Dear Client: Babe Wine founders David Oliver Cohen (“Doc”), ceo, and Josh “The Fat Jewish” Ostrovsky, cmo, took the stage at the Wine & Spirits Daily Summit on Tuesday. The subject of Babe Wine cropped up several times throughout the WSD Summit as well as the Beer Summit. Indeed, Kevin O’Brien, principal, Zepponi & Co., a bev … Continue reading “Babe Wine Founders Opine the Power of Branding”

Dear Client: New year, new predictions. Unfortunately, our crystal ball was a bit hazy, so we’ve had to rely on trends and gut instincts for our 2020 predictions. Here’s what we see in store: TAXES AND TARIFFS. Taxes and tariffs took up a lot of space in the virtual pages of WSD in 2019, and we expect that … Continue reading “What’s In Store for 2020”

Dear Client: US online alcohol sales hit $2.6 billion in 2019, up 22% year over year, according to Rabobank estimates. While online alcohol sales are growing at a nice clip, Rabobank believes bev alc companies are leaving a lot of money on the table.For instance, there’s a huge gap between alcohol’s share of spending in brick-and-mortar … Continue reading “Rabobank: Bev Alc Companies Missing Out on Billions in Online Sales”

Dear Client: In 2018, Pacific Northwest-based beer distributor Columbia Distributing made its first direct foray into wine and spirits by agreeing to take over Constellation Brands’ wine and spirits portfolio in addition to beer in Washington and Oregon [see WSD 05-03-2018]. Just last month, Columbia secured distribution rights for Treasury Wine Estates’ portfolio in Oregon. Your editor … Continue reading “Columbia Distributing’s W&S Biz Offers “Greatest Growth Potential””

Dear Client: Constellation Brands’ net sales were up 1% for the third quarter ended November 30. Not surprisingly, the wine and spirits business weighed down results, with net sales down nearly 10% for the quarter. Shipment volumes were down 13.5% for wine and spirits and depletions were down nearly 6% – though that is an improvement over … Continue reading “Constellation Focusing On Premiumization, Innovation & Brand Building”

Dear Client: The 2020 predictions are rolling in–and we certainly have some of our own–but first, let’s take a look back at our 2019 predictions and see how we did. We weren’t always exactly right, but we were certainly on the right track. 1. PREDICTION: THE CRAFT SQUEEZE. The number of craft brands and distilleries will undoubtedly … Continue reading “Grading Our 2019 Predictions”

Dear Client: The Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission is cracking down on illegal direct-to-consumer shipments in the state. Following investigations, the TABC permanently ordered seven out-of-state businesses to cease and desist further alcohol shipping into the state, per a release. “Wine is the only alcoholic beverage that can be legally shipped direct to consumers in Tennessee, and it … Continue reading “Tennessee ABC Cracks Down on Illegal DTC Shipments”

Dear Client: 2019 has been a busy year when it comes to supplier m&a activity, with the proposed Constellation/Gallo deal being the largest. The number of deals continues to climb every year, reaching more than 40 suppliers deals so far in 2019.The number of wine deals compared to the number of spirits deals were just about … Continue reading “2019 M&A Recap: Supplier Deals on the Rise”

Dear Client: In recent years, spirits have been growing faster than both wine and beer. Now, we’re seeing the “biggest divergence between wine and spirits in recent memory,” according to SipSource Analyst Dale Stratton. Indeed, the trend gap between spirits and wine grew to 5.4 percentage points in the rolling 12-month period ended September 2019. Spirits depletions … Continue reading “SipSource: Spirits Pulling Ahead of the Pack by More than 5%”

Dear Client: Good news on the federal excise tax reduction front. Last night, legislators attached the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act (CBMTRA) to a year-end tax package, to extend FET reduction for one year. This afternoon, the House passed the bill.  But don’t break out the champagne just yet. The bill now heads to the … Continue reading “House Passes FET Reduction Bill, Now Heads to Senate”

Dear Client: The Chase Center in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood opened its doors in September. The arena has over 18,000 seats and will host nearly 200 events per year from NBA Golden State Warrior games to concerts, cultural events and family shows, with about a million people projected to pass through its doors annually. What got … Continue reading “Curating an Arena-Wide Wine Program for San Francisco’s New Chase Center”

Dear Client: Importer and distributor Quintessential Wines, owned and operated by the Kreps family, now represents about 38 wineries with an annual case count of about 1.1 million cases.  Your editor recently caught up with co-owner Dennis Kreps in Houston–tasting this year’s Beaujolais Nouveau wines, owned by Franck Duboeuf and imported by Quintessential–to discuss dealing with tariffs, … Continue reading “Quintessential Aims to Beef Up Domestic Wine Portfolio”

Dear Client: Constellation Brands and E&J Gallo announced today they have revised the agreement proposed in April, in which Gallo was to buy 30+ of Constellation’s wine and spirits brands as well as six winemaking facilities for $1.7 billion.The Federal Trade Commission threw a wrench in things, requesting further information in May, thus delaying the transaction’s … Continue reading “STZ & Gallo Revise Deal to Address FTC Concerns, Still Awaiting Approval”

Dear Client:  Walmart continues to make its case to sell spirits in the Lone Star State. But it’s been losing ground in its case against the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Yesterday, the court denied the retailer’s en banc review request, though there will be a rehearing.  BACKGROUND. Walmart … Continue reading “Walmart Losing Ground in its Case to Sell Spirits in TX”

Dear Client: Diageo ended its fiscal 2019 (ended June 30) with net sales up 5% in the US. The company “continued to deliver good value growth for the first three months of fiscal 20 and on a rolling 12-month basis,” said Diageo North America president Deirdre Mahlan in an investors presentation this morning. [Note, Deirdre is referencing … Continue reading “Diageo Aims to Turnaround Vodka and Rum”