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News Briefs for November 10, 2014

November 10, 2014

•In an effort to cut costs, Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has opted to shut down its South Australia-based Ryecroft Winery. According to local reports, the winery, which is located in Australia’s McLaren Vale region, is the primary production facility for Treasury’s Rosemount brand. Treasury plans to shift Ryecroft’s output to alternative facilities for the 2015 harvest, with Rosemount’s grapes continuing to be sourced from McLaren Vale and its surrounding areas. For its full year through June, TWE posted global volume down 6.4% to 30 million nine-liter cases and net sales up 1% to A$1.7 billion ($1.58b), although net sales fell 5% on a constant currency basis. The troubled wine company, meanwhile, recently ended takeover talks with two private equity firms—KRR and another believed to be TPG Capital—in September.

Crimson Wine Group has posted a 2% increase in net sales to $40 million for the nine months through September, representing the first three quarters of its fiscal year. Income from operations more than doubled to $7.1 million for the period. Crimson’s top line was boosted by a sharp increase in direct to consumer sales over the first three quarters—including “an overall increase in price point for wine shipments across all brands”—as well as a smaller rise in wholesale channel revenues. Napa-based Crimson’s brands include Seghesio, Pine Ridge and Chamisal in California, as well as Oregon’s Archery Summit and Washington’s Double Canyon. The group is currently on the hunt for a new permanent CEO, as Erle Martin left the post earlier this month, with COO Pat DeLong leading the company on an interim basis.

•Proximo Spirits’ Stranahan’s Colorado whiskey is headed into wider distribution, following a period in which it had pulled back. Proximo confirms to SND that Stranahan’s, which it acquired in late 2010, is slated to be in national distibution next year. The brand’s reach had been limited mainly to Colorado since it joined the Proximo fold. The Oregonian newspaper adds that prior to the acquisition, Stranahan’s ($60) was sold in 38 states, and that it will be in about 14 this fall in the run-up to next year’s national rollout. Earlier this year, Proximo launched another American whiskey, Tincup ($28), created in partnership with Stranahan’s co-founder Jess Graber. The New Jersey-based marketer also figures to have its whiskey stable significantly expanded with the eventual addition of Irish brand Bushmills, which Proximo backer Casa Cuervo just acquired from Diageo.

•Colorado-based wine producer Infinite Monkey Theorem (IMT) is gearing up to launch a new “urban winery” in Austin, Texas, next spring. The 6,000-square-foot venue will include production facilities, event space and a “wine lab” tasting room with an 1,800-square-foot outdoor patio. The new location will start by offering IMT’s range of Colorado-sourced Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling, as well as Colorado ciders and a new Texas-sourced Cinsault wine. The company is in discussions with Texas wine growers to add to its Lone Star State wine offering with Syrah, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Grenache, Viognier and Roussanne varietals for the 2015 harvest. IMT, which also has a 29,000-square-foot urban winery in Denver, will also house its sister company, wine-kegging operation Iron Monkey Kegging, at the Austin site.

 

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