Dear Client: The event cancellations are stacking up in the wake of the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic. Today, Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America announced that its annual convention & exposition (scheduled for April 20-23) has been cancelled. “Over the past 24 hours, it became clear that keeping our community safe and healthy went beyond what additional … Continue reading “WSWA (and Many Others) Cancels Event Amidst Coronavirus Concerns”

Dear Client: Spirits sales were up nearly 5% and volumes were up 2.5% for the 52 weeks through February 22 in all Nielsen-measured channels. Looking at just January and February….STANDOUT CATEGORIES. For the first two months of the year, several categories reported double-digit sales growth including:  Japanese whiskey, up 33.3% in Jan. and 14.4% in Feb.Flavored … Continue reading “Which Spirits Categories are Winning So Far in 2020”

Dear Client: Wine growth/ consumption has slipped recently in the US, with annual growth rates down to about 1%. Rabobank’s recent Wine Quarterly report delved into what’s impacting the category and few things the industry can do to regain momentum.  The sober-curious movement has been cited as a reason for the drop in wine consumption (and alcohol … Continue reading “Rabobank: Wine Industry Needs to Take “Bold Action” to Regain Momentum”

Dear Client: Last week, we reported on the latest addition to Samson & Surrey’s portfolio, Tequila Ocho [see WSD 03-06-2020]. S&S ceo Robert Furniss Roe also gave us the rundown on the rest of the portfolio and where he thinks craft spirits is heading. Robert said they see growth across the portfolio. “We’re very pleased with all … Continue reading “The Skinny on Samson & Surrey’s Portfolio”

Dear Client: Craft spirits investment firm Samson & Surrey–led by former Bacardi veterans Robert Furniss Roe and Juan Rovira–has put together a small, focused portfolio of craft brands. The portfolio includes Bluecoat gin, Widow Jane, Few Spirits, Brenne whisky, Mezcal Vago and most recently, Tequila Ocho. THE NEW ADDITION. S&S completed the new partnership with Tequila Ocho … Continue reading “Samson & Surrey Adds Tequila Ocho to Portfolio”

Dear Client: Total Wine & More is looking to knock down Connecticut’s minimum pricing regulations by taking the case to the US Supreme Court. The state, along with intervenors Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Connecticut, argues the SC shouldn’t bother to pick up the case.  BACKGROUND. Total Wine filed a federal lawsuit against Connecticut in 2016, alleging … Continue reading “Forces Working Against Total Wine & More in CT and IN”

Dear Client: Brown-Forman reported a global net sales increase of 3% for the first nine months ended January 31. The results were slightly below historical norms and below the company’s expectations, “largely driven by multiple short-term disruptions coming together in one fiscal year,” said chief Lawson Whiting on this morning’s earnings call. But the company is … Continue reading “B-F Q3 Results Below Expectations, But Optimistic for the Long Term”

Dear Client: Building a wine brand can be difficult, particularly in an increasingly fragmented market. Building brand equity is a key component. A panel of wine industry execs at the recent Unified Wine & Grape Symposium tackled brand equity and other issues. The panel included: Nicole Carter, president Merry Edwards Winery; Jordan Kivelstadt, founder Free Flow Wines; … Continue reading “Wine Industry Execs on Brand Building in a Fragmented Market”

Dear Client: You’re not tired of reading about retailer shipping issues, right? Good. Because retailer shipping seems to be top of mind for several states so far in 2020, from handling lawsuits to sending cease and desist letters to introducing legislation. MISSISSIPPI SUPREME COURT SIDES WITH STATE IN RETAILER SHIPPING LAWSUITLast week, the Mississippi Supreme Court sided … Continue reading “More States Take on Retailer Shipping Issue in Various Forms”

Dear Client: Grupo Cuervo “finished 2019 strong” with volumes up 7.5% and net sales up 9.2% globally, driven by strong depletion trends in the US and Canada as well as growth in super premium tequilas, according to chief Juan Domingo Beckmann. “Our performance continues to outpace the broader spirits industry,” he said on this morning’s earnings call. GLOBAL … Continue reading “Premium Tequilas Drive Cuervo Growth, Despite Agave Price Pressure”

Dear Client: Brandy Rand, the COO – Americas for research firm IWSR, gave an interesting talk at the Vibe Conference in California this week on global bev-alc trends, but one particular section of her presentation interested us in how she categorizes the new “my-premise”, and how we think of traditional on and off-premise in the past … Continue reading “On and Off-Premise are Outdated: The New My-Premise”

Dear Client: Over the last several years, the number of US producers, importers and wholesalers has exploded, said MHW director of client development Chrissy Beaudette Tinelli during a session on expanding distribution at the Distilled Spirits Council conference last week. There’s been “consolidation of big suppliers, big wholesalers, but an unbelievable birth in the number of suppliers … Continue reading “In Current Distribution Landscape, Control States Offer Opportunity”

Dear Client: Constellation Brands scored a win last week in its fight with Napa-based The Vineyard House (TVH) over the “To Kalon” trademark after a district court judge granted Constellation’s preliminary injunction against TVH.  BACKGROUND. The Vineyard House filed suit against Constellation in March 2019, hoping to strike down Constellation’s existing To Kalon trademark and obtain the … Continue reading “Constellation Scores a Win in “To Kalon” Trademark Dispute”

Dear Client: Today, Missouri wholesaler Major Brands announced that ceo and owner Sue McCollum will be transitioning her family’s shares of ownership to the Wirtz family. Sue will continue to run the business as ceo and board member. Major Brands will remain independent and the ownership transition will have no impact on management, culture or day-to-day operations, … Continue reading “Major Brands Sells Ownership Shares to Wirtz Family”

Dear Client: Lots of updates on the retailer shipping front. Two cases have been closed but another has been filed by the same law firm responsible for several other retailer shipping cases winding through the court system.  CALIFORNIA CASE CLOSED. Today, a US district judge granted the motion to dismiss the lawsuit Florida-based Orion Wine Imports brought … Continue reading “Retailer Shipping Case Dismissed, Another Opens”