|Winemaker Greg Brewer (Bob Dickey photo)|
In a deal expected to close on Friday, May 19, Jackson Family Wines is acquiring Santa Barbara’s celebrated wine label, Brewer-Clifton. Financial details have not been disclosed. Winemaker Greg Brewer spoke with me from his office in Lompoc today about this deal, which will bring Brewer-Clifton under the umbrella of one of the biggest beverage companies in the world. Here are some excerpts from our chat:
- “I am honored to be their sole voice now in the Sta. Rita Hills, and I think this is a huge showing of confidence for the evolution of the appellation."
- "They’ve stated, under no uncertain terms, that they want me to continue to do what I’ve always done. They have a multitude of other wine brands, with their own spot in the marketplace, so their reason to purchase Brewer-Clifton is -- they want it to remain as is."
- “This means an infusion of marketing, outreach and exposure for the brand. We’ll now have a tremendous amount of resources at our disposal. It’s a different scale – they have networks and infrastructure that few other people do, so I’m excited to be part of this system now."
- “There’s tremendous momentum now in the Sta. Rita Hills, the future is bright. This deal furthers opportunities to grow our market awareness, not just for me, but largely for the appellation. There are many corners of the world that have not tapped into Sta. Rita Hills, and knowing there’s more in the marketing and publicity side of things to get further exposure is exciting.”
Brewer-Clifton was founded in 1996 by Brewer and friend Steve Clifton, though Mr. Clifton was bought out of the partnership within the last two years. The label produces what are considered some of the best pinot noir and chardonnay wines out of Santa Barbara County, if not the entire state of California. It sources fruit exclusively from four estate vineyards that comprise a total of 60 acres.
Brewer-Clifton currently produces about 12,000 cases of wine a year, a number Mr. Brewer plans to grow.
The deal also includes acquisition of Diatom, a project Mr. Brewer launched in 2005 to focus exclusively on crisp, stainless steel-fermented chardonnay.
In a statement, Jackson Family Wines chair Barbara Banke said, “I’ve long been impressed with the purity and intensity of these wines. Brewer-Clifton strengthens our portfolio of singular, site-specific chardonnay and pinot noir, while complementing our offerings from the nearby Santa Maria Valley,” where the company owns Cambria and Byron.
More to come...