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

News Briefs for November 7, 2017

November 7, 2017

•Constellation Brands has completed its acquisition of a 9.9% stake in Canadian cannabis producer Canopy Growth. Originally announced on October 30, the $191 million transaction makes Constellation the first major drinks company to make a move into the marijuana space. While the drinks giant says it will not sell cannabis in the U.S. unless and until it becomes legal at the federal level, it intends to partner with Canopy on the production of cannabis drinks for the Canadian market, where recreational use is slated to be legalized by 2019.

•After shuttering for two months in the wake of Hurricane Maria, Casa Bacardí’s visitor center has reopened in Cantaño, Puerto Rico. Though the Casa Bacardí campus sustained only minor damages as a result of the Category 4 storm, much of Puerto Rico was ravaged; the visitor center initially closed so that employees could take part in the “Bacardi is With You” initiative, which helped provide relief to the community. For the remainder of the year, $5 from each distillery tour admission ticket will go towards relief organizations. In the immediate aftermath of the storm, Bacardi donated $2 million to Puerto Rico’s recovery and opened several emergency “Stop & Go” facilities in Cataño, Toa Baja and San Juan, which provided food, water, charging stations for electronics, and activities and services for children.

•Santa Margherita USA is launching a new single-vineyard Prosecco under its namesake brand, alongside redesigned labels for its sparkling Rosé and standard Prosecco. Single-vineyard offering Santa Margherita “Rive di Refrontolo” Prosecco Superiore DOCG is made from a roughly 30-acre section of one of only 43 vineyards in the Conegliano Valdobbiadene appellation. “Rive di Refrontolo” retails at around $50 and is available in limited quantities throughout the U.S. The company’s Prosecco and sparkling Rosé have been relaunched with a new proprietary bottle shape and modern label designed to highlight the brand’s history as a sparkling wine producer. Santa Margherita’s flagship Pinot Grigio sold around 650,000 cases in the U.S. in 2016.

•Constellation’s Cooper & Thief wine brand—a category-blurring offering marketed with cues traditionally tied to spirits—is debuting a new gift set for the holiday season. The pack, which retails at $30, includes a 750-ml. bottle of Cooper & Thief’s Bourbon barrel aged red blend along with two rocks glasses, in a nod to the spirits category. Cooper & Thief, whose bottle and label are reminiscent of whiskey packaging, launched last year and has started to gain traction in the market, Constellation noted in its recently released half-year results.

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