Dear Client:   Earlier this week, we published the first part of our interview with industry veterans Bradd Levitan and Umberto Luchini on their new project, Wolf Spirit [see WSD 05-21-2019]. Today, we’ll dig into their views on marketing and brand building. FINDING (AND FILLING) THE WHITE SPACE. As previously reported, Umberto was the former … Continue reading “How Wolf Spirit Partners Capitalize on Experience”

Dear Client:   Foley Family Wines has announced a strategic alliance with Florida-based American Freedom Distillery. The two inked a strategic marketing and distribution partnership for AFD’s portfolio.   As part of the partnership, FFW will lend its marketing and promotion expertise and the sales organization and wholesaler network will be responsible for expanding the … Continue reading “Foley Family Wines Teams Up with Florida Distiller”

Dear Client:   Vodka is a tough category to penetrate, but industry veterans Bradd Levitan and Umberto Luchini believe they’ve hit the right note with their new spirits company, Wolf Spirit. Your editor sat down with Bradd and Umberto at the recent WSWA conference to get the skinny on their new project. PUTTING THE TEAM … Continue reading “Industry Vets Aim to “Take the Industry by Storm” with Wolf Spirit”

Dear Client:   Increasingly, consumers decide what type of alcoholic beverage they’re going to order after they get to the bar or restaurant, from 85% saying they order this way in 2018 to 88% saying so in 2019, according to Next Level Marketing’s annual consumer survey. Once there, the drink menu is the top influencing … Continue reading “More Consumers Seek Out Healthier Drink Choices On-Premise”

Dear Client:   Rose is clearly a trend that’s here to stay. It has moved on from being a seasonal product to year-round popularity. In fact, in the 13 weeks through April 20 rose blends were up 27.2% in sales and up nearly 30% in volume in all Nielsen-measured channels. Of course, that makes it … Continue reading “How Notorious Pink Competes in a Sea of Rose”

Dear Client:   Earlier this year, Tim Hassett, the former head of Beam Suntory’s Americas region, filed suit against Beam Suntory for alleged breach of contract for “failure and refusal to pay certain compensation,” per court documents [see WSD 03-18-2019]. On Monday, Beam Suntory filed a motion to dismiss the suit and the company didn’t … Continue reading “Beam Suntory Says Tim Hassett Suit Relies on “Made-Up Allegation””

Dear Client:   About five years ago, 90% of direct-to-consumer wine sales came from tasting room visitors and wine clubs. Now, that’s dropped to about 40% with the other 60% of DTC sales coming from online shopping, according to ShipCompliant general manager Larry Cormier. CURRENT DTC LANDSCAPE. The bulk of DTC sales comes from mid-sized … Continue reading “Top Issues Impacting the DTC Channel”

Dear Client:   Constellation Brands has certainly been busy in 2019. Today, Constellation cfo David Klein provided more insight and updates on the company’s recent deals and divestitures as well as what to expect moving forward at the Goldman Sachs Global Staples Forum. MORE COLOR ON CANOPY/ACREAGE DEAL. Last month, Canadian marijuana supplier Canopy Growth … Continue reading “Constellation CFO Talks Recent Headlines, Company Outlook”

Dear Client: Buffalo Wild Wings is a beer-dominated chain, but since Arby’s Restaurant Group purchased BWW last year for $3 billion, it has been refocusing its brand and part of that includes building up their cocktail program. Beer accounts for just over 70% of the retailer’s beverage alcohol sales, with spirits/cocktails at 26% and wine … Continue reading “Buffalo Wild Wings Looks to “Build Credibility” with New Cocktail Program”

Dear Client: The US spirits category’s underlying growth is running at about 6% in value and 3.5% in volume in 2019, according to a recent note from Bernstein analyst Trevor Stirling. For the first three months of 2019, here’s how the big spirits companies ranked by volume growth: Campari, 5.3% Sazerac, 4.9% Diageo, 3.7% Constellation … Continue reading “How the Big Spirits Companies are Stacking Up in 2019”

Dear Client: We may finally be nearing the end of the case Wal-mart brought against the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) in an attempt to start selling spirits in the Lone Star State. At the end of last month, the Fifth Circuit heard oral arguments from both sides. BACKGROUND. Wal-mart can sell beer and wine … Continue reading “Appeals Court Questions Wal-mart, TABC over Spirits Sales in Texas”

Dear Client: Last week, Congresswoman Jackie Speier reintroduced a bill to allow the US Postal Service to get a slice of the alcohol shipping pie. The bill, called the USPS Shipping Equity Act, would allow USPS to ship alcohol directly from licensed producers and retailers to consumers over the age of 21 in states where … Continue reading “USPS Alcohol Shipping Bill Reintroduced in Congress”

Dear Client: Campari sales were up 11.2% in the US–the company’s largest market at 31.2% of total sales–for the first quarter ended March 31. Growth in the Americas was up even higher with organic sales up 13% for the period. Grand Marnier was a major growth driver in the US for the quarter with sales … Continue reading “Campari Looks to Build Out Non-Alc Offerings”

Dear Client: Last week, Constellation Brands announced it acquired a majority stake in Tennessee-based Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, the first Constellation Ventures investment to be fully integrated into the portfolio [see WSD 05-02-2019]. It’s also the second craft American whiskey to join the portfolio, behind High West. Your editor got Constellation chief Bill Newlands on … Continue reading “A Look at how Constellation Approaches its Ventures Investments”

Dear Client: The latest bev alc trends from BW166 are in, and spirits servings were up 3.6% for the 12 months through March. Wine servings were slightly down for the period (-0.14%) and beer servings were down 0.22%. Total consumer spending on alcohol was up 2.8% for the 12-month period to $252.8 billion compared to … Continue reading “Grokking 2019 Q1 Trends”