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

News Briefs for December 20, 2016

December 20, 2016

•Constellation Brands has completed the sale of its Canadian wine business to the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan for C$1.03 billion ($786m). The deal includes the Jackson-Triggs and Inniskillin brands, as well as wineries, vineyards, Wine Rack retail stores and other holdings. Constellation will retain its Black Velvet Canadian whisky brand and related production facility in Lethbridge, Alberta. The sale follows a flurry of acquisition activity by Constellation. Over the past two years, the company has purchased Meiomi, The Prisoner and Charles Smith Wines, craft brewer Ballast Point, High West Distillery, a stake in Bardstown Bourbon Co. and the 4-million-hectoliter Obregon Brewery in Mexico (to which Constellation is planning to tack on at least 10 million additional hectoliters of capacity). In all, Constellation paid a sum of more than $2.5 billion for these assets.

•Domaine Select Wine & Spirits (DSWS) has acquired Denver-based wine and spirits distributors Unity Selections and Il Castagno Distributors for an undisclosed sum. DSWS will consolidate both entities into an independent unit known as Local Merchants of Colorado, which will be led by Unity Selections founder Andy Lum and Il Castagno president Chris Bates as general sales manager and general manager, respectively. The acquisitions follow DSWS’s purchase of Miami-based wine and spirits distributor Vinecraft LLC late last year. In addition to Colorado and Florida, DSWS operates wholesale units in New York and New Jersey.

•French luxury concern EPI Group has entered into a strategic alliance with storied Italian wine estate Biondi-Santi. Under the terms of the long-term pact, EPI—which also owns Piper-Heidseck and Charles Heidsieck Champagnes—will offer operational, logistical and marketing support to the Tuscany-based Biondi-Santi around the globe. With origins dating back to the 16th century, Biondi-Santi is widely recognized as the creator of the Brunello di Montalcino wine segment. Wine Spectator ranked the Biondi-Santi Riserva 1955 among the 12 best wines of the twentieth century.

•Purple Wine + Spirits has promoted CFO Aaron Webb to the role of president. Prior to joining Purple Wine in 2015, Webb served as vice president, finance at Delicato Family Vineyards, and before that he was vice president, strategy and finance, at Brown-Forman. Purple Wine + Spirits founder Derek Benham remains CEO.

•R.S. Lipman Company’s Heroes Vodka has partnered with Heidelberg Distributing Company for expanded distribution to Ohio and Kentucky. The new markets bring the brand’s footprint to 15 states. Heroes was founded in 2011 by U.S. Marine Corps veteran Travis McVey, with a portion of each purchase going to organizations that support U.S. veterans and their families.

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