Ernest Gallo, it is said, refused ever to countenance purchasing a brand from another company. While he was still alive, Gallo famously invested many millions in raising the image of the family wine company, to the extent of physically remodelling the Sonoma vineyard in which it would produce a limited edition Gallo Reserve wine.
A few years later, Gallo changed tack and bought several high profile wineries including Louis Martini, William Hill and Barefoot… now one of the fastest growing brands in the world.
Sometimes, it seems, there are limits to what one can achieve under one’s own name.
Which leads me to the story of Tesco’s move (as a minority shareholder) into the coffee shop market in the shape of a new chain called Harris+Hoole. The first outlet has already opened in Amersham and there are plans to launch 10-15 more. It will presumably not be long before packs of Harris+Hoole arabica appear on Tesco’s shelves.
Both pictures – of the first outlet in Amersham – are from a good piece in Retail Week
Expanding beyond its traditional brand name is part of a new trend for the chain which controls some 30% of the UK grocery market. It quietly moved into garden centres with the 2008 acquisition of Dobbies, and in 2011 it bought a video streaming business called Blinkbox and this year a music streaming counterpart called We7. In the US, Tesco’s less than thriving grocery business is called Fresh & Easy
So, who’ll bet against Tesco following a similar course in the wine world and running a more premium brand alongside its current off- and online wine offerings? The chain once reportedly came quite close to acquiring Oddbins in its glory days, though I’m not sure if anyone who was in Cheshunt in those days is still there now…