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

News Briefs for October 20, 2011

October 20, 2011

•Walmart is planning to expand its craft beer SKUs, former CEO Lee Scott told distributors at the National Beer Wholesalers Association convention this week. Scott said local store managers will now have latitude to choose those beers that best fit local demand. The move is aligned with the craft segment’s strong growth against the backdrop of an overall decline in U.S. beer volumes.

•According to the U.S. Consumer Price Index, overall alcohol pricing rose 1.4% for the year through September, following a 1.6% increase in August. Although pricing remained flat in the off-premise, overall on-premise pricing grew 3.5%. By category, off-premise beer prices were up 1.3%, while off-premise spirits and wine fell by 0.3% and 1.6%, respectively. On-premise, beer pricing increased 2.3%, spirits rose by 3.8% and wine was up 2.7%.

•The late Robert Mondavi’s Napa Valley estate is being offered at a sealed-bid auction Nov. 16 in what amounts to a half-off sale, reports the Wine Spectator. The 56-acre property where the famous vintner and his wife Margrit resided for years came on the market in 2010 for $25 million, then dropped to $20 million, and now a minimum bid of $13.9 million is the asking price. The 11,500-square-foot home, owned by Mondavi’s three children, is located atop a knoll in Yountville, near Stags Leap. It has a wine cellar and swimming pool in the living room, with a retractable roof, along with a guesthouse, two tennis courts and room for 2 acres of vines.

•Chili’s restaurant chain is testing out new pay-at-the-table devices at various Indiana locations. The Ziosk touchscreen devices, developed by TableTop Media, are stationed at every table and allow customers to play games, watch movie trailers, order food and beverages and pay on demand. They can also split checks and calculate the tip. The touchscreens have been launched at the three Chili’s locations in Indianapolis and in 16 other cities and towns throughout Indiana.

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