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

News Briefs for April 27, 2021

April 27, 2021

•Ardbeg Scorch, Talisker 43-year-old Xpedition Oak, and newcomers from Bluegrass Distillers and Bushmills are featured in Whisky Advocate’s latest weekly roundup. The magazine’s website has all the details.

•Grupo Cuervo has posted net sales up 38% to $359 million for its first quarter ended in March, on volume up 43% to 4.8 million 9-liter cases. EBITDA leapt 173% to $94 million. The company’s volume in the U.S. and Canada rose 56% to 3.3 million cases in the first quarter, leading to net sales up 45% to $256 million. Cuervo said the U.S. increase was “driven by strong depletions for our brands, mainly ready-to-drink (RTD), alcohol-free mixers and Tequilas,” adding that the quarter saw “a product mix skewed towards lower sales per case brands partially offset by price increases and the Mexican peso depreciation against the U.S. dollar.” Global volume of the company’s flagship Jose Cuervo Tequila grew 9% to just under 1.3 million cases for the three-month period. In the U.S., Jose Cuervo Margaritas, Jose Cuervo Especial Silver, 1800, 1800 Ultimate Margarita, Pendleton, Jose Cuervo Tradicional, and Proper No. Twelve brands all earned Impact “Hot Brand” honors for Cuervo subsidiary Proximo Spirits based their 2020 performances.

•Diageo has announced Guinness Salt & Lime Ale, the latest release from the company’s Open Gate Brewery in Baltimore, Maryland. The 5% abv brew is made with Key lime puree and salt sourced from the Chesapeake Bay. While this new release is a world apart from Guinness’ flagship stout, the beers share a yeast strain, according to the company. Guinness Salt & Lime Ale will be available for a limited time in select markets like Maryland; Washington, D.C.; and Northern Virginia in 6-packs of 12-ounce cans for around $11.

•Frederick Wildman & Sons has added South Africa’s Klein Constantia to its import portfolio. One of South Africa’s best-known wineries, Klein Constantia’s flagship offering is Vin de Constance ($120 a 500-ml.), with its other bottlings ranging from $22-$67 a 750-ml. Wildman’s portfolio also includes Santi, Nino Negri, Lamberti, Pol Roger, Château Fuissé, J.J. Vincent, Olivier Leflaive, Famille Hugel, Pascal Jolivet, Chartreuse, Marchesi di Barolo, Domaine Faiveley, as well as Cantine Riunite & CIV’s full portfolio, and the wines of Gruppo Italiano Vini.

•Independent Distillers USA is set to launch Twisted Whipz, a new extension to the company’s Twisted Shotz family of drinks, in May. The wine-based shots come in at 14% abv and will launch with three flavors: Butterscotch & Vanilla, Raspberry & Vanilla, and Chocolate & Vanilla. The shots come in a two-chambered package and when consumers take the shot, the flavors will mix together. All three varieties will be available across the U.S. in 4-packs for around $6. Butterscotch & Vanilla and Raspberry & Vanilla will also be available in 15-packs for around $19.

•Viña Concha y Toro has obtained B Corp certification on its entire global business, making it the world’s largest B Corp certified wine company, and aligning itself with the B Corp purpose of “using business as a force for good.” Concha y Toro points to sustainability initiatives as a key focus, noting that its water footprint is now about 50% lower the wine industry average, and that it has set a goal to reduce its carbon emissions by 55% by 2030. Concha y Toro’s global sales totaled just over $1 billion on a 17% increase last year, with wine volume up 4.6% to 35 million cases. EBITDA for the company’s full fiscal year leapt 42% to $203 million.

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