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The U.S. is now the #1 export market for Portuguese Wine

Portuguese wines have been growing in popularity in the U.S. market over the past decade and this year the U.S. just surpassed Angola to become the #1 export market. Sales of Portuguese wine in the U.S. grew by more than 8 percent to just under 75 million dollars. The jump from 2 to 1 was also benefited by a substantial drop in imports to the Angolan market, which saw a 40 million dollar drop last year. Portuguese wine has been rapidly expanding in almost every other major market to help offset the losses seen in Angola. The wine exports have increased to countries like Canada, Germany, the UK, Switzerland, China, Poland and Japan. Source: ESM, May...

The state of Georgia signs new alcohol bill

The new alcohol sales bill, signed by Governor Nathan Deal, will allow beer and liquor manufacturers to sell their products directly to consumers from the manufacturing plant. Senate Bill 85 was signed into law on May 8th and will take effect begin September 1st 2017. An earlier compromise prior to this bill allowed breweries and distilleries to sell tours of their plants and allow tour-goers to take limited amounts of alcohol home. The new law is considered a major victory for the state’s growing craft alcohol industry, it is also seen as an acceptable compromise with the state’s alcohol wholesalers. Georgia was one of the last states in the country to allow limited sales directly from the manufacturer. Source: AJC, May...

New Zealand wine exports to the U.S. breaks $500 million

Earlier it was reported that New Zealand wine has been growing rapidly in the U.S. market and is now in the top 3 in volume for countries exporting wine to the U.S. market. Updating that report, New Zealand wine exports have now surpassed $500 million in value for the first time ever. That is an increase of over 11 percent from the same time last year. Total wine exports for New Zealand reached a new record of $1.63 billion in March 2017, according to Statistics New Zealand. Wine now represents the countries 5th largest export good by value and is showing no signs of slowing down. The wine industry has a goal of $2 billion in export value by 2020 and sees the U.S. market as their primary focus for expansion. New Zealand’s most popular wine in the U.S. is their sauvignon blanc, which has gained increased popularity among younger wine drinkers and is expected to see demand continue to grow with increased exposure and marketing. Source: Drinks International, May...

Mexican alcohol imports on the rise

A recent Nielsen report shows that imported Mexican alcohol sales are on the rise. On-premise tequila sales grew by 7 percent in the first quarter of 2016. Tequila wildly outperformed the total spirits category, which saw limited growth during the same time period. Both Mexican spirits and Mexican beer imports have been growing at very impressive rates compared to other segments as the number of consumers for the products steadily grows in the U.S. Some of that increase can be contributed to the Cinco de Mayo holiday which is a huge sales day for the entire Mexican alcoholic beverages segment for both on-premise and off-premise retailers. Sales during the week of Cinco de Mayo typically spike by 20 percent for Mexican products, accounting for an impressive 5 percent of total annual sales volume. Source: Nielsen, May...

Winemakers slowly coming around to the idea of canned wine

Canned wine was seen as a far fetched idea, and almost a joke as recently as 2009. Canned wine even made its way into a popular comedy show at the time – It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia. But the growing popularity of canned wine has taken hold and winemakers are beginning to listen. Similar to boxed wine, both non-traditional methods are much more popular with millennials and you can now find very good, quality wines in both boxes and cans. Ironically, cans are actually better at protecting the liquid than glass. It took many years for the craft beer producers to convince consumers of this fact and now winemakers have done the same. In the 2016 Survey of American Wine Consumer Preferences, 20 percent of Americans surveyed said that they would purchase wine in a can. Sales of canned wine have increased by over 125 percent in just the past 12 months. Consumers point to the “refreshing” quality of the can being cold for longer, the cans feeling more portable and also that the aluminum is recyclable. Enjoy a cold can of wine at your next picnic! Source: The Burlington Free Press, May...

Wine becoming integral part of Washington state culture

The state of Washington has slowly been embracing the wine culture over the past 40 years. The industry started in Spokane and grew from there. Beginning in the early 80’s there were only 30 to 40 wineries but at the time most people didn’t even know they existed. According to Washington State Wine, the industry group that represents all licensed wineries in the state, there are now more than 900 wineries in the state. The 2016 growing season saw the state’s vineyards yield over 270,000 tons of grapes. Washington State University now provides study and research of wine at the graduate and undergraduate level. And most importantly, the wine tourism industry has exploded in the region as the craft movement has boomed and tourists look to try new and unique wines. The region has fully embraced the wine tourist culture, especially in Spokane, where the old world, food friendly region has fused perfectly with the classic and modern wine enthusiasts. Source: The Pacific Northwest Inlander, May...

Virginia stores report huge demand for brown spirits

Spirited Virginia, a Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control publication, recent said that inventory levels of many brown spirits are low due to “explosive growth” in the market segment. Over the past year the state has seen double digit growth in brown spirits like Hennessey and Bourbon, so much so that some stores are actually having difficulty keeping any inventory in stock. Certain state stores have seen a growth rate of just over 24 percent. The craft distilling and cocktail craze appears to be a leading factor in the increased demand, following national trends. Revenue for American whiskey, which includes bourbon and rye, grew by over 7 percent in 2016 up to $3.1 billion, according to the Distilled Spirits Council. Cognac grew by over 15 percent to $1.5 billion. The demand has grown so high in fact that some stores have reported customers purchasing products before staff even have a chance to put them on the shelves! Source: The Virginian-Pilot, May...

2012 looks to be a great year for Brunello

Many used to believe that even numbered vintages produced lesser quality Brunello, said a leading producer. The 2012 vintage is apparently so good this year that it has completely blown that theory out of the water. The weather conditions for that year were excellent, leading to wines with the “perfect concentration and personality” said Tenute Silvio Nardi. The season started with plenty of snow in the winter, allowing the groundwater reserves to build to optimal levels come spring time. The extended summer months were a concern for many vineyards, fearing that the added heat and sunshine with limited temperature differentials between day and night might ruin the harvest. But rains in early September cooled the region and ensured even ripening of the grapes and one of the best Brunello vintages to be seen in recent years. Enjoy! Source: OLN, May...

Nielsen Spirits Update for April

New numbers for April were recently released by Nielsen. Distilled spirits dollar sales were up by almost 5 percent in the past 4 weeks, 2 percent greater than the expected growth rate. In fact, every major spirits category outperformed their 3 month trends with Bourbon, Canadian whiskey, Irish whiskey and tequila performing the best. Distilled spirits volumes were also up over the past 4 weeks by 3.1 percent, 1 percent greater than expected. Brown spirits in general remained strong with Irish whiskey showing the greatest volume growth of 17.5 percent. White spirits did well also, with tequila posting sales growth of 10.3 percent. The only major category that was down was blended whiskey, with a drop of 1.1 percent in sales. Overall the spirits industry is trending up and remains a strong category both in the U.S. and globally. Source: Cowen and Company, May...

California wine sales hit new U.S. record

The state of California set a new record in 2016 with domestic wine shipments totaling 238 million cases worth an estimated retail value of $34 billion, an increase of 4.6% from the previous year. California wine sales globally also increased, with domestic and export wine shipments totaling 285 million cases. Wine sales have steadily been increasing in the U.S. market with shipments increasing from 191 million cases in 2006 to 238 million cases this past year. The growth trend has been driven by population increases. Baby boomers have traditionally made up the largest segment of California wine but they are now being joined by millennials who have increasingly been enjoying the state’s wine. Consumers continue to trend towards the states more premium wines which has helped fuel the increase in retail value. All things point to these trends continuing over the next 10 year cycle. Source:...