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Publishers’ Page: News & Views

Posted on  | July 21, 2014   Bookmark and Share
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Truth In The Numbers

Responding to anti-alcohol “studies” can be a daunting but appropriate conversation for anyone in our business.

For example, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) direly predicted that privatization in Washington State would create as much as a “44 % median increase in per capita alcohol sales.” Turned out, data showed an increase of “less than 1%.” Even if you take into account some modest loss of consumption to surrounding states, the CDC estimates were unsupportable. Speaking of missing the point, The Washington Post took a report on “What underage drinkers drink” and quickly drew the conclusion that a range of expensive brands had seduced these kids with advertising.

Frank Coleman of the Distilled Spirits Council pointed out that independent reports show that the majority of underage drinkers—91.3%—do not purchase their own alcohol. Rather, they obtain it from parents or other adults, so brands selected by underage drinkers were basically whatever brands were handy. He also pointed out that, across a number of criteria, high school drinking rates are generally at their lowest since 1991.

Can’t win the argument with biased reports—just need to have the facts.

William G. Slone, Chairman

Not Just A Lot of Wine

Wine, vodka, brown goods… trends within the industry come and go like waves, but in general things are looking up for both wine and spirits. According to a government report that tracks distributor sales, from 2007 to 2012 sales of wine grew at a solid 16.5%, but during this same period, sales of spirits grew at almost twice that rate, by 30%.

And most important of all, no matter which wave is currently the one to ride, retailers are there to help it happen.

In this issue Brown-Forman is recognizing outstanding retailers. These awards are a reminder that the relationship between retailers, suppliers and wholesalers does not function well as a one-way street. Communication among the distinct levels of the three-tier system are key to smooth flow of inventory, especially in this age of unprecedented new product launches.

Sales don’t just happen because a new red blend or bourbon is bottled. It takes a planning and coordination. That planning may start in a corporate board room, then get spread through a distributor network through emails and meetings. But the true test of any product’s mettle comes at retail, the point of sale.

It’s always nice to see recognition of the retailers’ role at the front lines of wine and spirits.

Jason A. Glasser, Chief Executive Officer

Coming Up Green

Our cover story this month is about the increasingly important topic of “green wine.” It was not all so long ago that the organic section in wine stores was an afterthought. Today, so many wines have staked claim to being earth-friendly that having a dedicated section is rare; and the term organic, while widely used, is particularly tricky when it comes to wine. Check out our cover story, “Shades of Green” by Pam Strayer and W. R. Tish, to make sure you are up to speed on the differences between Organic, Biodynamic and Sustainable wine. Then visit beveragemedia.com for even more content on this topic.

This issue has two interesting marketing-oriented pieces. Robert Haynes-Peterson covers the unusual trend of whiskies sporting more and more creative names as competition in brown goods heats up. And Jeff Siegel covers the revolving-door phenomenon among wine labels.

Last but not least, we hope you have a very busy August, both satisfying the thirst of summer-loving customers and prepping for the biggest quarter of the year, which is just around the corner.

Jody Slone-Spitalnik, Chief Marketing Officer


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