Winebits 434: Freixenet sale, consolidation, marijuana

Freixenet saleSay it ain’t so: Freixenet, the Spanish wine giant that makes so much of the cheap wine that I buy and drink regularly, may be sold. This is almost certainly not good news for those of us who drink the Rene Barbier red and white blends, Segura Viudas cava, or the more expensive Gloria Ferrer sparkling wines from California. The German company that wants to buy Freixenet, Henkell & Co., sells very little wine in the U.S.; how interested will it be in continuing to sell those labels if it gets the company? And this doesn’t take into account the concern that any new owner usually screws up the old brands just because — right, Alaska Air? So, if any of the Ferrer family members who own the company read this (and I have met a couple of them over the years): Please, please don’t sell.

Just more businesspeak: Want to know why so much consolidation is going on in wine? Then read this piece from the Supermarket News trade magazine. The article doesn’t address wine, but the sentiments and buzzwords used in it to talk about grocery store mergers describe what’s happening in wine — and that consolidation has nothing to do with improving products or benefiting consumers. How about “the … narrow approach to defining competition could hinder efforts to make the industry more efficient.” More efficient, of course, means firing employees and cutting costs, not providing a better product.

Premiumize this: Aspen, Colo., where people who make industries more efficient go skiing, may have shown us the future of wine sales. And it’s not good. The city’s seven legal pot shops outsold city liquor stores in March and April last year. In April 2015, city residents and visitors bought almost $1 million worth of dope, compared to about $860,00 worth of booze. Know that weed has been legal in Aspen for less than two years, which makes that number even more amazing.

2 thoughts on “Winebits 434: Freixenet sale, consolidation, marijuana

  • By Burnsey -

    So, are the liquor companies going to start buying every start up marijuana companies?

    As an interesting side note, in the Ohio elections this past fall, voters turned down a law that would have allowed medical pot.
    Attached was a clause that allowed only one company to control the production, and allow up to a maximum of 1,159 stores. That’s a lot of stores.
    The big thing about legalizing pot has been how to control it, not so it doesn’t get abused, but how to make money on it. Seems as if most states are concerned with regulating the growth of pot, maybe to make it illegal to grow your own?

    • By Wine Curmudgeon -

      Dope as part of the three-tier system — it’s coming sooner rather than later, if you listen to the rumors in the wine business.

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