Thursday, February 03, 2005

More Consolidation

Southern Wine & Spirits has announced their acquisition of Lauber Imports, Ltd. of New Jersey. Big deal, right? Another booze wholesaler buys a competitor out......

Not so fast, let's look at this in terms of the big picture. I've warned people that the continued consolidation will lead to fewer choices for consumers, particularly outside California. In this case, you have a small, family-run distributor who carries a very nice portfolio of family-run California wines (Au Bon Climat, Bonny Doon, Chalk Hill, Flora Springs, etc). Now that they have been bought by the largest liquor/wine/beer distributor in the country, much of the portfolio of Lauber will eventually be replaced with the wines that Southern Wine & Spirits carries. Who does Southern carry? Those of Constellation, Mondavi, Chateau Ste. Michelle, Diageo, Allied-Domecq, etc. (the big guys). So, what does this mean for consumer wine selections in New Jersey? Time will tell.....


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