Mike Ditka's Line Of Wines Seeing Sales Boost After Brand Overhaul
Pro Football HOFer Mike Ditka's namesake line of wines has "been a hit since getting a brand overhaul last year, far surpassing the expectations" of Illinois-based seller Terlato Wines Int'l, according to Danny Ecker of CRAIN'S CHICAGO BUSINESS. Terlato Wines President & CEO Bill Terlato said that of the 10,000 cases of newly-labeled Mike Ditka Wines that "were made for their first year on the market beginning in October 2012, about 8,000 sold in the first six months." That figure is up from "about 5,000 cases total that sold over the previous 12 months." Terlato "ditched previous labels showing a cartoon caricature of the coach in favor of ones highlighting his career" and more retailers "put the brand on their shelves." As a result, Terlato is "ramping up Ditka wine production in hopes that the trend will continue, making 16,000 cases this year, which will hit the market" in '16. There are "more than 400 retailers stocking" Ditka wine nationwide, "mainly in Illinois." Price points "range from $14.99 a bottle for 'The Player' line (merlot and pinot grigio) to $49.99 for 'The Icon' (cabernet sauvignon) and 'The Champion' (red wine blend)." Ditka has "been very active on the endorsement front" beyond wine. Not only is Ditka "known for his namesake steakhouses in downtown Chicago and Oak Brook and a line of cigars, he also recently linked up with hot dog staple Vienna Beef to offer 'Ditka Sausages' at various grocery stores and restaurants nationwide" (CHICAGOBUSINESS.com, 12/9).
DA MAN: In Illinois, Joe Aguilar writes Ditka "remains a Chicago icon" and "embraces what he calls an obligation to the fans, even if trips through airports can get interesting." He "understands his image is helped by his popular restaurant and that he remains on TV, doing analysis and commercials." Aguilar: "He's still Da Coach. Funny. Engaging. And embracing his blessed life." Ditka said, "I'm just having fun with it. Probably the best thing is when you stop taking yourself so (darn) serious. And I quit. I don't take myself so serious" (Illinois DAILY HERALD, 12/10).