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New Jersey Wholesalers Fined $4 Million for Retailer Incentive Programs

The New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control announced that the state’s two biggest wine and spirits wholesalers, Allied Beverage Group and Fedway Associates, agreed to pay fines of $4 million each after a two-year investigation by the agency. The investigation found that the wholesalers unfairly favored the states largest wine and spirits retailers. Both companies agreed to adopt a corrective action plan. Additionally, 20 retailers statewide will also pay a total of $2.3 million in fines for their participation in the program. Source: WRNJ, September 2020...

Bar Owners Look to Pop-Up Model to Meet Consumer Needs During COVID Crisis

On-premise operators are experimenting with new models to make it through the COVID crisis, and one model that is increasingly popular is pop-up ventures. Pop-up style venues allow for a smaller selection of inventory, more flexible spacing options, and most importantly, are more affordable than permanent locations. Source: Beverage Industry Enthusiast, August 2020...

On-Premise Velocity Continues Improving

The on-premise channel isn’t back to pre-COVID levels, but it is showing a steady recovery in the states tracked by Nielsen CGA. The week ending August 22 represents the seventh consecutive week without a decline in velocity. The on-premise in New York and Illinois experienced the highest growth rate increases because they’re still playing catch up to other major markets like Florida and Texas. Though, all major markets in Nielsen CGA’s weekly report delivered velocity growth.  Source: Nielsen CGA Report for Week Ending August 22...

On-Premise Buyers Discuss How They’re Re-evaluating Menus Post-COVID

As more states move into reopening phase for the on-premise again, restaurants and bars are adapting with a new business model. SevenFifty Daily spoke to sommeliers and beverage directors around the country about their strategies, many of which are focusing on re-evaluating their wine lists. Several of the strategies boil down to streamlining selections, leaning into what sells, and taking advantage of deals.  “It’s a time to re-center intentions and direction with the programs,” says Jennifer Wagoner, the wine director for Sepia and Proxi in Chicago. Source: SevenFifty Daily, August 2020...

Hard Seltzer Growth Represents New Lifestyle Trend

In 2019, the alcohol beverage industry experienced the summer of the hard seltzer, with the category transcending beyond beer to steal shares from wine and spirits. In 2020, hard seltzers have far outpaced the growth of all other beverage alcohol categories, becoming a lifestyle movement that resonates year round. Volumes for the category are expected to grow by 72% in the US and almost 42% globally between 2019 and 2024, according to IWSR. Even Coca-Cola is getting in on the game through its Topo Chico brand. It joins the list of international players tapping into the growing market, including Constellation Brands and AB InBev. But IWSR also estimates 30% of US craft distillers currently have a prepared cocktail or ready-to-drink on the market, and another 20% are currently researching or developing one. Source: IWSR, August 2020...
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Retailer Interview: Gary Fisch, founder and CEO, Gary’s Wine & Marketplace

We recently launched a new interview series with retail buyers around the country. This week’s interview features Gary Fisch, founder and CEO, Gary’s Wine & Marketplace in New Jersey and Napa Valley.   Tell us about your store(s) Founded in 1987, Gary’s has four locations in Northern New Jersey, as well as a new flagship location in St. Helena, Napa Valley. We do roughly $65 million annual revenue company-wide. Garyswine.com has over 150,000 unique visitors each month, and our mobile app has over 35,000 downloads on the Apple and Android app stores. We were voted “Retailer of the Year” by Beverage Dynamics magazine in 2012 and 2018, and by Market Watch magazine in 2014. We’re known among our guests for our elevated in-store experience, wine expertise, and everyday low prices.   How has COVID-19 changed your operations? COVID-19 accelerated technology changes in our company. Since the health crisis began, over 35,000 customers have downloaded our mobile app. With the uptick in local deliveries and curbside pickup orders, we needed to streamline our internal operations and fulfillment capabilities. We are leveraging delivery routing optimization software to ensure that we are taking the most efficient routes when fulfilling local deliveries. We also introduced a customer support ticketing portal to allow for more real-time communications internally and externally with guests. We also launched a remote customer success team to ease the burden on our in-store teams of responding to customer inquiries.   How do you make decisions on new products? My team of buyers uses a balance of science and art to determine which new products to bring in stock. We use...