B-F Gets Serious About Old Forester
FILED OCTOBER 17, 2014 Everything old is new again. Old Forester bourbon was the first bottled bourbon and the foundation for what is now the largest American-owned spirits company: Brown-Forman. Over the years, Old Forester suffered with the up and downs of the overall whiskey category and eventually shrunk to less than 2% of the company volume, per Bernstein Research. Meanwhile, Jack Daniel's transcended the whiskey category and became the superstar of Brown-Forman's lineup, overshadowing its portfoliomate. Read More
Remy, Diageo Battle Tough Comps; Constellation to Focus on Margin Expansion
FILED OCTOBER 16, 2014 Remy Cointreau had some strong headwinds primarily affecting its flagship Remy Martin Cognac in its first half ended September 30. The French drinks company noted that the brand is still facing tough comps in the US (25% growth) and is feeling the affects of the strategic decision to pull back on its VS offerings. With that said, if you exclude the VS offerings, US depletions (sales to retailers) for the group's brands were up 4.4% for the half, indicating underlying trends are healthy. Read More
Trade Groups Square Off in NY Retailer Suit
FILED OCTOBER 14, 2014 Earlier this spring, WSD reported that the New York State Liquor Authority (NYSLA) had begun ramping up enforcement tactics in order to crack down on alleged illegal activity by alcohol industry members [see WSD 04-07-2014 ]. However, the issue didn't really come to a head until last month when Albany-based retailer Empire Wine filed a lawsuit against the agency after being notified it was in violation of the state's alcohol regulation laws for shipping wine to states that prohibit direct-to-consumer sales [see WSD 09-23-2014 ]. As a result, trade organizations representing both sides of the issue have commenced mudslinging in what could potentially be a big case for the industry. Read More
Exposure, Direct Sales Offset Slim Margins at Costco
FILED OCTOBER 13, 2014 At over $3 billion in alcohol sales worldwide, Costco is one of the largest chain accounts for wine in the US, making the company's top wine buyer Annette Alvarez-Peters one of the most influential people in the wine business. In a recent interview with the Press Democrat, Annette, whose official title is assistant general merchandize manager for beverage alcohol, revealed some of the chains strategies for succeeding in the beverage alcohol segment. Read More
The Interesting Case of the Crowdsourced Craft Spirits Portfolio
FILED OCTOBER 10, 2014 We think it's safe to say the bartending community is one of a handful catalysts for the cocktail renaissance and the subsequent rise of craft spirits. This is perhaps why a craft spirits company made up of professional bartenders with a portfolio of spirits specifically crafted for bartenders has quickly become one of the segment's rising stars. Read More
Mega Brands Drag Down Spirit Volumes
FILED OCTOBER 9, 2014 2013 was year of soft growth for spirit volumes, but trends have begun to increase modestly in 2014 with rolling 3-month volumes up 1.7% in August, per NABCA. With that said, most of the major spirits players are not keeping up with market volume growth: Bacardi (-3.6%), Diageo (-2%) and Campari (-1.4%) had the softest volume performances for the 3 months to August; Heaven Hill, Beam Suntory, and Pernod Ricard were all slightly down to flat; Brown-Forman was up 0.6% and Remy Cointreau grew in line with the market. Read More
Blueprint: A distributor Getting it Right with Craft
FILED OCTOBER 8, 2014 n the big scheme of things, craft spirits is still a relatively new and evolving category and not all distributors have figured out how to handle them yet. Recall, in our coverage from the distribution session at American Distilling Institute's conference this year, John Henry, part owner of El Buho Mezcal and session host, said many distributors "talk a big game about craft, but they don't deliver the assets," [see WSD 04-02-2014]. Read More
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