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News Briefs for August 26, 2016

August 26, 2016

•Indiana beer and wine wholesaler Monarch Beverage has won a round in its ongoing battle to secure a spirits distribution license for affiliated company Spirited Sales LLC. Marion County Superior Court Judge Heather Welch ruled that the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (ATC) has been “arbitrary and capricious” in denying a license to Spirited Sales, reports the Indianapolis Business Journal. Under Indiana law, beer wholesalers may not also hold a liquor wholesale license, but Welch ruled that “Monarch shareholders’ interest in the parent company do not create an indirect interest in the property of its subsidiary,” whose accounts and day-to-day operations are separate from Monarch’s. The Wine & Spirits Distributors of Indiana, representing competitors Olinger, RNDC and Southern Glazer’s, told the IBJ the ruling is “legally incorrect” and gives Monarch “a unique advantage over every other alcohol wholesaler in the state.” The ATC intends to review the ruling before deciding whether to appeal.

•In an unusual single-owner auction, Chicago’s Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. will offer the fabled Aubrey K. McClendon collection for sale onSeptember 17. The sale will feature more than 4,600 bottles of wine divided into 1,058 lots. Pre-event estimates range from $5.1 million to $7.6 million in proceeds. Bidders will be presented with more than $1 million in wines from the 2000 Bordeaux vintage alone, along with 80 lots of Chateau Petrus, also valued at well in excess of $1 million, and 46 lots of Le Pin, including three double magnums from the 1990 vintage. From California, there will be three bottles of the 1997 Screaming Eagle Cabernet Sauvignon, estimated to sell for as much as $11,000. McClendon was the founder and CEO of an Oklahoma City-based oil and natural gas conglomerate called American Energy Partners who also co-owned the Oklahoma City Thunder professional basketball team. At its peak, his wine collection exceeded 100,000 bottles. He was killed in a single-car crash on March 2, the day after he was indicted by a federal grand jury accusing him of conspiring to fix prices on oil and gas leases offered for sale. He was 56 years old.

•Constellation Brands is set to mount a fall push behind its high-flying Modelo beer franchise. The new initiative includes a full Casa Modelo portfolio advertising campaign featuring Modelo Especial, Modelo Negra and Chelada, as well as updated packaging on all three brews. Constellation, which invested nearly $50 million in media advertising on Modelo Especial last year, according to Kantar, says the new full portfolio approach to the brand’s promotion will enhance awareness beyond the core Modelo Especial and “set the stage for enhanced product innovation and line extensions.” An Impact “Hot Brand,” Modelo Especial grew 19% to 70 million (2.25-gallon) cases in the U.S. last year, while Modelo Chelada rose 37% to 3 million cases.

•Delivery service Instacart has added Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to its list of markets, aligning with retailers like Whole Foods, Publix and Total Wine & More, among others. Instacart, which launched in 2012, has been steadily expanding its territory over the past year and is now in 25 metropolitan areas around the U.S.

•Pisco Portón has extended its lineup with the launch of La Caravedo Torontel. A limited edition offering, La Caravedo Torontel is made solely with the Torontel grape, one of eight grape varietals permitted to be used to make Pisco under Peruvian law. La Caravedo Torontel is currently rolling out across the U.S. with a retail price of around $33 a 750-ml. It joins Pisco Portón’s Mosto Verde and Acholado entries in the portfolio’s premium range.

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