Posts Tagged ‘memorial day’

Our Liquor Industry News/Links 05-23-15

May 23, 2015

Liquor Industry News/Links


By: Mark C Lenzi CSW, CSS, CWAS, QCE*


Happy Memorial Day Weekend

Have A Great

Our Sale Newsletter




NO Alcohol Can Be Sold In Stores

Memorial Day Monday 25th

We Will Be Closed.


Interesting Vote In Hopkinton

Attention Franklin Town Council!!!

Hopkinton selectmen decline beer/wine license.

Based on “Need does not exist” AND “with four other liquor stores already in plan within a two-mile stretch”


Take Care

Franklin Liquors

Mike & Mark




Liquor Industry Week In Review

This Weeks Highlights:

New Products

Winery Maps

What Beer Are You?



10 great beers that you can find just about anywhere

They may not necessarily be the best of the best, but they’re the best that you can find at most liquor stores


? Looking for some beer-obsessed photographers to follow on Instagram?

Red, white, rose, sparkling: Which wine is the healthiest?

Are there certain wine brands that are healthier than others?


Boston Wine Safaris

Tour the Neighborhood, Taste the Wine

Buying wine at Costco

Many wine buyers feel as if Costco doesn’t have a true appreciation for the wine business and the products they sell.

8 Details About Wine That Will Cultivate You

Wine is the classiest beverage in the world. Here are 8 details about wine that will surprise and cultivate your knowledge.










Industries Where Employees Drink The Most

Screen Shot 2015-05-16 at 10.36.19 AM


Wine Maps

Great website for wine map views


Rather than being recycled, why not consider turning your empty bottles into a nifty gadget,


Much has been made about the mythic wind of France known as the Mistral, so often cited as the reason many French wines are so delicious


How Bourbon Became “America’s Native Spirit”

Forget small-batch producers carrying on family traditions. Cutthroat capitalism is what made bourbon “a distinctive product of the United States.

Barrel Aged Beers You Need To Try

Barrel-aging beer has been happening for centuries, yet it’s only recently that the concept has taken hold again with the new breed of extremely experimental craft brewers across the world.


If You Place A Wine Glass Over A Candle, Something Magical Happens

Get ready for the grownup version of pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

NEW 90+ Sangria

Boston-based Latitude Beverage Company, known for its 90+ Cellars wine brand, is introducing a new Sangria label, Mija. Latitude’s Mija Sangria is made with 100% real fruit juice—including pomegranate, açai and Mediterranean blood orange—and retails at around $11 a bottle. The 9.5%-abv entry is packaged in a 750-ml. bottle with a flip top. Mija Sangria is debuting this week at retail in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, Maine, Maryland, Vermont and Washington, D.C


Washington wine industry partners on U.S. Open corporate tent

Next month’s U.S. Open Golf Championship at Chambers Bay west of Tacoma is viewed as the most important sporting event ever staged in Washington state, and the Washington State Wine Commission has made sure many of its best wines will be poured near the 18th tee throughout the tournament.

#DrinkPink: 18 Things Every Rosé Wine Fan Needs to Know

Because when the weather warms up, we like to see the world through Rosé-colored glasses.


Liquor licenses can be liquid asset

According to the State House News Service, the Dracut Democrat floated legislation before a House committee this week

The ultimate test: what beer are you?

Sometimes, you know, there are questions that don’t let go of you your whole life long. Do I work hard enough? Am I good-looking enough? And, of course, the most important question of them all: what beer am I?

I was a Pilsner!


Buffalo Trace has released two 10-year-old French oak barrel aged Bourbons as part of the distillery’s exclusive Experimental Collection.



Brazil happens to be the fifth largest producer of wine in the southern hemisphere behind Chile, South Africa, Australia, and Argentina.

Can White Wine Give You Dandruff?

“Dandruff is caused by an overgrowth of a certain yeast on the scalp,” she says. “And drinking white wine triggers the overgrowth of that yeast in people who are prone to dandruff. It can also exacerbate too-fast skin-cell turnover, which can cause dandruff.”

Gin made with ants: Distillery adds new dimension to insect potential

A UK craft distiller and a Danish food lab have collaborated to produce Anty Gin: a product using the essence of red wood ants and botanicals.


The Jaw-Dropping Wines of South Africa’s Stellenbosch District

Stellenbosch is to South African wine much like Napa is to Californian wine.

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Guess what’s happening this June in Franklin?

A small business scavenger hunt of course! The Ladybug Trek will occur between June 12th- June 30th and will include many local businesses including us!


Participants will use a mobile app to follow clues throughout the participating businesses to complete the hunt. The grand prize will total over $1,000 in gift cards from local businesses. More to come on this event in coming weeks!

This event is sponsored by the Small Shop Co-Op.



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Upcoming Events


Franklin Wine Club Meeting


Wine Explorers wanted!

How To attend and join

June 9th

Wines From Chile

June 16th

Beer Tasting

June 25th

Wines Of Languedoc France

Franklin Adult Education 2015 Classes



Medway Community Education


Tri-County Adult Education 2015


Franklin, MA

Vinitas WineWorks, LLC

Kim M. Simone, Founder and Wine Advisor

We’re an independent wine education and event company, providing unique classes, wine tasting events and personalized consulting. As a professional with a dozen years in the wine business, my favorite part of the job was helping people just like you pick out a great bottle. I’m excited to help you learn about wine in a relaxed environment where you can ask any question, no matter how small or basic.

Next Classes Held In Our Wine Room

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Certified Specialist Of Wine-CSW

Certified Specialist Of Spirits-CSS

Society Of Wine Educators

California Wine Appellation Specialist-CWAS-San Francisco Wine School

Quini Certified Educator- QCE

We have great news for you!

We are partnering with ScanKart to bring Franklin Liquors to your phone. SIGNUP to get early access

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Find The Following for online ordering and in store pick up:

Franklin Wine Club Wines

New Craft Beers

Wines In Our Dispenser

Quini Reviewed Wines

Adult Education Wines

Vinitas Wineworks Selections


Our Wines Are On Vinobly

In The Mood To Try Something New, Or Want A Little Personalized Help In Navigating Our Aisles? Check Out The New Free Vinobly App Which Makes Personalized Recommendations From Wines In Our Store. You Can Find Wine To Pair With Your Meal, Or Take Their Fun 3-Question Palate Profiler Quiz To Get Started

We Are Proud To Now Partner With Vinobly!

Download The App

Find Them Online


Looking For Wine Maps?

The best wine maps in the business!!


Get your complete wine tasting guide disguised as a notebook.

Over 100,000 copies sold worldwide!


De Long’s Wine Grape Varietal Table


All Our Wines Are Reviewed On Quini

Great wine educational and tasting app.

Every wine we taste and stock is on Quini.

Tell us what you think by rating the wines.


Liquor Industry News/Links 5-24-14

May 24, 2014

Liquor Industry News/Links


By: Mark C Lenzi CSW, CSS, CWAS*


Liquor Industry Week In Review


A great backyard BBQ would not be complete without great wine to wash down all the food

Memorial Day Cocktails

Memorial Day is more than just a nice day off of work and an excuse to have a BBQ.



we want to clear up one common misconception that surrounds wine headaches: sulfites do not cause headaches.

Study: Oaky taste lingers longer than fruity, apple flavor in Chardonnay

The oaky taste of Chardonnay fermented in wooden barrels really does linger on taste buds longer than the fruity, apple flavor

New Black Box

Constellation is extending its Black Box wine brand with a new California Pinot Noir offering. Retailing at $24.99 a 3-liter box, the new entry joins 10 other varietals offered by Black Box in 3-liter format (the brand also includes five varietal wines in 500-ml. Tetra Paks).

Constellation says the addition of Pinot Noir to Black Box should help the brand cross 4 million nine-liter cases this year. An Impact “Hot Brand,” Black Box rose 27% to 3.4 million cases last year, and has nearly doubled since 2010. Top competing brand Bota Box, part of DFV Wines’ portfolio, also recently added a Pinot Noir to its stable.

The Balvenie Introduces Its 15 Year Old Single Barrel Sherry Cask Whisky

Limited and Collectable Release Embodies the Delights of Whisky Drawn from an Individual Cask of a Single Distillation



While the big players continue to dominate the global vodka scene, there is a host of craft distilleries driving innovation in the category.




Rap star Pitbull is suing the New Amsterdam Spirits Company over the name of its vodka cocktail, The Pit Bull.


Wine tasting + perfume = disaster

perfume takes a lot away from a really pleasant experience.

Cocktail-Making Robot Promises to Pour ‘Perfect Drinks’

The open-source Barobot is an automated cocktail mixer that can hold up to 12 bottles of liquor at one time


The Rise in Cinnamon Imitators Hasn’t Slowed Fireball Whiskey

Fireball will be one of the top five spirits brands

Selectmen approve Hopkinton MA Farmers Market wine samples

Selectmen approved seasonal liquor licenses for Zoll Cellars Winery of Shrewbury and Vandervalk Farm in Mendon to give out 1-ounce samples of wine


21st May, 2014 by Melita Kiely

Stolichnaya Vodka has launched a new RTD in the US called Stoli Ginger Beer in celebration of the classic Moscow Mule Cocktail.


The Dilemma with Organic vs Non-Organic Wine

Let’s find out why organic wines face a dilemma in the US and what you can do to drink more green.



21st May, 2014 by Lauren May

Three US college students have claimed to have invented the world’s first alcoholic malt beverage capable of preventing a hangover.


Red Wine: It May Stain Your Teeth But It Fights Cavities

What a glass or two of red wine can do to your pearly whites!

Pernod Ricard launches ‘Wise Drinking’ mobile app campaign

Cool new app! Drinks giant Pernod Ricard has launched a free digital application designed to promote responsible

TTB Reconsiders Use of “Estate Bottled” Following a Winery Sale

Interesting read on “estate bottled” rules

Oenophiles Confirm Fruity Flavors Finish First

Wine researchers find that fruity flavors tend to finish quickest on the palate, whereas oaky flavors linger longer–as aficionados have long claimed.

Fountain Aerating Wine Glass Is The McMansion Of Stemware

New wine gadget! The Fountain Aerating Wine Glass is like a modern day Greek fountain


Yuengling will enter Rhode Island in June

D.G. Yuengling & Son, Inc., America’s Oldest Brewery, is pleased to announce that it is expanding the distribution of its highly sought-after brands to the state of Rhode Island.

Beer 101

here’s an overview of some of the most popular styles of beer, plus serving tips to bring out the best in each one.



Scotch whisky continues to be one of the most popular and valuable categories in the spirits industry, but which nations favor it the most? We are #1

Johnny Appleseed Cider


Anheuser-Busch in April unveiled Johnny Appleseed, its first wholly new brand from in eight years. Johnny Appleseed is a refreshingly sweet and intense hard apple cider with a crisp apple bite, the company says. Made in Baldwinsville, NY, with apple juice sourced from apples in the U.S. and around the globe, as well as cider yeast and other natural ingredients, the cider has an ABV of 5.5%. Johnny Appleseed is available nationwide in 12-oz. glass bottles with a twist-off cap in six-packs and 12-packs, and sold individually in 16-oz. and 25-oz. cans. Draught distribution will be available starting this summer.

New Captain Morgan

Captain Morgan rum has introduced a new limited edition. Rolling out this month, Captain Morgan 1671 Commemorative Blend Spiced Rum pays tribute to privateer and brand namesake Captain Henry Morgan, who raided and captured Panama City’s Fort San Lorenzo in 1671. The 35%-abv offering features a blend of spices and is finished in Spanish oak. Captain Morgan 1671 Commemorative Blend Spiced Rum will be available nationwide, priced at $19.99 a 750-ml. Captain Morgan, which also added a new white rum ($15.99) earlier this year, grew U.S. volume 0.9% to 6.4 million cases in 2013, according to Impact Databank.

Why don’t alcoholic drinks have nutrition labels?

Shouldn’t beer, wine, and liquor be subject to at least the same labeling requirements as pomegranate juice?

Don’t Order Wine By The Glass

it’s time to make a big decision: a glass of wine or a bottle?

Best Alcoholic Drinks For Your Diet

A list of the lowest calorie offering for some classic favorites

Roche Bros. earns beer and wine license in Wellesley MA, set to give up Bridgewater license

Wellesley continues to approve licenses for stores hoping to sell beer and wine, adding Roche Bros. and The Cheese Shop in the weeks after awarding its first-ever license to Fells Market.

The big cork debate

THE status of cork as the closure of choice for wine bottles has been under threat for some time.


Infused Vodkas

The craze for flavored spirits seems nowhere near exhausted.

New to America, Pine Liqueur

Liqueur which is made with pinecones


New Evan Williams

Heaven Hill Distilleries is extending Evan Williams Bourbon with the summer release of Evan Williams Kentucky Slush to select test markets. The 12.5%-abv pre-mixed cocktail is made with the brand’s Bourbon along with Lemonade, Orange Juice and Sweet Tea flavors and will retail for about $14.99 a 1.75-liter bottle. Running under the marketing tagline of “For Seriously Refreshing Bourbon … Just Chill,” Kentucky Slush will be available June through August in Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Evan Williams Bourbon earned 2013 Impact “Hot Brand” honors with 15% growth to 1.65 million cases for the year.

What is the best way for a beginner to learn the basics about wine?

People sometimes forget that even the biggest wine expert once was a beginner! –

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Liquor Industry News/Links 5-17-14

May 17, 2014

Liquor Industry News/Links


By: Mark C Lenzi CSW, CSS, CWAS*

Liquor Industry Week In Review

Toast Like You’re at the Preakness

The Kentucky Derby may have the Mint Julep, but the Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown held in Maryland on May 17, is all about the Black Eyed Susan

MA Wine legislation uncorks debate

Another interesting article about MA wine direct shipping.

If you drink wine and care about the planet, cork growers want your attention

production of natural cork has zero waste


How to Sniff and Taste Your Wine Like a Boss

Flavor is a combination of aroma, which is perceived through the nose, and taste, which is perceived in the mouth

Beer Foamer by Norm Architects

promises better pints

A new invention by Danish studio Norm Architects for Menu is designed to try and make your favourite beer taste even better

Mark Wahlberg Is Going From Burgers To Beer In New Reality TV Show Deal!

The Big Brew Theory that will be executive produced by Mark!

What’s the deal with white whiskey?

Lets talk moonshine


‘Whisky: The Manual’ Tells You What To Drink And How

New book by Dave Broom

Alcohol Impairment Chart

This chart is intended as a guide, NOT a guarantee!


The term “Rutherford dust” gets applied to tasting notes of wines from that part of Napa Valley. But what does it really mean?


The complicated business of recreating a wine aroma

How wine aroma happens is both very simple and very, very complicated.

What makes one wine cost more than another?

is the $50 wine really over 200% better than the $15 bottle or are you just paying to finance the winery’s fancy tasting room?


What Do I Need to Learn About Italian Wine?

Nice review of Italian wines

Why Some Wine Smells like a Farmyard

Where do these rustic aromas of farmyard, barnyard, old saddle leather, sweaty socks and cured meat come from?

What You Need To Know About Wine Additives

Did you know that there are a lot of wine additives used in producing wine?

Society Of Wine Educators Revolutionizes Certification Process

The Society of Wine Educators announced that it has entered into an agreement with the Pearson VUE testing centers



13th May, 2014 by Lucy Shaw

Having been credited with reducing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease, a new study has found that resveratrol’s health benefits are a “myth”.


This week a study claimed that the health benefits of resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, could have been grossly overhyped, despite scientists from across the world repeatedly hailing its benefits.

red wine tasting man



After the success of our top 10 ways to recycle a wine barrel, we decided to turn our attention to beer, discovering a host of weird and wonderful ways to transform the humble keg.



12th May, 2014 by Amy Hopkins

Buffalo Trace has claimed that its Bourbon shortages “still remain” and there is “no way to predict” when supply will catch up with booming demand.


9th May, 2014 by Melita Kiely

A US distillery has embarked on an experiment to see if it can breed pigs that taste like whiskey.

MA Gov. Deval Patrick proposes eliminating liquor license cap, mayors respond positively

Gov. Deval Patrick has proposed to eliminate the cap on liquor licenses in communities around the state, and local leaders couldn’t be drunker with delight.

Wine descriptors

descriptions of what to look for in the aromatics and palate flavors of the wine.

10 Things Every Wine Lover Should Know About Robert Mondavi Winery

It’s 10 years since Constellation Brands bought Robert Mondavi Winery. W. Blake Gray pays a visit and discovers Cabernet reigns supreme.


Uproot Wines uses a visual “Flavor Palette” to represent the various notes in each bottle.

instead of a traditional wine label featuring the variety and year, they use a bold color block system on the front of their bottles and move the other information to the back label.


Wente Vineyards Update

;Livermore, California-based Wente Vineyards has revamped the packaging for its flagship wine portfolio. Featuring a more contemporary look and updated color scheme, the Wente Vineyards redesign also places added emphasis on Wente’s Single Vineyard and Estate Grown designations. To better differentiate the two tiers, Single Vineyard labels now include a signature from winemaker Karl Wente, while Estate Grown labels feature a watermark of the Wente family’s Cresta Blanca estate. Debuting later this month, the redesigned packaging will be available at retail nationwide. Along with its eponymous brand, Wente Vineyards—an Impact “Hot Brand” up 16% to 335,000 cases in 2013—the company also produces Entwine, a brand launched in partnership with the Food Network.

Can making your wine listen to music improve its flavour?

Its the latest bonkers trend to come out of the viticulture industry – and although, yes, it’s almost certainly nonsense, it’s no stranger than a lot of ideas kicking around in the wine world

portrait of Joao Nathis, Lagos, Algarve, Portugal. Image shot 2008. Exact date unknown.


A summer reading list for wine fans

What kind of person reads a 620-page book listing all 2,000 native Italian grapes? Or an off-the-wall mystery that involves murder in a vineyard in Provence?

Why, it’s one of us — a wine fan

The most overrated white, red varietals

What other varietals do I regularly find to be overrated?

Book by News’ Beer Nut examines history of Boston brewing

MetroWest Daily News reporter Norman Miller, who pens the Beer Nut column, recently changed tack, however, and shifted his attention backward. His new book, “Boston Beer: A History of Brewing in the Hub,”

Vermont needs credit for new IPA style beer

Whether you love it or hate it, the India pale ale, or IPA for short, continues to get the most coverage of any beer style in the United States

Six Ways To Keep Opened Wine Fresh

What’s the best way to keep an unfinished bottle of wine tasting fresh?


15th May, 2014 by Neal Baker

We’ve all been there – settled down for a picnic with a lovely bottle of red in the hamper, and the realisation dawns that you haven’t packed a corkscrew. But now you need not despair, especially if you have cycled to your secluded spot…

This Buds For You!

Anheuser-Busch InBev has launched new red, white and blue packaging on Budweiser cans and bottles as part of an initiative aimed at helping military families. Using codes on the packaging, consumers can donate $1 to military families. The company expects the codes and contributions from wholesalers to account for up to $3 million in donations, which will provide more than 600 scholarships to families of soldiers killed or disabled in action. Budweiser partnered with the foundation in 2010 and with its wholesalers has raised almost $10 million to date.

New Josh Red Blend

Josh Cellars brand, and is eyeing other opportunities across the burgeoning red blend category. Josh Cellars’ new offering, Legacy, is a blend of Merlot, Zinfandel, Syrah and Petite Sirah that retails at around $15. It joins a brand portfolio that includes Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc varietals ranging from $14-$17 a bottle.

Find Us Online


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Our Latest Specials


Upcoming Events

Franklin Wine Club Meeting


Wine Explorers wanted!

Franklin Liquors Wine Room

How To attend and join

  • Certified Specialist Of Wine-CWS
  • Certified Specialist Of Spirits-CSS

Society Of Wine Educators

Society of Wine Educators

  • California Wine Appellation Specialist-CWAS-San Francisco Wine School



Reminder NO Alcohol Sales On Memorial Day

May 25, 2013


Have A Great


With The Rain This Weekend Please

Don’t Forget When The Sun Shines Monday

ALL Liquors Stores Are CLOSED.


Our Memorial Day Newsletter/Sale


Saturday May 25th 8-9

Sunday May 26th 12 (State Law)-6

Monday May 27th Memorial Day State Law NO ALCOHOL SALES ALLOWED


Uncle Sam Drinking wine

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Wine Of The Day: 2009 Jarhead Red: The Perfect Memorial Day Wine

May 24, 2013

Franklin Liquors

Our Wine Choice For Memorial Day

Wine Glass JPEG


Aromas of Strawberry And Raspberry

Nice Acidity

Light Body

Nice Flavors Of Cherry,Raspberry

Medium To Long Finish

Our Food Pairings:

Grilled Burgers

Grilled Chicken



If Your A Pinot Noir Fan TRY THIS!



Jarhead Red is a wine on a mission to support the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation. True to its name, Jarhead Red boasts a robust character with rich black fruit flavors and a finish that doesn’t quit. This is the 10th vintage of Jarhead Red since the inaugural vintage of 1999.


The 2009 Jarhead Red begins with warm aromas of dried cherry, plum, coffee and cinnamon. The palate is robust yet supple, unfolding with flavors of black cherry, raspberry and cassis. An appealing earthy note joins juicy tannins on a long, balanced finish. This boldly flavored wine is a perfect match for classic American fare, such as peppered steak, barbecued chicken and grilled sausage.


The 2009 Jarhead Red comes exclusively from the Firestone family’s estate vineyards in Santa Barbara County’s Santa Ynez Valley. Small-lot winemaking methods were applied with an emphasis on crafting a bold yet approachable wine. Prior to blending, the individual lots were aged in French oak for 16 months. The Cabernet Franc (69%) brings intensity and structure to the wine, while the Mourvèdre (27%) and Cinsault (4%) contribute added texture and complexity.


ALC/VOL 14.3%
TA .63
PH 3.50
Aged for 16 months in French oak


750ml $7.99

10% Off on 6 Bottles

20% Off on 12 Bottles

Our Memorial Day Newsletter/Sale


Friday May 24th 9-9

Saturday May 25th 8-9

Sunday May 26th 12 (State Law)-6

Monday May 27th Memorial Day State Law NO ALCOHOL SALES ALLOWED

Uncle Sam Drinking wine

Our Website

watermelon and flag

Our Facebook

Our Twitter

Memorial Day Sale And Store Hours

May 24, 2013

Have A Great



Our Memorial Day Newsletter/Sale


Friday May 24th 9-9

Saturday May 25th 8-9

Sunday May 26th 12 (State Law)-6

Monday May 27th Memorial Day State Law NO ALCOHOL SALES ALLOWED

Uncle Sam Drinking wine

Our Website

watermelon and flag

Our Facebook

Our Twitter

Liquor Industry News 5-22-13:Memorial Day Sale

May 22, 2013

Franklin Liquors

Wednesday May 22nd 2013

Industry News And Our Memorial Day Newsletter/Sale Items

SABMiller F13e results preview: Margins under the spotlight       

Source: Barclays

May 21st

Stock Rating/Industry View: Equal Weight / Neutral

Price Target: GBP 38.50

Price (20-MAY-2013): GBP 35.86

Potential Upside/Downside: +7%

Ticker: SAB.L

After a Q4 volume and revenue IMS update on April 18th, SABMiller will release its full year results for the 12 months to end March on May 23rd. We forecast Revenue including associates of US$34,652m and EBITA of US$6,408m, 0.6% below consensus of US$6,447m. Clean EPS is estimated at 238.9 US Cents (consensus 238.7 cents). Although we remain positive on SAB’s medium/long-term top and bottom-line growth delivery, with some risk of disappointment around the H2 13e margin delivery and the F14e margin outlook, the risk/reward on the stock is skewed slightly to the downside in the short-term. After a strong run in SAB, (YTD +27%), we expect the stock may pause for breath and believe better returns can be made in Diageo for now. SABMiller trades on a CY14e PE multiple of 18.5x vs Diageo’s 16.3x.

Investment debate likely to focus on margins: Investor attention at the full year results is likely to focus on the H2 margin delivery and the outlook for F14e. Management’s initial guidance at last year’s full year results for broadly flat margins in F13e was a disappointment to the market. However, the November 2012 interim announcement saw the group beat margin expectations (+30bps in H1), while comments from the CFO that full year 2013e organic margin growth would be in the 25 to 50bps range seemed to increase market confidence in both the return of operational leverage and execution at SABMiller. However, with volume growth through H2 skewed to lower margin markets, and sharp step-ups in marketing and innovation investment, we believe full year organic margin growth may be at the lower end of market estimates. We forecast F13e organic margins +35bps and organic EBITA growth of 9.5%.

Forward looking guidance likely to be limited and COGS a risk given recent FX moves: SABMiller management tends to provide only limited guidance in its outlook statements.  Looking forward, we forecast a combination of volume leverage, Business Capability and Foster’s cost savings to drive c.90bps of organic margin expansion in F14e. While spot price inflation for most raw materials remains benign, (management indicated flat COGS inflation for F14e at the H1 13 results), recent USD/ZAR weakness may lead to higher headline input cost guidance for F14e.

SABMiller F13e Divisional breakdown

Europe: Trading in the group’s European businesses is expected to have been tough in F13e. Although volume growth rates have tended to surprise to the upside on quarterly IMS updates, the price-reset strategy in the region at the beginning of the fiscal year is expected to have reduced EBITA margins by 160bps.

LatAm: After 140bps of organic margin expansion in H1, we forecast that the combination of higher H2 marketing expenses and weaker volumes will have held full year margin expansion to 96bps – only c.50bps in H2.

Australia: In its first full year of consolidation, we expect Foster’s to have contributed US$728m of EBITA; supported by a return of volume growth to the market towards the of the fiscal year.

Business Capability Programme: We estimate the group BCP cost saving programme to have delivered US$91m in the year, (cumulative US$250m).



Source: Nomura

May 22nd


Buy, TP 2400p

Lord Shackleton

The great Lord has published a ‘proper update’ on Diageo looking at the potential story from here over the next couple of years as the new CEO makes his mark. The message is clearly one of ‘evolution not revolution’ but we do expect Menezes to put an even greater focus on emerging markets. Part of this will be driven by M&A and we would expect to see more bolt on deals in local spirits. The stock is not cheap, but what is. It’s certainly not going to stop me buying it with the story robust and in good hands.

We see an evolutionary rather than revolutionary process with the appointment of Ivan Menezes as CEO from 1 July. We expect Mr Menezes to put even greater focus on growth in emerging markets (which we expect to be at least 50% of revenues by 2015, excluding United Spirits) and for M&A to reflect this, with further moves likely in local spirits.

Spirits profit pool growth supports our estimates. Using our spirits industry profit pool growth estimates, we see an acceleration in the growth rates that the company’s geographical exposure should deliver, so the embedded EBIT growth rate of c6% today should accelerate to c7% by 2020. Including market share gains and further cost-cutting moves, we think this can support 8-9% organic EBIT growth, as in our estimates. The wide geographical footprint across emerging markets provides some portfolio protection (we estimate the largest emerging market Nigeria accounts for no more than 4% of EBIT).

M&A opportunity still there. We believe Diageo’s strong balance sheet (estimated net debt/EBITDA of c2x by year-end) offers scope for further M&A activities, especially in local spirits. Longer term, we still see potential for a quantum leap, possibly with Moet-Hennessy.

Diageo trades at a calendarised 2014E P/E of 17.1x vs spirits average of 18.4x. Our TP is unchanged at 2,400p; this includes no benefit from synergies from the United Spirits acquisition and potential for larger Scotch whisky sales India, which we estimate could add a further 60-100p of value per share over time.


The Presidents’ Forum of the Distilled Spirits Industry Position in Support of the 21st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Source: Presidents’ Forum

May 21st

Alcohol is a unique product whose position in global society requires careful management, well thought out and executed regulatory regimes.

The Presidents’ Forum of the Distilled Spirits Industry and its members support an appropriately regulated industry.

In particular, the Presidents’ Forum of the Distilled Spirits Industry supports the 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution resulting three-tier and control state systems.

The 21st amendment has succeeded in its purpose to reintegrate alcohol into American society in the least impactful way and, while not perfect, its resulting system of state-based government controls, regulations, three-tier and control state systems continues to this day to protect American society while providing a competitive marketplace for alcohol with low barriers to entry.

About Presidents’ Forum:

The Presidents’ Forum of the Distilled Spirits Industry is an organization comprised of leading companies with common needs and interests in the manufacturing, importing, and marketing of distilled spirits products in the United States and around the world. Our companies represent approximately fifty percent of all distilled spirits sales in the United States.


Winemakers must do more to tackle fraud


Source: Harpers

Written by Ed Robertson

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Winemakers should act now to prevent fraudsters creating counterfeits of their products, according to Geert de Vries of KPMG.

Speaking today at the London International Wine Fair 2013 at ExCeL, London, de Vries, who works for KPMG’s risk services unit, said counterfeit alcohol costs the industry about £1 billion a year and accounts for up to 8% of all global beverage sales. The threat is only going to grow, he added.

With Brussels considering introducing new laws by 2020 requiring every bottle of alcohol to carry a unique code, he urged the industry to take action now.

De Vries said: “We can be sure that it [legislation] will come as it is the only way to deal with illicit trade.”

He added that by tackling fraud now, the drinks trade can not only save money but, far more importantly, can avoid reputational damage.

However, de Vries added that using unique QR codes, which can be scanned by a smartphone, is a far better way of tackling fraud than using special inks or holograms on the label.

He said not only are the codes effectively impossible for fraudsters to counterfeit but they also allow manufacturers to pinpoint the area where illegal copies are being sold.

De Vries added that using QR codes will also allow wine companies to start a dialogue with their customers which can also prove an effective marketing tool.

He said: “Having dialogue with customers is incredibly important.”


QR codes can halt counterfeiting – expert (Excerpt)

Source: Just-Drinks

By Andy Morton

21 May 2013

Unique QR codes on alcohol packaging are the only way to eradicate fakes, a counterfeit expert has said.

Geert de Vries, from KPMG’s risk services unit, said today (21 May) that technology such as holograms, and special ink are “relatively useless”. However, QR codes scanned in-store by consumers can instantly alert producers to where fakes are being sold.

“(QR codes) will grow to be enormous,” de Vries said in a seminar at the London International Wine Fair. “The whole illicit trade can be stopped by unique codes.”

De Vries added that the European Union plans to introduce laws that ensure all alcoholic packaging carries a unique code. He said the laws will follow the introduction in 2017 of codes on pharmaceutical packaging, and could be in place by 2020.


Coping with brand management: Diageo’s story


Alcoholic beverage giant Diageo talks to CMO about how its SmartBrand asset management platform has driven cost efficiencies and collaboration while still meeting rigorous alcohol advertising laws

Source: CMO

Nadia Cameron

22 May, 2013

Managing the brand assets of a company the size of alcoholic beverage giant Diageo is no mean feat. Rising sensitivity and complex legal requirements around how alcohol is marketed globally make it an even bigger challenge.

But the adoption and enhancement of an end-to-end digital asset management solution is helping to drive better collaboration across marketing creative and brand information in both a responsible and more cost-effective way.

With net sales of close to £10 billion, and more than 25,000 employees covering 180 territories globally, Diageo’s culture is diverse and its brand assets vast. The business was established in 1999 off the back of a series of mergers and acquisitions and now represents 370 brands including Smirnoff, Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Captain Morgan, Baileys and J&B.

Diageo first started working on asset management a decade ago, but the technology platform has gained both importance and significant new capabilities in the last two years as the global mandate for compliance beefed up. The company’s annual marketing spend tops US$1.5bn globally.

Diageo’s global brand asset management lead, Stephen McKillop, oversees SmartBrand, an end-to-end asset and rights management platform built using the Unify marketing application platform now owned by UK-based asset software vendor, North Plains. The company acquired Unify when it purchased management resource management vendor, Vyre, in December.

The SmartBrand project sits within the procurement division but is fully funded by the global marketing function led by Diageo CMO, Andy Fennel. It is mandated worldwide and acts as both a central repository for brand assets as well as a rights management platform, enabling internal staff and their agencies to view, approve and manage assets.

The initial impetus for SmartBrand was to reduce the risk of brand asset misuse and associated costs. “Any big organisation with multiple brands is always going to have first of all the difficulty in housing or sourcing assets,” McKillop told CMO. “The legal and marketing teams wanted a secure and locked down repository for our growing number of brand assets.

“We produce alcoholic goods, which are sensitive products, and we’re very proud of the Diageo marketing code. To make sure we are compliant with that in each and every country we operate in, so we needed an approval process where every piece of activity going forward to consumer was visible and signed off by appropriate approvers. We then decided to marry the asset library and approval tool together to create what we call ‘SmartBrand’.”

The SmartApprove component allows individual project owners to create a project, align agencies and approvers, upload low-resolution materials, request and receive approval, and fulfil that project. It then switches into the asset library and rights management piece, where agency partners provide commercial usage agreements, give Diageo marketers the rights to use and adapt those materials, then upload high-resolution materials to be processed into the library and made live.

Today, more than 8000 agencies use the asset library, and 5760 Diageo staff use SmartApprove.

Latest innovations

The biggest enhancement to SmartBrand this year is the ability for users to start adapting assets in the library. These capabilities will initially be restricted to adjusting templates for things like local pricing and menus, but the intention is to allow users to also adjust brand text in the future.

Diageo will first roll-out ‘SmartAdapt’ in Asia-Pacific to create regional menus, a process which previously had to be done by external suppliers and added unnecessary cost and usage right concerns, McKillop said.

“We have all these third-party solutions doing various elements of this but had little control over it,” he said. “There was a potential to use assets without correct usage rights or employ the right materials in the wrong way, which is clearly a risk.

“We want to launch adapt capabilities very carefully and sensitively. As we get better at it, we’ll allow people to start making customisations to text, which will need to be brought into the approval process. But in the first instance it’s about taking some of the wonderful assets we have and redeploying in them different regions.”

McKillop is starting with the smaller regions first and said it was important for his team to ensure adequate support, training mechanisms and server capacity before going global.

Other recent changes to SmartBrand include an overhaul of the user interface and dashboard, along with news stories and lightbox links. Secure collaboration tools have also been added to help the Diageo teams interact with multiple agencies on project development. An intuitive library search using predictive text and categorisation has also been deployed.

Sticking to the core objective

As the need for greater compliance and ensuring our marketing code is adhered to, the need for SmartBrand grows. “As we have become bigger and better and the library has filled up, we have a greater need for people to access that material, reuse it and adapt it,” he said.

While he’s keen to ensure SmartBrand sticks to its remit of end-to-end asset management, there are still further innovations on the cards. For example, McKillop said his team hoped to track brand assets better in the future, to see what happens once they have been downloaded.

It’s also important to remain on top of the compliance and legal aspects of brand assets. “It has become a harder environment in which to sell alcohol,” McKillop said. “We are a highly responsible company with no interest in doing otherwise. To make sure we do, our mandate has become stronger.”

McKillop agreed there was rising demand for faster approval and asset access processes, a reflection of the need for marketers to become more agile and respond to consumers in as real-time a way as possible.

“We do get requests that things have to be done today or uploaded today and we respond as best we can. It’s as much about having a great support team as a great tool,” he claimed. “We have had to adapt to people’s needs and so we have started to provide training in different languages, and make sure we have in-timezone support.

“SmartBrand is a mandated tool, so people will never love it, but we make it clear we will listen to people’s requests. If it’s beneficial to the wider community of users, we will implement those subject to budget. We do that all the time and adapt.”


Johnnie Walker whisky is named world’s leading alcoholic drink

Source: STV

21 May 2013

Scotch whisky Johnnie Walker has been named the world’s leading alcoholic drink in an annual league table.

The brand, which originated in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, has overtaken Smirnoff vodka thanks to growing demand in China and Eastern Europe, industry experts said.

The Diageo-owned whisky came out on top in the Power 100 annual survey of world drinks brands.

Nearly 10,000 brands of spirits and wines are researched to draw up a list of the 100 most powerful.

Drinks are rated by criteria including share of the market, potential for future growth and customer awareness.

Stuart Whitwell, of Intangible Business, which produces the Power 100, said: “The growth of Scotch whisky is mostly down to the rising middle classes in China whose thirst for premium brands reflects growing aspirations.”

Diaego moved production from the brand’s original home in Ayrshire to plants in Leven, Fife, and Shieldhall, Glasgow in 2009.


Scotch whisky’s 25% sales slump in France ‘quite surprising’: Analyst


Source: Beverage Daily

By Ben Bouckley


Mintel analyst Chris Wisson tells that a 2012 slump in Scotch whisky exports to France is ‘quite surprising’ but insists the category’s global future remains bright.

April Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) data on 2012 exports reveals that exports fell markedly in 2012, down 70m bottles, despite a slight value sales increase to £4.3bn ($6.5bn).

The SWA blamed punitive taxation for the downturn, but market research firm Mintel said the 25% decline in exports to France was particularly problematic, since the nation is the largest export market for the category in

volume terms.

“The French figures are quite surprising, and I think that’s possibly less to do with the drink itself. That’s because another category (wine) has also seen a real downturn in usage among French consumers,” Mintel senior food and beverage analyst Wisson said.

“I think that the decline will slow, and it’s probably not indicative of a massive turn away from Scotch from the French consumer. But it’s probably more reflective of more health-conscious attitudes,” he added.

‘Not too difficult to join up the dots’

Noting gloomy French economic sentiment – and new taxes affecting Scotch in 2013 -Wisson explained that Scotch was also abig investment for consumers at £10-15 per bottle.

“That’s why Spain’s down massively as well. Two big countries that are struggling financially are massively down in Scotch sales. It’s not too difficult to join up the dots there really,” he said.

Despite the growing popularity of more affordable American whiskies such as Four Roses and Jack Daniel’s, Wisson said Scotch should “guard against trying to compete with those guys too closely”.

“Scotch has obviously got the history and the reputation, it’s made there according to certain process. If you were to lose that you’d struggle to compete with the likes of Jack Daniel’s, Red Stagg etc.,” he said.

But due to the Eurozone’s struggles, Wisson predicts that more affordable blended Scotch whiskies could come to the fore in markets such as France, Spain and even the UK, “while the typically costlier single malts are likely to grow at a quicker rate in emerging global markets with burgeoning middle class populations”.

Going to the dark (spirits) side: Flavor extensions

Wisson said the main global market threat to Scotch was the rise of flavored whiskies and dark rums, and cited Bacardi’s March launch of a honey-flavored Scotch-style in the US called Dewar’s Highlander Honey, although he said it can’t be marketed as a ‘Scotch’.

Such products were proving a lot more popular with younger drinkers, bringing in many more 18-24s and under 35s in general into the category, Wisson said.

“These flavour extensions seem to be driving a lot of growth in dark spirits, and golden and dark rum in much smaller than whiskey but it’s showing much stronger annual growth – simply because it’s a bit more fun, a bit less intimidating,” he said.

“I think many younger drinkers find whiskey a bit of an acquired taste, and a difficult thing to get into at that age.

Flavors take the edge of it and make it a bit more accessible,” he added.

But I think dark spirits as a whole category, if they’re going to continue to look at that, then they need to steer clear of some of these crazy vodka flavors such as ice cream or even fish!

Predicting a bright long-term future for Scotch, Wisson pointed to recent distillery investments from the likes of Chivas Brothers and Diageo to cater for future demand, specifically in single malts with their premium appeal in markets such as China and India.

And while the UK home market – 25m bottles in 2012 – remained crucial, Wisson said the Scotch’s wider success may depend on markets such as the US, Venezuela, Mexico and Eastern Europe, “which may also provide significant growth opportunities in coming years”.


Drop in Scottish alcohol sales ‘due to multi-buy ban’

Wine in a supermarket Multi-buy alcohol promotions have been banned since October 2011

Source: BBC News

May 21st

The amount of alcohol sold in Scottish shops has fallen by 2.6% in the year since multi-buy promotions were banned, according to research.

A report by NHS Scotland and Glasgow University claimed the Alcohol Act was responsible for a 4% drop in wine sales and an 8.5% cut in pre-mixed drinks.

The act, introduced in October 2011, placed restrictions on how alcohol could be displayed and promoted.

Researchers said all potential reasons for the fall were taken into account.

Dr Jim Lewsey, from the University of Glasgow and co-author of Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy, said: “Similar declines were not observed in England and Wales, where the Alcohol Act does not apply.

“The possible impacts of other factors, such as changes in income and alcohol prices, were taken into account.

“This provides evidence that the effects were associated with the act and not some other factor.”

Incentive removed

Mark Robinson, from NHS Health Scotland and study lead, said some retailers had responded to the multi-buy discount ban by selling individual bottles of wine for £3.33 instead of offering three bottles for £10.

He said: “However, the incentive for people to buy more alcohol than they may otherwise have bought was removed and wine sales decreased.”

He warned that despite the cut in sales, alcohol consumption remained high and alcohol was still sold at low prices.

“There is good evidence to show that the positive effects of the Alcohol Act would be enhanced by minimum unit pricing, which would prevent the sale of cheap, high strength alcohol,” he said.

The report’s interpretation of the figures has been disputed by the drinks industry.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: “This report fails to show any evidence of the impact of Scotland’s ban on multi-buy restrictions on tackling alcohol misuse.

“The drop in sales of 2.6% attributed to the ban was described as ‘statistically non-significant’ by the researchers.

“The report acknowledges that there is currently no direct evidence linking multi-buy promotion to alcohol consumption in the off-trade.”


Wanna vote for your favorite wine blog? Here’s how

Source: San Francisco Business Times

Chris Rauber

May 21st

Thirty finalists (some in multiple categories) in the 7th Annual Wine Blog Awards were announced Tuesday, including top wine business blog finalists The Gray Report, The Wine Curmudgeon, The Academic Wino, Horsemaster of Wine, and Fermentation: The Daily Wine Blog.

The Wine Blog Awards will be presented at the 2013 Wine Bloggers Conference in Penticton, British Columbia, on June 8. To cast a vote for the top wine business blog, or to pick a winner in any of eight other categories, go to the Wine Blog site, which also has links to all 30 finalists in nine categories.

Votes will be counted until May 24.

The awards are administered by Joel Vincent, founder of the Wine Bloggers Conference, in collaboration with the conference.

Other categories inlcude Best Blog Post of the Year, Best Original Photography or Video on a Wine Blog, Best Wine Reviews on a Wine Blog, Best Single Subject Wine Blog, Best Winery Blog, Best Writing on a Wine Blog, Best New Wine Blog and Best Overall Wine Blog.

Among the other finalists: Chasing the Vine, Wines of Croatia, New York Cork Report, Been Doon So Long, and Jameson Fink.


China may probe EU wine: report


Source: Eastday


China is likely to make substantive moves this year toward initiating an anti-dumping investigation into wine imported from the eurozone, the China Security Journal reported on Tuesday.

The government may take a further step in pushing the probe in response to a strong call from the domestic wine industry and a string of anti-dumping cases brought by the European Union (EU) against Chinese products, the report quoted insiders as saying.

The Chinese Alcoholic Drinks Association announced last August that it had submitted a petition to the Ministry of Commerce, calling for an anti-dumping investigation regarding wine imported from the EU.

Chinese wine producers have been squeezed by stiff competition from their strong overseas counterparts and a persistent slump in their home market.

Exports now make up nearly one-third of China’s liquor market. Wine from the EU took up 58.7 percent of China’s wine imports in the first two months of 2013, customs data showed.

Most Chinese winemakers have posted disappointing financial figures. Yantai Changyu Pioneer Wine Co., a leading domestic wine brand, saw its business revenue and profit drop 3.34 percent and 5.57 percent year on year, respectively, in the first quarter of 2013, according to the company’s quarterly report.

Inspired by the prospect of anti-dumping investigations, China’s winemakers posted big gains in the stock market on Monday. Changyu rose by 7.44 percent to 42.33 yuan on Monday and shed a slight 1.23 percent on Tuesday.

China became the world’s fifth-largest consumer of wine in 2011 and is poised to become the second-largest liquor importer by 2015, according to International Wine &Spirit Research.


Three new Masters of Wine announced

Source: the drinks business

by Andy Young

21st May, 2013

The Institute of Masters of Wine has announced three new Masters of Wine in the US and Australia, including only the fourth-ever double Master.

Institute of Masters of WineAlison Eisermann Ctercteko MW, from Sydney, Adam Lapierre MW, of San Francisco and Eric Hemer MW MS, from Lake Worth, Florida, have all now been admitted to the Institute as members.

Hemer becomes the fourth person to be awarded both the MW and and Master Sommelier qualification. The three other double Masters – Gerard Basset MW MS, Doug Frost MW MS, and Ronn Wiegand MW MS – also became Master Sommeliers before going on to achieve the title of Master of Wine.

Hemer is the educational director for Southern Wine & Spirits in Florida and teaches the Wine Certificate course at Florida International University. In addition to this he also organises and conducts wine seminars and judges competitions. Hemer’s dissertation was entitled: “What’s next for Argentina: can Bonarda achieve success in the United States on-trade market?”

Ctercteko is a wine educator and winemaker, who established and managed the Monument vineyard in Central New South Wales. She has also been a panel chair at the International Wine Challenge for the past six years, and lectures at the Sydney Wine Academy.

The title of Ctercteko’s dissertation was: “Monitoring the incidence and nature of screwcap closure damage, its effect on aromatic wine quality and the implications for storage and handling: an investigation of Sauvignon Blanc.”

Lapierre, who is the national sales manager (Fine Wine Division) at Frederick Wildman and Sons, began his career working for a large winery in New York’s Finger Lakes Region. This start, as well as time spent in the cellars ignited his deep interest in wine, eventually leading him to California, where since his arrival he has risen through the ranks at his employer to his current position.

Lapierre wrote his dissertation on: “Factors affecting brand loyalty among sommeliers in San Francisco, California”.

Penny Richards, executive director of the Institute, said: “We are delighted to welcome Adam, Alison, and Eric as the first new Masters of Wine of this, our 60th Anniversary Year.

“We are intensely proud of the commitment and application they have shown in achieving their success, and we hope to able to celebrate with them at our Annual Reception and Awards ceremony in London later this year. Well done to all of them.”


LAURENT-PERRIER (=) FY 13 Results on 28 May


Source: Exane BNP

May 21st

TP: EUR69 . Upside: 9%

Beverages (-) . France . Price (17 May. 13): EUR63.5

We expect 0.4% volume and -0.2% price/mix growth in FY13 but see downside risk

In line with the guidance for renewed growth in Q4 we expect positive volume growth in FY13 and a flat price/mix, with 6.6% growth in revenue in Q4 (the thinnest trading quarter for Laurent-Perrier). However, we see downside risk to these estimates – even though our FY13 sales estimate is already the lowest of consensus – given the recent weak industry data (global volumes down 3.8% in calendar Q1, -6.9% for champagne houses).

Guidance for strong performance outside Europe implies LP may have gained share

Laurent-Perrier’s guidance for ‘renewed growth’ in Q4 is dependent on a ‘strong performance in non-European markets’ that usually account for a higher share of sales in Q4. We note, however, that champagne houses as a whole grew volumes by just 1% in the period in non-European countries.

Higher A&P and administrative costs will dilute EBIT margin by 280bp

Much of the margin deterioration in H1 was due to the lower yield on the group’s own harvest, something that will not be repeated in H2. However, a 17% rise in A&P (in line with the guidance) and the higher administrative costs that we expect will lead to a 280bp margin dilution in FY13.

No conference call – Analyst meeting on Tue 28 May 2013 at 8:30 CET


The Bottled Asset Fund (BAF) Acquires Biondi-Santi Wine Collection


Source: Newsday

May 21, 2013

World’s Only Italian-Focused Wine Investment Fund Announces Largest Single Purchase in History of Italian Wine

The Bottled Asset Fund (BAF), the wine investment fund launched in 2010 and directed by Sergio Esposito, a leading authority on Italian wine, today announced the acquisition of a historic collection of vintages of Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino valued at $5 million (?4 million). This 7,000-bottle acquisition spans 1945-1975 and includes hundreds of bottles of the cult 1955 and 1964 vintages, representing a unique addition to the BAF portfolio. It is the largest vertical collection sale in history of “blue chip” Italian wines from a single source and with perfect provenance, as well as the largest single purchase in the history of Italian wine.

The deal was struck on March 19, 2013, only a few weeks before the sad passing of Franco Biondi-Santi on April 7th, 2013. Mr. Biondi-Santi was the fourth generation patriarch of one of the world’s most important winemaking families. The Biondi-Santi estate is widely recognized as the creator of Italy’s most important wine, Brunello di Montalcino, and, more importantly, it almost single-handedly introduced wines for long-term ageing to Italian wine culture. The family was the first to adopt the “Bordeaux model,” whereby wines are re-tasted and re-corked every few years, often with media present to extend their brand exposure. This model fosters a much higher quality that leads to greater market exposure and price appreciation over the long-term. At the time of Biondi-Santi’s adoption of the model, the protocol was unique for Italian wines.

“Biondi-Santi’s collection is legendary,” said Mr. Esposito, Director of the BAF’s investment board and Founder and CEO of Italian Wine Merchants, the premier Italian wine consultant in the US. “I’m highly confident that we reached a fantastic deal for our investors and for Italy itself. The quality of these bottles directly from cellar is incredible and their value will undoubtedly increase throughout the years as they are an Italian natural treasure.” Mr. Esposito’s long-term goal is to elevate the status of Italian wine as an investment asset, creating consistency, transparency and objective value in the Italian wine market.

The market for Italian wine is growing globally, with export markets, especially Asia, driving up value. The BAF value is currently seeing stunning profits, upwards of 30% and is projected to return profits to its investors, net of fees, of over 30%. By the end of 2013, Vino Management Corporation, the administrative body behind BAF, plans to launch another fund with the goal to commit $25 million.


Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards finalists revealed


Source: The Spirits Business

by Becky Paskin

21st May, 2013

Tales of the Cocktail has revealed the 180 international bars, bartenders, drinks writers, brand ambassadors and drinks experts nominated as part of the seventh annual Spirited Awards 2013.

The winners of the 2013 Spirited Awards will be revealed at Tales of the Cocktail

Recognising those that “represent the cocktail industry in exciting new spotlights”, the Spirited Awards will take place on 20 July during the annual Tales of the Cocktail festival (17-21 July) in New Orleans.

Ten finalists across 18 categories have been selected by American and International judging committees comprised of industry experts, although only the top four from each group, announced on 7 June, will be invited to the grand final at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.

“Clearly the nominees for the 2013 Spirited Awards represent the best of the best in our industry,” said Paul Tuennerman, co-founder of Tales of the Cocktail. “Regardless of who the winner is, being recognized by one’s peers, above all, is simply put, an honor in its own right.”

The winner of each category will receive a Riedel Crystal trophy.


ABL Announces Business Seminar: “Digital Success – It’s in Your Own Backyard”

New conference program will discuss how simple technologies can expand a retailer’s customer base

Source: ABL

May 21st

American Beverage Licensees (ABL) announced today that it will host “Digital Success – It’s in Your Own Backyard,” a seminar on eCommerce outreach as part of the ABL Annual Conference on June 9, 2013. Beverage Media has been providing communication services to the industry in both print and online for decades. The seminar will be conducted by James Laurenti, eCommerce Manager.

“With the explosion of new brands in our industry today, managing shelves is critical, but it is just as important for retailers to manage the face they present to customers through their website,” explained Beverage Media Chairman William Slone, who will also be participating in the discussion. “Through our close relationship with the trade we can offer substantial content and provide straightforward guidance to retailers both experienced and just getting started with eCommerce,” he added.

James Laurenti explained, “About a decade ago, when many of the first wine retailers created websites to sell their inventory online, the goal usually was to sell wine to consumers in whatever states they could, and to take advantage of the sparse competition on the internet. Today, however, the online marketplace is far more crowded, and the retailer’s ripest opportunities to attract repeat, loyal customers exist in their local market.”

Mr. Laurenti will detail why a retailer’s eCommerce should be approached not as a separate business, but as an extension to a brick-and-mortar store. In particular, stores can use their websites to help target new local consumers who haven’t previously shopped with the store-a segment that represents the best opportunity to grow the existing loyal customer base.

This session is scheduled for 10:00AM, Sunday, June 9, 2013. The primary emphasis is on retailer websites, but all convention registrants are welcome.

For more information about the 2013 ABL Annual Conference or to register, visit us online at


Red Robin 1st-Quarter Net Falls 10% on Higher Costs


Source: WSJ

By Saabira Chaudhuri

May 21st

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc.’s (RRGB) fiscal first-quarter profit fell 10% as the casual dining restaurant chain reported higher costs and expenses.

Red Robin has been changing its advertising, cutting costs, ramping up a loyalty program and increasing its bar business as part of a turnaround plan. Like the rest of the restaurant sector, Red Robin faces increasing pressure from commodity inflation and more cost-conscious consumers.

Ahead of the company’s quarterly report, analysts at B. Riley said they wouldn’t be surprised to see revenue upside given that the first quarter had 16 weeks versus the 13 weeks that most peers had.

On Tuesday, Chief Executive Steve Carley said seasonality shifts from changes in the company’s reporting period and media timing had a negative impact on guest traffic and earnings in the first quarter this year. Still, he said Red Robin remains encouraged by its strong guest counts relative to the casual dining category as a whole.

For the quarter ended April 21, Red Robin posted a profit of $9.48 million, or 66 cents a share, versus $10.6 million, or 71 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue increased 2.3% to $306.3 million. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters were expecting earnings of 66 cents a share on revenue of $306 million.

Costs and expenses rose 3.2% to $292.8 million, driven by rises in general and administrative among other items.

Same-store sales at company-owned restaurants rose 2.2%, marking Red Robin’s 11th consecutive quarter of same-store sales growth.

Guest counts decreased 0.6% on a comparable basis, while average guest check increased 2.8%.

Restaurant-level operating margin at company-owned locations widened to 21.5% from 21.2%.

Red Robin shares closed Monday at $49.01 and were inactive in recent premarket trading. The stock has risen 53% in the past 12 months.


Brinker to create Canadian subsidiary


Company to buy back 11 Chili’s Grill & Bar units from franchisee

Source: NRN

Ron Ruggless

May 21, 2013

Brinker International Inc. said on Tuesday that it has agreed to buy back 11 existing Chili’s Grill & Bar units in Canada from its first international franchisee and is creating a Canadian subsidiary.

The 11 Chili’s, in the Canadian province of Alberta, are being purchased from Speedy Creek Ltd. of Edmonton, which first opened the brand in Canada in 1991. The deal is expected to close in June.

Those Alberta casual-dining units generate about $35 million in annual sales, Brinker said.

“For more than 20 years, Chili’s has been delivering signature favorites to Canadian guests and with this new agreement will continue to do so while Brinker accelerates the expansion of the brand in the region,” said Guy Constant, Brinker’s chief financial officer and president of global business development.

In addition to the 11 restaurants, Brinker said it will retain the Speedy Creek management team.

The company said Gerry Inglis, who has led Speedy Creek since the partnership began in 1991, will continue to oversee the acquired restaurants as president of Brinker’s Canadian subsidiary.

“The strength of the team and market presence established by Gerry will prove invaluable as we strategically develop Chili’s in a country eager for iconic brands from their neighbor to the south,” Constant said in a statement.

Brinker owns and franchises nearly 1,600 restaurants in 33 nations and two territories under the Chili’s and Maggiano’s Little Italy flags.


NRF opposes credit card swipe fee settlement


Source: RT

May 21, 2013

The National Retail Federation has announced plans to formally oppose a proposed settlement of a federal antitrust lawsuit over credit card swipe fees charged by Visa and MasterCard. NRF is also urging retailers to carefully consider their own decisions before next week’s deadline set by the court.

“The proposed settlement does nothing to bring swipe fees under control, and would give Visa and MasterCard a legal blessing to continue their abuse of merchants and consumers indefinitely,” NRF SVP and general counsel Mallory Duncan said. “No settlement at all would be better than this one-sided ‘agreement’ written by the card companies for the card companies that would tie retailers’ hands for decades to come.”

While many retailers have already filed paperwork with the U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, N.Y., opposing the settlement, many small retailers have yet to act. Retailers who oppose the plan have until May 28 to say whether they will opt out of the money offered and accompanying restrictions on future legal action, object to proposed injunctive relief that comes with additional restrictions or – as NRF plans – do both. Under the class action terms of the proposed agreement, retailers who do not opt out by the deadline will automatically be considered to have accepted the settlement, and will give up the right to file future lawsuits over the fees and other restrictive rules.

NRF believes the proposed settlement fails to reform the price-fixing system under which Visa and MasterCard set the schedule of swipe fees followed by the thousands of banks that issue their credit cards. The organization also believes the proposed settlement fails to introduce transparency that would lead to competition to lower the fees. Rather than lowering the fees, the card companies have proposed that the fees be passed along to consumers in the form of a surcharge, even though most major retailers have rejected surcharges as the opposite of what they have sought during the years-long fight over swipe fees.

Retailers who do not opt out – and thereby become fully bound by the restrictions of the agreement – will be eligible for a share of $7.25 billion. But the figure amounts to less than three months’ worth of swipe fee charges, and the small retailers hit hardest by the fees would give up their rights for as little as a few hundred dollars.

The suit was brought in 2005 by 19 trade associations and individual retail companies, but a majority – including all six trade associations – rejected the settlement when it was proposed last summer. NRF, like most retailers, is not a party to the lawsuit, but has led the retail industry’s opposition to the settlement because NRF member companies would be dragged into its terms as part of the class action.

Averaging about 2%, swipe fees are a percentage of the transaction taken by banks each time a consumer swipes a credit card to pay for a purchase, and total about $30 billion a year nationwide. The fees have tripled over the past decade, and drive prices up for the average household by more than $250 per year.


Illinois: Lake Forest eliminates ban on gas-station liquor sales


Source: Lake Forest Tribune

By Danielle Gensburg

May 21, 2013

Lake Forest’s City Council approved revisions to its liquor code Monday, changes that included removing a ban on alcohol sales at gas stations.

The revisions also called for language prohibiting aldermen and city officials from simultaneously sitting on a board and holding a liquor license, as well as limiting the number of events for off-premise liquor sales.

Much of the debate Monday night focused on allowing gas stations to petition for licenses, with some city officials saying they were concerned that removing the ban would not be consistent with the character of Lake Forest.

“A gas station is a very different business from a grocery store, Walgreens or CVS,” said Ald. Catherine Waldeck of the 1st Ward. “I don’t want to see our gas stations turn into a stop-and-go liquor store. I don’t like that, and I think it adversely effects who we are.”

Ald. David Moore, 2nd, and Ald. Michael Adelman, 4th, said they were opposed to having a code that excludes or eliminates a specific group of applicants from applying for a liquor license.

“If we start passing legislation on the quote, unquote ‘character’ of Lake Forest, then we’re going to get into trouble,” Adelman said.

Moore added that he initially became involved in city government because he disagreed with earlier decisions and opinions related to not allowing McDonald’s or Costco in the area, decisions he said also were based on the idea of preserving the city’s character.

“It’s wrong for the city to eliminate a class of applicants that the liquor commissioner-with the normal review process of granting or denying these licenses-could apply to anybody,” Moore said.

Andy Duran, executive director of LEAD/SpeakUP, an organization in Lake Forest dedicated to preventing risky behavior-such as alcohol and drug use-among young people, spoke at the meeting against allowing alcohol sales at the Shell gas station on the corner of Deerpath Road and Oakwood Avenue.

“This particular gas station is frequented often by youth walking into town from both Deerpath Middle School and the School of St. Mary everyday, after school,” Duran said in an email. “Granting a liquor license to the Shell station would make the amount of liquor-selling retail establishments in this area very dense.”

At the meeting, Duran said nearly 50 percent of the high school’s senior class participates in binge drinking every two weeks and asked the city council to help prevent this and protect the community’s youth.

Bill Loumbardias, the owner of the Shell station on East Deerpath Road, is seeking a liquor license to sell beer and wine. He said he is happy with the city council’s decision and hopes they will grant him the license after reviewing his plans and security measures.

“The City Council is great in that they understand the position of businesses, especially ones that have been here for 10 years,” Loumbardias said. “I’ve been here for such a long time and customers want it, so [it’s] great news.”


North Carolina: No go on liquid nitrogen cocktails, ABC tells Charlotte’s Bubble


Source: Charlotte Observer

By Helen Schwab

Monday, May. 20, 2013

So, no liquid nitrogen cocktails after all.

The N.C. ABC Commission has decided that, although it couldn’t find any rules or regulations that expressly prohibit the use of the 321-degrees-below-zero substance in alcoholic beverages, it does have “broad powers to protect public health and safety,” said public affairs director Agnes Stevens.

So Bubble, which opened to the public Friday at the EpiCentre in uptown Charlotte, was sent an official notice that day, Stevens said Monday. If the commission gets a report from law enforcement officers that the place is serving its advertised N-tini, “or any other potentially hazardous alcoholic drink (such as a Flaming Alcohol Shot),” Bubble’s temporary alcoholic beverage permit “may be suspended or rejected,” according to the notice from deputy administrator Robert Hamilton.

Stevens said Bubble’s co-owner told an Alcohol Law Enforcement officer the restaurant would not serve the drinks. Bubble representatives could not be reached for comment on Monday for this story.

Last October, a British teen had her stomach removed after consuming two cocktails made with liquid nitrogen; an episode this month of the TV show “Grey’s Anatomy” brought the drinks back into conversation with a plotline echoing the British story.

Culinary and bar professionals and a toxicologist with the North Carolina poison center have said using liquid nitrogen in a way that allows any chance of consumption is dangerous.

The ABC Commission’s letter said the action is needed “due to the health, welfare and safety issues that would be directly related to these drinks.”

The commission’s letter specified the dangers of inhalation – “potential health effects that include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, suffocation, convulsions and coma” – and skin contact, which “can cause blisters and frostbite.”

The letter also said the commission is aware of injuries sustained by customers consuming drinks infused with liquid nitrogen.

Stevens said the letter was addressed to Bob Durkin, in whose name the permit is held, and was hand-delivered Friday by an ALE officer to co-owner Jim Kleinberg and general manager Bourke Floyd.

“The commission’s authority . allows discretion to protect the public from these kinds of dangerous activities, particularly for locations that are in the application/temporary permit status,” said Stevens. “This location has temporary permits.”


Texas: More dry Sundays for Texas after liquor bill left to die in committee


Source: Dallas Morning News

By Ralph De La Cruz

May 17, 2013

As the state legislature lurches toward the finish line, it’s clear another session will soon end without passage of any bill allowing liquor sales on Sunday in Texas.

Houston Representative Senfronia Thompson’s HB 421 has actually been dead since mid-March when it was left to languish in the Licensing & Administrative Procedures committee by committee chairman Wayne Smith of Baytown.

It’s too bad. I’m not much of a drinker. But in a state that has a fierce sense of independence and individualism, seems Texans should be able to go to their nearby liquor stores on Super Bowl Sunday and buy a bottle of Maker’s Mark whiskey or Gusano Rojo mezcal tequila if they so choose.

But it’s not happening. So the Distilled Spirits Council has gone local. According to the DSC, 22 Texas communities faced votes Saturday on whether to allow the sale of beer and alcohol, basically going from “dry” to “wet.” And 18 of those jurisdictions voted “wet.”

The biggest of those was Plano, which passed the “Legal sale of all alcoholic beverages for off-premise consumption only” option by a 66%-34% margin.

According to the spirits council, that means 59 out of 65 local elections have gone its way in the past year, a 91% success rate.

And now, they’re taking their push onto social media, starting a Facebook page called, “End Texas Blue Laws.” It already has more than 20,000 “likes.”

I presume none belong to Rep. Smith.


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April, 2013, Control State Results


Source: NABCA

May 17th


During April, nine-liter spirits case sales in the control states were up 3.3% compared to same month last year sales. Rolling-twelve month reported volumes grew at 3.2%, up from March’s 3.0%. Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming reported monthly growth rates exceeding their twelve month trends.


Control state spirits shelf dollars were up 5.9% during April while trending at 6.1% during the past twelve months. Alabama, Iowa, Idaho, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming reported growth rates exceeding their twelve month trends.


Price/Mix for April slipped to 2.6% from March’s 3.2%.


During April, Irish Whiskey, with 0.8% share of the control states spirits market, was the fastest growing category with 18.5% growth reported and a twelve month growth trend of 18.1%. Vodka, with 34% share, grew during the same periods at 2.9% and 4.4%. During April, Canadian Whiskey, Cordials, Domestic Whiskey, Gin, Irish Whiskey, Neutral Grain Spirits, and Tequila grew at rates that exceeded their twelve-month trends.


April’s nine-liter wine case sales growth rate fell 1.4%. Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Utah, Mississippi, Montgomery County Maryland, and Wyoming reported -3.9%, 0.5%, 2.5%, 3.2%, -0.1%, and 13.1%, respectively. April’s rolling-twelve month wine volume growth, 5.0%, nearly mirrored March’s 5.1%.




Missouri: Liquor bill blocked at session’s end


Source: Post Dispatch

By Elizabeth Crisp

May 18, 2013


A contentious liquor bill that had been the topic of intense lobbying at the Capitol this session didn’t make it to a vote before the session’s end today.


Lawmakers wrapped up at 6 p.m., with the bill aimed at regulating the link between alcohol suppliers and distributors blocked in the Senate.


The proposed legislation would have made it more difficult for alcohol suppliers to sever their relationships with distributors by deeming those relationships as “franchises.”


A 2011 federal court ruling overturned a state law that had been governing the relationship between suppliers and distributors since 1975, prompting some of the country’s largest liquor suppliers to file lawsuits to end their contracts with local distributors.


Opponents of the legislation, modeled from the pre-2011 system, have argued that attempted to insert government into activities that should be left to the free market.


A group of opponents, dubbed Missourians for Fair Competition, praised the bill’s failure today, saying that it would have given the state’s largest liquor distributor “monopoly protections.”


“We will continue to fight for legislators who stand for a free market economy because they understand that competition will help create jobs and move this state forward,” Missourians for Fair Competition spokesman Ed Rhode said.


Meanwhile, proponents argued the bill would have saved jobs and re-established a system that had been in place since Prohibition.


Sue McCollum, CEO of St. Louis-based Major Brands, the state’s largest liquor distributor, said the company, which employs more than 700 people in the state, would now concentrate on rebuilding itself following lawsuits that severed its relationships with its two largest suppliers. The two suppliers – Diageo Americas and Bacardi USA – accounted for 50 percent of its spirits business, she said.


“We had enough support and nearly enough momentum. We just ran out of time,” McCollum said. “Major will continue to fight for Missouri jobs, our customers, and consumers.”


The liquor franchise legislation – proposed in both the House and Senate earlier this year – had stalled in committee for much of the session but it was revived in the final weeks when the House tied it to an unrelated beer bill.


After senators raised objections when the bill hit the floor earlier this week, Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, said he tried to address some of the concerns, including a provision that would have made the law retroactive.


“What I heard was go to conference and deal with the retroactivity and we’ll pass it in a day,” he said. “That’s what I did.”


Throughout the session, lawmakers were bombarded with calls and emails from supporters and opponents of the liquor legislation. Online ads urged Missourians to call their local reps and urge action on the bill.


Nearly three dozen lobbyists worked the issue in the halls of the state Capitol. St. Louis Mayor Frances Slay also made several trips to the Capitol to lobby in favor of it.




Ohio: AB-InBev Scoops Up Beer Distributor Ahead Of New Law


Source: Law360

By Karlee Weinmann

May 17, 2013


Beer titan Anheuser-Busch InBev NV will swallow up an Ohio beer distribution company in a deal that is expected to close within the next three months, before a new state law takes effect that would bar brewers from owning booze distributors.


Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Neither Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., a subsidiary of AB-InBev, nor the family-owned C&G Distributing Co. Inc. offered up a financing breakdown, staying tight-lipped on details except to say the sale would close in the “near future.”


C&G, operated by the Cecala and Guagenti families for the past six decades, has sold AB-InBev products across a nine-country swath in western and central Ohio since the 1960s. By absorbing the distributor, the brewer adds to an 800-employee Ohio business that already includes a 40-year-old Columbus brewery and sales across a chunk of the state.


“This investment reinforces our commitment to providing local retailers with exemplary service and consumers with a broad portfolio of brands and unique beers,” Anheuser-Busch Sales Vice President Kevin Feehan said in a statement. “We look forward to growing our brands and enhancing competition in this market, which will benefit west-central Ohio retailers and consumers.”


But the purchase is opportunistically timed, squeezing in a few months before a deadline imposed by Ohio lawmakers for stemming brewers’ ownership of distributors. Legislators passed a bill earlier this year that bans brewers from buying beer distributors – a provision AB-InBev had fought, including in meetings with Ohio Gov. John Kasich before he signed the bill.


The legislation favored smaller craft brewers, which have cropped up with increasing frequency in Ohio and around the U.S. Meant to insulate them from their outsize competitors – such as AB-InBev, whose product arsenal includes the Budweiser, Michelob and other popular names – small breweries mounted an effort to support the law. The Ohio Wholesale Wine and Beer Association was also one of its strongest allies.


Representatives for Anheuser-Busch could not immediately be reached for additional comment, but a representative told a local newspaper that the law would not impact the transaction because it would be buttoned up before the law takes effect later this year. Still, the representative said, the provision will stifle business moving forward by blocking off wholesalers from having a distribution business, discouraging new investments.


Similar legislation is working its way through several other state capitols. The restrictions are meant to safeguard competition within the beverage industry by keeping distinct its manufacturing, distribution and retail segments.


AB-InBev preemptively agreed to divest its minority stake in Chicago beer distributor earlier this year after it became increasingly likely that that state’s House and Senate would approve a new law that prohibits brewers from having any direct interest in distribution outfits, a harder stance than Ohio’s legislation.


The Illinois bill cleared the senate earlier this week and is now sitting on the governor’s desk.


Counsel information in the latest deal was not immediately available.




Cognac shipments up +7% in April; exports stabilising       


Source: Barclays

May 17th

Global Cognac shipments rose +7% in April, an encouraging turnaround from the -7% reported in March, and especially against a tough +10% comparable. Exports rose 8% (-6% in March, +14% in April-12), aided by strong shipments into the US. Domestic shipments also rose strongly, up +19%, but was against an easier -29% comparable. 12-month rolling industry volumes are now up +2.2%.

Asian shipments rose +9%, against a very tough +41% comparable. This is a sharp improvement from the -18% reported last month. Chinese volumes fell -21%, following the -29% drop in March, but was cycling a +79% result given the timing shift of Chinese New Year (CNY) shipments. We note this is the final month of tough comparables in China, with May and June 2012 both up c.20%. Singaporean shipments (the largest Asian market) rose +39% vs. the -9% fall in March, but Hong Kong shipments fell -13% following the -40% drop in March. Both are markets where most of the Cognac product ends up moving into China, and if we take both these into account, then we estimate overall exports into China rose +9%, compared to the -21% drop in March. The 12-month trend is now up +4% for China.

The US, the largest global export cognac market (c.30% of exports), reported shipments up a strong +24% (+1% in March), against a -3% comparable. However, the key European markets remained weak with the UK down -25% (+15% in March) and Germany down -1%. Interestingly, Nigeria has entered the dataset and is currently the 14th largest export market for Cognac. The market is already of similar size to Canada, Russia and Taiwan and reported growth of +202%, albeit of a low base.

While volatility persists within the monthly trends from Asia, given the CNY timing impacts, we believe the focus remains on the extent of the price increases taken by the industry in March/April. Given the robust price/mix dynamics of the category and the attractive industry TSRs, we remain fundamentally positive on the major spirits companies and reiterate our Overweight recommendations on Diageo (PT 2400p) and Pernod (PT EUR107). However, given the recent concerns over the future for gifting/banqueting sales and the underlying level of consumer off-take in the region, we accept Pernod may struggle to make significant headway until greater trading clarity is established. Diageo remains our preferred play for now given its leading position in the growing US market, benefits still to come from the United Spirits acquisition and lower relative forward multiple.



During first 4 months of 2013, Craft, Premium Plus, and Ciders continued taking share from Premium Light, Imports, and Premium Regular beers


Source: GuestMetrics

May 20, 2013


According to GuestMetrics, the shifts in consumer preferences that took place in the beer category in full service restaurants and bars during 2012 continued during the first four months of 2013.  


“Similar to what we saw take place in 2012, during the first four months of 2013, Craft, Premium Plus, and Ciders continued to take share from Premium Light, Imports, and Premium Regular beers,” said Bill Pecoriello, CEO of GuestMetrics LLC.  Based on data from GuestMetrics, the unit share trends of the main beer segments during 2011, 2012, and the first 16 weeks of the year through 4/21/13 were as follows:  Craft share of beers purchased increased from 13.7% in 2011 to 15.0% in 2012 to 15.6% in 2013 YTD; Premium Plus increased from 11.1% to 11.6% to 12.1%; Ciders/FMB/PAB increased from 0.5% to 0.6% to 0.8%; Premium Light decreased from 32.1% to 31.0% to 30.4%; Import decreased from 25.6% to 24.8% to 24.4%; and Premium Regular decreased from 6.8% in 2011 to 6.5% in 2012, and has remained at 6.5% in 2013 YTD.


“To account for any type of seasonality that might take place in the category, especially during the January through April period, we also looked at the unit share trends with respect to year-over-year changes for 2012 vs. 2011, and for the first 16 weeks of 2013 vs. the first 16 weeks of 2012, which told a very similar story,” said Peter Reidhead, VP of Strategy and Insights at GuestMetrics.  Based on data from GuestMetrics, in terms of the y/y change in unit share:  Craft’s gain was +1.3 points both in 2012 and 2013 YTD (we note that in the last 4 weeks Craft share was actually up 1.6% vs year ago April); Premium Plus saw a slight acceleration from +0.6 points to +0.7 points; Cider/FMB/PAB also saw a slight acceleration from +0.2 points to +0.3 points (as we’ve noted before Cider is growing at around a 70% clip in on-premise this year); Premium Light’s share loss accelerated from -1.1 points to -1.5 points; Import saw a slight improvement from -0.8 points to -0.7 points; and Premium Regular was at -0.3 points in both periods.


“Looking at the nearly 30 different beer styles we track, the largest share gainers continued to be India Pale Ale, Belgian Wit Ale, and Bitter Pale Ale, coming at the expense of Pale Lagers,” said Pecoriello. “I.P.A. in particular continues to register robust unit growth, which accelerated from 40% in 1Q13 to about 43% during the most recent 4 weeks, so there’s no sign of I.P.A. losing steam.”


“As we are seeing across all the alcohol categories, consumer tastes are rapidly evolving, so we believe it is critical for restaurant operators to have detailed knowledge of these trends in order to carry the optimal menu offerings at the right prices,” said Brian Barrett, President of GuestMetrics.  




Mallya readies platform for 10% preferential allotment to Diageo


Share purchase agreement to follow soon; Whyte & Mackay issue still hanging fire


Source: Business Standard

May 19th


Nearly six months after signing a landmark deal with Diageo, liquor baron Vijay Mallya, is preparing the stage to make the 10% preferential allotment in his flagship United Spirits to global spirits major Diageo.


This move follows the tepid response to the open offer by Diageo to the public shareholders of United Spirits, in which Diageo managed to get hardly 0.44% of the intended 26%. It is understood that the preferential allotment of 10% will happen before May 26 th , 2013, for which Diageo will be paying Rs 2,094 crore.


Post this, Diageo’s move to acquire a further 17.4% stake for Rs 3,632 crore will depend on how the Judge at the Karnataka High Court will deliver his judgement after hearing winding up petitions of UB Holdings, filed by unsecured creditors of Kingfisher Airlines.


As part of the multi-pronged Rs 11,165 crore agreement signed between Diageo and Vijay Mallya during early November 2012, Diageo was supposed to get 12.8% stake from UBHL’s holdings in United Spirits and another 6.5% by buying treasury shares in United Spirits.


“At the end of all arguments at the Karnataka High Court during last week, the Judge has reserved the judgement. We are hoping that the judgement will not be delayed much,” senior advisors for the UB Group told Business Standard.  “There is a strong opinion in the legal circles that UB Holdings is not a fly-by-night operator,” they added.  The share purchase agreement is understood to be valid till six months, post the open offer which concluded on April 26, 2013.  


UB Holdings in an effort to seek Karnataka HC’s nod to sell its shares to Diageo had submitted to furnish a deposit of Rs 100 crore and has said that they will be able to clear the dues towards the unsecured creditors post the transaction with Diageo.


As and when Diageo gets to the 27.4% mark in India’s largest spirits company – United Spirits, the board of United Spirits had earlier signed the agreement that they will be voting in favour of the decisions taken by Diageo, even if they (Diageo) do not get the 50.1% control in United Spirits.


Even as Diageo is waiting in the wings to take charge of managing United Spirits, they along with Mallya are understood to be actively working on how to address the concerns of Office of Fair Trade in London over owning majority control of Whyte & Mackay, the subsidiary of United Spirits in Scotland which has large reserves of scotch. According to industry observers, Diageo may have to offload majority stake in Whyte & Mackay to clear this hurdle and steps are being taken in this regard. Advisors to UB Group however indicated that they have around six months to address that issue post the closure of the deal of the transaction in India.




India close to Scotland in whisky brand race


At the end of calendar 2012, McDowell’s No. 1 from Vijay Mallya’s United Spirits Ltd overtook Johnnie Walker to become the world’s largestselling whisky by volume.


Source: Times of India

Anshul Dhamija

May 18, 2013


India’s battle with Scotland over whisky supremacy has reached a tipping point with its liquor coming very close to dethroning its highbrow Scottish rivals.


A list of 50 millionaire global whisky brands has 19 Scotch blends, 17 of Indian origin and American bourbon coming up a distant third with six millionaire brands. The portfolios of Canada, Japan and Ireland also figure in the list.


Industry observers said India might have had just 5-6 millionaire Indian whisky brands six years ago. The Millionaires’ Club 2013 is a report on the emerging giants in the global spirits industry by Drinks International. It says how Indian whiskys, comprising regional brands manufactured by both domestic and international players, are overtaking their Scotch rivals. At the end of calendar 2012, McDowell’s No. 1 from Vijay Mallya’s United Spirits Ltd overtook Johnnie Walker to become the world’s largestselling whisky by volume, clocking sales of 19.5 million (of nine-litre cases) and logging 21% growth over the previous year. Of the top five millionaire alcoholic beverage brands in the world, four are regional brands.


South Korea’s soju brand Jinro clocked sales volumes of 65.3 million (of nine-litre cases) in calendar 2012. Smirnoff Vodka, manufactured by the world’s largest spirits manufacturer Diageo, is the only global brand to feature in the top five millionaire list at No. 3 with volumes of 25.8 million (of nine-litre cases).


Ginebra San Miguel gin and Emperador brandy, both from the Philippines, are in the top five millionaires’ list with sales volumes of 23.8 million and 31 million (of nine-litre cases), the largest in their categories.


“The growth of scotch could not catch up with that of Indian whisky. So the number of Indian whisky millionaire brands will definitely overtake scotch in three years, if not earlier,” says industry veteran Vijay Rekhi. He adds that besides the domestic demand for Indian whiskeys countries in Africa are now taking to them. In the fiscal 2013, India’s spirits market touched sales volumes of 275 million (of nine-litre cases), of which the whisky segment accounted for over 50% with volumes of 150 million clocking annual growth figures of 12% to 14%.


Fuelling the growth is an increasing consumption of whisky in India with more youngsters and women taking to drink whisky tall: from 60ml to 120ml of spirit, shaken or stirred.


“In India, whisky is now positioned as a contemporary and stylish drink; earlier image was that it’s a drink consumed by 40-plus men sitting beside a fireplace on a leather armchair,” says Sandeep Arora, director of Spiritual Luxury Living, a company that offers whisky experi–ences, apart from dealing in luxury spirits. Last year, in a bid to reach out to the youth Beam Global, makers of the renowned blended Scotch whisky, Teacher’s, had launched a ready-to-drink (RTD) whisky product, a first of its kind in the Indian RTD market- Teacher’s & Cola and Teacher’s & Soda.






Source: NABCA

May 17th


NABCA recognizes and appreciates Edmund J. Schmidt, director of the Wyoming Department of Revenue and Cassandra Skinner, chair of the Oregon Liquor Commission for their service to the Board of Directors. Both have announced they are leaving their respective posts.


Ed was appointed to his position by Governor Dave Freudenthal in February 2003. Prior to joining the Department of Revenue, he served for five years on the State Board of Equalization, a panel of administrative law judges hearing tax appeals from final decisions of the Department of Revenue and county boards of equalization. In 1999 was elected chairman of that board.  He joined the NABCA Board of Directors in 2003 and served as chairman from 2007-2008. Ed was instrumental in forming NABCA’s Public Health Advisory Committee, which counsels the association about various alcohol and public health issues.


Cass was appointed by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber to her position on the Board of Commissioners on July 5, 2011. She had been a member of the OLCC’s Board of Commissioners since June 2009. She is general counsel and health equity officer for Trillium Community Health Plan in Eugene, Oregon. She joined the NABCA Board of Directors in 2011 and served on several committees during her time at the association.




Leaked report points to LVMH secret operation on Hermès


Source: FT

By Hugh Carnegy and Scheherazade Daneshkhu in Paris

May 19th


LVMH, the luxury goods company headed by Bernard Arnault, undertook a secret operation to build its controversial stake in Hermès, its smaller French rival, according to a leaked report from France’s stock market regulator.


The report, “vigorously contested” by LVMH, added an incendiary new twist to an acrimonious battle between the two companies.


The dispute erupted when LVMH announced in October 2010 that it held 17.1 per cent of family-controlled Hermès, which floated in 1993, in apparent breach of regulatory thresholds to declare stakes of 5, 10 and 15 per cent.


It triggered an inquiry by the regulator AMF and the filing of separate lawsuits by 176-year-old Hermès, famous for its scarves and bags, as it fought to fend off the unwelcome intrusion by LVMH, whose brands include Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Dom Pérignon champagne.


LVMH, which now owns 22.6 per cent of Hermès, has always maintained that its intentions were friendly and that it had not intended to acquire the stake, saying it opted to take shares instead of cash to avoid paying a big capital gains tax bill on Hermès equity swap derivatives that it held.


Mr Arnault, chairman and chief executive, told shareholders at LVMH’s annual meeting last month that the group had ended up with the stake “in an unexpected manner”.


But according to a report prepared for the AMF’s sanctions committee, leaked to Le Monde newspaper, LVMH first considered acquiring shares from Hermès family members and on the open market. Instead, it mounted an operation from 2007 under which it used a series of subsidiaries and banks to acquire equity swaps in tranches adding up to 12.2 per cent of Hermès but which did not individually exceed 5 per cent and which were “undetectable by the public”. These were later converted into shares.


The report said the earlier acquisition by LVMH of a 4.9 per cent stake in Hermès in 2001-02 was completed via vehicles in Luxembourg, the US state of Delaware and Panama that were not detailed in the group’s consolidated accounts.


In a statement, LVMH, which has always maintained that it acted within the law in its use of equity swaps, said it intended “to vigorously contest the conclusions contained in this report” when the group appears before the AMF’s sanctions committee on May 31 to defend its actions. It insisted it would prove “the absence of any wrongdoing by LVMH towards the law and [AMF] rules”.


The AMF said in October last year that it had found evidence of “wrongdoing” and asked the sanctions committee to decide whether to impose penalties on LVMH. On Sunday, it said it had “no comment on a file which will shortly be examined by the sanctions committee”. Hermès also declined to comment.


Patrick Thomas, Hermès’ chief executive, said last month that the company had discovered “damning” evidence, leading it to take legal action against LVMH. It filed two suits last year that are independent of the AMF inquiry.


LVMH filed a countersuit alleging “slander, blackmail and unfair competition”.


The Hermès legal action suggests that it does not believe the AMF’s final decision will go far enough in forcing LVMH to give up or slash its shareholding.


The AMF has said that France’s rules on stakebuilding were “badly formulated”, and its recommendation to include equity swaps among instruments that count towards shares had been ignored when France tightened its disclosure rules in 2008.


The LVMH stake has left a free float of less than 7 per cent in Hermès, since the Hermès family controls the company with a 72 per cent share and a corporate structure that makes it virtually impervious to take over – unless the family itself were to disunite.




ABL Announces Policy Seminar: “Drunk Driving: Where are we and what do we need to do?”


Timely Conference Program Will Discuss the Effect of a .05 BAC Change


Source: ABL

May 17th


American Beverage Licensees (ABL) announced today that it will host Drunk Driving: Where are we and what do we need to do?, a seminar on drunk driving policy as part of the ABL Annual Conference on June 10, 2013.  The seminar will be conducted by Bill Georges, President and CEO of The Georges Group, which advises public and private entities on law enforcement and prevention efforts regarding beverage alcohol.


The seminar will take place less than a month after the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended that states lower their BAC laws from .08 to .05.  The proposal has been met with tepid support by a number of highway safety groups, but is nonetheless expected to come up in state legislatures in 2014, if not sooner.


“As the public, media, legislators and industry consider the implications of this week’s recommendation by the National Transportation Safety Board that states cut BAC limits nearly in half, we’re excited to have Bill share his insights and thoughts,” said ABL Executive Director John D. Bodnovich.   “I am looking forward to hearing from a former law enforcement officer and expert on responsibility issues speak on how we can all work effectively to continue the fight against drunk driving.”


ABL has long been involved in the policy discussion over alcohol-related traffic safety measures and drunk driving.  In addition to recent developments in this area, the seminar will include an update on current and emerging technology, including ignition interlocks, and other drunk driving policy trends.


Mr. Georges spent nine years as senior vice president of The Century Council, a national, not-for-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., whose mission is to develop programs, strategies and tactics to fight alcohol misuse, drunk driving and underage drinking. He was responsible for overseeing the development, distribution and implementation of the Council’s award-winning programs and was also involved in related government relations and communications efforts.  


A retired twenty-five year veteran of the Albany, New York Police Department, he ultimately achieved the rank of Assistant Chief/Chief of Patrol, and was temporarily assigned to the United States Department of Transportation headquarters in Washington, D.C., where he worked on various national law enforcement initiatives.


For more information about the 2013 ABL Annual Conference or to register, visit us online at




Blurry Line on Pot-DUI Cases


Amid Relaxed Laws, Officials Wrestle With How to Determine Who Is Impaired


Source: WSJ


May 19th


As some states relax laws on pot possession, lawmakers are struggling to create rules for how police officers should identify motorists who are driving under the influence of marijuana.


The problem: Identifying pot impairment isn’t as clear-cut as testing for alcohol. There is no broad agreement over what blood level of THC-marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient-impairs driving. Breathalyzers can’t detect marijuana levels, and only a small percentage of police officers are trained to authoritatively identify pot-DUI cases.


When voters in Washington state legalized recreational pot use last fall, they decreed that drivers with five nanograms or more of THC per milliliter of blood-a level that some studies suggest is associated with increased accident risk-are under the influence. In Colorado, which also last year legalized pot possession, lawmakers passed a bill earlier this month that sets the same limit, but gives drivers a chance to prove that they weren’t impaired. In Montana, where medical marijuana is legal, the governor signed similar legislation last month.


But the correlation between THC levels and impairment isn’t scientifically straightforward, said R. Andrew Sewell, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine. He said the compound leaves the blood quickly and that regular pot smokers who have built up a tolerance and maintain higher levels may not be impaired at the new legal limits. Setting these limits “is going to cause a lot of impaired drivers to be missed and it’s going to cause a lot of innocent people to get arrested,” he said.

Washington state trooper James Arnold’s experience illustrates the conundrum. In May 2012, he arrested Danny Linh after pulling him over for speeding in Seattle, after which he smelled a “strong odor of marijuana” and observed “bloodshot/watery eyes,” according to his report. The trooper radioed for a drug-recognition expert, but none was available.


A judge in March threw out the officer’s field-sobriety tests after Mr. Linh’s lawyer argued that they weren’t reliable, and prosecutors dropped the case last month. Blood tests also showed Mr. Linh was below Washington’s new legal limit for THC, although that didn’t have a bearing on this case because the law went into effect after the arrest.


Ian Goodhew, deputy chief of staff for the King County prosecutor’s office, said the case may have turned out differently if a drug-recognition expert had been available, noting that there aren’t “enough to cover every DUI investigation.” Robert Calkins, spokesman for the Washington State Patrol, said troopers are well-equipped to deal with drugged drivers. He declined to make the trooper available for comment.


Mr. Linh, now 22 years old, said he wasn’t high and that the sobriety tests were “stupid because they were meant for alcohol.” His lawyer, Blair Russ, said the case shows that “we cannot hastily apply marijuana DUI laws,” because there is a “lack of sufficient research to make a decision about someone’s innocence or guilt, especially given the current tools available to law enforcement.”


Sobriety tests have been developed for drugged drivers, but just 6,837, or less than 1%, of the nation’s police officers are fully trained, according to the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which coordinates and manages the training program. Oregon State Patrol Sgt. Michael Iwai, who coordinates training for Oregon and works with the association, said officers using a 12-step evaluation specifically designed to identify drugged drivers-including a so-called walk and turn, balancing on one foot and an eye examination-are able to detect marijuana impairment.


In part because of the ambiguities in detecting pot-DUI situations, states like Colorado say they need an analog to the blood-alcohol test. “Without a test a lot turns on everything at the roadside and roadside tests related to marijuana impairment are not as clear-cut as the alcohol tests are,” said Tom Raynes, executive director at the Colorado District Attorneys Council.


The Colorado bill on pot DUI passed after six tries and heated debate over setting the appropriate THC limits. White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske said that “when the science actually catches up with the law, they’re going to find that five nanograms is too high” a limit to be using. He is urging states to adopt laws that ban any trace of drugs, like a bill now being debated in the California Legislature.


Meanwhile, states are still sorting out punishments for drivers who are found to be high. In Washington, drivers arrested or convicted of DUI offenses, for alcohol or drugs, must install a device that prevents the car from starting if it detects alcohol on the driver’s breath. But the ignition-interlock device doesn’t detect marijuana or any other drug.


Stephen Graham, a Spokane criminal defense attorney, said he was “flabbergasted” when the Washington Department of Licensing wanted a client to install one after an arrest for driving under the influence of marijuana.


Brad Benfield, a spokesman for the Washington Department of Licensing, said the department must follow state rules. Part of the rationale for the law is that alcohol and marijuana are often present together in impaired drivers, said Shelly Baldwin of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission. In the future, she said, “we’re going to see technologies that will make testing for marijuana possible.”




Ireland: Irish Alcohol consumption drops by 20% in 12 years


Source: NewsTalk

Eoin Brennan

19 May 2013


The alcohol consumption in Ireland has fallen by 20% over 12 years, with the idea that all Irish people now drink to excess now believed to be far from the truth.


New figures, from the Revenue Commissioners, show a 4.4% drop in the volume of alcohol consumed in Ireland in the past year, with the consumption of both cider and spirits falling over 13%. Levels of teenagers drinking alcohol has also dropped.


Kathryn D’Arcy, director of The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland, emphasised that Irish levels of alcohol consumption are no longer the aberration, in wider European terms, which they once were.


D’Arcy said: “There is a fall in alcohol consumption and we are fast approaching European norms.


“We have seen recent studies by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and other studies showing that our teens are consuming less alcohol than they were a number of years ago, while other countries are seeing that they are having an increase in the problem of underage drinking.


“So I think we are doing some things right and I think we need to focus.”




Joe McClain: Beer drinkers paying an invisible tax


Source: LaCrosse Tribune

By Joe McClain

May 19th


American beer drinkers know that the same four simple ingredients have been the building blocks of great-tasting beers for generations: grains, hops, yeast and water.


But what most Americans don’t know is that there is another, more expensive ingredient in beer: taxes.


A recent Beer Institute analysis found that more than 40 percent of what consumers paid for beer went to the tax man. That makes beer one of the most taxed consumer products on the shelf.


We applaud the bipartisan legislation recently introduced into the House of Representatives by Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, in partnership with Rep. Tom Latham, a Republican from Iowa.


The Brewers Excise and Economic Relief Act of 2013, known as the BEER Act, would reduce the federal excise taxes that beer drinkers pay and serve to prevent others from trying to close the federal budget gap by hiking already-high taxes on everyday beer drinkers.


In talking with beer drinkers across the country, the Beer Institute found that most Americans don’t even know they are paying a federal beer levy called an “excise tax.” You can’t find it on a receipt. It’s invisible and regressive, meaning lower- and middle-income people feel the pinch of these hidden taxes more than those with higher incomes.


But the federal excise tax on beer is hitting beer drinkers – and the network of brewers, beer importers, raw materials suppliers, wholesalers and retailers – at twice the historic rate, due to an unprecedented revenue grab by Congress that raised the excise tax on beer, hardly an elitist luxury, on par with excise taxes on yachts, personal airplanes and luxury automobiles.


There is no reason why beer drinkers, brewers and the dozens of industries that support brewers and beer importers should have to pay more than their fair share of taxes. That is why the BEER Act serves such an important role, and deserves the support of the people of Wisconsin, as well as other members of Congress.


Today’s brewing industry represents an enormous contribution to the nation’s economy. The Beer Institute’s recent analysis of the industry found more than two million Americans are at work today in jobs because of beer – from farmers to factory workers, from brewers to bartenders.


All told, the economic contribution from making, importing and selling beer in America comes to more than $246.5 billion in annual activity, stretching from grain farms to bottle- and can-making factories, from warehouses to grocery stores, stadiums and restaurants.


In fact, for every one job at the brewery or beer importer, there are another 45 jobs in other industries: agriculture, marketing, engineering, manufacturing, warehousing, transportation, concessions and retail, just to name a few.


Here’s what the BEER Act would do: for the vast majority of beer consumed in the United States, it would roll back the federal excise tax from its historic peak of $18 for every 31-gallon barrel to $9 a barrel. For brewers of less than two million barrels annually, the rate would be slashed to $3.50 on the first 60,000 barrels; and for those brewers that produce less than 15,000 barrels, the federal excise tax would be eliminated entirely.


The BEER Act is fair, equitable and comprehensive, meaning it serves every part of the industry, from the start-up brewer to the thousands of workers in good-paying jobs at America’s major breweries.


We know this is a good policy, and that it can work to encourage expansion, reinvestment and further job creation. In 1977, with the support of major brewers, Congress cut the federal excise tax on brewers of less than 2 million barrels annually.


Reducing the federal excise tax was seen as a means of “creating a pathway to the marketplace” for new brewers – and it worked. At the time, there were 49 brewers in business. Today, we count more than 2,700 permitted brewers across the United States.


We have another opportunity to continue to foster a great industry, create more jobs here in this country, and protect taxpayers from having to pay even more in hidden taxes for what should be an affordable, everyday pleasure in a cold beer. That opportunity is the BEER Act, and it deserves your support.




Wells Fargo’s Weekly Economic & Financial Commentary


Source: Wells Fargo

May 17th



.         Mixed economic data this week left economists uncertain on the direction of the economy in 2Q13.

.         Consumers have been resilient, with retail sales strengthening on an improved employment picture.

.         Inflation has been nonexistent, as gasoline prices have fallen and weak economic activity in China and Europe have driven commodity prices lower.

.         Limited inflation should allow the Fed to maintain its accommodative policies.

.         Industrial production and manufacturing are suffering from weaker than expected global growth.

.         Housing permits surged, suggesting strong construction activity in the months ahead, and builder confidence improved in May, as inventories dwindled.



.         The Eurozone continues to struggle, with GDP 3.3% below the 2008 peak.

.         France, Italy, and Spain all experienced declines while Germany expanded a modest 0.1%.

.         Consumer spending and confidence suffered from a weak labor market.

.         Economic indicators suggest business investment also shrank across the continent.

.         Limited monetary involvement and an unlikely probability of fiscal stimulus may keep the Eurozone in contraction for a bit longer.




Chinese investors snapping-up ‘one chateau per month’, say estate agents


Source: Decanter

by Adam Lechmere

Friday 17 May 2013

From the beginning of 2011, a leading Bordeaux real estate agent says, an average of one Bordeaux chateau per month has been sold to a Chinese investor.


Asian-owned properties in Bordeaux now number 40 to 50 – a figure that, given the size of the region, is a mere ‘blip on the radar’, estate agent Maxwell-Storrie-Baynes says.


From 1997, when Taiwanese native Peter Kwok bought Chateau Haut Brisson, there have been some 50 chateaux in the Bordeaux region sold to investors from China, Singapore, Taiwan and Japan.


The market for Bordeaux properties is so bullish that auctioneer Christie’s has seen the opportunity and is launching a vineyards service targetted at the Chinese, as part of Christie’s International Real Estate.


Maxwell-Storrie-Baynes, which acts as Christie’s Bordeaux affiliate, has compiled a table of purchases since the late 1990s and finds at least 40 chateaux are Chinese-owned.


It says the focus has primarily been on Chinese buyers but it is not always possible to discern exactly where buyers are from.


‘This is because business addresses or indeed the geographical sources of the purchase funds are not always the same as the owners’ [location].’


Some purchasers are building considerable portfolios of property. Cheng Qu, for example, owner of the huge oil-to-real estate Haichang Group, and the driving force behind the Dalian wine festival in northeast China, has just added Chateau L’Enclos in Sainte Foy la Grande, near Bergerac, to his holdings.


He is already owner of ten Bordeaux estates including Chateau Baby (also in Sainte Foy), Chateau Chenu-Lafitte and Chateau Branda.


The impetus behind buyers like Cheng – and there are many like him – is the desire to supply increasingly sophisticated Chinese consumers with wine. Within the next five to ten years, it is estimated, the middle class in China will number some 300m and constitute a market larger than the United States.


‘People who are buying Bordeaux chateaux are looking to service that market,’ Maxwell-Storrie-Baynes partner Michael Baynes told’Typically, they want to control the supply chain.’


An early adopter of this policy – controlling supply from vineyard to end user – was Richard Shen Dongjun, owner of the 400-strong jewellery retail chain Tesiro, who bought the Medoc Cru Bourgeois Chateau Laulan Ducos in 2011.


A spokesman for Shen told at the time that the idea was to create a chain of stores under the name of the chateau, in cities with a rising wine-drinking culture, exploiting the existing Tesiro network. They would stop selling the wine in France.


There are compelling financial incentives behind such a move. With the cost of production ?2-3 per bottle, and the ability to mark up to ?30-50 per bottle, ‘it is a nice business prospect,’ Baynes says. ‘One of our clients recouped the price of the vineyard in one year.’


By and large, the Bordelais welcome this influx of investment, although resentment can bubble to the surface. One prominent owner, on selling her estate to a private French buyer said, ‘We wanted it to go to another family. We didn’t want it to go to a faceless insurance company or to a group of Chinese investors. We’re very happy that it is going to a family that we have known for a long time, and that we know will look after the estate.’


In Burgundy, the resentment is palpable: the purchase of Chateau Gevrey-Chambertin by Macau businessman and Burgundy lover Louis Ng last year caused a storm of protest. ‘It is a despoliation. Our heritage is going out of the window,’ Jean-Michel Guillon, president of the union of Gevrey-Chambertin wine producers said, just before the ultra-right Front National added its voice.


But Bordeaux is different, Barnes says, pointing out that there are 120,000ha of vines in Bordeaux and 28,000 in Burgundy, of which only 5,000 are of real interest.


‘There’s a totally different reaction in Bordeaux,’ Baynes says. ‘We’re delighted to have the Chinese here. They couldn’t have come at a better time. This region has a long history of foreign investment, from the Irish to the Belgians, the English, Australian magnates, Americans, Brazilians, Saudi princes. It’s nothing new.’


Baynes also notes that in a region of 8,000 chateaux, Chinese owners represent only 0.5% of ownership. ‘In the grand scheme of things they are a blip on the radar.’




Bordeaux 2012: Montrose, Clinet, Domaine de Chevalier release


Source: Decanter

by Jane Anson in Bordeaux

Friday 17 May 2013


New price releases are being met by an increasingly small pool of buyers in the Bordeaux 2012 campaign.


Among the estates to release yesterday were Chateau Montrose, matching Pichon Comtesse with a 20% price decrease on 2011 to ?57.60 ex-Bordeaux (still above its ?42 ex-Bordeaux in 2008 but significantly down from its ?132 high in 2010). Chateau Tronquoy Lalande, from the same stable, posted a 6.25% drop to ?18 ex-Bordeaux.


The widely-praised Chateau Clinet in Pomerol dropped 11.9% to ?44 (this was at ?33 in 2008), and Chateau Carbonnieux brought both its red and white wines down by around 3% to ?15.5 (red) and ?16.5 (white).


Also in Pessac Léognan, Domaine de Chevalier, decided to keep both its red and white unchanged from the 2011 vintage, so ?30 ex-Bordeaux for the red, and ?58 for the white (in 2008 you’d have paid ?23.50 for the red, and ?45 for the white).


Château Guiraud in Sauternes also kept its 2011 price at ?30 ex-Bordeaux.


As the campaign begins to wind down, it now looks as if even drops of 20% are unlikely to attract the attention of buyers.


Max Lalondrelle at Berry Bros told the problem was that people simply did not think they were getting a good deal any more.


‘En Primeur should be very simple – customers give chateaux cash in advance, and for that they get a deal. They need to be able to look back and think buying in advance was a good thing. That’s not happening any more.’


BBR sold 220 bottles of Montrose yesterday, Lalondrelle said, compared to around 2,000 last year and around 5,500 bottles of the 2010.


‘There are five other vintages of Montrose available in the market in the UK for a cheaper price, so customers know they can pick up the 2012 once they have tasted it for themselves.’




Golden Equity Investments acquires Goosecross Cellars in California


Source: DBR

17 May 2013


Golden Equity Investments (GEI), a Colorado-based private equity firm that provides equity capital to privately-held middle market companies, has acquired boutique winery Goosecross Cellars of California for an undisclosed amount.


The purchase, which is the first for GEI in wine industry, includes 11-acre estate winery and vineyard property, tasting room and a Tudor-style estate home.


Came to existence in 1985, Goosecross uses grapes from on its nine acre vineyard and grapes purchased from local growers to produce luxury-tier Napa Valley wines.


The winery’s vineyard is planted with Bordeaux varietals, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.


GEI manager Christi Coors Ficeli said the company was attracted by Goosecross’ location, vineyard and winery.


“Its direct-to-consumer success and reputation for premium quality wine varietals positions us for ongoing success,” Ficeli added.


“Our focus will be to continue the tradition of producing high-quality wines, as well as growing the brand to gain more national recognition. We will continue to promote the current wines and look to grow the portfolio.


“I look forward to meeting the winery’s loyal customers and also intend to invest in the tasting room, the winemaking facility, and the estate to enhance the experience for our patrons.”




Haute stuff


Source: FT

By Jancis Robinson

May 17th


Wine is one of the most sensitive measures of climate change. A rise in temperature during the growing season can easily result – indeed has resulted – in riper grapes and fuller-bodied wines. Drought in areas such as much of Europe, where irrigation is banned, can leave grapes shrivelled and more like raisins, the resulting wine extremely dry and chewy with a distinct shortage of juice. The exceptional heatwave in 2003 provided European wine growers with a wake-up call but, in many regions, 2005 and 2009 were not so dissimilar.


Higher temperatures and lower rainfall are having a particularly profound effect on the wine industry of Australia, where the economics of wine production in the vast irrigated inland wine regions that once churned out inexpensive wine labelled South-Eastern Australia make less sense now that water rights cost so much. The total area of Australia under vine has shrunk, from 172,676 hectares in 2008 to 148,509 last year.


But climate change can help some wine growers. The quality of wine produced in Canada, England and Germany has improved immeasurably over the past decade. As acid levels plummet to sometimes dangerously low levels in Champagne (tart wine is a prerequisite for fine fizz), in England and Wales they have fallen to just about acceptable levels (although last year was a challenge for many European growers, especially those as far north as the British Isles).


Even within established fine wine regions, the rise in temperatures is changing reality and, more slowly, reputations. In Bordeaux, for example, in years as warm as 2009, the supposedly lean, mean Médoc appellations Listrac and Moulis can produce some attractive, almost fleshy wines. And this is with a palette of varieties as sturdy as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.


The Pinot Noir of Burgundy’s heartland, the Côte d’Or, is even more sensitive, so it is hardly surprising that things have been changing in the rarefied world of red burgundy production. The best (for which read oldest) vines in the most hallowed vineyards (Grand Cru and the best Premiers Crus) have deep enough roots and small enough crops to ensure that in even the driest, hottest of years they can yield top-quality grapes. But some other Pinot vines on the Côte d’Or have suffered in recent hot vintages, and there are few drinks less appetising than soupy Pinot.


For decades the pretty wooded hills west of the famous limestone escarpment that is the Côte d’Or were regarded as a fine source of blackcurrants for the cassis needed in a kir – but beyond the pale by fine wine lovers. They were known as the Arrières Côtes until the locals pushed through a smarter-sounding name, the Hautes Côtes, divided into the Hautes Côtes de Nuits in the north, behind the Côte de Nuits, and the Hautes Côtes de Beaune, to the west of the wine town of Beaune.


Until recently most of the wine grown in the Hautes Côtes was pretty thin stuff but this is changing – partly because summers are getting warmer, and partly because of people like Olivier Jouan, a vigneron in the village of Arcenant who seems even more determined to make great wine than his counterparts downhill on the Côte d’Or.


Arcenant is typical of the villages of the Hautes Côtes. Unlike the prosperous villages of the Côte d’Or, where every ancient stone seems to have been polished and regrouted, Arcenant sprawls in an undisciplined fashion with something even approaching a housing estate above the forbidding church. I’d been warned by the British importer Roy Richards that there was no mobile phone signal in Arcenant and it took me a good 15 minutes and inquiries at several front doors before I found the workmanlike courtyard of Olivier Jouan, who has been making wine here since 1999. The son of a director of Smurfit Kappa packaging, he chose to establish himself in the keenly priced Hautes Côtes on taking over from other family members three hectares of vineyard in the Côte de Nuits, including some excellent vines in La Riotte in Morey-St-Denis planted in 1925. “There is still a Jouan Henri in Morey-St-Denis,” he told me.


He took the decision to vinify all his wines in Arcenant and to add 5.5 hectares of rented Hautes Côtes vineyard. He admits that at this altitude his cellar is so cold that it can be difficult to complete the second, softening malolactic fermentations. They were still proceeding at a painfully stately pace on his 2011s when I visited in November last year. He exports eight in every 10 bottles he fills, to the likes of Raeburn in Edinburgh, Jeff Welburn in Los Angeles and various Asian importers, but admits that it is difficult being so far off the established routes for the container lorries that are so familiar in the backstreets of Gevrey-Chambertin and Vosne-Romanée.


But he is convinced that the future is rosy. “I really think that some of our Hautes Côtes wines can be confused with Côte d’Or wines blind.” He is encouraged by the fact that many of the vines that were planted here in the 1960s when blackcurrants and raspberries were challenged by cheaper imports from Poland are now fully mature. Set against this is what he sees as a very different mentality in the Hautes Côtes where most vignerons are mixed farmers and, typically, deliver their grapes to the local co-op.


He believes that eventually there will be individual village appellations for the likes of Arcenant, Echevronne and Bevy rather than the much less geographically precise Hautes Côtes appellations. He has just one employee on his payroll and does most of the work himself, although he hopes his wife will join him.


He is helped by the fact that he picks relatively late so that he can sometimes hire pickers who have already done the vintage elsewhere. To judge from the wines listed, I too am optimistic about the Hautes Côtes, perhaps even more for the lively whites than the reds.




Court told of £4.5m wine fraud


Source: the drinks business

by Andy Young

17th May, 2013


A court has heard how a group of fraudsters conned hundreds of people out of £4.5 million through bogus wine investments.


Southwark Crown CourtSouthwark Crown Court heard that Daniel Snelling, 38, his sister Dina Snelling, 35, and their cousin, Rebecca McDonald, 42, carried out two frauds over the space of three years, often targeting elderly people’s life savings.


The trio initially set up Nouveau World Wines, which promised to invest in the best Australian wines. Investors would pay on average thousands of pounds each for wine to be bought and sold, but much of the wine was never purchased. When Nouveau investors found out the company was folded, but the jury was told that a second company, Finbow Wines, was then set up.


Prosecutor Julian Christopher QC told the court that Nouveau investors paid an average of £5,000 for 72 bottles of the finest Australian wines. These were due to be stored in Australia for several years to gain in value.


Christopher added that Nouveau did buy wine, but while the investments should have bought 39,000 bottles, the company only ever had a maximum of 11,349 bottles.


He told the court: “The suggestion was that in two or three years’ time they would sell that wine at a huge profit and they (Nouveau) would make their money by taking 10% of the profit.


“Lots of people were attracted by that. Often elderly people investing their savings. After they invested once, they were being targeted again and again.”


The court was told that when suspicious investors started asking questions, Nouveau ceased trading and Finbow was set up.


Sales staff working for Nouveau were told overnight that they were now working for Finbow, the court heard.


Mr Christopher told the court the defendants were in the process of setting up a third firm, M2M, specialising in “fine old world wines” when they were arrested in March 2010.


Mr Christopher added: “Whether Nouveau was always intended as a front from the outset or whether, as time went on, the temptation and opportunity became too much to resist is a question you may want to consider.”


Daniel Snelling’s girlfriend, Kelly Humphreys was the companies’ training director and she is also due to stand trial over her alleged involvement at a later date. All four currently on trial deny all the charges against them. The trial, which continues, is due to last 10 weeks.






Source: TTB

May 17th


Caroline May joined TTB Office of Chief Counsel as an attorney-advisor in June 2008, after spending several years doing part time legal work for a law firm in Cincinnati. She currently serves as the Senior Counsel, Field Operations. Among her many duties she has been the primary legal advisor to the criminal enforcement program since October of 2010. During her tenure, Ms. May has gained a wide range of experience in the regulation and enforcement of the laws and regulations under TTB’s jurisdiction.


From 1997 to 1999, Ms. May was a trial attorney with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), Tax Division. While at DOJ, she represented the United States in federal district and bankruptcy courts in tax refund and collection matters, summons enforcement matters, Freedom of Information and Privacy Act cases, and matters involving the alleged unlawful disclosure of tax return information under 26 U.S.C. § 6103. Before joining DOJ, Ms. May spent three years as a litigation associate at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Patton Boggs, L.L.P.


Ms. May holds a B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Louisville and a J.D. from the University of Virginia. She is a member of the Commonwealth of Virginia Bar, the District of Columbia Bar and the Commonwealth of Kentucky Bar.




UK retailer Sainsbury’s to double sales of low-alcohol wines


Source: DBR

17 May 2013


Sainsbury’s, a UK-based firm with chain of supermarkets, plans to double the sales of low-alcohol wines in the country by 2020 to meet the growing demand and to follow government’s Responsibility Deal.


According to Sainsbury’s beers, wines and spirits head Andy Phelps, the firm aims to increase the current range of low-alcohol wines and also expand the number of its single-serve wines to around 25.


The move is to help consumers reduce their alcohol intake levels and make them try new wines, reported Harpers.


Currently, the retail chain is selling only its own-label House wines in single-serve packs of 175ml bottles.


Phelps was quoted by the website as saying that the company has reported increase in sales of lower-alcohol wines by 14% year on year and attributed it to customers’ growing choice of drinking lower-alcohol wines.


The company, therefore, plans to offer new grape varieties such as Gavi and Prosecco in single-serve bottles.


These single-serve wine bottles will be sold along with Sainsbury’s bag-in-box range.




Indiana: Overhaul of alcohol laws a must


Source: Jounal Gazette

May 19th


The latest battle over laws governing Indiana alcohol sales heats ups, coincidentally, just as federal authorities push for a lower threshold for drunken driving. State lawmakers don’t appear to be interested in reducing the legal blood-alcohol level for driving, but they must give a comprehensive review to Indiana’s mishmash of alcohol laws. An overhaul is sorely needed.


Laws governing the sale of alcohol that lawmakers have cobbled together over the years have created an uneven field of competition. The debate is a never-ending issue at the Statehouse, consuming an absurd amount of legislators’ time and attention and fueled by about $1 million a year in lobbying dollars.


The Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court over laws restricting convenience shops, grocery stores and pharmacies from selling cold beer. The statewide trade group contends the lawsuit is about fairness.


The complaint says Indiana’s alcohol statutes and regulations “create an irrational and discriminatory regulatory regime.” They suggest the state should not be in the business of picking winners and losers in the alcohol market. The convenience store lobbyists are correct.


But so is the Indiana Association of Beverage Retailers, the trade group representing liquor stores. It argues that regulations placed on liquor stores that don’t apply to grocery or convenience stores also create an unfair market advantage.


Liquor stores are limited to selling only alcohol or alcohol-related products. Liquor store clerks must be at least 21, undergo at least two hours of state certified training, and have a license that costs $45 every three years.


“I think there is a lot of money involved in the liquor lobby, and there are a lot of influential people involved,” said Julia Vaughn, director of Common Cause Indiana. “The politics creates gridlock. It’s a good example of what can happen when there is so much money and influence involved. So much of making legislation is not about policy; it’s about how you feel about the person trying to bend your ear on a certain issue. I think it serves to create this crazy quilt of laws we have.”


Vaughn reasonably suggests that stricter limits on lobbyists’ wining, dining and gift-giving to lawmakers, as well as greater disclosure, might remove some of the politics from the process.


With tighter limits in place, a sound study of Indiana’s current laws is more likely to produce the recommendations needed for a revision yielding less complexity, more fairness and sensible regulation of alcoholic beverages.




Texas: House approves beer bills on second reading


Source: Chron

Friday, May 17, 2013


The Texas House of Representatives just voted to approve a 5-pack of bills that would make significant changes in the way beer is sold across the state.


There was audible applause from the gallery, where Scott Metzger, Rick Donley and other interested parties were watching the proceedings.


If approved on third reading – either later today or Monday – and signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry, Texans could soon buy and drink a beer at their local brewery and purchase brewpub beers at the store.


The package of bills is considered the most significant legislation affecting the beer industry since 1993, when the state authorized brewpubs that could make and sell their own beer on site.


Once formally passed, the bills go to Gov. Rick Perry for his signature or veto. Rick Donley, president of the Beer Alliance of Texas, the state wholesalers group that has supported the bills throughout the session, has said representatives of the governor’s office have attended key meetings during the year-long process of crafting and making compromises on the bills.


Saint Arnold owner Brock Wagner said he was “cautiously optimistic” ahead of Friday’s scheduled vote.


Highlights of the legislation:


Saint Arnold and other breweries that package their beer for off-site sales would be allowed to sell a limited amount of their beer directly to customers for consumption on site. This bill would not allow people to purchase beer to take home, either in packaged form or in growlers.


Brewpubs would be allowed to sell some of their beer to other bars, stores and other retail outlets through wholesalers. They also would be allowed to self-distribute a portion of their production. For Houstonians, this means, for example, that fans of San Antonio’s Freetail Brewing would be able to purchase some of its beers at their local liquor stores or pubs that carry them.


Small brewers would have new limits on how much beer they could distribute on their own.


Some breweries with higher production would be allowed to self-distribute up to this limit.


Breweries would be forbidden from receiving cash payment from wholesalers for exclusive distribution rights, although the wholesalers would be allowed to makes some investments in the breweries they represent. This controversial bill was initially blasted by brewers and business groups, but it was included as part of a compromise to secure the support of the Wholesale Beer Distributors of Texas.




Texas Voters March to Polls to Modernize Liquor Laws


Voters pass 18 out of 22 alcohol wet-dry elections on Saturday


Source: DISCUS

May 17th


The trend of Texas communities voting to allow local alcohol sales picked up steam Saturday after 18 out of 22 local alcohol elections passed, according to the Distilled Spirits Council, which attributed the wins to consumer interest in modern convenience and increased revenue without raising taxes.


“Consumer attitudes have come a long way since Prohibition,” said Dale Szyndrowksi, Council Vice President, noting that states around the country have modernized 1930s-era alcohol laws to keep pace with today’s economy.  “These elections reflect modern demographics, and we expect the trend will continue as voters and policymakers seek convenience and revenue, respectively.”


Szyndrowksi pointed to the Plano election as the most significant victory (65%-35%), noting that Plano is a populous suburb north of Dallas in one of America’s fastest-growing counties.


The Texas Trend

According to the Distilled Spirits Council, 18 out of 22 localities voted on Saturday to allow alcohol sales – going from “dry” areas to “wet” areas (beer, wine and/or spirits; on- and/or off-premise).  After 26 out of 28 successful alcohol elections in November 2012, and 15 out of 15 in May 2012, the tally of victorious wet-dry elections in the last year (May-May) comes to 59 out of 65, for a 91% success rate.  Since 2004 Texans have taken to polling stations to pass 509 out of 641 alcohol elections, for a 79% success rate. Click here to see Saturday’s election results.


“Prohibition-era laws don’t make sense in today’s economy, and that’s why voters across Texas are striking them down for good,” Szyndrowksi said.


Momentum for Sunday Alcohol Sales

Szyndrowksi also noted that wet-dry elections aren’t the only alcohol issue voters care about and pointed to the End Texas Blue Laws social media campaign which has garnered over 20,000 Facebook fans in 2013.  The campaign’s primary goal this year is to pass House Bill 421 – legislation allowing package stores the opportunity to open on Sundays, the second busiest shopping day of the week.  According to Szyndrowksi, 38 states allow Sunday liquor sales, including 16 since 2002.




New York: New York State should lower DWI threshold to a blood alcohol level of .05% from .08%



Sunday, May 19, 2013


The National Transportation Safety Board is calling on states to cut the legal standard for drunken driving almost in half as a certain way to save lives. We’ll drink to that – with a designated driver.


Gov. Cuomo and the Legislature could markedly improve highway safety by reducing the threshold for a criminal charge of driving while intoxicated to a blood alcohol level of .05% from .08%.


The change should be the next important step in the transformation of drinking and driving from a common practice to a cultural taboo.


After decades of progress in reducing drunken driving deaths, the toll has plateaued. Roughly 10,000 Americans die annually in alcohol-related crashes. New York State counts around 360 deaths every year in accidents where a driver was either intoxicated (.08%) or impaired (.06%).


Government statistics show that a person with a .08% blood alcohol level has a 169% greater chance of crashing a car than a sober driver. By comparison, at .05%, drivers are only 38% more likely to crack up a car.


That enormous difference is reflected in the death tally. In 2011, New York had 315 DWI-related fatalities and just 67 deaths involving drivers who had consumed only enough alcohol to be categorized as impaired.


In Australia, the state of Queensland saw the number of fatal crashes decline 18% after imposing the lower limit the NTSB is suggesting. And the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that the U.S. would have experienced 6,794 fewer deaths in 2011 if all drivers had stayed below the .08% line.


To exceed .05%, a 180-pound man would have to drink on average three glasses of wine or beer in 90 minutes. A 130-pound woman could have two drinks and still be legal, if not safe.


Most industrialized nations already use the .05% benchmark. Joining the rest of world in saving lives is something New Yorkers can toast.




Utah: Drinking drivers


Lower threshold not best deterrent


Source: Salt Lake Tribune

May 18 2013


Despite an avowed aversion to anything coming from the federal government, Utah legislators seemed eager this past week to consider adopting the National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation that states reduce their drunk-driving blood-alcohol thresholds.


Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, who is the Utah Legislature’s leader in setting state liquor policy, said he and his colleagues will closely consider the NTSB’s support for prohibiting driving with a blood-alcohol concentration above 0.05 – more than a third lower than the current standard of 0.08.


However, although any policy that further demonizes alcohol consumption is likely to find favor among Utah’s conservative, mostly Mormon, legislators, it would be a mistake for them to believe that simply putting more drivers into the illegal category would reduce the carnage on highways caused by drunken driving.


Better enforcement of existing drunk driving laws and stiffer penalties for first-time offenders would have a greater deterrent effect. All too often the trouble is with lenient sentences and crowded jails, not too few DUI arrests.


Valentine pointed to European nations that have seen fatalities decline after prohibiting driving with a blood-alcohol concentration above 0.05 – more than a third lower than the U.S. standard of 0.08. But many European nations also enforce stringent penalties, including jail time and confiscation of the drinker’s car, even on the first offense. Europeans are more serious about stopping anyone who has consumed any alcohol from driving, and that has created a culture that does not tolerate such behavior.


In its announcement of the new recommendation, the NTSB said people with a blood-alcohol level of 0.05 percent are 38 percent more likely to be involved in a crash than those who have not been drinking. People with a blood-alcohol level of at least 0.08 percent are 169 percent more likely.


All 50 states adopted the current 0.08 percent level faced with a 2000 law that withheld highway construction money from states that did not.


Utah legislators should adopt a lower standard, but not based only on their inherent distrust of alcohol consumption. Their policy to keep alcohol out of sight at restaurants – not where underage or heavy drinkers get their booze – demonstrates this illogical thinking.


A more responsible approach would focus on habitual drunk drivers, those who pose the real danger. Penalties should be tougher for a first offense, swift and unrelenting for a second.




Oklahoma: Oklahoma grocery store wine proposal being renewed


Source: AP


May 19th


Supporters of a plan to permit some grocery stores in Oklahoma’s most populous counties to sell wine plan to launch a new petition drive to put the proposal to a statewide vote.


The plan is promoted by the advocacy group Oklahomans for Modern Laws. The group’s attorney, former Secretary of State Glenn Coffee, says it plans to resubmit the proposal to voters this summer about a year after it was withdrawn following a Supreme Court challenge.


Supporters were forced to withdraw the petition after legal proceedings against the proposed constitutional amendment delayed the start of the 90-day period in which supporters needed to obtain 155,216 signatures to place the issue on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.


Supporters are now hoping for a vote in the November 2014 general election.




Canada: Cheers! Ontario Liquor-Store Strike Averted


Source: WSJ

By Karen Johnson

May 17th


An Ontario liquor-store strike was averted late Thursday,  just in time for the kick off of the Victoria Day long weekend.


The Liquor Control Board of Ontario reached a tentative agreement with its nearly 7,000 unionized workers, ending worry among restaurateurs and consumers – at least for now – about service disruptions at the province’s 630 LCBO stores and warehouses.


The tentative agreement, reached just ahead of the midnight strike deadline, still needs to be ratified by the union’s members, and approved by the LCBO board and the provincial government. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.


The LCBO is just about the only place to buy liquor in the province. It’s also by far the biggest seller of wine, though wine – and beer – can be purchased elsewhere.


Warren (Smokey) Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, which represents liquor board employees across the province, said in a statement that the negotiations were “very tough.”


“Did we get everything we were asking for? No. Did the LCBO get everything they were demanding of our members? No,” he said. The union has been pushing for better wages and better hours, while the deeply indebted provincial government has been looking to rein in spending.


Bob Peter, LCBO president and chief executive, said late Thursday in a statement that the agreement is “fair to employees” and “in the best interest of taxpayers.”


Contract talks have been going on since February, but picked up steam in the lead-up to Thursday night’s strike deadline – as did sales at the retailer’s stores.


LCBO spokeswoman Heather MacGregor said Thursday that store sales in recent days were “brisk,” as people heeded warnings to stock up in advance of the potential walkout. The stores saw 28 million Canadian dollars ($27.5 million) in combined sales Wednesday, compared with C$17 million on a comparable day last year.


That’s still well short of the LCBO’s historic one-day sales record, when the stores had a whopping C$56 million in sales. That was in June 2009 – just ahead of previous strike deadline from the LCBO’s union.

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Our Specials: Memorial Day Sale

May 18, 2013

Franklin Liquors






Skyy $23.99
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