Tom, were health conscious individuals, who began to notice a shift in people’s consumption and their desire to move away from high sugar. They knew that people wanted to find a balance in their lives without giving up alcohol altogether and realized that all the lighter alcoholic options were focused on beer and spirits. With an affinity for wine and a first hand knowledge that additives and sulfites could negatively impact your body, this set them on a journey to create a great tasting wine that was low in sugar and carbs. They began their partnership with a winemaker in Lodi California, using a natural process called Old World Wine, converting the yeast into alcohol which takes out the sugar. And that’s how Fitvine, the fastest growing wine in America was born.
A grassroots approach from the very beginning. They introduced themselves on e-commerce and social media in 2015. “Literally with wine on our shoulders, Tom and I would go anywhere, we could pour wine and share our product. Crossfit gyms, yoga studios , mud runs. That was our initial market strategy.” That’s when they realized a lot of people were more aspirational and may not be yogi’s or cyclists or but want to make better choices while still enjoying wine. And that’s what inspired them to expand their consumer base and go into retail. To this day, they’ve never stopped listening to the wants and needs of the consumer.
Their consumers got them into retail. Not having a background in alcohol and all of the layers of complexity in the industry allowed them to take a different approach to the brand. Their focus was always on the consumer and what they wanted and needed. Essentially their consumers became their sales force. and helped push to have Fitvine to be sold at their local stores. And what came next is the stuff fairy tales are made of. Whole Foods called them in 2016 and wanted to distribute their wine. Its so magical, it’s worth repeating: Whole Foods called them. They launched retail in January of 2017 in six states and ended the year in 42 states.
Their approach on staying relevant and continuing to grow. Although Fitvine is the fastest growing wine brand in the United States, they are small compared to other major players and were self-funded until 2018. That’s when Tom & Mark decided they needed to look outside for investment in order to scale. This partnership allowed them to build out our sales team and build a state of the art, and one of the most technologically advanced bottle lines in all of California.
By the middle of 2021 Fitvine will be in over 25,000 retail locations. With hopes to to grow into a top 10 potentially top five wine brand in the US.
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