At the age of 21, Marvin Sands forms the Canandaigua Industries Company. With only eight employees, his strategy is to sell bulk wine in barrels to bottlers in the East. In this first year, the company sells approximately 200,000 gallons of wine and has gross sales of $150,000.
The Mother Vineyard Company and Onslow Wine Company, both in North Carolina, are purchased. Both wineries produce Scuppernong Wine, a varietal wine produced from indigenous grapes and very popular in the South.
Canandaigua Industries posts profits of $1 million.
Richard's Wine Cellars opens in Petersburg, Virginia, with Mack Sands in charge of operations.
The introduction of the Richard's Wild Irish Rose brand spearheads the growth of the company, with bottling taking place at five locations in the U.S. This unique franchising system helps the brand grow rapidly, allowing Canandaigua Industries to develop its own wine production facilities to meet the explosive demand for Wild Irish Rose.
Canandaigua Industries doubles its gross sales from $4 million to $8 million in just two years.
The Tenner Brothers Winery in South Carolina is purchased, and the Virginia Dare label joins the family on a royalty basis.
The Hammondsport Wine Company, in the Finger Lakes, is added to the growing list of facilities, giving the company a foothold in the sparkling wine market.
The Eastern Wine Company in New York is purchased and its famous label Chateau Martin joins the Canandaigua Wine Company portfolio.
The company changes its name to Canandaigua Wine Company, Inc. in late 1972 and goes public in 1973.
A number of brand acquisitions in the 1970s continues to fuel the company's growth, and in 1974 the company heads west to acquire the Bisceglia Brothers Winery in Madera, California.
Richard Sands joins the company, starting in the winemaking lab and then moving throughout the company's operations and departments.
J. ROGET CHAMPAGNE
J. Roget Champagne is launched and becomes the second-largest selling champagne brand in the U.S.
Canandaigua Wine Company becomes the eighth-largest U.S. wine producer with net sales reaching $50.5 million.
Sun Country Cooler is created and rolled out nationwide. Thanks to a tremendous effort from employees, the brand sells 1 million cases within six months.
Rob Sands joins the company as general counsel.
Widmer Wine Cellars in Naples, New York, and the Manischewitz brand assets of the Monarch Wine Company in Brooklyn are purchased. Production of the Manischewitz brand is moved to Widmer, as are a number of wines formerly produced at the Taylor Wine Company in Hammondsport, New York.
Italian Swiss Colony dessert wines and the Jacques Bonet line of sparkling wines are added to the portfolio.
The company acquires all the assets and certain liabilities of Guild Wineries, a California-based cooperative owned and managed by grape growers in the region. At the time of the acquisition, Guild represents the nation's seventh-largest wine producer. The purchase includes the Cribari, Dunnewood and Cook's brands.
Canandaigua Wine Company hits fiscal net sales of $245 million.
With the addition of Barton Incorporated, Canandaigua Wine Company further diversifies into the imported beer and distilled spirits categories. The Barton Beer portfolio includes the popular Mexican import Corona, now the best-selling imported beer in the U.S., along with Peroni, St. Pauli Girl and Tsingtao. The Barton Brands portfolio included Barton Gin & Vodka, Ten High Bourbon Whiskey and Montezuma Tequila. The acquisition of certain assets of Vintners gives the company the Paul Masson, Taylor California Cellars, Great Western and Taylor brands.
RICHARD SANDS BECOMES CEO
Richard Sands becomes the new chief executive officer of the company.
The purchase of the Mission Bell Winery in California includes the Almaden and Inglenook wine brands and a grape juice concentrate business.
The acquisition of certain assets of United Distillers Glenmore gives the company a significant presence in the cordial and liqueur category with the addition of brands like Mr. Boston, Canadian LTD, Skol, Old Thompson, Kentucky Tavern, Glenmore, di Amore, Fleischmann's, Chi Chi's and Schenley.
Canandaigua Brands, Inc. is formed as the parent company of Canandaigua Wine Company and Barton Incorporated, following a decade of acquisitions resulting in a diversified product portfolio expanding beyond the wine business. Net sales reach
Matthew Clark, plc, one of the U.K.'s leading producers of British wines, cider and bottled waters is acquired. This expands the company's portfolio to include K Cider, Blackthorn Cider, QC Sherry (the No. 1 Fortified British wine) and Stowells of Chelsea, the leading boxed wine in the U.K.
ARBOR MIST LAUNCHED
The launch of Arbor Mist results in the creation of a new wine category - "Wine With Fruit.” It is one of the most successful product launches in the company's history, shipping more than 1 million cases in its first 100 days of distribution.
Company founder Marvin Sands passes away following a brief illness.
NEW WHISKY ACQUIRED
A number of Canadian whisky brands are acquired, including Black Velvet, the No. 3 Canadian whisky brand at the time.
PURCHASE OF SIMI WINERY AND FRANCISCAN VINEYARDS
The purchase of the properties and portfolios creates a fourth division of Canandaigua Brands, Inc. - the Fine Wine Division. Brands in the acquisition include Estancia, Franciscan, Mount Veeder, Veramonte and Simi.
Canandaigua Brands, Inc. changes its name to Constellation Brands, Inc. to better reflect the scope of the company and its broad range of brands that satisfy a wide range of consumer preferences.
FORTH WINES LIMITED
Constellation’s Matthew Clark division acquires Forth Wines Limited, a wine and spirits wholesaler operated primarily in Scotland.
Ravenswood, the best-selling premium zinfandel in the U.S., is acquired, making Franciscan Estates one of the most sought-after wine portfolios in the industry.
PACIFIC WINE PARTNERS FORMED
The formation of Pacific Wine Partners creates a joint venture shared by BRL Hardy and Constellation with distribution rights for Banrock Station, Hardys, Leasingham, Barossa Valley Estate, Chateau Reynella, Nobilo and La Baume. Certain assets of Blackstone Winery are also acquired.
TURNER ROAD VINTNERS AND CORUS BRANDS PURCHASED
These acquisitions strengthen Constellation's popular and premium wine portfolio. The Talus, Vendange, Nathanson Creek and Heritage brands from Turner Road Vintners and the Columbia, Covey Run and Alice White brands from Corus Brands give the company 20 of the top 100 wine brands in the U.S.
The Beverage Forum names Constellation “Large Beverage Company of the Year” for its solid growth in all areas of the beverage alcohol business.
CONSTELLATION INTERNATIONAL FORMED
Constellation International, based in the U.K., is formed to coordinate most export activities and increase worldwide consumer access to Constellation products.
Pacific Wine Partners, a 50/50 joint venture of Constellation and BRL Hardy, becomes a wholly owned subsidiary and the Australian arm of the business, which accounts for 25% of the domestic Australian market and exports to more than 60 countries, is renamed Hardy Wine Co. With the acquisition, Constellation becomes the world's largest producer and marketer of wine, and the first truly international wine company with annual sales in excess of 80 million cases of wine annually.
NEW ZEALAND BUSINESS ADDED
Constellation Brands, Inc. adds new New Zealand business to the company.
Constellation acquires the Robert Mondavi Corp. for $1.03 billion, adding some of the most respected premium and super-premium wines in the world to its portfolio.
RUFFINO ADDED TO PORTFOLIO
Constellation purchases 40% of Ruffino, further enhancing the company's portfolio of fine European wines.
Effen Vodka, a luxury import from Holland, is added to Constellation's spirits portfolio.
Constellation embarks on “Project Genome,” the largest study on wine consumers ever, to help better understand the profiles of wine consumers in order to market and develop wines targeted to their lifestyles.
REX GOLIATH ACQUISITION COMPLETED
Constellation completes the acquisition of the Rex Goliath wine brand from California's Hahn Estates.
CONSTELLATION JOINS S&P 500 INDEX
Standard & Poor's adds Constellation Brands to its S&P 500 Index of companies. The listing attests to the success of the company’s growth strategy and increased stockholder value.
RICHARD SANDS TOPS DECANTER'S POWER LIST
Richard Sands is named No. 1 on Decanter's Power List of the top 50 people influencing wine styles today.
CONSTELLATION SELLS ARROWOOD AND BYRON
Constellation sells the Arrowood Vineyards & Winery and the Byron Vineyard & Winery, both part of the 2004 Robert Mondavi acquisition, to the Legacy Estates Group.
GLOBAL CODE OF RESPONSIBLE PRACTICES FOR ADVERTISING AND MARKETING ADOPTED
Constellation adopts a Global Code of Responsible Practices for Beverage Alcohol Advertising and Marketing. The Code covers brand advertising, consumer communications, trade advertising, promotional events, packaging, labels, distribution and sales material, and product placements.
EXCLUSIVE U.S. IMPORTER OF CERTAIN BPR BRANDS
Constellation becomes the exclusive U.S. importer of Mouton Cadet and several other Baron Philippe de Rothschild brands.
Constellation Europe announces plans to add a second National Distribution Center at Bristol, England. The new warehouse and wine bottling complex, named Constellation Park, consolidated numerous satellite warehouses, created significant operational synergies and reduced Constellation Europe's carbon footprint. It became fully operational in 2009.
CROWN IMPORTS JOINT VENTURE ANNOUNCED
Grupo Modelo and Constellation Brands create a joint venture to import and market Modelo's Mexican beer portfolio into the United States and Guam for a 10-year period, effective January 2, 2007.
CONSTELLATION MARVIN SANDS PERFORMING ARTS CENTER OPENS
The Constellation Marvin Sands Performing Arts Center in Canandaigua, New York, named for Constellation's founder, opens after a $13 million renovation.
VINCOR INTERNATIONAL ACQUISITION COMPLETED
The acquisition of Canadian wine company Vincor International for $1.3 billion is completed. Included are Canada's biggest wine brand, Jackson-Triggs, and Inniskillin, a premier international icewine. With the purchase, Canada becomes Constellations fifth core market (with the U.S., U.K., Australia and New Zealand). Constellation inherits Vincor's position as Canada's largest wine producer and marketer (Vincor had been the world's eighth largest wine company).
STRATHMORE SOLD TO A.G. BARR
The Strathmore bottled water business is sold to A.G. Barr, a U.K. soft drinks business. Strathmore is seen as a non-core part of Constellation's beverage alcohol portfolio.
Constellation announces the acquisition of Beam Wine Estates, the U.S. wine business of Fortune Brands. Brands in the portfolio include Clos du Bois, Wild Horse, Geyser Peak, Atlas Peak, Buena Vista and Gary Farrell.
CORONA SPONSORSHIP ANNOUNCED
Corona announces an exclusive, long-term sponsorship of the Kenny Chesney tour.
ROB SANDS NAMED NEW CEO
Rob Sands is named Constellation's new CEO, and retains the title of president. Richard Sands continues his role as chairman of the board.
PUNCH TAVERNS JOINT VENTURE ANNOUNCED
The formation of Constellation's joint venture with Punch Taverns is announced. Constellation Europe and Punch Taverns, the U.K.'s largest pub chain, each become 50 percent owners of the Matthew Clark wholesale business, which Constellation acquired in 1998.
MOST ADMIRED COMPANIES LIST
Constellation is named to Fortune magazine's 25th annual Most Admired Companies list, ranking 5th in the beverage category.
SVEDKA VODKA ACQUIRED
Constellation completes its acquisition of Spirits Marque One, which owns SVEDKA Vodka. SVEDKA, an 80-proof premium vodka produced in Sweden, was launched in 1998. For the five-year period ending in 2007, SVEDKA was the fastest-growing major premium spirits brand in the world.
CROWN IMPORTS JOINT VENTURE FORMED
Crown Imports, Constellation's 50/50 joint venture with Grupo Modelo, officially launches. The venture imports and markets Modelo's premium Mexican beer portfolio, along with imported brands St. Pauli Girl and Tsingtao, to the U.S. and Guam for renewable 10-year periods. Corona Extra is the top-selling imported beer in the U.S. and Crown is the top beer import company.
Constellation announces the sale of certain U.S. wine assets to a California-based private firm. The sale, which includes the brands Geyser Peak, Buena Vista, Gary Farrell, Atlas Peak and XYZin in California, Columbia Winery and Covey Run in Washington, and Ste. Chapelle in Idaho, allows Constellation to focus on key growth brands and reduce brand duplication and excess production capacity.
ALMADEN AND INGLENOOK BRANDS DIVESTED
In an ongoing effort to focus on its premium wine offerings in the U.S., Constellation enters into an agreement to sell the Almaden and Inglenook wine brands to The Wine Group LLC. The sale is completed on February 28, 2008.
REMAINING INTEREST IN PLANET 10 SPIRITS ACQUIRED
Constellation's Chicago-based spirits company, Barton Brands, acquires the remaining 50 percent equity stake in its Planet 10 Spirits joint venture. Planet 10 Spirits, formed in 2004, develops and markets premium spirits brands such as Effen Vodka.
Rob Sands named Man of the Year by Wine Enthusiast magazine on January 26, 2009.
NEW U.S. DISTRIBUTOR AGREEMENT ANNOUNCED
Constellation announces a new U.S. distributor agreement, creating a number of benefits for Constellation, its distributors and its customers.
SALE OF VALUE SPIRITS BUSINESS
Constellation completes the sale of its value spirits business and increases its focus on higher-margin, mid-premium spirits brands.
MAJOR SOLAR PANEL INSTALLATION COMPLETED
One of the world’s largest winery solar panel installations is completed at the Gonzales Winery in California.
Constellation announced a major expansion of its solar energy initiative by investing in three new solar energy installations at our Clos du Bois, Ravenswood, and Estancia wineries.
CIDER BUSINESS SALE COMPLETE
Constellation completes the sale of its U.K. cider business.
Constellation purchases the remaining 50.1 percent of Ruffino S.r.l. Constellation now fully owns the iconic Ruffino brand and historical production facility located in close proximity to Florence. The wines continue to be produced on approximately 600 hectares of prestigious vineyards at the same Tuscan Estates of Ruffino as has been done for decades.
COMPANY SELLS AUSTRALIA AND U.K. BUSINESS
Constellation completes the sale of its Australian and U.K. business. The company does retain a 20% interest in the business.
NEW BRANDS LAUNCHED
Constellation successfully launches four new brands in 2011- The Dreaming Tree, Simply Naked, Primal Roots and Rioja Vega.
Constellation received the Supplier of the Year Award for Best Large Wine Company from the Cheers Beverage Group for the second year in a row. Constellation also receives the Supplier Excellence and Supplier of the Year Award.
ARBOR MIST CONTINUES TO INNOVATE
Arbor Mist introduces frozen wine cocktails in single-serve, 10-ounce pouches.
Constellation completes acquisition of Grupo Modelo’s U.S. beer business from Anheuser-Busch InBev for approximately $4.75 billion. The transaction includes full ownership of Crown Imports LLC which provides Constellation with complete, independent control of all aspects of the U.S. commercial business; a state-of-the-art brewery in Nava (Piedras Negras), Mexico; exclusive perpetual brand license in the U.S. to import, market and sell Corona and the Modelo brands Crown currently sells and the freedom to develop brand extensions and innovations for the U.S. market.
The award-winning Casa Noble family of tequilas includes Casa Noble Crystal, Reposado and Añejo as well as limited production of several other higher-end Casa Noble tequilas.
In support of Constellation’s commitment to giving back, employees launched a global Nourishing Neighbors program. The program highlights an annual week of giving where employees take paid time off to volunteer at local food banks. Employees and the company also donate food and money to fight food insecurity in their communities.
Constellation finalized a joint venture with Owens-Illinois (O-I) and completed the acquisition of Anheuser-Busch InBev SA/NV’s (ABI) state-of-the-art glass production plant, located adjacent to Constellation’s brewery in Nava, Coahuila, Mexico.
Constellation introduced Tom Gore Vineyards wines, the namesake of California farmer Tom Gore. Grown and crafted under Tom’s careful tutelage, his wines deliver not only exceptional quality but the rich story of their movement from farm to glass.
Constellation earned the highest possible annual disclosure score from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). The company was also named to CDP’s leadership index for the second consecutive year. The leadership index recognizes S&P 500® companies that are leaders in the depth and quality of climate change data disclosed to investors and the global marketplace.
Constellation’s board of directors approved the initiation of a dividend program under which the company intends to pay a regular quarterly cash dividend to stockholders of its common stock.
Constellation acquired the Meiomi luxury wine brand from Copper Cane, LLC. At time of purchase, the brand ranked #1 in dollar sales growth across all pinot noir price points.
Constellation purchased a minority stake in Crafthouse Cocktails, a producer of authentic, ready-to-drink, spirits-based cocktails. The investment was the first for Constellation Ventures, the company’s newly-created corporate venture capital function, focused on identifying smaller-scale investment opportunities related to innovative concepts and emerging categories within beverage alcohol.
Constellation purchased San Diego-based Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits. Ballast Point, one of the fastest growing craft beer companies in the U.S. The purchase provided Constellation with a high-growth, premium platform for the company to compete in the fast-growing craft beer segment and further strengthened its position in the highest end of the U.S. beer market.
Constellation announced plans to build a new 10 million hectoliter brewery in Mexicali, Mexico, near the U.S. state of California, which is Constellation’s biggest beer market.
Constellation acquired a minority stake in Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery, which produces a variety of craft whiskies. The Tennessee distillery will continue to operate independently to produce, market, and sell its products. The investment is the second for Constellation Ventures, the company’s corporate venture capital function.
Constellation was recognized by The Beverage Forum at their 2016 conference, the only global all-beverage executive conference. The award recognizes organizations that stood out in 2015 and have risen to meet the opportunities and challenges within the beverage space.