News & Politics
Shanken's Impact Newsletter

Shanken's Impact Newsletter April 1-15, 2018

Shanken’s Impact Newsletter, the leading source for exclusive data on the alcoholic beverage industry in the United States and internationally. Every issue features up-to-the-minute data and analysis on trends in the worldwide drinks market.

United States
M Shanken Communications
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in this issue

15 min.
rndc-breakthru closes in on market leader southern glazer’s

AMID ONGOING CONSOLIDATION ACROSS the middle tier, the U.S. market’s leading wine and spirits wholesalers are projecting steady growth for 2018. While fresh challenges abound—from the rise of e-commerce to increasing private label activity to the logistics obstacles inherent in merging and efficiently operating ever-larger organizations—most wholesalers surveyed by Impact report that the U.S. drinks market continues to provide opportunities for healthy progress. With unemployment low and GDP growth expected to register between 2%-3% this year, wholesale executives are bullish that uptrading will continue, and the influx of new products—while sometimes daunting to manage—will draw new consumers into the wine and spirits categories. That said, with overall consumption relatively flat in both spirits and wine, progress is coming at a premium. “The market is a dogfight,” says Wayne Chaplin, CEO of…

1 min.
distribution juggernauts

A NEW ERA IS ABOUT TO BEGIN AT THE U.S. DRINKS market’s wholesale tier. With the pending combination of Republic National Distributing Co. and Breakthru Beverage Group—set to close late in the second quarter—the market will be presented with a new national wholesaler to challenge Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. The merger of RNDC and Breakthru will create a 30-state colossus with revenues of nearly $13 billion for 2018, compared with Southern Glazer’s presence in 46 states and revenues of $18.2 billion. While Southern will continue to hold an advantage due to its presence in the key California and New York markets, where RNDC-Breakthru isn’t yet present, the new company will offer another compelling proposition to suppliers looking to align with a single distributor throughout much of the country. Our exclusive…

1 min.
foley family leaps to buy oregon’s acrobat

FOLEY FAMILY WINES HAS ACQUIRED the fast-rising Acrobat brand from Oregon-based King Estate for an undisclosed sum. Retailing at $13-$20, Acrobat was up 10% to 156,000 cases last year, according to IMPACT DATABANK. The majority of Acrobat’s volume comes from its Pinot Gris, although Pinot Noir is a close second. The lineup also includes a Rosé of Pinot Noir and a limited edition Chardonnay. Foley Family Wines president Hugh Reimers said, “The addition of the Acrobat brand addresses the strategy of expanding our offerings from the emerging and rapidly growing region of Oregon. Acrobat Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris will serve as a nice complement to The Four Graces, which has quickly become one of Oregon’s top-selling ultra-premium Pinot Noir brands in the marketplace.” Foley Family Wines’ annual volume is…

1 min.
v2 wine group adds terroir wine brands

TERROIR SELECTIONS—WHOSE WINE brands include South Africa’s Mulder-bosch, California’s Qupé, and New Zealand’s Trinity Hill—has forged a new sales agreement with Sonoma-based V2 Wine Group. V2 is handling sales and marketing operations for all three brands and serving as the U.S. importer for Mulderbosch and Trinity Hill. The Terroir Selections labels join Dobbes Family Estate, Mercer Wine Estates, Steelhead Vineyards, Toad Hollow Vineyards, and Torbreck Vintners, among others, in V2’s existing lineup. V2 is a joint venture between wine industry veterans Dan and Katy Leese and Delicato Family Vineyards.…

2 min.
bonterra, 1000 stories drive fetzer

CONCHA Y TORO’S FETZER VINEYARDS is seeing strong progress for its Bonterra and 1000 Stories brands, boosting growth for the company as its namesake label continues to vie for share in the highly competitive under-$10 segment. The expansion of Bonterra and 1000 Stories has helped Hopland, California-based Fetzer improve its product mix in recent years. In 2012, only about 10% of the company’s sales were in the above-$10 a bottle arena. Now, that above-$10 segment has a nearly one-third share of the business. Bonterra, known for its organic wines, crossed 400,000 cases in the U.S. on 13% growth last year, according to Impact Databank, and has expanded by nearly 70% over the past five years. Fetzer CEO Giancarlo Bianchetti tells Impact that Bonterra is seeing a solid performance across its core…

1 min.
walmart closer to tx spirits sales

IN A RULING THAT COULD SHAKE UP THE TEXAS RETAIL SPIRITS MARKET, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman cited the dormant Commerce Clause of the Constitution to strike down the state’s ban on publicly traded companies selling spirits. The decision is a victory for Walmart, which has been fighting to enter the retail spirits fray in the Lone Star State. Pitman wrote, “The credible evidence demonstrates that the public corporation ban disproportionately affects out-of-state companies,” in violation of the Commerce Clause. The Texas Package Stores Association plans to appeal the ruling, but if it stands it will mean vastly intensified competition for the state’s existing retailers. In recent years, major players like Spec’s Wines, Spirits and Finer Foods; Total Wine & More; and Twin Liquors have expanded rapidly, opening stores across…