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The Wine Group Introduces New CEO, Adds 1 Million Cases Via CBrands Deal

October 7, 2022

Yesterday, Constellation Brands announced a deal to sell six mainstream and premium wine brands to The Wine Group for an undisclosed sum. Those six brands—Cooper & Thief, Crafters Union, The Dreaming Tree, Monkey Bay, 7 Moons, and Charles Smith Wines—account for around 1 million cases of annual volume.

Additionally, The Wine Group revealed in an interview with SND that it has named a new CEO, company veteran John Sutton, who replaced Cate Hardy in the post.

“The board appointed John as the CEO and we’re super excited, because this deal under his stewardship gives him an opportunity to continue to lean in to unlock growth and expand TWG’s presence both in wine and diversified alcoholic beverage,” The Wine Group’s chief revenue officer Amy Hoopes told SND.

Sutton joined The Wine Group in 2007 as general counsel and was named CFO in 2015. He has served on the company’s board since 2013 and took the helm as CEO in August. Prior to joining TWG, Sutton was a practicing attorney and worked in The White House as Special Assistant to the Deputy Chief of Staff and to the Counselor to the President.

Turning to the Constellation deal, Hoopes called the move “a great opportunity for us at TWG to continue forward with our long-term strategy of diversification and premiumization.” With the acquired brands retailing primarily in the $12-$25 price band, Hoopes noted that the acquisition “puts us further into that premium and super-premium category. We also like the diversification of appellation with the Charles Smith portfolio, representing Washington.”

With the acquisition, Hoopes says the company is now firmly in the number-two position among all wine marketers in the U.S. in both volume and dollar terms, behind market leader Gallo. The Wine Group is now also the fourth-largest player in the Washington wine category, post-acquisition.

“These brands are well positioned right now in retail and they do have some on-premise penetration as well,” said Hoopes, adding that the new additions play into the strengths of the TWG sales team while ushering the company into higher price tiers, especially with Cooper & Thief, whose spirit-barrel-aged wines can reach above the $30 mark.—Daniel Marsteller

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