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Constellation Brands

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Constellation Brands, Inc.
Company typePublic
PredecessorCanandaigua Brands Inc
Founded1945; 79 years ago (1945)
FounderMarvin Sands
Number of locations
United States, Mexico, New Zealand, Italy, Canada
Key people
Rob Sands (Chairman)
Richard Sands
(Vice Chairman)
Bill Newlands (CEO)[1]
ProductsWine, beer, and spirits
RevenueIncrease US$9.355 billion (2021)[2]
Increase US$2.791 billion (2021)[2]
Increase US$2.031 billion (2021)[2]
Total assetsDecrease US$27.104 billion (2021)[2]
Total equityIncrease US$13.921 billion (2021)[2]
Number of employees
9,300[3] (2021)
  • Beer Division
  • Wine & Spirits Division

Constellation Brands, Inc. is an American producer and marketer of beer, wine, and spirits. A Fortune 500 company,[3] Constellation is the largest beer import company in the US, measured by sales,[4] and has the third-largest market share (7.4 percent) of all major beer suppliers.[5] It also has sizable investments in medical and recreational cannabis through its association with Canopy Growth.[6] Based in Rochester, New York, Constellation has about 40 facilities and approximately 9,000 employees.[7]

The company has more than 100 brands in its portfolio. Wine brands include Robert Mondavi, Kim Crawford, Meiomi, Simi Winery, Ruffino, and The Prisoner Wine Company. Constellation's beer portfolio includes imported brands such as rights in the United States to Corona, Modelo Especial, Negra Modelo, and Pacífico, as well as American craft beer producer Funky Buddha. Spirits brands include Svedka Vodka, Casa Noble Tequila and High West Whiskey, Nelson's Green Brier Tennessee Whiskey.


Constellation Brands has two breweries in Mexico that produce Corona and Modelo beer for the US market. Those locations are in Nava, Coahuila, and Ciudad Obregón, Sonora. [8]

A third Brewery in Mexicali Baja California was never finished due to environmental issues.[9] Instead, Constellation is building its third brewery in Veracruz Mexico.[10][11]


Early days[edit]

The company was established in 1945 by Marvin Sands in the Finger Lakes region of New York as Canandaigua Industries, selling bulk wine to bottlers in the eastern United States.[12] In its first year, the company sold approximately 200,000 gallons of wine and had gross sales of $150,000.[13] The company was incorporated as Canandaigua Wine Company, Inc. in 1972 and went public in 1973.[14] Marvin's son Richard Sands became president in 1993 and CEO in 1996.[12] In 1999, Marvin Sands died following a brief illness.[12]

In 1987, the company purchased the Manischewitz winery in Canandaigua, New York, and continues to license the Manischewitz name from R.A.B. Foods.[15]


In 2000, the company changed its name to Constellation Brands, Inc. to reflect the scope of the company and its range of brands.[13] In 2007, Rob Sands was named president and CEO.[16] During the 2000s, there were multiple acquisitions, with some divestments later in the decade. Acquisitions included BRL Hardy (Australia)[17] and Nobilo (New Zealand) in 2003; Robert Mondavi Corp. for $1 billion in 2004;[18] Vincor International, Canada's largest wine company, for $1.44 billion in 2006;[19] Spirits Marque One (owner of Svedka Vodka) in 2007;[20] and Beam Wines Estates, the wine operations of Fortune Brands (which included several major brands such as Clos du Bois) for $885 million in 2008.[21] The company later moved to a more premium wine portfolio, divesting Almaden Vineyards, Inglenook Winery, and the Paul Masson winery in Madera, California, in 2008,[22] and its value spirits portfolio to the Sazerac Company in 2009.[23] They sold 30 low-cost wine labels in January 2021 to E. & J. Gallo for $810 million including Clos du Bois.[24]

In 2013, Constellation acquired Grupo Modelo's US beer business from Anheuser-Busch InBev. The transaction included full ownership of Crown Imports LLC which provided Constellation with complete, independent control of all aspects of the US commercial business; a brewery in Mexico; exclusive perpetual brand license in the US to import, market and sell Corona and the Modelo brands and the freedom to develop brand extensions and innovations for the US market.[16] Constellation had formerly imported Corona and other Modelo brands to the United States and acquired the US rights to those brands as a part of an anti-trust settlement permitting Modelo's acquisition by Anheuser-Busch InBev. It now produces its own versions of those products for the US, with Modelo serving all other countries. In 2014, Constellation finalized a joint venture with Owens-Illinois and completed the acquisition of Anheuser-Busch InBev's glass production plant, located adjacent to the company's brewery in Nava, Mexico.[25]

In December 2015, Constellation announced the $1 billion acquisition of Ballast Point Brewing of San Diego.[26] In October 2016, Constellation announced the $160 million acquisition of High West Distillery of Park City, Utah.[27] In August 2017, Constellation announced the acquisition of Funky Buddha Brewery of Oakland Park, Florida.[28]

In April 2018, Accolade Wines (acquired under the name BRL Hardy) was sold to private equity firm The Carlyle Group. Constellation had already in 2011 reduced its holdings in Accolade to 20%.[29][30] In February 2019, Constellation announced it had acquired a minority stake in Black Button Distilling, a craft spirits distillery in Rochester, NY. [citation needed] In April 2019, Constellation announced a deal to sell wine brands, including Clos du Bois and Mark West, to E. & J. Gallo Winery for $1.7 billion.[31] In July 2019, Constellation announced it had acquired a minority stake in Montanya Distillers, a craft-rum distillery in Crested Butte, Colorado and a majority stake in Nelson's Green Brier Distillery, a revival of the original Green Brier Tennessee Whiskey and Belle Meade Bourbon labels in Nashville, TN.[32][33] In December 2019, the sale of Ballast Point Brewing to Kings & Convicts Brewery of Illinois was announced. Terms were not disclosed.[34] In July 2020, Constellation Brands acquired Empathy Wines, co-founded by entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.[35] On September 15, 2020, it was announced Constellation Brands acquired craft spirits producer Copper & Kings American Brandy. In February 2022, Constellation was reported to have approached Monster Beverage to enter into a merger with a combined valuation above $90 billion.[36]

In 2023, Constellation Brands sold Funky Buddha back to its founders.[37]

On June 24, 2024, Constellation Brands re-located it's headquarters to a 170,000 square foot campus on the site of the historic Aqueduct Building in Downtown Rochester, the first Fortune 500 company to operate in the city in two decades.[38]


In 2017, the company began investing in medical marijuana. In March 2019, Bill Newlands became CEO.[39] In October 2017, Constellation agreed to pay about C$245 million ($191 million) for a 9.9% stake in Canopy Growth Corporation, a Canadian seller of medicinal-marijuana products.[40] At the time of the agreement, Constellation became the first Fortune 500 company and the first major alcoholic beverage maker to take a minority stake in a marijuana business.[41] In August 2018, the company announced that it would invest an additional US$4 billion in Canopy Growth Corporation in advance of the legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada in October that year. The investment will increase its share in the Canadian Company to 38%. Canopy Growth president Bruce Linton said the additional funds would be used for international expansion and that future marketing plans included products such as cannabis-infused beverages and sleep aids.[6][42] Since 2023, Constellation started stepping back from the cannabis-infused drinks market. reducing the stake in Canopy Growth Corporation and signalled that it could withdraw completely.[43]


In 1991, the company reached a consent agreement with the Federal Trade Commission to change the packaging and marketing of Cisco wine after the FTC alleged that Cisco's marketing was deceptively similar to wine coolers despite Cisco having a much higher alcohol content.[44]

In 2010, a French court in Carcassonne, France, convicted 12 wine traders and producers, including Constellation, for selling fake pinot noir wine to US buyers in a scheme that lasted from January 2006 to March 2008. Constellation later faced and settled a class action lawsuit because it "should have known" that the wine was fake.[45]

In 2018 Constellation Brands was involved in a water rights dispute over a proposed manufacturing facility in the desert city of Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico. The water was from the Colorado River, which not only supplies the water for Mexicali and the agricultural valley but is also piped to the mountain and coastal cities of Tijuana, Tecate, Rosarito and some areas of Ensenada.[46]

In 2021, AB InBev sued Constellation Brands after the company launched two new Modelo-branded beers on the US market, arguing that the first beer illegally used the term "tequila" to describe the barrels where the beer was aged, and that the second beer was inappropriately using the term "bourbon" to describe the barrels where the beer was aged because bourbon has nothing to do with Mexico.[47]


  1. ^ "Fiscal Year 2019 Summary Annual Report" (PDF). Constellation Brands. p. 4. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Constellation Brands, Inc. 2020 Annual Report". cbrands.gcs-web.com. February 28, 2021. Retrieved December 31, 2021.
  3. ^ a b "Constellation Brands". Fortune. Archived from the original on December 19, 2018. Retrieved February 11, 2022.
  4. ^ Brewers Association. "Sales of the leading beer import companies in the United States in 2015 (in million U.S. dollars)". In Statista - The Statistics Portal. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  5. ^ Beer Marketer's Insights. "Beer Marketer's Insights - Major Supplier Shipments and Share: 2015 vs 2014". BeerInsights.com. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
  6. ^ a b Sheetz, Michael (August 15, 2018). "Corona beer maker Constellation ups bet on cannabis with $4 billion investment in Canopy Growth". CNBC. NBCUniversal. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  7. ^ Constellation Brands. "Company Profile" (PDF). cbrands.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 9, 2017. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  8. ^ INDUSTRY, MEXICO. "Constellation Brands starts its second expansion stage on its plant in Nava". Invest In Mexico. Retrieved June 15, 2023.
  9. ^ "Mexico: Constellation Brands to dismantle 10m hl brewery within two years". www.inside.beer. February 26, 2021. Retrieved June 15, 2023.
  10. ^ Madry, Kylie (January 7, 2022). "Mexico says Constellation brewery to be built by river after water dispute". Reuters. Retrieved June 15, 2023.
  11. ^ "Mexico says Constellation brewery to be built by river after water dispute". Yahoo Finance. January 7, 2022. Retrieved June 15, 2023.
  12. ^ a b c Fisher, Lawrence (August 31, 1999). "Marvin Sands, Winery's Chairman, Dies at 75". The New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  13. ^ a b Constellation Brands. "Constellation Brands | History and Heritage". Archived from the original on June 19, 2017. Retrieved April 16, 2018.
  14. ^ Paulson, Lynn. "The birth of Canandaigua Industries". mpnnow.com. Archived from the original on December 15, 2018. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  15. ^ "Manischewitz wine - heritage - history". Archived from the original on August 1, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-06.
  16. ^ a b Doob, Rachael (February 22, 2015). "Get To Know Robert Sands, President of Constellation Brands". Grape Collective. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  17. ^ Shaw, John (January 18, 2003). "Constellation Brands Agrees to Buy Australian Winery". The New York Times. Retrieved April 24, 2009.
  18. ^ "Mondavi to Join Constellation in $1 Billion Deal". Wine Spectator. Archived from the original on January 1, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  19. ^ "Constellation To Buy Vincor for $1.09 Billion". USA Today. April 3, 2006. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  20. ^ "Constellation Brands to Buy Svedka Vodka". Reuters. February 6, 2007. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  21. ^ Sam Zuckerman (November 13, 2007). "Constellation Brands buys several California premium wine labels". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 13, 2007.
  22. ^ Styles, Oliver (January 23, 2008). "Constellation sells Inglenook, Almaden and Paul Masson winery, reports 832 million dollar loss". Decanter.com. Archived from the original on April 19, 2008. Retrieved April 8, 2008.
  23. ^ Gershberg, Michele (January 12, 2009). "Constellation Sells Value Spirits for $334 Mln". Reuters UK. Retrieved May 15, 2009.
  24. ^ Dowd, Katie (May 9, 2021). "Mass layoffs at Bay Area winery after acquisition by Gallo". SFGATE. Archived from the original on May 9, 2021. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  25. ^ Towns, Chip (December 19, 2014). "O-I enters joint venture to co-own glass plant". The Blade. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  26. ^ "Constellation to Buy Ballast Point Brewing for $1 Billion". Bloomberg. November 16, 2015. Retrieved April 14, 2018 – via www.bloomberg.com.
  27. ^ Mickle, Tripp. "Constellation Brands Acquires High West Distillery for $160 Million". WSJ. Retrieved October 23, 2019.
  28. ^ "Craft Brewer Funky Buddha Joins Constellation Brands". Nasdaq. August 10, 2017. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  29. ^ Macdonald, Anthony; Thompson, Sarah (April 5, 2018). "CHAMP secures $1b deal for Australian winemaker Accolade Wines". Australian Financial Review. Fairfax Media. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  30. ^ Berry, Petrina (June 1, 2018). "US firm looks to Asia after buying SA-based Accolade Wines". InDaily. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  31. ^ Thomas, Patrick (April 3, 2019). "Constellation to Sell Several Wine Brands to Gallo in $1.7 Billion Deal". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  32. ^ "Constellation Brands |". www.cbrands.com. Archived from the original on August 8, 2019. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  33. ^ "Constellation buys minority stake in Montanya Distillers". The Spirits Business. July 24, 2019. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  34. ^ Noel, Josh. "Ballast Point sold to tiny suburban Chicago brewery Kings and Convicts in beer industry stunner". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  35. ^ "Constellation Brands acquires Gary Vaynerchuk's Empathy Wines". CNBC. Retrieved August 14, 2020.
  36. ^ "Monster Beverage and Constellation Mergers Talks Are Progressing". Bloomberg. February 14, 2022.
  37. ^ Hanacek, Andy. "Constellation Brands to Sell Funky Buddha Brewery Back to Co-founders". Food Processing. Endeavor Business Media. Retrieved June 16, 2023.
  38. ^ New York, State of (June 24, 2024). "O-Governor Hochul Announces Grand Opening Of Constellation Brands' New $50 Million Global Headquarters In Downtown Rochester". Empire State Development. Retrieved June 24, 2024.
  39. ^ "Constellation Brands Names Bill Newlands Next CEO". www.cbrands.com. Archived from the original on February 18, 2019. Retrieved February 17, 2019.
  40. ^ Bovaird, Charles (October 31, 2017). "This Is the First Fortune 500 Marijuana Stock". Investopedia. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  41. ^ Nurin, Tara. "When It Comes To Weed, One Major Alcohol Company Decides If You Can't Beat 'Em Join 'Em". Forbes. Retrieved October 31, 2017.
  42. ^ "'This is rocket fuel': Constellation Brands spending [C]$5 billion to boost stake in Canopy Growth". August 15, 2017. Retrieved August 10, 2017.
  43. ^ Emler, Ron (November 6, 2023). "Constellation steps back from cannabis". The Drinks Business. Retrieved December 3, 2023.
  44. ^ "The maker of Cisco, a flavored wine product with... - UPI Archives". UPI. Retrieved December 26, 2023.
  45. ^ "French Pinot Noir Class Action Settlement". topclassactions.com. February 7, 2012. Retrieved April 14, 2018.
  46. ^ "As big beer moves in activists in mexicali fight". npr.org.
  47. ^ Christopher Doering, AB InBev sues Constellation Brands over move to sell new Mexican beers in US, Fooddive.com, 2 September 2021

External links[edit]

  • Official website
  • Business data for Constellation Brands, Inc.: