Exclusive news and research on the wine, spirits and beer business

News Briefs for September 18, 2015

September 18, 2015

•Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf has floated a plan to compromise with state congressional Republicans who have voted to fully privatize the state’s wine and spirits monopoly, only to be stymied by Wolf’s veto pen. Under Wolf’s new proposal, Pennsylvania’s state government would continue to own the wholesale and retail liquor system, but would lease stores to a private entity that would manage the number and location of stores and have flexibility in pricing. The plan, which could also potentially allow for beer and wine sales in supermarkets, was initially rebuffed by House speaker Mike Turzai, who has led the fight for privatization.

Veev Spirits has linked with Blackheath Beverage Group on a partnership that will see Blackheath handle sales nationwide for the Veev portfolio, including its namesake 70-proof spirit brand and VitaFrute Cocktails (30 proof). Veev says the deal will effectively triple its salesforce, extending its reach throughout the country. Blackheath’s portfolio also includes Partida Tequila, Whyte & Mackay, The Dalmore and Duke Bourbon, among other brands.

•Levy Restaurants, which handles the food and beverage concessions at 40 of the nation’s major professional U.S. sports venues, has acquired the biggest concession specialist in professional golf. Chicago-based Levy says it has purchased Prom Management Group of Minneapolis, which handles food and beverage at 35 professional golf tournaments around the country. It serves such important events as the U.S. Open, the Players Championship and the BMW Championship. Until now, Levy has served as concessionaire at a smaller roster of golf events that has included the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup. The brothers Bill and Tom Given, co-CEOs of Prom, are expected to remain in leadership roles at Prom under Levy, which is owned by the British food service company Compass Group.

•Los Angeles-based beverage alcohol delivery service Saucey enters the Chicago market this month with a promise to bring beer, wine and spirits to customers in an hour or less in north and near west side neighborhoods. Like other delivery services, Saucey offers its own app for ordering and enlists retail partners to supply product. But unlike rivals Drizly and DrinkFly, Saucey maintains its own fleet of delivery couriers. Saucey will have 50 part-time couriers for the Chicago market. In addition to Los Angeles, Saucey already operates in San Francisco and San Diego. The company is eyeing Dallas next, according to CEO Chris Vaughn.

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