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WSWA and ABL tell Department of Justice U.S consumers enjoy most dynamic, innovative market in world

In June, the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) and American Beverage Licensees (ABL) shared their insight and expertise in the beverage alcohol industry with the U.S Department of Justice (DOJ). At the DOJ, both WSWA and ABL agreed that, “No other country in the world offers consumers the choice, variety, and innovative products that Americans have available when it comes to beer, wine and spirits. This environment is made possible by a fundamentally transparent, accountable beverage alcohol market that is the best in the world in terms of safety, choice, and innovation.” Part of their insight demonstrated how beverage alcohol industry and marketplace proved that the current state-based regulation system has succeeded in balancing and regulating competition by providing an innovative and diverse platform whilst promoting consumer safety. Source: WSWA, June...

Illinois bill amending prohibitive liquor licensing law goes to governor’s desk

In May, members of the Illinois General Assemble voted to repeal an outdated 84-year old liquor law. With a unanimous vote in the Senate and strong bipartisan support from the House, lawmakers passed Senate Bill 2436. The outdated liquor law refers to the Liquor Control Act of 1934 passed after the ratification of the 21st Amendment. The Liquor Control Act of 1934 instilled a system of regulation in Illinois of production, distribution and alcohol sales. It prohibited the issuing of liquor licenses to retail businesses anywhere within 100 feet of churches, schools and hospitals. The bill to repeal Liquor Control Act of 1934 passed and advanced to Governor Bruce Rauner’s and once accepted, it will relax Illinois’ restrictions on liquor licenses and promote more local control. Source: Illinoispolicy, June...

Work to open more states to DTC wine shipments continues

In Alabama, Mississippi, Kentucky and Delaware, bills allowing out-of-state wineries to distribute directly to customers are being considered since they are the last states in the Union to prohibit the practice, including Utah. Direct-to-consumer wines increased by 15 percent in 2017 in volume and value, with sales reaching to 5.8 million cases worth about $2.7 billion. As a business strategy, wineries prefer direct-to-consumer sales since retailers and distributors are increasingly consolidating. The U.S Supreme Court’s Granholm v. Heald decision to allow direct-to-consumer wine shipping has provided the platform to facilitate in-state direct-to-consumer wine shipments which includes the inability to prohibit direct-to-consumer wine shipments from out-of-state wineries. Source: WineBusiness June...

New Hampshire waffles on interstate wine shipping laws

Progress in control states such as New Hampshire provide influential pull on other states in regards to retail and national shipping. One of the main obstacles faced in control states are the push of bills that limit existing retailers to ship into the state and others like it. New Hampshire is considered one of the more progressive control states, and it offered residents an opportunity to order from both out-of-state wineries and retailers. The New Hampshire Liquor Commission (NHLC) recently tried to remove the retail licenses to ship wine into the state, stating that operators were selling residents existing wine brands, and similar off-brands at a discounted price. Wineries, retailers and consumers have faced certain obstacles. The NHCL Senate Bill 353 bill was not passed facilitating those distributers or organizations like National Association of Wine Retailers (NAWR) that value direct to consumer sales channels. How New Hampshire conducts its interstate shipping has affected how drink sales are conducted in many states, thus proving progress for distributors. Source: Forbes, May...

Wilson Daniels acquires Oregon wholesaler

Wilson Daniels has acquired Oregon-based Galaxy Wine Company expanding its footprint to the West Coast. The deal is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of 2018. Galaxy Wine Co. was founded in 1999 by Matt Elsen and Bob Liner, Galaxy has become the third-largest wine wholesaler in Oregon representing more than 400 producers. As part of the agreement the two owners will continue to lead the current sales team. Galaxy will operate independently under the wholesale division of Wilson Daniels, which is a subsidiary of Young’s Hodlings. Source: Wine & Spirits Daily, May...

Nielsen Spirits Update

Distilled spirits dollar sales were up 3.7 percent in the month of May, which was slightly above the 3.4 percent growth seen over the last 3 months. Across brown spirits, bourbon and Irish whiskey gained dollar share, while tequila was the only major white spirit that outperformed the total category. Total distilled spirits dollar sales grew by 3.7 percent in the month of May, which was also slightly above the 3.4 percent growth seen over the last 3 months. Volume was up by 2.2 percent as price/mix contributed 1.5 points to overall performance. Brown spirits remained strong, with bourbon and Irish whiskey both grew ahead of the category, while Canadian whiskey underperformed the category. Across white spirits, tequila posted strong sales growth of 11.6 percent and vodka was up 3.3 percent. Source: Cowen, May...