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

News Briefs for January 29, 2016

January 29, 2016

•Mega-retailer Kroger is doing away with its beverage alcohol “category captain” system and will instead tap Southern Wine & Spirits to oversee its shelf displays, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The report said Kroger is asking suppliers to compensate Southern for the service. Kroger is aiming to streamline the process and implement faster shelf changes to meet rapid-fire consumer demand, the report said. Suppliers are protesting the plan, due to its higher costs and what they say will be a lessening of control over their retail strategies.

•Cape Classics has been named the exclusive U.S. importer for Burgundy’s Domaine Philippe Colin, which was previously handled by Diageo Chateau & Estate. Located in Chassagne Montrachet, Domaine Philippe Colin’s U.S. offering includes 14 wines that retail from $32 for its Bourgogne Pinot Noir up to $425 for its Chevalier-Montrachet. The 2014 vintage will hit shelves in April, distributed through Cape Classics’ network. Owner and winemaker Philippe Colin said he aligned with Cape Classics “not only because of their very successful entré into the importation of French wines to the U.S., but they are also perfectly positioned to champion the launch of Topiary, our new South African winery project.” With the move to Cape Classics—whose French portfolio also includes Philippe Pacalet, Domaine Vrignaud, Domaine Vincent Carême and others—Philippe Colin opted for a different path than most members of the former DC&E import stable, the vast majority of which have migrated to the new Treasury Chateau & Estate.

•Booker’s Bourbon, part of Beam Suntory’s small-batch collection, is introducing Booker’s Bluegrass, its first release of 2016. Aged six years and 11 months, Booker’s Bluegrass is 127.9 proof and retails at around $60 a bottle. The first of six releases expected in Booker’s Batch Collection this year, Bluegrass is debuting nationally in limited quantities.

•Craft beer bar chain World of Beer has announced plans to aggressively expand in the U.S., with the goal of reaching more than 100 locations by the end of 2016. Additionally, World of Beer is planning to enter the markets of Minnesota, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Las Vegas later this year. The Tampa-based company, which opened 22 new outposts in 2015, has a current footprint of 77 locations across 20 states. Established in 2007, the World of Beer concept offers more than 550 craft and international beers alongside a recently expanded menu, which features appetizers, flatbreads, sandwiches, burgers and seasonal items.

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