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Skinny Champagne: Low Calorie Bubbly

L'Oréal Blackett meets the entrepreneur who risked it all to find champagne with all the taste yet less of the sugar at The Circle 360, Trafford Centre.

Written by . Published on April 1st 2014.


Skinny Champagne: Low Calorie Bubbly
 

WHETHER she’d like to admit it or not, Skinny Champagne proprietor, Amanda Thomson, is a brave woman.

At the very least, it takes gumption to pack in your job as an established BBC Broadcaster (including Manchester’s animation studio, Cosgrove Hall), pack up your belongings, your family and relocate to France to study wine – all on a wing and a prayer and a credit card.

"I knew I needed a hook and that came with Skinny Champagne. It was a light bulb moment. The fine wine crowd were unsure. They thought skinny sounded a bit negative but I had to stick to my guns."

Amanda ThomsonAmanda ThomsonIt was a risky move but Thomson was prepared to make her ‘pipe dream’ into a tasty, bubbly reality. Her studies would lead her to introduce a ‘younger and modern’ concept of champagne to the traditional fine wine world, where winemakers and vintners have been understanding tannins and crushing grapes between their toes from a young age.

 “I’ve always romanticised about working with champagne ever since I began working in the arts world. Yet hadn’t thought it was something tangible. I’d been a broadcaster all my career. I knew if I was going to do this I had to know my stuff. I did a lot of research on studying wine and I became obsessed with finding the right course and the right teachers and how it could work. Once I’d done that we uprooted,” said Thomson. 

Thomson’s idea for a Skinny Champagne, 70 calories per flute, arrived by chance after she decided to make ‘unpopular’ and ‘unloved’ dry champagne her target.

Grasping an opportunity to work with winemaker Alexandre Penet she proposed to rebrand his sucre free bottles of champagne into Skinny Champagne. 

"It took some convincing," laughed Amanda. 

Skinny Champ By Charlie Gray Mar 14Thomson and Scott: Skinny Champagne

"How does a Brit with broken French, on a wine course come to be taken seriously?" I asked.

“Quite early I worked out I was very interested in dry champagne and not many people were. Most of the houses that make it never really gave it any attention.

"I knew I needed a hook and that came with Skinny Champagne. It was a light bulb moment. The fine wine crowd were unsure. They thought skinny sounded a bit negative but I had to stick to my guns."

"Why were they hesitant initially?" I asked.

"They were confused," explained Amanda. "So I pushed and said try it first, as it’s arguably the best dry champagne out there. They’d challenge me, as of course I’d think it the best. I’d respond, ‘well I have spent a year of my life finding it.’ On the flipside the younger and female crowd got it straight away."

Shoetopiaevent.JpgBubbly: Bloggers In The Frow and Ro's Tinted at The Circle 360, Trafford Cente

Fast forward a year later and I first meet Thomson on the verge of launching Skinny Champagne in the Trafford Centre, Manchester, Circle 360 champagne bar. She distributes also in Nobu London and responses have been well received. We sit amongst a group of fashion bloggers, who as expected loved the concept and polished off glasses guilt free.

Img_0890Blogger In The Frow with Skinny Champagne. Credit: Rostinted.com

Amanda’s eagerness and willingness for her champagne to be enjoyed is evident and she pressed to know if I liked it. There was also a great deal of confidence as she reiterates the mastermind behind it all is Penet, who provides two hundred euro bottles to Michelin star restaurants.



She gushed: “Alexandre Penet is a detailed man. He had, like most of them do, champagne in his life historically – it was his family’s business. He took some time out before taking over the vineyard and went to study engineering and I think it’s relevant because of the precision and detail.  He went to the family vineyard and was applying these principles to his champagne.”

My verdict? While I'm by no means a purveryor of taste for bubbly, Skinny Champagne is crisp and not what you’d expect from a drink that's unsweetened. It still tastes like a proper champagne should. 

Champers70 calories per glass. Credit: rostinted.com

Skinny Champagne contains around 20% less calories than the average bubbly. At £249 per case, while it’s not expensive by fine wine or poppin’ bottles’ rapper standards, it isn’t cheap.  

And Thomson would be the first to admit this.

“We had to market to the younger people and we don’t necessarily mean age. It’s all very well with the fine wine crowd, the people that go to smart restaurants and don’t think to pay £200 on a bottle. I was more interested in people like me and my friends. Those willing to pay a lot more, but only drank Moét because it was the only brand they knew.”

Considering sugar has become the latest food to be demonised, the Skinny Champagne launch seems to have fallen at the right time. 

It fits the calorie-counting drinkers who are often swayed by ‘lighter’, ‘sugar free’ diet friendly options. It’s good marketing, and Amanda distributes through word of mouth, events and pop-ups, rather than through traditional wine promotion.

"I had to respect how it all works in France and make friends there, but I knew during my studies that I had to find my thing. Otherwise it would have been a waste of time and money and I wasn’t prepared for it not to work.”

Thomson and Scott: Skinny Champagne is available to buy on the website or at The Circle 360 champagne bar, Trafford Centre.

Photo credit from launch: www.rostinted.com 

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AVOApril 1st 2014.

I'm not sure what's so special about this skinny champagne? Any brut champagne has similar calories per glass anyway.

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