What's Next for Indiana?

FILED MARCH 22, 2010

Dear Client:

Indiana has been a hot bed of speculation and wholesaler activity ever since the state approved Southern Wine & Spirits' request for a wholesale permit. This prompted speculation regarding brands and whether Southern would partner with an existing distributorship in the state or go solo. Things heated up last week when it was announced that Republic National Distributing has struck a deal to acquire certain assets of National Wine & Spirits (NWS) of Indiana, marking RNDC's entrance into the state. The new company will be named Republic National Distributing Company of Indiana and talks have reportedly taken place for "several months." So now the two largest wine and spirits wholesalers in the country have moved into Indiana within months of one another.

Today Southern Wine & Spirits said it has appointed Gerald Rivero, Jr. to evp, general manager of its new operation in Indiana. His appointment is effective May 1st. Prior to this he served as vp, general manager for Southern's Coastal Wine & Spirits selling division in Florida. Details regarding Southern's new operation are unclear, however. For example, where in the state will they set up shop and what brands are they getting? In a statement Southern said the "soon-to-be-selected, Indiana-based property will serve as the preferred location for Southern's next state-of-the-art distribution facility. Details for the planned 200,000+ square foot office and warehouse distribution center are not yet finalized but site definition and facility design are underway."

"As part of our long-term strategy, we are now focused on building a strong and highly-experienced statewide management, sales and operations team for Indiana," said president Wayne Chaplin. Meanwhile, Brad Vassar, general manager of Southern, said: "Gerry is an extremely capable and savvy Southern GM, and he will begin immediately to recruit the best and brightest sales, marketing and operations personnel for our new statewide enterprise in Indiana."

Stay tuned...


Several alcohol companies are attacking the British government for a 5% duty increase that is expected to pass on Wednesday with the new budget. Constellation Brands and Foster's Group have accused the British government of ruining the country's wine industry with constant tax increases, which has resulted in job cuts and led those companies to invest elsewhere in Europe, reports The Sunday Telegraph. ''The government has pushed this way too far,'' said Troy Christensen, president of Constellation European and Australian. ''Doing what they are doing may be expedient but it is decimating our industry. We are on our knees. We are not asking for a bailout, just a break.''

You'll recall that several years ago Chancellor Alistair Darling announced that excise duties would rise by 2% more than inflation each year until 2012. Unfortunately, inflation is expected to be high for the next few months, prompting a 5% duty increase. If passed, taxes will increase 3p on a pint of beer, 10p-12p on wine and 35p on a bottle of spirits. Although we're dealing with our own tax woes in the US, at least we're not dealing with that.


BLACK BOX WINES is adding a 2008 Mendoza Argentina Malbec to its portfolio, available nationwide for a suggested retail price of $24.99. According to customer insights provided by dunnhumby, 87% more households are purchasing Malbec wines compared to a year ago, with consumers spending and visiting more per household. Meanwhile, dollar sales of premium 3L box wines grew 22% in the period to Feb 21 at the off-premise, according to IRI scan data. Black Box outpaced the category with growth of 30% during the same period.

RAY CHADWICK, chairman of The Wine Institute and former chief of Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines, has joined Napa-based Inertia Beverage Group's board of directors, effective today. In a statement, Ray said: "IBG is trail-blazing important new developments in the wine industry.... The wine business, especially the high-end wine business, is under pressure because of the difficult economy, and the best way for wineries to succeed is by having a fully integrated direct-to-market solution."

LAST WEEK we pointed you to a Foster's Wine Estates website for off-premise chain job offerings. Here is a more comprehensive link for more positions if you are interested in applying: www.fweacareers.com

Until tomorrow, Megan

"A little Madness in the Spring Is wholesome even for the King."
Emily Dickinson

Make yourself heard, your opinions count. Feedback and tipster form: http://www.winespiritsdaily.com/hotline.php

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