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Symingtons Acquire Cockburn Port Brand
Posted: 09:25 Tue 27 Mar 2012
The Office of Fair Trading decision on the potential market position of the Symington Family Estates acquisition of the Cockburn brand makes quite interesting reading. You can find it here
Re: Symingtons Acquire Cockburn Port Brand
Posted: 21:26 Sun 23 Sep 2012
I entirely missed this when AHB posted it in March. I find paragraph 19 particularly interesting:
‟The majority of third parties [i.e. other shippers] indicated that ample supply [of Port] can be obtained from the Casa do Douro which has significant stocks of port that they readily sell. One port house suggested that there may be limits on the quality of ports available from the Casa do Douro, but the parties provided significant evidence to show this was not the case, including details of purchases by the major port houses from the Casa do Douro within the last three years; a quality audit undertaken on the stock, showing the vast majority of the stock to be of in a good and saleable condition; and Symington's own experience in sourcing from the Casa do Douro.”
It’s hard to know where the truth lies in this statement as to the quality of Port stocked by the Casa do Douro...there does seem to be a difference between Port being in a ‟good and saleable condition” and something suitable for premium brands. I also wonder to what extent this stock-pile of Port is seen as an asset as opposed to a hindrance by the Casa do Douro and how much of it ends up in exported Port.
On a completely unrelated topic, I also hadn’t come across the concept of Hi-Lo Ports before, which seems to be things like Croft Platinum: a Port produced under a traditional shipper name but specifically for one buyer rather than general release (in this case Sainsbury’s). That would certainly help explain why there is such a diversity of brands at the lower end of the UK Port market.