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Corona beer owner Constellation Brands buys delivery startup Empathy Wines

Lifelines in the Lockdown
Lifelines in the Lockdown 26:28

Booze giant Constellation Brands, which owns some of the world's most recognizable wine, beer and spirits labels, is betting that "bcommerce," or the nascent habit of buying booze online, will be a big part of the industry's future. 

Constellation, owner of Corona and Modelo beer, Svedka vodka and Casa Noble tequila, among other renowned brands, has purchased Empathy Wines, an e-commerce startup that delivers wine directly to consumers' doorsteps — a luxury Americans are relying on as restaurants and bars become the sites of recent coronavirus outbreaks.

Indeed, interactions at watering holes tend to be "the opposite of social distancing," Dr. David Hamer of the Boston University School of Medicine told the Associated Press

Constellation CEO Bill Newlands emphasized the company's focus on catering to consumers' evolving buying preferences. 

"Key to our strategy is being consumer-obsessed — building a direct relationship with our consumers, meeting them where they are shopping and engaging today, and pushing beyond to meet their evolving preferences well into the future," he said in a press release Wednesday. 

He also touted Empathy Wines' ability to help his own 75-year old company "more deeply connect with consumers and build the strongest direct-to-consumer and digital commerce business in the category."

Empathy Wines, co-founded in 2019 by media personality Gary Vaynerchuk, John Troutman and Nate Scherotter, sells what it calls "sustainably made" wine only online and relies heavily on digital marketing, versus promotions at restaurants and bars. Its wines sell for $20 a bottle.

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