The “paint and sip” craze is sweeping the nation, and entrepreneurs who want to catch a piece of this expanding business opportunity have a small but solid list of choices to examine.
These are businesses that combine the making of art with the drinking of wine. At first glance, that may seem like a bad combination, but it turns out to be very effective. The wine loosens participants up to overcome the typical “I’m not an artist” barrier and allows them to express themselves on the canvas in ways they previously thought impossible.
The length of time for a paint and sip event at one of these companies can vary from two hours to four hours since people need to time to drink, socialize, and produce a work of art.
The concept is one that is catching on quickly, and two of the companies on the list have achieved good rankings on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list in a surprisingly short amount of time.
Here are our picks for the top paint and sip franchises of 2018:
1. Painting with a Twist
Painting with a Twist was among the first to apply a franchise model to the paint and sip movement currently taking the nation by storm. This chain’s approach is that customers bring in their own wine or other alcoholic beverages and get a step-by-step lesson in reproducing one of the company’s more than 8,500 pieces of “starter art” produced by real artists. Many of the artists have also become class instructors for the company, so the model supports artists as well as the customers learning to paint.
The company has also come up with a broad range of class types to serve a diverse audience. Since not everyone is interested in alcohol, there are classes where participants sip coffee instead of wine. Other classes are geared towards corporate team building, while yet others have a specific focus, such as painting your own pet. Birthday parties, date nights, family classes, and classes for children are all among the offerings.
This franchise currently ranks #168 on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list. Founded in 2007 by Cathy Deano and Renee Maloney in Mandeville, Louisiana as Corks-N-Canvas and franchising since 2009 with the new name Painting with a Twist, the number of locations has continued to climb in recent years to the current total of 289, of which four are company-owned.
2. Pinot’s Palette
Pinot’s Palette is very similar in its overall business model to Painting with a Twist but has distinguished itself with a well-planned high-tech rewards program called Pinot Perks.
More than two years in the making through the company’s in-house tech staff, participants who sign up begin accumulating “virtual corks” as they pay for classes, attend events, and refer friends. The corks work like currency and can be used to get free classes, priority seating, company merchandise, and more. Participating customers can rise through several levels of membership in Pinot Perks, including Club, Collector, and Connoisseur Levels. The success of Pinot Perks will no doubt have other companies rolling out their own rewards programs.
Growth has been rapid and has already resulted in a major rebranding effort in 2016. This franchise currently ranks #178 on Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 list. Founded in 2009 by Craig Ceccanti, Charles Willis, and Beth Willis in the Montrose area of Houston, Texas and franchising since 2010, the number of locations has expanded in recent years to the current total of 139, of which four are company-owned and one is located outside the U.S.
3. Wine & Design
Wine & Design may be the new kid on the block when it comes to paint and sip franchises, but it has already grown substantially in its first eight years. That would be thanks in part to the company appearing on the ABC television show “Shark Tank” in which CEO Harriett Mills and her COO husband Patrick demonstrated the concept of a bachelorette paint and sip event with a male model who actually disrobed during the program.
The company won over “shark” investor Kevin O’Leary, who has invested in other wine-related business concepts, including his own O’Leary Fine Wines. The details of the final deal struck are confidential (and may differ from whatever was announced on the program).
The company has various “divisions” focused on different audiences, including a mobile concept that goes on-site, corporate team building, children’s programs, fundraising programs, and its newest idea, DIY, which has customers painting on all sorts of things from home decor to drinkware to the perfect handmade gift.
Founded in 2010 by Harriet Mills and Emmy Preiss in Raleigh, North Carolina and franchising since then, the number of locations currently stands at 72, of which one is company-owned.
4. Bottle & Bottega
Bottle & Bottega takes a definite upscale boutique approach to its paint and sip franchise, positioning its events as “One part artistic adventure and one part cocktail party.” It also describes its events as “art parties” rather than “art classes” since the former feels more descriptive of what customers experience.
The company is fully committed to the idea that there is an “inner artist” in everyone, and the wine helps that artist come out and shine. The company loves it when people come in who claim to not be at all creative and then prove them wrong. It’s amazing what people can produce once they’re relaxed and able to step outside their comfort zone with plenty of encouragement.
Each location of Bottle & Bottega is carefully crafted to achieve a particular look and vibe, which is eclectic, hip, and very comfortable, as if you’re having a house party in someone’s upscale home. Bottega is the word in Italian that means artist’s studio.
In addition to painting on a regular canvas, there are options to paint on wood pallets for that trendy rustic look, or on glassware such as wine and beer glasses.
Founded in 2009 by Stephanie King-Myers and Nancy Bigley in Chicago, Illinois and franchising since 2011, the number of locations currently stands at 26, of which two are company-owned.