Just as spring arrives in Spain with the advertising of El Corte Inglés, for 30 years the doors of Christmas have been opened with the bubbles of Freixenet advertising. This year they will also open them, but without the expectation they have always created: who will act? Who will direct? This year will be different. f reixenet announced that the reaction of the largest cava producer was in the face of a crisis year with austerity measures and the repetition of last year’s announcement. At the end of the day, they say, it’s the highest-scoring campaign in our entire history. Why not repeat? Freixenet’s bet is risky, although news of the non-announcement has generated more pages of information than before. But is it just responding to a temporary situation or is there something else behind it?
The truth is that the company, chaired by Josep Lluís Bonet, makes a series of decisions that lead to this major strategic changes and who intend not only to consolidate the company as the world leader in the cava market, but also to position itself at the forefront of the still wine market.
THE LEVEL OF RESERVES
In February 2007, the Ministry of Agriculture changed the regulations of the designation “Cava”, including the indication “Reserva” for cavas whose production process was not less than 15 months and a large reserve with not less than 30 months. Until then the Most Cava was made with the legal minimum of 9 months. The companies then had to make a decision that was very strategic in the case of Freixenet, which mainly produced at 9 months, since it would undoubtedly lead to a significant price fluctuation of the product.
“Either you’ve become something normal or you’ve climbed the ladder to a reserve product. We knew that we wanted to be quality leaders, so we didn’t hesitate to make this strategic choice and put all the Freixenet brands at the top with at least 15 months in the production process,” recalls Josep Lluís Bonet. With this move, Freixenet wanted be clearly separated from the white markings (representing around 30% of the market) and others who would continue to produce a cheap product at around 3 euros.
“Our decision is not to mass produce, but to make a good product at an affordable price. Carta Nevada’s vocation, for example, is to be the Spanish middle-class cava. It used to be and it is now, and that means increasing the range,” continues Bonet.
At the time of the decision, the price of the bottles had risen by one euro, despite the fall in consumption at the time, and in almost three years from 3 euros to almost 6 euros. Although sales fell by about 10%, about 3 million bottles, in the first year, the figure was offset by overseas sales and the price increase itself. “We’re not worried about this repositioning because it will be beneficial; Our customer knows that for a little more he can consume the best cava in his segment,” argues Bonet.