Nearly 70% of US consumers are regular buyers of beverage alcohol, and about 12% of them made their alcohol purchases online in the past six months, according Nielsen's Harris Poll. Wine had the highest percentage of online purchases at 42%, then spirits (35%) and beer (29%).
WHO'S BUYING ONLINE? The typical online alcohol buyer is higher-earning, younger (average age of 39), male (77%) and employed full time (71%). Most of the online purchases were made from customers in the Northeast (31%) in urban areas (56%). While most of the in-store only consumers were in the South (34%), 51% female at an average age of 49.
Taking a closer look at the online purchases, 50% of respondents said what they ordered online was picked up at a store. For those that chose at-home delivery, the wait time on the online purchases varied: 41% said the alcohol was delivered within hours, 34% had it delivered within 1-2 days and 27% waited more than 2 days for delivery.
When asked about future online purchases, a significant proportion said they expect to increase the amount of alcohol purchased online, particularly those that purchased wine. Moreover, 11% of in-store only respondents said they plan to give online alcohol purchasing a shot in the next year.
"While online purchasing of alcohol may be lagging that of other categories today, we expect it will continue to grow rapidly as more e-commerce channels are made available and online barriers are overcome, and as consumers become more accustomed to buying their alcohol online, especially to suit various consumption occasions," says Nielsen's Danny Brager.
DESTILERIA SERRALLES NAMES NEW CEO
Destileria Serralles is swapping chief Felix Serralles Jr, who is set to retire after 36 years at the helm, for former William Grant & Sons executive Philippe Brechot. Philippe will take on the role of president and ceo, and Felix will remain on as chairman of the board of directors, per a release.
Philippe has more than 25 years of industry experience under his belt, most recently working as managing director for Latin America at William Grant and previously holding positions at Moet Hennessy and Diageo.
"We are fortunate to have found Philippe, a proven executive with ample experience growing premium brands in global markets. He will be an asset to lead our team as we continue to expand our brand's footprint throughout the global spirits market," says Felix.
Serralles USA, the company's US distribution company, will retain its current leadership, with Roberto Serralles as president and John Eason as coo and evp. "We have developed a solid team in the USA and we will continue to focus on growing Don Q in this important market. I am confident that Philippe's experience in developing premium brands will create a unique synergy that will strengthen our ongoing efforts in the USA and beyond," says Felix.
MAISON FERRAND PURCHASES WEST INDIES RUM DISTILLERY
Maison Ferrand has announced the acquisition of the West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados as part of a long term commitment to its Plantation Rum portfolio, per a release. This is the first distillery acquisition outside of France for the company.
"We control the production of our Ferrand Cognac and Citadelle Gin because we own the facilities in Cognac. We love challenging ourselves to make the best there is and it requires total commitment. We wanted the same holistic involvement for our Plantation rum so this investment is the natural course of things for us," says Maison Ferrand proprietor Alexandre Gabriel.
The West Indies Rum Distillery will still be a part owner of the National Jamaican Rum Company with Moneymusk Distillery and Long Pond Distillery. It will also uphold current production contracts for other companies.
BUSHMILLS GET THE GREENLIGHT ON $35 MILLION EXPANSION PROJECT
Jose Cuervo has been given permission to expand the Bushmills facility in Ireland, after filing an application for the move in 2015. Recall, the company intends to develop 29 new maturation warehouses, a lagoon, landscaping and a new access road, which will cost around $36 million over the course of the next two decades [see WSD 12-11-2015].
The proposal would allow Cuervo to double the brand's production, and is part of a master plan established in 2007 when the brand was owned by Diageo. Recall, Jose Cuervo picked up Bushmills from Diageo last year in a brand switcheroo that cost them control of Don Julio and $408 million. In 2014, Bushmills was an 800,000-case brand -- 220,000 of which were in the US -- that brought in about $91 million.
"It is an exciting time for the Irish whiskey category which continues to experience significant growth and this expansion is an important factor in facilitating the future growth of Bushmills Irish Whiskey," say Colum Egan, Bushmills' master distiller.
In other Bushmills news, the company is also expanding on the brand, to include an Irish whiskey expression aged in first fill bourbon barrels called Red Bush. "While we've been innovating with our aged whiskeys for centuries, we're excited to embark on a journey with the millennial drinker," says Colum.
US WINE SHIPMENTS UP 3% IN 2016. Total wine shipments into the US market are up by 3% to 399 million cases in 2016, but import bottled wine slowed, according to a snippet from the annual Gomberg, Fredrikson & Associates report. Moreover, the overall volume of wine in "food stores" grew as much as 1.2 million cases - only 100,000 of which were from wines under $10.
CONNACHT DISTILLERY LAUNCHES BROTHERSHIP IRISH-AMERICAN WHISKEY. Brothership is a blend of 10-year-old Irish pot still whiskey and 10-year-old American whiskey and bottled at 90 proof. Brothership joins the portfolio alongside Straw Boys Irish Vodka, Straw Boys Poitin and Spade & Bushel Irish Whiskey. It will be available just in time for St. Patrick's Day in MD, DC, NH, and PA for approximately $50 a 750 ml.
BEAM SUNTORY TO RELEASE THE TYRCONNELL 16 YEAR OLD LIMITED EDITION. And we can expect to see another new Irish Whiskey to hit shelves as we close in on St. Patrick's Day. The Tyrconnell 16 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey is bottled at 92 proof. The limited release is now available in select US markets at about $100 a 750 ml.
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