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News Briefs for January 7, 2013

January 7, 2013

•Private label producer Winery Exchange has acquired a portfolio of certified organic and sulfite-free wines from Nevada City, California-based Nevada County Wine Guild (NCWG) for an undisclosed sum. The collection, which is led by the Our Daily Red and Orleans Hill brands, also includes several organic and sulfite-free private brands. As part of the deal, NCWG co-founders Tony Norskog and Donn Berdahl will continue to be involved with the portfolio, which joins the Echelon and Ogio brands in Winery Exchange’s National Brands Division. Novato, California-based Winery Exchange produces more than 3 million cases of private label wine each year.

•Upscale Tequila Clase Azul is entering the Texas market, distributed by Glazers, bringing its U.S. footprint to 18 states. A partnership between former Southern Wine & Spirits sales manager John Hanson and master distiller Arturo Lomeli, the Clase Azul portfolio sold 20,000 cases in the U.S. in 2012. This year, the company tells Shanken News Daily, growth is projected at around 35%. The Clase Azul line includes a Plata retailing at $79.99 a 750-ml.; a Reposado at $89.99; and a luxury Tequila Clase Ultra, an Añejo aged five years and retailing at around $2,000. The portfolio also includes a pomegranate-infused Tequila, La Pinta ($39.99), which accounts for around 30% of company volume.

•The Texas alcoholic beverage market slowed slightly in 2012, up 2% to 697.9 million gallons (versus a 2.3% increase in 2011). Beer volumes were up 1.5%, spirits were up 4.7% and wines were up 5.9%. Texas is the second-largest market for beer and for all alcoholic beverages in general in the United States, while it ranks fourth among all states for both wine and spirits.


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