Why so many retailers suddenly want to sell you sangria

sangriaSangria is cheap to make, offers huge margins, and retailers apparently want it to be the next big thing after rose

Notice more sangria displays in supermarkets and other retailers? Do you seem to be getting more sales promotions from stores like World Market? The reason: Sangria, apparently, is going to be the next big thing after we get tired of rose.

Why sangria, and especially as a follow-up to rose? That’s because sangria is everything a retailer loves: It’s easy to mass produce, it offers huge margins, and it’s sweet. Because, of course, Americans want something sweet.

Note, too, that this not a criticism of sangria. It has a long and honorable history as the solution for old or poorly-made wine – add some sugar, slice some citrus, mix with a little water, and enjoy. I’ve done it many times. And, oddly, enough it was trendy a decade or so ago.

The difference here? Many of the current crop of sangrias are industrial products, manufactured to fill a perceived marketing niche. It’s not like the world suddenly acquired an overwhelming thirst for sangria. Rather, it’s profit. Why else would one of the top specialty grocers in Dallas replace a chunk of a top-notch Spanish wine section with sangria? Because the margins can be double those of wine.

The good news is that some of these wines, thanks to federal law, have an ingredient label. Hence, you can see what has been done to tart up the product – whether high fructose corn syrup has been substituted for sugar, if citric acid has been used instead of fruit juice, if it contains the dreaded “natural and artificial flavors,” or is made with sangria extract.

So drink with care. And hope that this kind of sangria goes the way of moscato, perhaps my favorite next big thing that wasn’t.

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