Spirit Airlines starts serving wine in cans

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

NEW YORK Spirit Airlines (SAVE) is thinking outside of the bottle.

The low-cost carrier known for extra fees and cheeky ads is now pouring wine out of aluminum cans.

Starting this week, passengers can purchase white moscato or strawberry moscato wine from Friends Fun Wine, an Aventura, Fla., company. Spirit will continue to sell mini bottles of Sutter Home wine.

The can of wine is larger -- 250 milliliters to the bottle's 187 -- but it doesn't pack as much of a punch. The canned wine is 6 percent alcohol by volume. Sutter Home is 13 percent.

Spirit likes the cans because they are easier to stack and store on airplanes with limited storage space. They also weigh less and airlines are obsessed with making their planes lighter to save on fuel.

Spirit, based in Miramar, Fla., will have to overcome some skeptical passengers.

"My wine consumption stops at a plastic bottle," said Ben Granucci, an aviation enthusiast from New York. "I just don't want that metallic taste in my mouth."

But Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza isn't worried. He admits there might be some jokes but is sure passengers will spend $7 for a can or $12 for two cans to sip some wine.

"People adapt," Baldanza said. "Your choices at 30,000 feet are pretty limited."

Consumer Reports recently ranked last in a rating of airlines, singling out what the magazine said were high charges for carry-on luggage. It also gave the carrier low marks for check-in ease, cabin crew service, plane cleanliness, baggage handling and seating comfort.

Investors, by contrast, are higher on Spirit. The company's shares are up nearly 41 percent this year and trade near a 52-week high.

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