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

News Briefs for August 29, 2019

August 29, 2019

•Constellation Brands has taken a minority stake in North Carolina’s Durham Distillery. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Constellation made the investment through its Focus on Female Founders initiative. Durham Distillery was founded in 2013 by Melissa and Lee Katrincic and produces Conniption gins (Navy Strength and American Dry), Damn Fine Liqueurs (in chocolate, mocha, and coffee flavors), Cold Distilled Cucumber Vodka, and a line of RTD canned cocktails. Melissa Katrincic will remain president and CEO, and Lee Katrincic will keep his role as head distiller.

•Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey will open its new Nearest Green Distillery facility to visitors beginning September 14. Named after the first known African-American master distiller, the location’s “phase one” opening includes a welcome house serving tastings of Uncle Nearest’s whiskies, a bar called Toppy’s, a full retail store, and a Tennessee Walking Horse experience. The facility is located on the 270-acre former site of Sand Creek Farms in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

•Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi has partnered with the Los Angeles Rams, Chicago Bears, and New York Giants as the official wine partner of the three NFL teams. The partnerships will be supported by a range of marketing activations, including television placements for its new “From One For All” campaign on ESPN and NFL Network. Woodbridge is debuting a 375-ml. canned version of its Cabernet Sauvignon ($6) in limited release in the home markets of each team and will release a new 500-ml. format of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, and red blend ($6), available nationally next month. Woodbridge was roughly flat at 9.7 million cases in the U.S. last year, according to Impact Databank.

•C Mondavi & Family is expanding its Flat Top Hills brand into markets across the East, South, and Midwest ahead of a national rollout scheduled for next spring. Flat Top Hills, aimed at female consumers in their 30s and 40s with household income in the $45,000-$80,000 range, includes five wines: a Sauvignon Blanc ($14), Rosé ($14), Chardonnay ($14), Red Blend ($16), and Cabernet Sauvignon ($16). It initially debuted in Arizona, Colorado, Massachusetts, and North Carolina earlier this year.

•Massachusetts-based wine and spirits distributor Martignetti Cos. has promoted two employees to newly created sales positions. Jim Hickey, currently vice president of sales at Martignetti’s Century Division, is now senior vice president of spirits sales across the Century, United, and Excel Divisions. In addition, 24-year company veteran Chris Conrad has been named senior vice president of wine sales, after serving as vice president of sales for northern New England for the past nine years. In his new role, Conrad will oversee all wine sales in the company’s Carolina, Commonwealth, Connoisseur, and Classic Divisions. Martignetti Cos. is the seventh-largest wine and spirits distributor in the U.S. market.

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