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News Briefs for February 28, 2020

February 28, 2020

•Sonoma, California’s Bundschu Company has purchased Valley of the Moon Winery on Rancho Agua Caliente in Sonoma Valley. The 60-acre property was purchased from West Coast Wine Partners for an undisclosed sum and will become the home of Bundschu’s Abbot’s Passage Winery & Mercantile. The new facility will allow Bundschu to increase production to approximately 85,000 9-liter cases (split between the company’s brands and select custom crush customers) as well as create a new tourism aspect for Abbot’s Passage. In addition to Abbot’s Passage, Bundschu owns Echo Echo and Gundlach Bundschu. Following the sale, the Valley of the Moon brand will stay with West Coast Wine Partners.

•Diageo is launching two limited edition whiskies from female blenders. The first is a new edition of Jane Walker (41.9% abv), created by master blender Emma Walker. A blended malt Scotch aged for 10 years, that offering retails at $38 a 750-ml. Also new is Bulleit Bourbon Blenders’ Select No. 001 (50% abv), made by blender Eboni Major and retailing at $50. It’s the first edition in Bulleit’s new Blenders Select series.

•Anheuser-Busch InBev saw North American revenues inch up 0.2% to $15.5 billion in its fiscal year ended in December, despite a volume decline of 2.4% to 108.1 million hectoliters. U.S. revenues increased 0.5% for the year, even as sales to retailers slipped 2.4%, compared with an estimated industry decline of 1.4%. While the mainstream beer market remains challenging, A-B continues to have success at the premium end with Michelob Ultra and offshoot Ultra Pure Gold, as well as its craft portfolio. Innovations like Naturdays, Michelob Ultra Infusions, and Natural Light Seltzer also provided a positive contribution. Globally, revenue rose 4.3% to $52.3 billion on 1.1% volume growth. A-B expects conditions to prove more difficult this year amid the coronavirus outbreak, noting that flatlining demand in China has already cost the company $285 million in the last two months.

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