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

News Briefs for January 25, 2022

January 25, 2022

•The National Restaurant Association has asked Congress to refill the Restaurant Revitalization Fund as the omicron variant continues to drive down business in the on-premise. The fund disbursed $28.6 billion to offset on-premise losses during the early stages of the pandemic, with owners eligible to receive up to $5 million for an individual business and up to $10 million for chains with fewer than 20 locations. According to a recent NRA survey, 88% of respondents have seated fewer indoor diners amid the omicron spike. The group estimates that replenishing the fund could save up to 1.6 million jobs. While some in Congress have introduced legislation to refill the fund, the idea currently has gained little traction.

•Luxury agave spirits brand Clase Azul is undergoing a rebranding and has been renamed Clase Azul Mexico. The rebranding includes a new logo, packaging design, website, and digital assets. The new identity will be unveiled in different stages throughout the year, beginning with digital channels, followed by Clase Azul brand homes, current products, and other to-be-announced brand offerings, according to the company. The changes come as Clase Azul expands its experiential activities, which include the “A Taste of Culture” tasting and culinary experience in Los Cabos. Other projects in the works include The Clase Azul Loft, an experiential space in Dumbo, Brooklyn; an experiential space in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; and a distillery and visitor’s center in Jalisco, Mexico.

•California’s Provenance Vineyards and Hook Or Crook Cellars have partnered with RNDC across 27 markets. The bulk of the states will come online beginning February 1, with more states expected to be added to the partnership over the first half of the year. Allen Lombardi is owner and president of both brands, after acquiring the Provenance brand from Treasury Wine Estates last year.

•Constellation Brands has appointed industry veteran Jim Sabia as executive vice president and president, beer division. Previously, Sabia served as Constellation’s executive vice president and managing director for the company’s beer division. The new role will see Sabia take the lead for all of the company’s beer operations on a day-to-day basis. Sabia’s predecessor, Paul Hetterich, will assume the role of executive vice president and chair, beer division, retaining responsibility for Constellation’s Mexican beer interests.

•Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing has announced a number of new appointments. Rene Armas has been promoted from vice president of sales to senior vice president of strategy. TJ Nichols and Paul Doran are being promoted to vice president of sales, open states, and vice president of sales, control states, respectively. Additionally, John Dunn is being promoted to senior vice president of marketing and operations, and Leah Keggi has been named to the newly created role of marketing director.

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