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USA – A landmark Supreme Court decision could herald the beginning of the end of the three-tier system…UK – The British Beer and Pub Association has taken a decisive stance on the problems of binge drinking by…



A landmark Supreme Court decision could herald the beginning of the end of the three-tier system. The ruling dictates that states permitting local wineries to ship directly to consumers while prohibiting out-of-state wineries from doing the same are acting unconstitution-ally. To conform to new laws states will either have to open up their borders to all out-of-state shipments or reverse long-standing direct shipment rights of local wineries. The concern for liquor wholesalers is that if consumers can buy direct from out-of-state producers, retailers might be able to do the same. Texas recently became the 27th state to allow direct shipment to consumers.

In other US news, the soft drinks giant PepsiCo is rumoured to be in an acquisitive mood. It has been reported that PepsiCo has identified as many as 20 possible targets for acquisition in Europe, with the aim of increasing international distribution and margins. The company has made two new acquisitions in recent months, including the German juice company Punica and the UK-based smoothie maker Pete & Johnny.


The Argentinian Secretariat is joining together the food and wine of Argentina to create drinking, eating and adventuring tourism routes. The new routes form a focused, cohesive tourist trail encompassing the wine regions.



The British Beer and Pub Association has taken a decisive stance on the problems of binge drinking by issuing new guidelines to all its members to discourage a range of promotional activity including “happy hours”, “women drink free”, drinking games, flat-fee promotions and marketing techniques that contribute to alcohol abuse. The voluntary ban covers the association’s 70 members, who control 32,000 outlets, roughly half the country’s pubs and bars.

Sadly, Scottish & Newcastle’s Tyne Brewery has bottled its last, as production of Newcastle Brown Ale has moved to the Federation Brewery in Gateshead. The move has resulted in around 180 redundancies overall at the two plants.


V&S Absolut Spirits, creator of the Absolut vodka brand, has opened a new distillery in Nöbbelöv, just outside Ahus, Sweden.

The board of directors of the V&S Group made a decision in 1999 to invest SK320m (€34.9m) to meet increasing demand. Last year, sales of Absolut rose by 5% to 76.1m litres, and sales for the whole group were up again by 8% in the first three months of this year. When the new plant is fully operational V&S Absolut Spirits’ production capacity will also increase, to 143m bottles a year from 100m today.


Italian wine producers are celebrating the news that wine exports from Italy to the US have soared in the first two months of this year. Coldiretti, the Italian farmers’ union, has reported that exports are up by 51% year-on-year in January and February.


The price of a pint is set to rise in the Republic as drinks giant Diageo has revealed that it will be adding €0.04 to the price of a pint of Guinness, leading to a price rise of around €0.10 a pint at the bar. The increase will also cover Diageo’s other beer products.

Bulmers in Ireland, meanwhile, has recently confirmed that it will be following suit and the price of Bulmers Draught, pint bottles and long-necks will also be rising by €0.04 this month. This translates to a rise of between €0.05 and €0.10 to consumers after VAT and publicans’ margins have been added on.



The Heritage Fine Wines wine fund has collapsed in Australia, leaving its stock in disarray. It is reported that the liquidator now handling the situation has found that records are incomplete or missing for much of the one-million bottle stock. The fund was created with the purpose of storing wines for owners while they appreciate in value, however, it appears that a stock take was never carried out and Crouch Insolvency has now been charged with returning all the wine to its rightful owners.

Palandri Investment Management has launched an investment scheme based on managed vineyards. Palandri Ltd will oversee the project but will subcontract the running of the vineyards to its subsidiary, Palandri Wine Production Ltd. The new scheme in Western Australia consists of 3,122 vineyard lots of 0.05 hectares each that can be purchased by investors in Australia. It has been estimated that Palandri Investment will generate gross management fees of A$11.24m in the first three years, with annual fees to follow.

Wnemaker Evans & Tate is expecting a healthy rise in its revenue, forecasting an increase in net operating revenue of around 15% in 2004-2005 on the back of solid sales growth in both its domestic and international markets.

The company said it expects annual revenue to be in excess of A$90m (€54.4m), helped by a 65% increase in sales volume of its Barramundi brand. It forecasts growth in Asia, and in China in particular.



Ginebra San Miguel has posted a drop in Q1 net profit of 12.3% to PHP367.87m ($6.78m) from PHP419.66m in the corresponding period last year, blaming the higher excise taxes that took effect in May for the decline of volume sales. Ginebra had to deal with a 30% excise tax increase after a new sliding scale of tax increases.


Beer shipments from Japan’s five leading brewers rose by 3.3% in the year to April to 46.77m cases, marking the first rise in the moving annual total in four months. The increase has been attributed to the rise in popularity of so-called “third-sector” products such as Sapporo’s Draft One. Shipments of third-sector beers increased by a massive 360% to 9.08m cases while shipments of standard beer fell by 7.4% to 24.1m cases.


US wines and spirits company Brown-Forman has announced it is launching its Finlandia vodka brand in India in original and three flavoured versions, priced at between INR1,500 and INR1,600 ($34-$37). Vodka accounts for only about 1% of the total imported spirits market in India, but its popularity is growing with younger drinkers.

© db June 2005

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