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

News Briefs for May 3, 2016

May 3, 2016

•While supermarket giant Kroger has elected not to partner with Southern Wine & Spirits on a shelf management program for beverage alcohol, industry sources tell SND that Southern remains confident that the concept can work, and that it would still be interested in aligning with other retailers on the program model if it can get further clearance from the U.S. alcohol and tobacco tax and trade bureau (TTB). In February, TTB released a tied-house ruling regarding Kroger’s plan to have Southern oversee its shelf displays, and then issued further clarifications in March. But many in the industry still believe the TTB’s stance is ambiguous. In recent days, Kroger dropped its plans to partner with Southern, and is reportedly tapping a third-party provider to manage its beverage alcohol shelf displays.

•The bankruptcy proceedings of wine retailer Premier Cru have become further complicated. Eight former customers have filed objections to the court-appointed trustee’s plan to sell off the retailer’s entire remaining wine stocks and divide the proceeds among its creditors. The objecting customers insist that some of that wine is theirs, having already been paid for but yet to be delivered. Last week, in a highly unusual legal maneuver, one of those customers also filed a class-action lawsuit against the trustee, asking the judge in the case to stop the sale. Wine Spectator has the full story.

•Napa Valley’s Joseph Phelps Vineyards has promoted two Phelps family members to executive roles as part of a long-term succession plan. Elizabeth Neuman, granddaughter of winery founder Joseph Phelps, is being promoted from regional sales manager to director of business development. Will Phelps, grandson of Joseph Phelps and son of winery president Bill Phelps, has been named director of marketing. He previously was on Phelps’ California sales team. Bill Phelps said the moves are in line with the vision to maintain Joseph Phelps Vineyards as “a family-owned and run winery.”

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