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Interview, Part 1: Ben Dollard, President, Treasury Wine Estates Americas

September 20, 2022

Treasury Wine Estates’ sales registered A$2.5 billion ($1.7b) in the year through June, with the company benefiting from organic growth of 12% to A$963 million ($667m) in its Americas unit, which had volume of 8 million cases for the year. Amid a sustained premiumization push, Treasury Americas’ net sales revenue per-case rose 16%, with premium-and-above brands now accounting for more than 90% of sales, led by labels including Beringer, Stags’ Leap, Matua, and 19 Crimes. SND executive editor Daniel Marsteller recently spoke with Treasury Americas president Ben Dollard for an update on where the company is headed.

SND: While premium wines continue to grow, there have been plenty of macro-level challenges in the U.S. wine market lately. What’s your read on the overall state of affairs heading into the fall?

Dollard: We remain steadfast in executing against our plans and our strategy. To that end, the overall themes that we’re seeing really do relate to how we’ve been thinking about our business over the last couple of years, and that’s making sure that we’re tracking with the consumer. Premiumization and the consumer trading up is a theme we continue to see. That’s how we’ve thought about shaping our portfolio. So we haven’t really seen any deviation from that from a consumer standpoint. Also, when you think about the overall channel mix, clearly on-premise continues to be really important to us and to our portfolio, and it’s been encouraging to see that channel rebounding. But the off-premise continues to be a strong channel for us as well.

SND: Treasury has reshaped its U.S. portfolio in recent years. Which brands and categories are your top priorities moving forward?

Dollard: We have made some very intentional changes in reshaping the portfolio. Again, it’s largely consumer-led, as we think about the experience that the consumer has with our brands. We break it into two key components. One is our luxury portfolio, and that’s brands like Beringer, Beaulieu, Stags’ Leap, Frank Family, and Penfolds, of course. But then also we have a really important part of our business that is premium—brands like 19 Crimes, St. Hubert’s the Stag, Matua, Beringer Brothers, Sterling. The changes we’ve made have been very deliberate, and we really feel our portfolios are now well tailored to engage with the consumer.

SND: Specifically, Treasury made a big move to acquire Frank Family Vineyards last year for $315 million. How has that integration gone so far?

Dollard: It’s been a really exciting process for us and an engagement with the Frank Family team. We saw an opportunity certainly with luxury Chardonnay, and that has been reinforced since we acquired the brand, which has tremendous attributes in that category. Todd Graff, our general manager and winemaker, has been making wines there for 20 years and he’s well and truly entrenched in where we’re taking the brand and the opportunity. And the same with Rich and Leslie Frank. They continue to be really engaged as well. I’m really pleased with how that brand’s been integrated into the portfolio but, most importantly, really excited for the opportunity it brings.

SND: Do you anticipate further additions to the portfolio in the near term?

Dollard: We’ve built a really good capability when we think about innovation, and I do want to call out the innovation around 19 Crimes and the relationship we have with Snoop and now with Martha Stewart, and the very legitimate story that we have around 19 Crimes. That’s been really encouraging. We’ve engaged with new consumers on the brand, and in many cases consumers totally new to the wine category. So we will continue to innovate across the portfolio. It’s a key pillar of how we look to grow. But in addition to that, we’re always looking for new opportunities, and they’re going to be largely driven by the evaluation of how the consumer is engaging in the wine category.

Treasury Wine Estates Americas – Key Brands
Brand Origin Total1
2021
Depletions
2022 YTD2
Percent Change
in IRI
19 Crimes Australia/California 2,387 -7.4%
Lindemans Australia 764 -20.0%
Matua New Zealand 763 8.4%
Sterling Vintners Collection California 550 -21.3%
Stags’ Leap California 196 22.1%
Frank Family Vineyards California 145 3.6%
Beringer Brothers California 129 3.2%
Beringer Knights Valley California 76 80.3%
St. Hubert’s The Stag California 64 34.5%
Etude California 46 11.1%
1 Thousands of 9-liter cases.
2 26 weeks through June 12, except for 19 Crimes (ytd ending Aug 7).
Source: IRI and IMPACT DATABANK © 2022
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