Happy New Year! As we welcome the 2018 year in, I’ve spent some time reflecting upon 2017. So much has happened, both in the wine world, and in the greater hospitality, food & beverage world. As we move to 2018, let us focus on the positive and innovative things happening in wine and other beverage fields. This year, I will stay abreast of current research and events, paying particular attention to what’s new and upcoming in the beverage industry. 

In case you missed it, I will recap three current events from the last quarter that are worthy of note. As I learn about new things in the “wine-iverse” in 2018, so will you…so let’s talk wine! 

New Book to Add to Your Collection - Red Wine: The Comprehensive Guide to the 50 Essential Varieties & Styles

Whether you are in the wine industry, or just a personal consumer who likes wine, chances are that you know Kevin Zraly, wine educator and author. He is probably most well known for having been the cellar master at Windows on the World restaurant at the One World Trade Center, as well as the creator of Windows on the World Wine School and book. The Wine Guys, made up of Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen, are another well-known set of F&B journalists, educators and more. It’s no wonder that these three would combine forces to author their new book! So what makes this book so unique? For one, the book is focused solely on red wine. The organization of this book is also contrary to the common methods, as this book tells the story of 50 essential varieties/styles, ordered by grape. Of course, with most wine education books nowadays, this book is chock full of gorgeous photos and endless tidbits of information from profiles to pairings, history to contributions from industry experts. 

New Beverage Distributor Merger–Breakthru Beverage and Republic National Distribution Co. 

In 2016, I wrote an article about a couple large beverage distributor mergers that year, one of which was the merger between Wirtz Beverage Group and Charmer Sunbelt Group, which formed the new partnership called Breakthru Beverage (https://lvfnb.com/articles/Mergers-and-Acquisitions-The-Way-of-Beverage-Distributors-in-2016-4095d9f389e2). Less than two years later, Breakthru Beverage announced their latest venture with Republic National Distribution Company. On Monday, November 20th, the companies announced their signed letter of intent to merge the two. Sales strategy and expanded footprint seem to be some of the primary reasons why there have been so many mergers and acquisitions in recent years. The partnership is expected to formalize in the second calendar quarter of 2018 subject to approvals. 

New Locations for Consumers to Pick Up Ordered Wine – Walgreens & Supermarkets

With the slow and steady rise in beverage consumers, the demand for direct to consumer shipping has become more and more difficult for wine retailers and carriers. Rather than relying solely on making purchases physically in retail stores, consumers are choosing to also ship direct to their homes. There are several options for delivery, such as ordering from wineries, or even subscribing to a wine club. However, there are also many online wine retailers who sell wines from a large portfolio, one of the largest being Wine.com. Both Wine.com, and even FedEx shipping has recently begun utilizing wine drop-off points to make their wine deliveries in retail stores such as Walgreens, Albertsons, Safeway, etc. What a great idea, as this adds thousands more locations for consumers to pick up their wine deliveries, and oftentimes could potentially be closer than a FedEx or equivalent shipping pickup location. In addition, there is less restriction on pickup day/times, as opposed to missing delivery attempts through a shipping company. Convenience is key, and the wine industry is picking up on ways to do just that!  

Be on the lookout for more news and happenings in the beverage world as we kick off 2018.

Until next month, cheers~!