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News Briefs for October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014

•After a healthy month of September, control state spirits volumes are up 2.1% year-to-date, compared with a rolling 12-month gain of 1.8%. Across the U.S., 16 control jurisdictions for spirits—including 15 states and Montgomery County, Maryland—exceeded their 12-month rolling growth trends in September. Overall, control state spirits volume rose 5.8% for the month and shelf dollars increased 8.4%, although it should be noted that, due to calendar effects, there were six extra selling days this September than there were last year, somewhat inflating the positive results. All spirits categories bested their rolling 12-month trends during the month. Meanwhile, control state wine sales edged up 1.5% in September, versus a 12-month rate of 1.8%. Pennsylvania (-1.5%) reported a decline in wine sales last month, while New Hampshire (+1.4%), Utah (+7.3%), Mississippi (+10.9%), Montgomery County, Maryland (+7.5%) and Wyoming (+12.5%) were all on the rise.

•Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has ordered the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to raise the price of spirits as part of an effort to close a $2.4 billion gap in Virginia’s two-year budget, the Associated Press reports. The price hike would yield an estimated $2.5 million this fiscal year. However, the agency has not explicitly detailed how it would move forward with the increase, saying in a written statement that it will seek comment from stakeholders such as vendors, suppliers and industry representatives and work with them on the measure. Virginia’s current spirits price markup is about 69%, and was last raised in February 2008. In its latest fiscal year (ended June 30), the state saw its 16th consecutive year of record-breaking alcohol sales, which reached $801 million.

•Paso Robles-based Bianchi Winery has added seven new markets to its distribution footprint. Starting this fall, the winery’s portfolio will be available in Hawaii, Montana, Tennessee, Washington D.C., Maryland, Delaware and Texas, bringing its total reach to 32 markets nationwide. Concurrently, Bianchi Winery has unveiled the 2013 vintage of its core Pinot Grigio label. The Bianchi 2013 Pinot Grigio is made with fruit from Santa Maria Valley’s Garey Ranch Vineyard and priced at around $21 a bottle. Bianchi Winery, which owns around 40 acres of vineyards, also produces Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Zinfandel.

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