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

News Briefs for May 4, 2020

May 4, 2020

•Constellation Brands has formally raised its stake in Canadian cannabis producer Canopy Growth to 38.6% through an exercise of existing warrants. The warrants, issued in 2017, represent a 5.1% interest in Canopy at a price of C$245 million ($174m). Constellation holds further warrants that if exercised would take its stake in the company to 55.8%. We’ll have more in tomorrow’s SND Cannabis Edition.

•West Coast tasting rooms have been closed for more than a month now, and Napa wineries are looking for new ways to keep revenue flowing. Napa Valley Vintners (NVV), a nonprofit trade association with 550 winemaking members and also the organizer behind the recently canceled Auction Napa Valley, has created a promotion to help struggling wineries. For Napa wine fans and collectors, it’s an opportunity to grab some great collectible wines. “Open the Cellar” is an effort to provide wine enthusiasts with special bottles that cannot typically be found in their home markets. Wine Spectator has the full story.

•South Africa has lifted its temporary ban on wine exports, which it had implemented due to Covid-19. Effective May 1, South African vintners were again allowed to begin bottling and shipping their wines abroad after an interruption of approximately two weeks. Wines of South Africa said the country’s vintners will continue to exercise precautions including taking care with vulnerable employees, wearing face masks, adhering to physical distancing, providing sanitizers, undertaking regular cleaning, and acting swiftly if an infection is identified. South Africa’s bottled table wine shipments to the U.S. were down 5.5% to 880,000 cases last year, according to Impact Databank.

•Illinois-based importer and marketer Winesellers Ltd. has debuted two new offerings within the Italian Tiamo Organic lineup. Made from organic grapes grown throughout Italy, the Tiamo Organic Dry Rosé and Dry White Wine Spritzers both clock in at 5% abv and have 90 calories per 250-ml. can. Each offering is also blended with sparkling water and a small amount of organic cane sugar. The new spritzers are available nationwide, retail priced at $15 a 4-pack of cans. The Tiamo lineup also includes a number of canned and bottled still wines.

•Fever-Tree is launching a new sparkling grapefruit mixer developed specifically for the U.S. market. Retailing at $5 a 4-pack of 6.8-ounce bottles, Fever-Tree Sparkling Pink Grapefruit has 30 calories a bottle and is aimed at drinks like Tequila-based Palomas and vodka spritzers. Distributed nationally, it’s rolling out to Amazon, ReserveBar, Target, Total Wine, and Publix among others. Fever-Tree’s revenues were up 10% to £261 million ($326m) last year, with the U.S. accounting for 18% of the total. Adjusted EBITDA slipped 2% to £77 million ($96m). The company’s U.S. business was weighted 70% toward the off-premise last year.

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