In 2023, the beverage alcohol industry continued to evolve with a strong focus on consumer preferences for premium and craft products. Shifts in the distribution tier, expansion of the low & no-alcohol and tequila categories, and several notable acquisitions highlighted the year. As we begin the new year, we are looking back at some of the top news stories of 2023, along with the top-performing blogs, podcasts, and videos.

Top News Stories of 2023

A Guide to New Requirements for Wine Labeling in the EU

Beginning December 8, 2023, any wine product produced and/or bottled after that date and sold in the EU must provide similar ingredient and nutrition information. 

Diageo Appoints New CEO

Chief Operating Officer Debra Crew took over as Chief Executive Officer after the passing of Ivan Menezes after nearly a decade at the helm of the world’s largest spirits maker.

Tanteo Spirits and Ole Smoky Announce Merger

Tanteo Spirits and Ole Smoky Distillery closed on a merger agreement to join forces. The deal allows the Tennessee-based distillery to enter the fast-growing tequila market and expand its portfolio into other high-growth spirits categories.

Sazerac Files Lawsuit Against RNDC

Sazerac Company, which maintains the second-largest market share of spirits in the U.S., filed a lawsuit against Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC).

Pernod Ricard Acquires Majority Stake in Skrewball Whiskey

Pernod Ricard struck a deal to acquire a majority stake in California-based Skrewball Whiskey. Founded in 2018 by Steven and Brittany Yeng in San Diego, the super-premium peanut butter-flavored whiskey was the first of its kind to hit the U.S. market. 

Top Park Street Blog Posts of 2023

Alcohol Industry Mergers & Acquisitions From the First Half of 2023

In the first half of 2023, the beverage alcohol industry experienced a significant upswing in mergers and acquisitions. This surge in activity demonstrated the industry’s dynamic nature and the continuous pursuit of growth opportunities. 

A Guide to Direct-to-Retail Distribution for Alcohol Brands

Emerging beverage alcohol brands often need help with crafting a scalable route-to-market strategy in major markets such as California and New York due to how expensive and crowded they are. Visibility and awareness at retail and consumer levels are significantly harder in these markets because they rank as a top priority on nearly every brand’s list. 

How to Import Alcohol Samples Into the U.S.

Before any type of sample shipment can occur, beer, wine, or liquor products must go through the proper procedures and have the appropriate documentation to ensure they can be shipped into the U.S. The Park Street University team compiled a comprehensive breakdown to guide your brand on shipping alcohol samples to the U.S. 

An Overview of the Tequila Market in the U.S.

The U.S. tequila market is poised to outpace the growth of the total spirits category on a global scale between 2022 and 2027, with an expected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9% during that period. As tequila extends its horizons, we compiled a comprehensive category overview. 

How to Develop a Retail Channel Strategy

If you’ve created a high-quality wine or spirits product with an appealing brand proposition, the next step is determining your route-to-market strategy. This article focuses on the retail channel strategy of your route-to-market plan. 

Top Podcast Episodes of 2023

What It Takes— Tequila Fortaleza

Not many alcohol brands can claim to have taken a nearly 30-year hiatus from producing their spirit, only to revive it and build their business into a category leader. Jesse Cortes sat down with Billy Erickson, the Sales and Marketing Manager of Tequila Fortaleza, to dive into the rise and development of his family’s brand.

What It Takes— Tequila Komos Founder Richard Betts

Richard Betts joined Emily Pennington to dive into his entrepreneurial journey and his latest venture Tequila Komos. Betts is a storied brand builder and a key figure behind brands like Betts and Scholl Wine, Scarpetta Wine, and Sombra Mezcal

What’s Trending— Impact Investing & Brand Development

At 2023’s edition of Bar Convent Brooklyn, Emily Pennington sat down with some of the leading impact investors for a high-level discussion about what they’re doing to make a positive social impact while boosting their bottom lines in the spirits industry. 

What’s Trending— The State of Independent Distribution in the U.S.

With such high levels of competition among suppliers and rapid consolidation in the distribution tier, one big question looms: how can independent suppliers get the attention they need from distributors? Emily Pennington discussed the state of beverage-alcohol’s second tier with Mark Harmann, the National Sales Director of the Independent Distributor Network (IDN).

Essential Talks – Ryan Lake on the Current Trends Driving Mergers & Acquisitions in Beverage Alcohol

Mergers and acquisition deals often make for good headlines, but to take a step back and look at the sum of these deals often reveals more significant insights into the state of beverage alcohol. Ryan Lake, Managing Director at Arlington Capital Advisors, provides an overview of the current trends driving M&A activity in beverage-alcohol.

Top Park Street University Videos of 2023

How to Help Your Distributor Create Retail Sales

In this presentation, Chris Maffeo, Founder of Maffeo Drinks, revealed how to work with your distributor to create retail sales. Maffeo emphasized the utility of understanding your distributors’ needs, as well as the needs of bars, restaurants, and consumers.

Trade Marketing Strategies for Spirits Brands

Lindsey Johnson, the Founder and Creative Director of Lush Life, discussed some tips for trade marketing and how spirits brands can work with bars to achieve their goals. She emphasized the significance of brands connecting with bartenders and fostering an inclusive community. 

How Hendrick’s Gin Approaches Brand Activation

Muiris Ó Riada, Global Brand Director for Hendrick’s Gin at William Grant & Sons, discussed the Hendrick’s Gin approach to brand activation. 

The New Models of Building a Beverage Alcohol Brand

Nick Papanicolaou, CEO of No Sleep Beverage, broke down the new models entrepreneurs use to build successful beverage alcohol brands. He touched on traditional brand-building methods while also acknowledging the consumer experience, packaging innovation, and the creation of an in-house tasting agency. 

Bacardi’s Jacob Briars on How to Drive Premiumization

Jacob Briars, Global Advocacy Director at Bacardi, discussed how brands can continue to drive premiumization in beverage alcohol. Briars emphasized the importance of clearly defining products and marketing to specific occasions. 

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