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Market Watch Honors 2011 Leaders At Gala New York Dinner

September 21, 2011

Costco’s Annette Alvarez-Peters Wins Retailer Of The Year Award, Joseph Gallo Takes Home Executive Of The Year Honors

The drinks industry’s top executives gathered at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City last night for Market Watch magazine’s annual Leaders Awards Dinner, which honors the nation’s foremost spirits, wine and beer retailers. Annette Alvarez-Peters of Costco Wholesale Corp. was named Market Watch “Retailer of the Year.” Alvarez-Peters’s leadership of the beverage alcohol team helped Costco reach $2.3 billion in wine, spirits and beer sales in its 2010 fiscal year and a projected rise to $2.6 billion in beverage alcohol sales for its 2011 fiscal year.

Joseph C. Gallo, CEO of E.&J. Gallo Winery, won the other major award of the evening, “Industry Executive of the Year.” Over the past decade, Gallo has led the company founded by his father Ernest and uncle Julio, charting a new path and revamping the wine giant into a major upscale wine player. E.&J. Gallo is consistently cited in retailer surveys as the industry’s most admired supplier.

A total of six new Market Watch Leaders were inducted at the dinner: Chris Adams of Sherry-Lehmann Inc., the venerable New York wine and spirits shop with sales of $44.5 million last year; Jim Shpall of Applejack Wine & Spirits, Colorado’s biggest retailer; Tom Doyle and Peter Fletcher of Canal’s BottleStop, whose one-unit New Jersey operation garnered $10 million in sales last year; and Theodore Reeck of The Cellars Wines & Spirits, a five-unit operation based around St. Paul, Minnesota, with $20 million in annual sales.

Market Watch also honored four past Leaders with its Leaders Alumni Awards. Michael Cimini of Worcester, Massachusetts-based Great Spirits won the honor for “Best Advertising.” Renowned Manhattan wine and spirits retailer Peter Morrell of Morrell & Co. was chosen for the “Best Website” award. Olivier Kielwasser of Pittsburgh-based supermarket chain Giant Eagle took home the “Best Merchandising” award, while Tom Jacob of Wichita, Kansas-based Jacob Liquor Exchange won the honor for “Community Service.”

The Leaders Choice Awards, voted on by the Market Watch Leaders, honor the industry’s top brand performers. Diageo’s Cîroc vodka was named “Spirits Brand of the Year,” while Cupcake Vineyards from The Wine Group was “Wine Brand of the Year” and Heineken USA’s Dos Equis Lager won “Beer Brand of the Year” honors. “Best New Product” awards went to Beam Inc.’s Skinnygirl Margarita in spirits, E. & J. Gallo’s Apothic Red in wine and Crown Imports’ Victoria Lager in beer.

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