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

News Briefs for January 4, 2017

January 4, 2017

•Roust Corp., the world’s eighth-largest spirits marketer by volume, is seeking Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of New York as it looks to reorganize debts of $1.14 billion, reports Law360.

Roust, led by Russian billionaire Roustam Tariko, has suffered from currency depreciation in its core Russia and Poland markets and elsewhere across eastern and central Europe. Those issues, dovetailing with a rise in black market alcohol activity in Russia and a ban on Russian imports to the Ukraine, another key market, have combined with tightening credit and higher interest rates to squeeze the company’s finances. In 2013, Roust took control of financially troubled vodka giant Central European Distributing Co. (CEDC), which filed for bankruptcy in Delaware the same year. Roust, with vodka brands including Russian Standard, Green Mark, Parliament and Zubrowka, had global volume of about 24 million cases in 2015, according to Impact Databank, down from about 34 million cases in 2013.

•Trinchero Family Estates is launching Hopes End, a new Australian red blend. Produced by Australia’s Angove Family Winemakers, Hopes End is made with Shiraz, Grenache, Malbec and Petit Verdot sourced from the McLaren Vale, Barossa and Murray Valley regions. The new entry, which is targeted toward the 25- to 35-year-old demographic, retails at $12 a 750-ml. Hopes End is intended to tap the continuing red blend boom, with the category now the third-largest varietal in the U.S., up 10% in the 26 weeks ending December 3, 2016, according to Nielsen.

•It was one of 2016’s biggest news stories: the United Kingdom’s vote for Brexit. And as 2017 begins, the government has just started the complex process of leaving the European Union. For wine, some effects of last June’s referendum are being seen, but the long-term consequences are still hazy. Wine Spectator takes a look at Brexit’s potential ramifications for the wine business.

•Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits has announced the departure of Rob Swartz, who served as executive vice president, integration. Swartz led integration efforts following the merger of Southern Wine & Spirits and Glazer’s, which combined last year to create the U.S. market’s largest spirits and wine wholesaler, with annual revenues of more than $15 billion. Southern Glazer’s CEO Wayne Chaplin said Swartz’s leadership “has set the foundation for future success of our combined organization.”

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