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

News Briefs for January 16, 2015

January 16, 2015

•Walmart is eyeing a push into Texas’ retail spirits market. In an article previewing potential free-market initiatives to be weighed in the Lone Star State’s new legislative session, Bloomberg reports that the retail giant will take aim at a restriction on publicly traded companies selling spirits in the state. In a December 4 open letter to distributor group the Beer Alliance of Texas, Walmart vice presidents Gerard Dehrmann and Silvia Azrai Kawas wrote, “This restriction is not only unconstitutional, but also inconsistent with free market competition and consumer choice—principles in which Texans strongly believe and steadfastly support.” Walmart, which already sells beer and wine in the state, has in some cases contracted with other companies to open spirits shops with separate entrances alongside its Sam’s Club locations in Texas to get around the restriction, the Dallas Morning News adds.

•Jose Cuervo Tequila is launching limited edition bottles for its Especial Gold and Silver variants in commemoration of its 220th anniversary. Rolling out across this U.S. this month, the pair feature gold and silver metallic-coated packaging, as well as Day of the Dead-inspired imagery, designed to highlight the brand’s Mexican heritage. The celebratory packaging marks the first limited edition bottles ever released under Jose Cuervo’s Especial line. Handled in the U.S. by Proximo Spirits, Jose Cuervo was up 0.9% in the U.S. last year to 3.4 million cases, according to Impact Databank.

•La Bodega Internacional has introduced its new J.R. Revelry Bourbon brand in the New York market. The 90-proof entry, which is first distilled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana before being further crafted in Nashville, Tennessee, is priced at around $35 a 750-ml. According to La Bodega founder Rick Tapia, J.R. Revelry Bourbon is designed to tap both the fast-growing Bourbon whiskey category, as well as the U.S. market’s expanding Hispanic demographic. J.R. Revelry marks the first Bourbon whiskey from Atlanta-based La Bodega.

•RNDC Colorado president Jim Smith will retire April 1 after a 40-year career in the beverage alcohol industry. Smith has led RNDC’s Colorado operation since 2004. Prior to that he was president of the group’s Florida business. Upon retirement, Smith will continue with RNDC in a “formal knowledge transfer and mentor program,” as a new, yet-to-be-named executive vice president assumes the helm at RNDC Colorado, which had estimated revenues of $345 million in 2014, according to Impact Newsletter.

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