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Oregon Portfolio, Off-Premise Gains Boost Growth For Dreyfus, Ashby & Co.

July 8, 2021

New York-based importer and marketer Dreyfus, Ashby & Co., owned by Burgundy’s Drouhin family, has seen a one-two punch from tariffs on French wines and the on-premise shutdown over the past year. But company president John Caruso tells SND the business has responded well so far in 2021, and that the focus is now on maintaining off-premise gains made during the pandemic while restoring on-premise sales to full strength. Overall, volume is expected to reach just over a half-million cases this year.

“Our portfolio is generally about 60% on-premise and 40% off-premise,” notes Caruso. “We know that we have the brand recognition on-premise with brands like Drouhin to get the restaurant business back. If we can hold onto 35% or 50% of the off-premise increases we’ve had, we feel like we’re going to be in pretty good position heading into 2022 and beyond.”

While the Burgundy business ended up delivering 7% growth for Dreyfus, Ashby last year, the company’s Oregon portfolio is showing even stronger gains. “Oregon is a phenomenon, and I think we’re a good barometer of the category,” says Caruso. “We have three key SKUs with Cloudline Pinot Noir ($20), Roserock Pinot Noir ($35), and Domaine Drouhin Oregon ($45).” All three showed double-digit depletion growth in the 12 months through May, with Cloudline rising 35%, Roserock up 50%, and Domaine Drouhin Oregon jumping 20%.

Also on the domestic side, Dreyfus, Ashby continues to make progress in the Napa Valley luxury segment with Ulysses, the high-end bottling from Christian Moueix, which sold out its 2016 vintage last year. Up north in Washington, its Dusted Valley Cabernet ($40) has seen good growth over the past year, with lower-priced offshoot Boomtown positioned as the entryway to the brand.

In the Champagne category, Dreyfus, Ashby is making rapid gains from a relatively small base with Drappier, whose Carte d’Or label dramatically increased its retail presence over the course of the pandemic. The company is getting ready to add to Drappier’s U.S. offering with a new organic, vegan Champagne, Clarevallis (about $75 at retail), which illustrates the house’s focus on sustainability.

One area where Dreyfus, Ashby is looking to expand its range moving forward is in the Loire. “Conspicuously missing from our portfolio is a really good Sancerre producer,” says Caruso. “We are in talks with several, but we take a long time to make sure we get the right partner. We represent only family brands, usually multi-generational. So we have a very narrow field to play in and we want to make sure we get it right.”—Daniel Marsteller

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