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Ste. Michelle Enjoys Solid Q1 Growth On Strength Of Smaller Brands

April 26, 2012

Washington’s biggest wine marketer, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, enjoyed solid volume and revenue growth in the first quarter of 2012, despite relatively modest results from its two top-selling brands. Ste. Michelle—a subsidiary of tobacco giant Altria—achieved an 11.9% net revenue rise to $113 million for the three months ending March 31, on a 6.6% shipments increase to roughly 1.54 million cases. Ste. Michelle attributed the growth largely to the national expansion of select wines into off-premise channels.

The wine marketer’s two biggest brands—Chateau Ste. Michelle (+2.6% to 528,000 cases) and Columbia Crest (-19.1% to 422,000 cases) collectively lost ground in the first quarter. However, the rest of the portfolio—led by Impact “Hot Brand” 14 Hands—thrived, with a 32.1% aggregate jump to 669,000 cases. 14 Hands could top 1 million cases this year on its current growth trajectory.

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