Exclusive news and research on the wine, spirits and beer business

News Briefs for August 3, 2011

August 3, 2011

•Bacardi USA is set to unveil a new gin extension, Bombay Sapphire East, to the New York and Las Vegas markets this September. The new offering, the first extension from the House of Bombay since Bombay Sapphire was launched 25 years ago, is a London Dry Gin infused with lemongrass and Vietnamese black peppercorn. While vodka has expanded through line extensions (mostly flavors) over the past two decades, gin has been far more quiet. Sapphire competitor Tanqueray, from the Diageo NA portfolio, launched its Rangpur Lime extension in recent years, but Rangpur crested at 115,000 cases in 2007 and has now fallen back below 70,000 cases. The core Bombay Sapphire brand rose 1.25% to 810,000 cases in the U.S. in 2010.

•OpenTable Inc., a website offering a free online restaurant reservation system, has reported net revenues of $34.3 million for its second quarter ended June 30, a 53% increase from the year-earlier period. The company’s quarterly profits totaled $6.3 million, up from $2.6 million reported in the second quarter of 2010. OpenTable has also just named Duncan Robertson as CFO, replacing Matthew Roberts, who was promoted to president and CEO three months ago. Robertson co-founded and served as CFO of SnapStick, a mobile app company, as well as holding the CFO position at Aricent, a technology services company.

•Anheuser-Busch InBev is rolling out a new look for its Budweiser brand this summer, beginning in the U.S. and eventually spreading to other global markets. The repack will be on Bud’s can and secondary packaging. The focal point of the new design, according to ABI, is the Budweiser bowtie, the Budweiser creed and the Anheuser-Busch medallion. Budweiser vice president Rob McCarthy said the new package “gives Budweiser an updated look, which dramatizes the bowtie and incorporates the brand hallmarks that loyal Budweiser drinkers will recognize and appreciate.” Bud has endured a long slide in the U.S. market, and fell 6.5% to 18.1 million barrels in 2010, according to Impact Databank. It’s currently on pace to be overtaken by Coors Light as the second-largest beer in the U.S. by year-end.

•The merger of Young’s Market Co. and Republic National Distributing Co. in Arizona was officially completed on August 1. Operating as Young’s Market Co. of Arizona, the new entity is headed by president Mark Moser, former president of RNDC of Arizona. The two companies announced the joint venture in late May of this year, which will help leverage their combined businesses in Arizona—the only state where all top five U.S. spirits and wine distributors operate. RNDC projects revenues of approximately $115 million in Arizona this year, while Young’s revenues in the state are projected at $55 million. Sources close to the deal say the two companies’ combined revenue could soon rise to around $300 million via the addition of new business and organic growth. Alliance Beverage Co., a joint venture between Glazer’s Family of Companies and Charmer Sunbelt Group, ranks first in Arizona at $410 million. Southern Wine & Spirits of Arizona is second at $270 million.

•Pernod Ricard has named Jérôme Cottin-Bizonne managing director of Havana Club International, effective December 1. Currently serving as Pernod’s audit and business development director, Cottin-Bizonne will replace Marc Beuve-Mery and report directly to Thierry Billot, Pernod’s managing director, brands. Beuve-Mery, a longtime Pernod executive, will take up a new role within the company, to be announced later.

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