Balcones Founder Claims Suit is a "Ruse" to Mask Real Issues
FILED OCTOBER 24, 2014 You may recall our recent reports detailing the legal dispute between Balcones Distilling founder Chip Tate and his board, which is primarily made up of private equity investors [see WSD 09-04-2014 ]. According to legal documents, the board filed a restraining order against Chip for his "unconscionable and reprehensible" behavior and Chip claimed his private equity partners are trying to "unjustifiably take advantage of a craft distiller and take his ownership in Balcones." Read More
What Happened to Vodka?
FILED OCTOBER 22, 2014 Vodka is the largest spirits category and has grown faster than the overall category for almost a decade. That is, until the category growth slowed dramatically in the US beginning in 2013, per a new report from Bernstein Research. Read More
Foley Sets Sights on Spirits Category
FILED OCTOBER 21, 2014 Bill Foley always has something up his sleeve. Following his successful venture into the wine business Bill Foley, founder of Foley Family Wines (FFW) and former chairman of the board for Fidelity National Financial Inc., is now going full bore into the spirits category. You may recall, we reported this summer that Bill was trying his hand at spirits with the acquisition of Lighthouse Gin, which at the time was only distributed in the UK and New Zealand [see WSD 06-11-2014 ]. Read More
Early Reports Show 80% of Wineries Expect to Hold, Increase Pricing in 2015
FILED OCTOBER 20, 2014 As much as 80% of wineries believe they can hold pricing or take a small increase in 2015, according to preliminary survey results from Silicon Valley Bank's Annual Wine Conditions Survey. The survey of 300 wineries showed 40% believe they can hold steady with pricing and 40% believe they can increase it. Read More
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
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