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The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board named Joseph Brion as its new Chairman. ... In case you haven't heard, beginning June 1, 2012, grocery stores 10,000 square feet and larger can begin selling distilled spirits in Washington State. Sales of spirits will effectively shift from the state-run liquor stores to private retailers. The campaign to change the law has been spearheaded by Costco, which reportedly spent at least $22 million to convince Washington voters to pass Initiative 1183, which they did with approximately 60% approval. Wine and spirits distributors fought against passage of the law for several reasons, not least of which is the element of 1183 that allows retailers to buy spirits directly from distilleries, which will make Washington State the only state in the U.S. with that condition. Meanwhile, 1183 also makes it legal for retailers with stores measuring at least 10,000 square feet to get volume discounts on spirits and wine, and to warehouse those products themselves rather than using distributors. Understandably, it has been reported that smaller neighborhood grocery stores and wine retailers feel discriminated against, as the law favors large chains and big box retail outlets. Since passage of Initiative 1183 in November, at least two lawsuits have been filed attempting to block enactment of the new law. Stay tuned. ... A major Federal study released today reported that underage drinking rates among 8th, 10th and 12th graders are at their lowest levels since the study's inception in 1975, according to the Distilled Spirits Council. According to die 2011 Monitoring the Future Survey, jointly released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the University of Michigan, the proportion of students reporting binge drinking at least once in the two weeks prior to the survey also fell in all three grades in 2011. "This is excellent news but much more needs to be done, and we must not become complacent as a society. Parents, industry and the entire community working together can continue to make a difference," said Dr. Peter Cressy, President of the Distilled Spirits Council and a former college president. Cressy noted that the spirits industry has been a part of this progress through the programs of The Century Council and other educational initiatives, which provide parents with tools to talk to their children about alcohol. ... Excelsior Wine Company, the recently formed sales and marketing joint venture between wine importer Banfi Vintners and Chile's wine producer Concha y Toro, has become the official representative of Little Black Dress and Five Rivers wines of California. Transfer of the brands from former owner and representative Brown Forman took effect this past November. The two wine lines each include a Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay, sourced from different winegrowing areas in California; in addition, Little Black Dress offers a Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Moscato. ... Wilson Daniels Ltd. has been named exclusive U.S. importer for Laroche, a wine producer with properties in Chablis, Languedoc, Chile and South Africa. ... Castle Brands Inc. and Distillerie Franciacorta announced that they have entered into an exclusive distribution agreement in the U.S. for Franciacorta's Gozio Amaretto ... Russian Standard Corporation, producer of Russian Standard vodkas, has acquired a 70% stake in Gancia SPA, the Italian wine-making company estab ished in 1850 and known for its sparkling wines. ... Constellation Brands, Inc., whose wine brands include Robert Mondavi Winery, Kim Crawford, Clos du Bois and Ravenswood, has launched a mobile marketing campaign to provide wine recommendations based on individual store inventory. Partnering with Hello Vino Inc. and utilizing the location-based sendees within their mobile apps, Constellation Brands will use the program to reach consumers at point-of-sale through their smartphones (both iPhone and Android). ... The Jack Daniel Distillery donated $101,000 to the Armed Services YMCA of Fort Campbell to help soldiers and their families reunite all across the country for the recent holiday season. Through "Operation Ride Home," the distillery and ASYMCA hoped to potentially help hundreds of enlisted soldiers and their families offset costly holiday travel expenses through plane tickets and pre-paid debit cards for gas, lodging and food.
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Title Annotation:DATELINE
Date:Jan 1, 2012
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