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”

Dear Client: Spirits industry execs gathered in Louisville this week for the Distilled Spirits Council’s inaugural conference. It drew quite a crowd, with reps from every major spirits supplier as well as a number of craft distillers and wholesalers.  TARIFFS, TARIFFS, TARIFFS. To kick things off, the audience was polled on what industry-wide public issue is most … Continue reading “Highlights from DISCUS’ Inaugural Conference”

Dear Client: Melbourne, Australia-based Starward Whisky launched in 2013, and always had plans to bring the brand to the US. That goal was realized in 2018, and 2019 was the company’s first full year in the US market. Starward did “really well” in 2019, founder David Vitale tells WSD. It’s currently in 35 states and counting with … Continue reading “Australia’s Starward Whiskey Founder on Taking Brand to the “Next Level” in the US”

Dear Client: Campari ended its fiscal year with global net sales up nearly 6%, driven by key high-margin brand and market combinations, per the earnings release.   “In full year 2019 the group continued to deliver on its long term strategy, despite the negative effects of destocking ahead of route-to-market changes in selective markets as well as the … Continue reading “Campari Ends Fiscal Year Up More than 5% in US”

Dear Client: Texas-based Gabriel’s Investment Group, owners of Gabriel’s Liquor and Don’s & Ben’s Liquor, filed suit against the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission last week in bankruptcy court over the state’s public corporation ban. GABRIEL’S FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY. In September 2019, Gabriel’s filed Chapter 11 reorganization after merger negotiations with another Texas retailer fell through, according to … Continue reading “Texas Liquor Chain Sues TABC Over Public Corporation Ban”

Dear Client: Oregonians consume a lot of wine. In fact, the state receives more wine shipped per capita than any other state, according to ShipCompliant’s annual DTC report. Oregon took the top spot largely thanks to Oregonians support of in-state wineries. The volume of shipments from Oregon wineries to Oregon residents was up 24% in 2019, per … Continue reading “Oregon Receives Most Wine Shipped Per Capita”

Dear Client: Pernod Ricard reported organic sales growth of 2.7% globally for the first half of its fiscal year, with “robust performance” in the company’s “must-win” markets including the US, China, India and travel retail, said chief Alexandre Ricard on this morning’s earnings call. In the US, sales were up 4% in H1, driven by whiskies and … Continue reading “Whiskies, Specialty Brands Drive Pernod’s US Performance in H1”

Dear Client: US spirits supplier revenues were up 5.3% to $29 billion in 2019, a $1.5 billion gain over 2018 and the fourth year of revenue growth over $1 billion, according to the Distilled Spirits Council’s annual economic briefing this morning. Spirits volumes were up 3.3% to 239 million cases in 2019, “the fastest volume growth we’ve … Continue reading “Spirits Sales Hit $29 Billion in 2019”

Dear Client: The number of supplier deals continues to climb every year in both wine and spirits. We tallied more than 40 supplier deals in 2019 [see WSD 12-19-2019]. And we’ll likely see a lot more deals getting done in wine and spirits moving forward.That was the message being delivered by panelists on the changing M&A … Continue reading “The Inside Track on Wine and Spirits M&A”

Dear Client: Nielsen’s Danny Brager took the stage last week at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium as part of the annual state of the industry address. In a Dickensian intro, Danny said, “Is it the best of times? No. Is it the worst of times? Also no.” Many wine companies reported very different experiences in 2019. … Continue reading “It’s Not the Best of Times or Worst of Times for Wine”

Dear Client: Your editor spent this week in Sacramento at the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, the largest wine trade show in North America. In recent news there have been some doom-and-gloom reports for the wine industry, and while it’s true that things aren’t great, they also aren’t terrible. Heard throughout the week was that the industry … Continue reading “Wine Industry Facing Headwinds, But Still Optimistic About Growth Opportunities”

Dear Client: Yesterday, we published the first part of our interview with On the Rocks Cocktails founder and ceo Patrick Halbert [see WSD 02-05-2020]. Today, we’ll pick up the conversation right where we left off as you, dear reader, are a fly on the wall. Wine & Spirits Daily: How has having Beam brands connected to the … Continue reading “Part II with On the Rocks Cocktails Founder”

Dear Client: Dallas-based On the Rocks Cocktails produces ready-to-serve, co-branded (with Beam Suntory spirits) premium cocktails. The company has been growing like gangbusters, up 500% year over year in 2019, and really finding success with airlines and hotels.Your editor recently sat down with On the Rocks founder and ceo Patrick Halbert to discuss how the company … Continue reading “Where this Ready-to-Serve Cocktail Co. Finds Success, with help from Beam Brands”

Dear Client: One issue that cropped up throughout Silicon Valley Bank’s annual state of the industry report (and subsequent videocast) is the current wine/grape oversupply. “With what we know, we can say today that we are in a position of oversupply across the entire supply chain,” writes Rob McMillan, evp and founder SVB’s wine division. “That extends … Continue reading “SVB On Dealing with Current Wine/Grape Oversupply”