Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:21 pm
Milwaukee wine subscription startup Bright Cellars is branching out. It now produces wines, as well.
The company announced Tuesday it has launched its own wine label, Folk & Fable, tailored to the tastes of its customers. Bright Cellars polls customers on which wines they like from the monthly wine subscription service in order to make personalized recommendations. The company has used that data to create its new wines, said Bright Cellars co-founder and chief executive officer Richard Yau.
“After you try the wines, we ask our members to give it a star rating and this wine has consistently rated very highly within Bright Cellars,” Yau said. “This is our opportunity to launch something where we know people are going to really love it.”
Folk & Fable wines are produced by an unnamed winery in California, with California grapes aged for three months in bourbon whiskey barrels. Yau declined to disclose the producer.
“Classic winemaking starts with the vineyard and the winemaker and it’s not consumer-focused,” he said. “So we said, ‘Let’s work backwards.’”
The wine label sells a 2015 red blend, a 2016 red blend and a 2015 solstice seasonal red blend at more than 100 stores in Wisconsin and Illinois via Madison-based distributor General Beverage Sales Co. Bright Cellars has been testing the label with its customers for about two years, and piloted it at limited retailers for about 10 months before this wider public launch, Yau said. It is now also sold online and at bars and restaurants in the area, including Rumpus Room, Joey Gerard’s, Sugar Maple and Honey Pie.
“We at General Beverage are excited to include Bright Cellars as one of our valued suppliers,” said Dan Kopina, senior vice president of sales and marketing at general beverage. “Bright Cellars is an innovative and creative company exhibiting the qualities we are looking for today and into the future.”
Bright Cellars, which now has 49 employees, plans to continue adding new wines to its Folk & Fable line, and new bars to its distribution list. So far, it has not had to expand its team to accommodate the new product, Yau said. The company in March closed on an $8.5 million Series A round of funding from investors to fuel its growth.