European Food: Mr. Gloden, you joined Schloss Wachenheim AG in 2000. In 2015 you became a Board Member. What makes the company so special, and how has it changed over the years?
Oliver Gloden: Schloss Wachenheim was founded in 1888 as Deutsche Schaumweinfabrik in Wachenheim and is one of the oldest sparkling wine producers in Germany. Its fundamental know-how, experience and tradition make the company stand out. However, it constantly keeps pace with the times. We observe and analyse market trends, and we adapt flexibly. Lifestyle products such as the LIGHT live range reflect this trend perfectly. The balance of tradition and innovation, of old and new are key features today. Schloss Wachenheim AG still feels itself a family-owned company with a special culture. The company has grown significantly due to several acquisitions. Its portfolio has broadened and changed over time, but the culture with its strong ethical values is still the same. In times of rapid change, Schloss Wachenheim represents consistency.
European Food: What events have been among the biggest game changers for the company?
Oliver Gloden: Schloss Wachenheim’s merger with Sektkellerei Faber in 1996 had a significant impact. Back in the 1980s, Faber was the number one sparkling wine in Germany. For a long time, champagne and sparkling wine had this aura of luxury. Faber was synonymous with good sparkling wines at reasonable prices. All of a sudden, the middle class could indulge in bubbles, too. The company sold more than 50 million bottles of the brand Faber per year. This dynamic development led to fierce competition with brands such as Rotkäppchen, Söhnlein, Deinhard, Kupferberg, MM and Mumm.
European Food: What does the German market look like today, and what is Schloss Wachenheim’s strategy for succeeding in this market?
Oliver Gloden: Today, Rotkäppchen is the number one, followed by Henkell and Schloss Wachenheim. We are facing enormous competition nowadays. For this reason we started offering private labels to retailers such as Rewe, Edeka and discounters. We also acquired selected companies such as Carstens-Haefelin Kellereien and Sektkellerei Nymphenburg and their brands to build up a strong group. Furthermore, the group regularly introduces new products that capture the spirit of the times.
European Food: How would you describe Schloss Wachenheim’s core competences and products?
Oliver Gloden: Well, sparkling and semi-sparkling wines are still our core products. This is where the company’s roots are and where it excels. For this reason, Faber remains our main brand. Another product highlight is LIGHT live, a major beverage in the growing non-alcoholic segment launched in 1990. LIGHT live is the German market leader in this division and is a much-loved alternative to other sparkling wines and non-alcoholic wines. It comes in different fruity flavours such as mango and pomegranate. To promote LIGHT live, we set up an exclusive seven-month campaign across various media channels to focus on our target groups.
European Food: Do you also have something for children in your portfolio?
Oliver Gloden: We do, and it doesn’t contradict our strategy at all. Robby Bubble is a delicious beverage for children’s parties, and kids really love the fruitysparkly character of the brand, which comes in three flavours. It is just the right beverage whenever there is a reason for children to celebrate.
European Food: In the future, what are you going to do to consolidate and strengthen the company’s prominent position?
Oliver Gloden: Decentralization is important. Every subgroup follows its proper strategy. While we focus mainly on food retailers in Germany and France, in Central and Eastern Europe, we also concentrate on specialized retailers and the horeca market. In Poland, we even run our own wine shops. Every part of the group has a specific strategic focus, and this concept works very well. Our aim is to broaden our focus further. We are always looking for opportunities to acquire brands or companies that complement our portfolio. We are always open to new business opportunities – as long as they fit to our philosophy. New products and new markets are clearly on our agenda. Furthermore, we want to focus more on younger consumers. Thanks to our enthusiastic employees, we are sure to achieve those goals.
European Food: Speaking of goals, what motivates you in your daily work?
Oliver Gloden: To be honest: fun! I enjoy being in the company – the family atmosphere, working as a team, the products. It truly motivates me, and I try to pass that on to our staff to make working here worthwhile.