Trader Joe's markets just announced that Charles Shaw wines are celebrating their 10th anniversary. According to TJ's, over 600 million bottles of two Buck Chuck have been sold. As many of you know here in California the wine sells for $1.99 per bottle plus tax of course. In some states it's more approaching four dollars a bottle in the most heavily taxed areas. There are several varieties of two Buck Chuck both red and white and even the pink – – a white Zinfandel. Bronco winery, who makes the wine, buys grapes from all over even from the most expensive wine producers in the state of California.
The wine is cheap but does not taste cheap. It is the scourge of the elite wine growers and winemakers who constantly deride its popularity and its quality. The brand identity that has been built by both trader Joe's and Charles Shaw is undeniable. Whole fantasies surrounding the name appeared shortly after the wine did. Trader Joe's did its best to fan the flames and remain silent about the name and its origins – – a wise move. The proof in the pudding for two Buck Chuck was his incredible popularity.
Say what you will about the wine and its quality – – it has become part of our culture whether we drink it or not. It has become iconic, a staple at many parties, especially when poured into a decanter to hide the label and the wine itself. This rings me to the point of this post. Building brand identity sometimes involves luck, market position, and even creating a need where one did not appear to exist beforehand. While there have been very negative reviews of the product, it seems that none of these reviews have deterred avid inexpensive wine buyers from flocking to stores to pick up cases of two Buck Chuck.
Perhaps there is a moral here for the story for any. Brand. make a product,then sell that product for under market pricing, and reap the benefits. And keep you customers happy at the same time!
Here is an economist's view of 2BC from 2009.
Yes I agree, the owners of the Trader Joe's are one of the richest families in Germany, my comments re: possible bankruptcy was only to their Trader Joe’s stores after they introduced the two Buck Chuck wine.
The introduction of the two Buck Chuck wine changed the shopping dynamics of customer habits at Traders Joe’s.
The Trader Joe's made number of critical sales/marketing and promotional changes to address the unexpected issues.
it would be interesting to see what percentage of total sales two Buck Chuck accounts for in the overall. P and L for TJs. From time to time The Pacific Grove California Trader Joe's location which is adjacent to the Pebble Beach the owners will stop by to shake hands with the staff. They do this while playing at the Pebble Beach golf links. If I had the nerve I would ask them the question about the impact of two Buck Chuck on their bottom line. The study of critical mistakes would make a great Harvard business school case study. Thank you.
I enjoy it a lot. It is a staple that I take a case with me when I leave town. When I am on the road each week, I don't have to search for expensive, tired wine. Likewise, a lot of places I travel to are "Dry Counties", or do not sell wine on Sunday's. It is great to stay at my RI's and just put my white wine in the refrigerator.
The TJ's in the Mid-west are really busy and seem to have a very loyal shopping base.