Liquor Industry News/Links 7-10-13

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Wednesday July 10th 2013

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Todays News/Links

The biggest PR and social media mishaps
10th July, 2013 by Andy Young

From having to give away over 60 bottles of Champagne to offending entire countries,
some marketing and social media plans have not gone entirely well.
Read All About It:

Coopers suffering from trend for unoaked wines
10th July, 2013 by Lucy Shaw
The global trend for unoaked wines is hitting coopers hard;
with one barrel maker admitting to 20% sales loses over the last four years.
Read All About It:

Hot dog & wine Pairing options
June 27, 2013
By: Hank Stewart
There are so many great ways to fix a hot dog so I hope you’re not planning on just slapping one in a bun
and handing it to someone. Let’s think outside the box this year.
Read All About It:

Animated labels woo wine shoppers
July 6, 2013
By: Deborah Parker Wong
While sale signs and shelf talkers are sure to draw the attention of some, an animated label with an image that has motion and depth
 is very likely to stop a shopper in their tracks.
Read All About It:

Suntory Beverage Sets Sights on Overseas Acquisitions


Recent IPO Fills Coffers; Africa, Latin America and Mideast of Interest


Source: WSJ


Jlu 9th


Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd. 2587.TO +2.81% is preparing to spend at least ¥500 billion ($4.9 billion) on acquisitions globally using a combination of proceeds from last week’s initial public offering and bank loans, its president said.


Nobuhiro Torii said Tuesday he finds regions such as Africa, Latin America and the Middle East attractive, adding his team of experts on mergers and acquisitions has visited Brazil and is planning to go to Africa for research on targets.


“I think we will be able to procure at least ¥500 billion without worrying too much about our credit rating,” Mr. Torii said in an interview.


Suntory Beverage & Food, a soft drinks maker that also bottles and distributes PepsiCo Inc. products in Japan, last week pulled off a $3.9 billion IPO in Asia’s biggest listing this year. The solid trading debut on the Tokyo Stock Exchange enabled the company to expand its war chest for M&A as it looks to buy overseas assets to combat a shrinking home market.


Suntory Beverage, the core unit of Suntory Holdings Ltd., owns European soft-drinks company Orangina Schweppes Group and New Zealand-based soft-drinks maker Frucor Group. It set up an M&A team in January headed by a former banker at Merrill Lynch in Tokyo.


Suntory Holdings’ beer and liquor unit, home to award-winning whiskies such as Yamazaki, as well as its wine unit, lie outside the operations of the newly listed company.


Suntory Beverage, well-known in its home market for flagship brands such as Boss canned coffee, has developed an appetite for outbound M&As in Southeast Asia, as growing populations and booming economies make the region promising for future growth. Still, Mr. Torii said he’s also interested in other regions such as Africa and Latin America, while not ruling out acquiring brands in developed markets.


Mr. Torii said about 10 investment banks have approached him about the planned sale of GlaxoSmithKline GSK.LN +0.12% PLC’s drinks brands Lucozade and Ribena. “They’re good brands,” he said, while declining to comment on whether he would be interested in buying the assets of U.K.’s largest drug maker by sales.


Reflecting back on feedback he received during road shows with foreign investors for the IPO, Mr. Torii said he got high marks for the company’s past M&A track record such as Orangina. But he added foreign investors expressed concerns that the company might overpay for future overseas acquisitions.


“There is a bigger risk for our company of not being able to buy than to overpay,” Mr. Torii said, adding Suntory Beverage has walked away from many deals in the past. And in order to minimize the risk of overpaying, Mr. Torii said he hasn’t set an exact timetable or deadline for when he would spend the $4.9 billion in M&A funds.




Kroger to buy Harris Teeter for $2.5bn


Source: FT

By Barney Jopson in New York

Jul 9th


Kroger, the world’s fifth-biggest retailer by sales, has agreed to buy the Harris Teeter supermarket chain for $2.5bn, in a deal that will boost its presence in the US southeast and lift its annual revenues to more than $100bn.


The all-cash deal announced on Tuesday will broaden Kroger’s national coverage, adding 212 Harris Teeter stores – including in the growing cities of Washington and Charlotte, North Carolina – to its existing 2,419 shops.


Harris Teeter, which is more upscale than mid-market Kroger, had revenues of $4.5bn last year, up 5.8 per cent from 2011, compared with Kroger’s $97bn, which grew by 7.1 per cent.


Sachin Shah, merger arbitrage strategist at Albert Fried & Co, said that with the deal Kroger was seeking to secure new sales that would boost its profitability.


“They’re trying for margin expansion here,” he said, noting that Kroger’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation last year were around 4.6 per cent of sales, while Harris Teeter’s were 7.4 per cent.


The deal is the biggest for Cincinnati-based Kroger since it acquired Fred Meyer for $13bn in 1999. Kroger occupies the grocery middle market between high-end Whole Foods and low-price retailers led by Walmart.


The deal remains subject to approval by antitrust regulators, and a rival bidder for Harris Teeter could emerge. The chain began exploring a sale earlier this year and had reportedly received a bid from private equity group Cerberus Capital Management.


Mr Shah said Harris Teeter had some of the elements that have made Whole Foods a success – fresh produce, organic goods and good customer service – but without the “sticker shock” of Whole Foods’ high prices.


“If you can grow Harris faster, with the resources and knowledge [Kroger] have, that’s going to basically pay for the deal,” he said.


Kroger is offering to pay $49.38 per Harris Teeter share, a premium of 1.8 per cent to Monday’s close. The stock has risen more than 30 per cent since it emerged the company was up for sale in January, and climbed to $49.30 on Tuesday. Kroger shares rose 2.5 per cent to $37.10 on Tuesday.


Kroger’s operations are limited to the US, where its stores operate under different regional names.


Harris Teeter’s stores are primarily in “high-growth markets, vacation destinations and university communities”, Kroger said, in Washington, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida and Georgia.


Kroger said it plans to issue new debt to finance the deal, but would not say how much. It intends to take on Harris Teeter’s outstanding debt of about $100m.


Kroger said it expects to achieve annual cost savings of approximately $40m to $50m over the next three to four years, derived largely from the benefits of its scale.


The company said there was “minor overlap” between its existing supermarkets and Harris Teeter in some areas, but that it had no plans to close stores.


Bank of America Merrill Lynch advised Kroger and JPMorgan advised Harris Teeter.




Stolichnaya transfers France distribution to RFD


Source: The Spirits Business

by Becky Paskin

9th July, 2013


SPI Group, owner of Stolichnaya vodka, has agreed a new distribution arrangement with Baron Philippe de Rothschild France Distribution (RFD) in France.


The new agreement, which came into effect on 1 July 2013, allows RFD to distribute all expressions of Stolichnaya in France, including its flavoured premium vodka and super-premium elit by Stolichnaya.


“We are very pleased to be partnering with Rothschild France Distribution which will accelerate our growth in France,” said Val Mandeleev, CEO of SPI Group. “Their experience in marketing and branding in the region will help our portfolio excel in all distribution channels.”


RFD also distributes the spirits portfolios of Gruppo Campari, Edrington, Beam Inc and Fernet Branca in France.


SPI Group has been reviewing its routes to market over the past few years, with notable changes including the decision to establish its own distribution arm in the US from 1 January 2014.




Panache Beverage, Inc. Successfully Defends Lawsuit by Florida Distillers


Source: Panache Beverage

Jul 9th


Panache Beverage, Inc. successfully defeated the efforts of Caribbean Distillers, LLC d/b/a Florida Distillers (“FCD”) to enjoin Panache, its CEO, James Dale, its director of investor relations, William Gerhauser, and three former employees from using allegedly confidential information provided by an FCD employee and from competing against FCD in bulk alcohol and third party bottling markets. 


A Polk County, Florida, judge not only dismissed FCD’s motion for relief entirely after FCD failed to present sufficient evidence to support any injunctive relief against any of the defendants, but it did so without the need for Panache and the other defendants to even complete their defense to the motion.  In addition, the court commented that it found compelling the brief testimony of the one witness Panache called over the two days of hearing that none of the information FCD alleged was misappropriated was, in fact, confidential.


As of July 8, 2013 a Panache Beverage Inc. countersuit was still pending.




BFb: Minding Our Ks and Qs: Our Read of BFB’s 2013 10-K


Source: CITI

Jul 9th


Tidbits Worth Noting – In its 2013 10-K, published June 27, 2013, BFB provided information and forecasts related to brand-specific and country-specific sales, employee count and significant properties, updated risk factors, net sales by geography and product type, capital expenditures, and its hedges.


FCF Decreased Slightly Owing to Increased Cap Ex – BFB generated free cash flow of $442 million in FY13, slightly below the $458 million in free cash flow generated in FY12. The decrease can be largely attributed to an increase in net capital expenditures, which offset greater CFO generation.


Investing Cash Flow Usage Increased – BFB used $97 million on investing activities in FY13, which compares to the $68 million used in the year-ago period. The YoY change is mainly attributable to an increase in capital expenditures in FY13 to expand the company’s production capacity.


Financing Cash Flow Usage Decreased – BFB used $576 million on financing activities in FY13, less than the $662 million used in FY12. The difference is primarily due to the repurchase of shares in 1H12 in connection with a $250 million buyback program, which ran through November 2011.


Reiterate Buy Rating – While we are watchful of the competitive and macro challenges that BFB will likely continue to face, we remain fans of the company’s strong portfolio of brands and the international growth opportunities that exist for BFB. With the company best-positioned to capitalize on the long-term shift back to American whiskey that we believe is ongoing in both the U.S. and abroad, we reiterate our Buy rating and $79 target price on the stock.




Samuel Adams beer defends removing ‘Creator’ from quote: It’s just policy


Source: The Washington Times

By Cheryl K. Chumley

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Boston Beer Company, the owner of the Samuel Adams brand, defended its removal of “Creator” from a recent ad that quoted the Declaration of Independence this way: It’s just company policy.


The ad included an actor quoting from the founding document: “All men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”


That differs from the actual Declaration of Independence statement, that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”


The ad was released for about three weeks, around the Fourth of July period. But the company’s Facebook page is still receiving comments from angry viewers, ABC reported.


“I guess I should not be surprised that a company, interested only in profit, would rewrite American history for commercial gain,” one Facebook user posted. “However, abusers of history will no longer receive any of my money to support their censored advertising campaign.”


But the Boston Beer Co. says it was just following a rule from its trade group, the Beer Institute, based in Washington, D.C.


“We adhere to an advertising code, established by the Beer Institute – a beer industry trade organization – that states, ‘Beer advertising and marketing materials should not include religion or religious themes’,” a Boston Beer Co. spokeswoman said, in ABC. “We agree with that, and we follow these guidelines and approach our marketing with the utmost responsibility.”


Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Beer Institute said, ABC reported: “Brewers are committed to a policy and practice of responsible advertising and marketing and the Beer Institute’s Advertising and Marketing Code is a model of responsible industry self-regulation.”




Diego Zamora Group doubles capacity as FY sales stay strong (Excerpt)


Source: Just-Drinks

By Olly Wehring

9 July 2013


Diego Zamora Group has completed construction of a new production facility that will see the Spanish spirits company increase capacity by 50%.


The company said late last week that the plant, based in Cartagena in the Murcia region of Spain, will also house group headquarters. A total of EUR15m (US$19.3m) has been spent on the plant, which will help Diego Zamora produce around 12m bottles of its flagship Licor 43 spirits brand.




U.S. Economic Confidence Levels Off


Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index at -9 last week


Source: Gallup

by Alyssa Brown

Jlu 9th


Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index was -9 for the week ending July 7, on par with scores from the past month. The index has been slightly lower since reaching a five-year weekly high of -3 in late May and early June. Still, confidence has generally improved from levels Gallup has measured over the past five years.


The relatively lower levels of confidence in June and early July may be a result of more volatility in U.S. stock prices and a stubborn unemployment rate. At the same time, steady job creation — as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Gallup — may be contributing to Americans’ confidence levels remaining stable.


Americans’ confidence in the economy rebounded from sharp declines during the “fiscal cliff” debate and sequestration budget cuts earlier this year. Consumers’ confidence inched closer to positive territory and reached its best weekly level in over five years in late May and early June after U.S. stock prices surged and housing values increased.


Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index is based on Americans’ ratings of current economic conditions in the U.S. and their assessments of whether the economy is getting better or worse. Americans’ assessments of both index components held steady last week.


For the most recent week, 45% of Americans say the economy is getting better and 51% say it is getting worse, for a net economic outlook score of -6. This score has declined by 10 points since the week ending June 2, when Americans were more likely to say the economy was getting better than getting worse.


Twenty percent of Americans say the economy is “excellent” or “good,” while 32% say it is “poor,” for a net current conditions score of -12. This score is slightly lower than -9 in the week ending June 2, but similar to scores from the past month.


Bottom Line


Americans’ confidence in the economy has leveled off in recent weeks, as signs about the nation’s economic recovery have been mixed. Although confidence remains at a relatively higher level, Americans’ economic outlook, one of two components of the Economic Confidence Index, has worsened since late May and early June, falling by 10 points. Americans are slightly more likely to say the economy is getting worse than getting better, which is consistent with the public saying the economy is their greatest worry for the nation’s future.




Excessive Drinking Costs U.S. Economy $220 Billion Per Year


Researchers say excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages costs the economy as much as natural disasters, primarily in lost productivity.


Source: Medical Daily

By Matthew Mientka

Jul 07, 2013


Although many Americans enjoy alcohol in moderation, excessive drinking costs the U.S. economy more than $220 billion per year, or $1.90 per drink.


Seventy-two percent of the costs come from lost workplace productivity, according to a survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which studies the negative externalities of alcohol abuse. The figures suggest the economic cost from hangover days in the workplace may total $160 billion, which is comparable to the economic cost of natural disasters such as hurricanes and tornadoes.


In aggregate, Americans consume some 117 billion alcoholic drinks every year, whether sipping fine wine in Napa Valley or pounding cold ones in the Bronx. Of a total of $1.90 in economic cost per drink, $1.60 is lost in productivity from hangovers.


However, a small proportion of the population is to blame for the problem, with just 15 percent of adults responsible for three-quarters of the cost of excessive alcohol consumption, the CDC says.


Overall, the cost of excessive drinking in society is split between government and the individual, with federal, state, and local governments losing $94.2 billion per year from excessive drinking — or 42 percent of the cost. Approximately the same cost-share is borne by excessive drinkers and their families, as households lose income from work and productivity.


Drinkers and their dependents lose $92.9 billion per year from what scientists classify as a primary, and often, chronic, brain disease. Government agencies paid 61 percent of the health care costs associated with excessive drinking.


CDC defines “moderate drinking” as one drink per day for women and no more than two per day for men, although the definition is intended as a limit for any random day, as opposed to an average consumption over several days.




United Kingdom:  Fury as 24-hour ‘dial-a-drink’ service which delivers alcohol at any time is granted trading permission… and even the company admits ‘surprise’


Source: Daily Mail

By Helen Lawson

July 8, 2013


A top health official has spoken out against a 24-hour ‘dial-a-drink’ service which has been granted trading permission by a council.


Booze Bury is set to begin deliveries this week after being granted trading permission by Bury Council, even though the firm though its chances of licence approval were ‘slim to zero’.


The council said it could not turn down the company’s planning application while supermarkets in the area are also able to sell alcohol around the clock.


Dr Peter Elton, the director of public health at NHS Bury, said: ‘It is very dangerous for people to be able to buy alcohol and have it delivered to the door 24 hours per day.


‘There is no doubt that increasing access in this way will increase problem drinking and lead to more hospital admissions and eventually to more people dying from alcohol-related disease.


‘Public health is not against the enjoyment of alcohol in moderation, but making it easier for people to drink to excess both damages themselves and increases the risk of violence to others.’


Two previous applications by Booze Bury were turned down for public health reasons and because of police concern over anti-social behaviour, domestic violence and the safety of delivery drivers.


The firm’s solicitor Richard Williams successfully argued that public health could not be considered under licensing law and so the view of health professionals was irrelevant to the application.


Two neighbouring councils had also granted permission to six other firms which were able to deliver to Bury, in Greater Manchester, he said.


Mr Williams said: ‘I think the panel felt there was a clear loophole and, by granting Booze Bury permission, they would be best placed to monitor their activities.


‘The alternative would have been to allow things to continue where other companies can deliver to Bury and the council has no way of monitoring them.’


Latest figures from the Office of National Statistics showed that 863 men and 443 women died in the North West of England from alcohol-related causes in 2011.


Dr Elton’s concerns come in the wake of figures which showed that the number of hospital admissions related to drinking rose sharply in the last decade.


Hospitals handled 200,900 admissions last year which were blamed solely on drinking, a 1 per cent rise on 2011 (198,900) and a 41 per cent rise on 2002-03 (142,000).


There were 1,220,300 hospital admissions attributed partly or wholly to drinking last year – a doubling since 2002-03, when the figure stood at 510,700.


Men account for around two-thirds of those needing hospital treatment.


The use of drugs to treat alcohol addiction also increased by 70 per cent in the past ten years, according to data from the Health and Social Care Information for England.


Doctors last year prescribed almost £3million worth of drugs, up from £1.72million in 2003.


The number of prescriptions for medication to help alcoholics quit or prevent them from relapsing went up from 102,741 in 2003 to 178,247 in 2012.


The drugs include Antabuse, which makes anyone who takes it sick if they drink alcohol.


A Booze Bury spokesman said: ‘I would like to reassure people that we have agreed to a wide range of conditions that promote responsible drinking and driver safety.


‘Our website contains a video about responsible drinking and the full list of conditions which customers must stick to for us to deliver.


‘We will work with the council and other authorities to ensure this is a worthwhile venture for us and safe for everybody.’




Burgundy sales hit new record, says BIVB


Source: Decanter

by Jane Anson

Tuesday 9 July 2013


The Burgundy Wine Bureau (BIVB) has reported record export sales of ?214.5 million in the period between January and April 2013, signifiying a return of sales figure heights last seen in the 2008-2009 campaign.

vineyard, france,


Michel Baldassini, vice president of the BIVB, told trade paper La Vigne that the figures are not just because of strong performances in export markets, but because a series of small vintages has put pressure on stocks.


Red Burgundy in 2012-1013 was down 13% in volume compared with the year before. At the same time, export markets are up 4.3% in volume and 0.7% in value, with particularly strong sales in the US. The French market for Burgundy is up even more strongly (5% in volume and 6% in value).


The only areas that have seen a drop in demand are the Crémant de Bourgogne sparkling wine (down 2.4%), and the market for bulk wines (down 19% for the 2012 harvest – explained by the severe drop in overall volume of wine).


This volume drop has meant severe pressure on prices. By appellation, AOC Gevrey Chambertin bulk prices have gone up by 41% to ?1544 by 228 litre barrel (known as a pièce, and a different measurement from much of France, where bulk wine is measured by tonneau of 900 litres).


AOC Pommard is up 64% to ?1331 per barrel and AOC Chablis up 22% to ?499 by barrel. Even a barrel of AOC Bourgone rouge is up 30% to ?353.


‘We have to hope for a normal volume of wine this vintage, or consumers will suffer,’ warned Baldassini.


‘We have seen our clients move strongly from Bordeaux to Burgundy since the start of the year,’ Alice Wong of LMC wine merchants in Hong Kong told ‘Not just the big names, but small producers also. This is what people want to drink right now.’



——’s owner denies it’s unhappy with San Francisco online wine marketer


Source: San Francisco Business Times

Chris Rauber

Jul 9th has had to battle published reports in recent days that its owner, New York private equity firm Baker Capital, has tired of propping up the online wine dealer and wants to sell.


Growth Capitalist blogger Teri Buhl and said as much, but the outlook is even worse than that, the two web sites reported. A sale might be little more than a domain name deal, after San Francisco’s “soaked up close to $75 million in venture funding,” Venturebeat said.


“Insiders say the URL is the only asset worth buying. Meaning offers are not exactly coming in and Baker is expected to take a huge loss on the investment,” Buhl reported.


Only problem: Rob Manning, a Baker Capital partner who serves as chairman of, says it ain’t so.


“We are happy with our investment in,” Manning said in a July 9 email to the San Francisco Business Times. Rich Bergsund,’s CEO, and Mike Osborn, its founder and vice president of merchandizing, “have done a tremendous job turning around a struggling company,” Manning wrote.


Baker Capital understands the barriers to shipping wine profitably, but sees “those challenges (as also) a competitive barrier” to potential rivals, according to Manning, who characterized Baker Capital’s investment in the wine site as a long term play.


“The team led by Rich and Mike (is) tuning the machine and building value every year,” Manning concluded. “As long term investors, we love businesses that generate cash and grow at double digit rates. And we continue to ask ourselves a simple question: ‘Next year, do we expect more people to buy wine online than last year?’ The answer is pretty obvious to us.” says it netted $56 million in 2011 sales and $74 million for the fiscal year ended March 31. It hasn’t disclosed any profit numbers, but Bergsund told the Business Times late last year that’s been profitable the last three years.


Only time will tell whether Manning is spinning or the “insiders” quoted by Buhl and Venturebeat were doing their own spin job.




Italian authorities crack down on ‘fake’ Prosecco


Source: Decanter

by James Lawrence

Tuesday 9 July 2013


Italian authorities have employed a local oenologist to combat the rising problem of ‘fake’ Prosecco being sold in the Veneto region.


Winemaker Andrea Battistella was asked in June this year by the agricultural ministry to investigate, and report venues to the authorities who are selling imitation Prosecco from carafe or on draft.


Roberto Cremonese, export manger for producer Bisol in the Treviso region told that at least 30% of DOC Prosecco sales were now estimated to be based on illegal wines.


‘Much of the Prosecco found in bars in the region is produced artificially with the addition of C02 and sold on draft from beer kegs. The fault lies with the distributors, who often willingly market undrinkable wines.’


‘It is a major concern for us, as it can really damage Prosecco’s image,’ he added.


According to Dario Poddana of wine importer Les Caves De Pyrene, the changes to the Prosecco appellation framework in 2009 have exasperated the problem of counterfeit wines being sold.


‘After the removal of the Prosecco IGT designation, growers under the new DOC rules had to reduce their yields to an output of 180 hectolitres per hectare from the previous 250,’ Poddana said.


‘Some growers have therefore found it economically difficult adjusting to these more stringent rules and resorted to importing grapes from outside the region, selling counterfeit wines under the Prosecco DOC label,’ he added.


However, as the responsibility falls on the venues to refrain from selling fake Prosecco, they are punished rather than the producer directly.


If found guilty of selling non-Prosecco under the DOC name, sellers can be punished with fines of up to ?20,000 (£17,000) each.




Wally’s Wine & Spirits Announces Launch Of Wally’s Auction House


Source: PR Newswire

July 8, 2013


Following the June 2013 acquisition of Wally’s Wine & Spirits in Los Angles, the company’s new executives have branched out to create Wally’s Auction House. The company plans to open a New York based headquarters in the near future.


With the latest company extension brings the appointment of Michael Jessen, who has joined Wally’s Auctions as the President and Chief Executive Officer. Jessen has dedicated the past decade to fine and rare wine and was most recently the head of Zachys auction division, overseeing the placement of $500 million worth of the finest and rarest wines. He has extensive experience working with the world’s greatest collection and will bring his knowledge and expertise to the wine auction division at Wally’s.


“I am thrilled to join Christian Navarro, the Marciano Family, and the Wally’s team in developing the Wally’s brand,” said Michael Jessen. “I am especially excited for the opportunity to build a world-class wine auction company and could not imagine a better organization than Wally’s to work with towards achieving this goal.”


Julia Gilbert will also join the Wally’s Auction House as Managing Director with eight years of wine auction industry experience. For the past several years, Gilbert served as Auction Director at Zachys Wine Auctions where she oversaw consignment acquisition and management, marketing, events and public relations.


“Christian and I are very excited about this new venture, and look forward to preparing our very first auction within the next year, where attendees can bid on the best world class wine selection,” said Maurice Marciano.


About Wally’s Wine & Spirits


In business since 1968, Wally’s Wine & Spirits has long been a Los Angeles institution ranging from first-time wine buyers to collectors and connoisseurs. Combining personal service with a patient and knowledgeable staff, an inventory of thousands of hard to find wine, beers and spirits, in a relaxing and comforting atmosphere, it is no wonder that the Zagat Survey has called Wally’s “The No. 1 Wine Shop in Los Angeles,” and Forbes lists Wally’s as one of their “Top Shops.” The store is located on Westwood Boulevard in West Los Angeles, and its many unique products can also be purchased online at




Spanish message in a bottle


Source: FT

By Tobias Buck

Jul 9th


When Carlos Moro wants to show off the heart of his winery group, he takes visitors neither to the famous vineyards that dot the Spanish region of Ribera de Duero, nor to the dark cavernous halls that house hundreds of oak barrels filled with the latest vintages.


Instead, he opens the door to a brightly lit laboratory on the first floor of a bodega, or winery, just outside the village of Valbuena. Perched at computer screens and scientific instruments are more than a dozen researchers in white lab coats. The walls are covered with posters of molecules and technical diagrams explaining some of the seven patents awarded to the winery in recent years. There is not a corkscrew or wine bottle in sight.


Mr Moro, founder and president of Matarromera, one of Spain’s top 20 wine groups by sales, adores the work of his research and development department. Year after year, he ploughs more than a third of the group’s revenues into R&D. This is a huge ratio by the standards of any business, but especially in the wine industry, which normally reveres tradition over innovation.


Mr Moro, 60-year-old scion of a wine­making family whose roots in the Ribera de Duero region go back over generations, shrugs off questions over his budget allocation: “What should I do instead? Buy a boat? Get myself a chauffeur?”


Mr Moro says the investment in innovations such as alcohol-free wine or even skincare is fundamental to the success of his group, which inc­ludes three bodegas in Ribera de Duero as well as wineries in the regions of Toro, Cigales and Rueda, also in northern Spain. Last year, despite the economic crisis gripping the country, Grupo Matarromera’s revenues grew by almost 20 per cent to ?18.6m. Since the start of the crisis, sales have risen by 43 per cent, fuelled by a surge in exports.


Matarromera’s recent success is emblematic of a broader trend in the Spanish wine industry, which has gained both global market share and international recognition in recent years. With their home market mired in recession and Spanish thirst for wine in long-term decline, winemakers in Rioja, Ribera de Duero and the country’s myriad other wine regions are increasingly looking abroad.


Matarromera, however, goes further than many of its Spanish rivals in its embrace of innovation and exports. Indeed, much of the recent growth, says Mr Moro, is to do with the output of his R&D department: after years of careful experimentation, his researchers developed a patented method in 2008 for the production of low-alcohol and even non-alcoholic wine – opening up a potentially huge market for the company.


Another patent was awarded for a technique to extract polyphenols and antioxidants from grape skin. Reputed to help slow the ageing process of human cells, the extracts form the basis of a new cosmetics range, Esdor, that brought in revenues of ?500,000 last year.


Wine purists may shudder at innovations such as alcohol-free versions, not to mention Mr Moro’s range of wine in cans. But they can always turn to the bodega’s top-flight Reservas and Gran Reservas, which can cost up to ?185 a bottle and score highly with influential wine critics. The combination of six bodegas producing several wines makes it easier for each of the group’s brands to retain their own distinct reputation – with some catering to wealthy wine lovers and others to supermarket customers.


That mix is also crucial for the second plank of the group’s strategy: exports. “It is very difficult to go to a place like India with just one wine,” says Mr Moro, who adds that the concept for his bodega, founded in 1988, was “based on globalisation long before people spoke about globalisation”. Matarromera managed to sell part of its very first vintage in 1994 to Germany and Austria, and has expanded sales across the globe at a furious pace ever since. Today, bottles from Mr Moro’s wineries are uncorked in 80 countries, including Albania, the Maldives and Vietnam. Mexico is the biggest market, followed by the US and China.


His efforts are part of a much broader trend among Spanish winemakers. The shift towards exports has been dramatic, says Rafael del Rey, director of the Observatorio Español del Mercado del Vino (OEMV), an industry research foundation. “Only eight years ago, domestic consumption of wine was larger than all the exports. Last year, our exports were more than double the amount that was consumed domestically.”


The new focus on exports has benefited large wineries with diversified portfolios that typically inc­lude reds and whites from different regions as well as sparkling wine. About 20 Spanish bodegas ac­count for half the wine shipped abroad, says Mr del Rey.


But there is still a lot of catching up to do. “Spain has all the right things going for it but there is still a gap compared with France and Italy in terms of communicating that our quality is up there,” says Javier Pagés, president of the Spanish wine federation.


For all the praise heaped on Spain’s top wineries in recent years, the average price of a litre of Spanish wine sold abroad is still only half that of an Italian wine, and a mere fifth of the average price of French wine (including champagne).


“More than 50 per cent of our exports are still in bulk wine [shipped before bottling]. That creates the perception that Spanish wine is cheap,” says Mr Pagés. It is a perception, he adds, that is changing rapidly – a claim backed by recent industry data. Although Spanish wine exports fell in volume last year, the drop was almost entirely caused by a 20 per cent fall in shipments of bulk wine. In terms of actual revenues, exports rose by almost 10 per cent, with the average price per litre up almost 22 per cent compared with 2011.


Spanish wine growers agree that some of the recent trends have been fuelled not least by the country’s economic crisis, which has forced many of Spain’s best-known companies and industries to rely more on exports. “The crisis has accelerated the need for the whole wine sector in Spain to look outside,” says Mr Pagés.


In the case of Matarromera, Mr Moro decided to take action at the very onset of the crisis in 2007, by broadening his range of products: “One decision that we took was to make sure that we occupy more of the [supermarket] shelves. It was very important for us to have more products for ?3 or ?4, because people wanted more affordable products.”


The second crucial response to the crisis was international expansion, cemented through the creation of subsidiaries and offshoots in the US, China and the Philippines. Mr Moro hopes to raise annual sales from his six wineries to at least ?33m in the next two years, and eventually to sell at least 70 per cent of his wine abroad. “The growth is not in Spain,” he says.


There is, however, more to the bodega’s focus on foreign markets than a simple business calculation. It is also about satisfying Mr Moro’s life-long ambition to win global recognition for his wines: “You cannot have a top wine that is just known in your home country,” he says. “You can only get real recognition abroad.”




Is this 98-year-old the world’s oldest bartender?


Source: The Spirits Business

by Becky Paskin

9th July, 2013


A 98-year-old bartender working in Bridgeport, Connecticut in the US, may be the world’s oldest and longest-serving bartender.


At 98 years old, is Angie MacLean the world’s oldest bartender?


Angie MacLean began bartending at the age of 17 to supplement her income earned working at General Electric.


Born in 1915, MacLean is still working full-time as a bartender at Panama Joe’s Café in Bridgeport, pouring drinks for eight hours a day, six days a week.


The geriatric bartender claims she’ll continue bartending for “as long as (she) lives,” and still makes the effort to dress up in patriotic attire for every US holiday.


While MacLean has been serving drinks for 81 years, the official Guinness World Record for the longest career as a bartender belongs to Clarice J. Kramer Cadarette Grenkowicz (born in 1919), who has served at the Maplewood Tavern in Alpena, Michigan for 71 years – her entire career as a bartender.




French Antitrust Body Approves Casino’s Control of Monoprix


Source: Dow Jones

By Nadya Masidlover

Jul 10th


France’s antitrust authority Wednesday announced the approval of French retailer Groupe Casino’s SA (CO.FR) move to take sole control of supermarket chain Monoprix, under the condition of selling more than 10% of its stores in Paris.


The French watchdog said Wednesday that Casino had agreed to sell 55 stores in Paris–out of around 500 operated by the group in the French capital–and three in the rest of the country.


The decision follows a probe into the move by Casino to acquire a further 50% stake in the inner city store chain Monoprix from its joint venture partner Galeries Lafayette.


Wednesday, the watchdog said that “to avoid risks to competitiveness, Casino has agreed to sell a substantial number of sales points.”


Already in 2012, an investigation carried out by the authority to look into the food retail market in Paris had brought to light Casino’s significant market share in Paris where the company operates more than 60% in terms of food retail sales surfaces, more than three times that of its main competitor Carrefour SA (CA.FR).


However, until Casino’s bid to buy out its joint venture partner in Monoprix, the authority didn’t have the legal power to step in to reduce market concentration.


Wednesday, Casino underlined in a statement that the approval allows Casino to continue its development of Monoprix and that the store disposals required amount to less than 1% of Casino’s revenue in France.


At the beginning of April, Casino operated 9,389 stores in France, including 481 under the Monoprix banner.




2Q13 preview: Expecting solid results, highlight SBUX/BLMN


Source: Goldman Sachs

Jul 10th


Expecting a solid Restaurants 2Q13 earnings season

We expect a robust 2Q13 earnings season as transitory factors such as weather fade, and restaurant SSS inflect to the positive. We are above consensus for 10 of 15 companies in the group and only below consensus for only two. We highlight DPZ, BLMN and SBUX as the companies in the group that we are most above consensus for both SSS and margins. We revise estimates and 12 month price targets across our coverage to reflect our view of current trends, as well as commodity and currency spot prices.


QSR: Highlight SBUX as our best idea into earnings

In QSR, we are above consensus for many US-oriented concepts, but below for some International divisions due to slowing global growth. We are most above for SBUX where our 7% SSS forecast compares to the 6.2% consensus. We see strength from (1) a strong correlation to jobs growth, (2) recent management tone, (3) our recent survey results, and (4) the fact that SBUX is anniversarying 2012’s SBUX-specific June slowdown.


Casual Dining: BLMN the most likely to beat and raise

We expect a 200-300bp improvement in Casual Dining SSS from 1Q13 run rate. We are most bullish on BLMN as we expect a SSS beat driven by strength at Outback, its core concept. We expect the company to raise estimates along with a potential earnings beat.


Currency swings to a headwind vs. food costs a potential tailwind

We have marked our models to spot to account for the latest moves in key currencies and commodities. On currencies, the stronger USD means a forex headwind for multinationals likely peaking in 4Q13/1Q14. We see MCD as most exposed given its geographic footprint. On commodities, recent declines in several key food inputs likely mean margin relief particularly for company-owned vs. franchised systems. We are now above the Street on profit margins across the group, with peak impact in 1Q14.


Dividend hikes: EAT may raise its dividend by 20%

We expect EAT to raise its dividend in mid-late August. Our forecast is for a 20% raise, which would serve to maintain its 35% dividend payout ratio. We see this as a positive catalyst, which along with margin expansion, may help the company’s shares look through a potential SSS miss this quarter.




South Dakota: Tribe Weighs New Approach on Alcohol Sales


Dry Reservation in South Dakota, Plagued by Poverty and Chronic Drinking, Considers Lifting Ban to Raise Funds for Treatment Programs


Source: WSJ


Jlu 9th


Robin Tapio has struggled with alcohol for much of her life. The father of her children died after years of drinking and their middle son lost his life after driving off a road on this vast Indian reservation. He was 16 years old and high on drugs and alcohol.


In June, Ms. Tapio, a member of the Oglala Sioux’s tribal council, voted in favor of holding a public referendum to try something new to address the excessive drinking linked to crushing poverty and crime here: make alcohol legal.


Pine Ridge is the only dry reservation in South Dakota, with a ban on alcohol that has been in effect almost continuously for more than 100 years. Proponents of legalization say that the reservation is nonetheless saturated in alcohol and that if sales were regulated by the tribe, the tax money raised could be used for substance-abuse programs. “I see it as a way to get revenue to support prevention, intervention, rehabilitation and education,” said Ms. Tapio, 54 years old.


Others say legalization would only exacerbate the problem. “To have such easy access to alcohol just opens the door to worse things,” said Cordelia White Elk, director of a tribal employment office. “It’s like saying, ‘Let’s kill our own people to save them.’ ”


Casinos and other businesses have helped transform the economies of some Indian tribes in recent decades, yielding annual revenues of hundreds of millions of dollars in a few cases and bringing extraordinary wealth to communities that had been impoverished for generations. But many places, like Pine Ridge, remain locked in a struggle against poverty and substance abuse-leading to agonizing choices over how to address the problem.


The high incidence of alcoholism among Native Americans nationwide is a function of both “historical experience and contemporary pressures,” said Rod Robinson, director of the Office of Indian Alcohol and Substance Abuse at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Biological theories suggest Native Americans might have a genetic susceptibility to the disease. Also thought to contribute: the relatively short time American Indians have been drinking compared to Europeans, and lingering psychological trauma from generations of oppression. Modern-day poverty magnifies the situation, said Mr. Robinson, member of the Northern Cheyenne Nation in southeastern Montana.


A complex patchwork of liquor laws regulates the sale of alcohol on reservations across the country, with a majority allowing some alcohol sales. Although chronic drinking remains a problem on reservations throughout South Dakota, tribal leaders on Standing Rock Indian Reservation and Rosebud Indian Reservation say drunken-driving crashes became less frequent when their own bans were lifted.


Except for a brief stretch in 1970, alcohol has been prohibited on Pine Ridge, one of America’s largest and poorest reservations, since its establishment in 1889. Still, alcohol is easily purchased in nearby border towns or from bootleggers.


“The alcohol is here and it’s not going to go away,” said Larry Eagle Bull, a council member who endorsed the coming referendum. A date hasn’t been set. “Prohibition didn’t work. If we legalize alcohol, the tribe will be sellers and we’ll generate the money ourselves.”


The reservation could use the economic boost. Shannon County, which lies wholly within Pine Ridge, had the lowest per-capita income in the U.S. in 2011-roughly $7,890-and more than half its residents live below the poverty level. Unemployment hovers around 80%, and jobs are scarce outside of the tribal and federal governments.


Pine Ridge, a rolling prairie with few street signs and plenty of roadside crosses, is larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined, but home to only about 50,000 people. Nearly every family in Pine Ridge has a member who drinks too much, tribal leaders say, and a quarter of children are born with alcohol-related disabilities. Life expectancy is estimated to be between 45 and 52.


Ron Duke, chief of the tribal police, says his department makes more than 26,000 alcohol-related arrests per year, and that alcohol is involved in 95% of the calls his officers respond to.


On the reservation, tribe members can be arrested for possessing alcohol or appearing to be inebriated. Lifting the ban, Mr. Duke said, could ease the pressure on the 38 tribal police officers, who spend much of their time ferrying offenders to jail on the reservation. “It’s a double-edged sword,” he said. “The officers do what they can out there to try to maintain law and order but a lot of our traffic is based on alcohol related issues.”


In light of the grim statistics, legalization faces fierce opposition. Bryan Brewer, president of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, said that over the course of one month, he attended the wakes of two young children who had both been killed by caretakers who had been drinking.


“I feel it’s blood money,” said Mr. Brewer, who said his son is an alcoholic. “I know we need these services, but I’d like to try to get what we need without selling alcohol.”


For younger tribe members like Ray Janis, 28, the debate over legalization versus prohibition is a distraction from other pressing issues like unemployment, a dearth of housing and inadequate health care. Mr. Janis said he was 7 when his father got drunk and committed suicide. But sitting in the shade on a recent summer afternoon, the smell of fry bread in the air and the Black Hills etched on the horizon, Mr. Janis said he dreams of making hip-hop music and building a home on the “Rez.”


“People will drink whether we legalize alcohol or not,” he said. “We need to fix ourselves.”


Some are skeptical, though, that the funds will be sufficient to build detox clinics and treatment programs. “People think that money will start pouring into the tribe’s coffers,” said Ms. White Elk. “It won’t.”


On the neighboring Rosebud reservation, which is half the size of Pine Ridge, alcohol sales are legal and tax revenues add up to about $200,000 a year, a fraction of what might be required for effective social services. Pine Ridge currently has one treatment center, with seven beds.


“It’s not all about the money,” said Ms. Tapio, who has been sober for 12 years. “It’s about trying to heal our people, and move in a new direction.”




Washington: Total Wine & More Brings Low Prices on Wine to State Capital


Source: WSJ

Jul 8th


One year after opening its first Washington state store in Bellevue, Wash., Total Wine & More, America’s favorite wine and spirits superstore prepares to celebrate its sixth Washington location with the grand opening of its next generation store in Olympia. On Thursday, July 18, Total Wine & More will bring its best-in-class service, unmatched selection and low prices on wine, spirits and beer to Washington’s state capital. Located at 625 Black Lake Blvd., Olympia, WA 98502, this opening marks the 96(th) location for the premier wine, beer and spirits retailer. To celebrate, Total Wine & More will host live entertainment, beer and wine tastings and activities from Thursday, July 18 through Sunday, July 21.


With over 21,000 sq. ft. of space, Total Wine & More’s Olympia wine and spirits superstore will feature an unparalleled selection of more than 8,000 wines, 3,000 spirits and 2,500 beers, including more than 1,500 Washington wines, 80 Washington and Oregon distilled spirits, and 550 Pacific Northwest beers, all at exceptionally low prices. It will also feature Total Wine’s signature “Brewery District” beer-tasting bar and special growler section with 12 rotating taps highlighting locally-brewed craft beers.


Total Wine & More isn’t just a sip and savor destination, it’s also a world-class place to learn! The wine and spirits superstore houses several iPad(R) stations stocked with tasting notes and food pairings, as well as flat screen televisions featuring behind the scenes programming on winemakers, distillers and brewers from across the globe. The welcoming educational classroom, complete with computers and Wi-Fi for an enhanced learning experience, is used for regular beer and wine tastings, , consumer classes, community meetings and special events. In addition, Total Wine & More offers many rare finds in the climate-controlled wine cellar, an array of fine cigars in the walk-in humidor plus gifts and glassware.


Since opening its first store in 1991, Total Wine & More has been dedicated to each of the communities in which they serve. Total Wine & More has dedicated more than $20 million in cash and in-kind contributions to local, regional and national non-profit organizations. At the Olympia grand opening, Total Wine & More will donate $10,000 to TOGETHER!, a Thurston County charity dedicated to the prevention of underage drinking.


“There are a few things we really love about opening in new markets: bringing service, price and an incredible selection of locally-produced and hard-to-find labels to our customers, and working to become an integral part of our new community,” said David Trone, who co-owns Total Wine & More with his brother Robert.


Total Wine & More’s Olympia location is open from 9a.m. to 10p.m., seven days a week. Beer and wine tastings will be offered on select days, with spirits tastings expected to begin in early August. A seventh Washington store is set to open in Spokane later this year.

New Robert Parker App

Our new Robert Parker App is now available to download from the Apple App Store,
the Google Play App Store (for Android devices) and the Windows Phone Store.
This App is offered for free and includes our famous Vintage Guide in an all new easy to search
and view format, accessible by anyone that downloads the RP App. Other RP App functions
are currently only available to subscribers of
Subscribers simply need to login on the RP App with their existing account user name and password
to have fast, easy access to the entire database of Wine Advocate reviews –
more than 230,000 original tasting notes and scores with thousands of new reviews added with
each bi-monthly issue. Our ‘Find it Online’ facility is also available on the RP App,
helping users to locate the best prices and nearest retailers of their wine searches.
Users can also view their My Wines cellars via the App, anytime, anywhere.
Although our team has been putting this new App through its paces over the last few weeks,
we would like to stress that this is a Beta release.
Any feedback that users can provide is welcome and will be used to help make this the quickest,
easiest and most comprehensive source of expert wine reviews when you’re on the go!




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