…realize entrepreneurship is a long road and nothing happens overnight. Building a brand is like having a puzzle that you put together in time. You need lots of patience, energy and a big belief in yourself. If you believe it, you can achieve it.
As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Joe Peleg.
Joe Peleg is an expert in the food and beverage industry worldwide. Before creating Fun Wine, he was part of the Sbarro Empire, owned one of the largest catering businesses, consulted for restaurants, airlines, banquet halls and events venues. Over the past 8 years, Mr. Peleg has devoted himself to disrupting the industry by developing the new ‘Fun Wine’ beverage category and creation of the company’s unique product line — Fun Wine. His innate business ability has since resulted in the company’s impressive global expansion in just a few years.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My pleasure. Thank you for having me! Before creating Fun Wine, I was a part of the Sbarro Empire, owned a large catering business, and consulted for restaurants, airlines, banquet halls, and events venues. I’ve always had a passion for the industry.
The idea for FUN Wine came when I noticed that wine is always served at fancy restaurants and events. When you go to France, and to have lunch, you sit down and wine is served at the table immediately for everyone to drink. I wanted to create a wine that was approachable, something that everyone could enjoy and with mass appeal.
The concept for FUN Wine started in France 8 years ago when we were developing wine to be consumed from cans. Since that point, I devoted myself to disrupting the industry by creating low alcohol, flavor wine, and today, we are one of the leading low-ABV (alternative alcohol) beverages.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
When I started developing FUN WINE, the idea of canned wine was new and misunderstood by industry professionals and consumers. Beyond getting people to enjoy regular wine in cans, I wanted to create a low ABV, flavored wine that made consumers connect with culture, music and art. Starting out in international markets, it was hard to get people to believe in my products. It was not trendy at the time like it is now. After years of meetings with professionals all over the world, we started to get good reactions and eventually the category caught up.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
My education has played a major role in my theory of focusing on the target and never giving up, there will always be bumps in the road but it’s all about how bad you want to succeed.
So, how are things going today? How did grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
I have played a huge role in disrupting the low ABV beverage market. This was the goal and we are on the path to great success. Hard work and determination set forth in creating what consumers want these days and the response speaks for itself.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
With the decrease in beer consumption, I envisioned Fun Wine as a competition to the beer brands, but as time went on I realized that was a mistake. Instead of looking at beer brands as the competition, I realized that we could be a great addition to the beer brands portfolios bringing something new and unique for the consumer looking for alternatives to beer. A win-win for everyone
The lesson for me — Always make mistakes and find your way out of the dark.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Whatever we create we have no one that can compete with us. We were the first brand to come out with cans, we were coined as crazy and the market tried to intimidate us. Here we are years later on the shelves with multiple “Like” brands who didn’t take us seriously. It’s flattering to see other brands copy you — when someone tries to copy you they admire you? Wait until our new innovation of the 330 mL aluminum bottles hits the shelves!
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
To realize entrepreneurship is a long road and nothing happens overnight. Building a brand is like having a puzzle that you put together in time. You need lots of patience, energy and a big belief in yourself. If you believe it, you can achieve it.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I cannot say this was just due to one person but rather a great team and partners that work around the clock and that believe as much as we do in this brand. I am on ground zero and I don’t only think about one day at a time, I think about the future, 2–3 years from now, we still have a long way to go, but the journey is FUN.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I have created a wine product with mass appeal and brought it to people from all walks of life. FUN Wine is friendly both in taste and price which also caterers to the current climate and people’s pockets. Fun Wine is affordable at 5.99, it’s a piece of art, it’s for people who are open to experiencing wine, a beginner’s taste, FUN Wine creates an opportunity and an experience!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
People take time to believe in something
You never know when a trend is going to hit the market, you always feel it is “tomorrow” but it never is
There is always risk being the first ones to the market. We were the first to introduce the Coconut Chardonnay and we will be the first to now introduce the first every wine with coffee flavors in the USA.
It takes time to build a category, but it is worth it.
It will cost more than you expect.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Educate people to eat and drink properly. Connect food intake to the body, we need to act differently when it comes to what we put in our bodies to steer away from two major health crises in America; heart disease and diabetes.
How can our readers follow you on social media? @Funwineofficial