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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Diageo Selling Its Wine Brands?

UK drinks corporation Diageo has several wine holdings in the U.S. including Beaulieu, Chalone, Rosenblum, and Sterling. They are more well known for spirits such as Bailey's, Smirnoff, and Capt. Morgan. Diageo says the wines are only 4% of their sales.

Several years ago Diageo sold the real estate connected to Beaulieu and Sterling in Napa Valley, but retained ownership of the wines via a leasing arrangement with the buyers. Rumors of the sale have been floating around for a few months, but appear to be getting closer to happening.

Meanwhile they've just hired a new CFO. Diageo's portfolio is in a bit of trouble. Smirnoff and Capt. Morgan are losing market share to trendy, artisanal spirits; their beers Guinness and Red Stripe don't compete in the booming craft beer market. When you look at the labels Diageo owns they are sort of yesterday's brands.

What's kind of wild is Treasury Wine Estates is said to be the company likely to buy Diageo's wine labels. Treasury is not in that great of shape either and has long been rumored to be a seller.

Other corporate wine companies, like Constellation, seem to be holding steady in the wine market while trying to grow in spirits and beer.

Diageo presses ahead with wine sale

Diageo's brands

Update 10/7: Heineken buys controlling interest in Red Stripe Beer from Diageo

Update 10/14: Diageo sells most of its wine brands to Treasury Wine Estates