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

News Briefs for November 30, 2012

November 30, 2012

•Research group Technomic says U.S. on-premise beverage alcohol sales hit $93.7 billion on 4.9% growth in 2011, despite a 1.1% slip in volume. For 2012, Technomic expects price increases and trading up by consumers to continue to drive value growth, with volume also reverting to positive territory. Currently, the on-premise accounts for 25% of total U.S. drinks volume and just less than half of total beverage alcohol value, Technomic says. Beer accounts for more than 80% of on-premise volume, according to the study, and almost half of value, with imports and craft beers playing an increasingly important role. In the wine category, domestics outpaced imports last year, and now comprise 75% of total on-premise wine volume. Spirits, meanwhile, accounted for one-third of on-premise drinks value in 2011.

•Gruppo Campari has extended its offer to acquire all shares of Jamaican rum producer Lascelles de Mercado & Co. (owners of the Appleton brand) until December 10. Campari, which agreed to purchase an 81.4% stake in Lascelles from CL Financial in September, says it has already acquired 96.3% of Lascelles’ ordinary shares and 97.3% of its preferred shares. The Italian drinks group intends to delist Lascelles from the Jamaican stock exchange once it gains full control. Lascelles sells roughly 3.5 million cases of spirits and wine annually (with sales of about $265 million for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011), with rum accounting for slightly more than half of that figure. The Appleton brand sells around 150,000 cases in the U.S. Campari’s offer values the company at $415 million.

•The total economic impact of Napa County’s grape and wine business was $26 billion in California and more than $50 billion in the U.S. last year, according to a recent study by St. Helena-based Stonebridge Research group. In 2011, Napa County produced around 20% of all California wines, and accounted for 16%-17.5% of all wines produced in the U.S. Winery sales—including exports—via brokers, distributors and retailers totaled $3.8 billion, while direct-to-consumer and -trade sales brought in roughly $745 million. A previous Stonebridge study, released in 2008, estimated Napa wine’s U.S. economic impact at $42 billion.

•Pop singer Fergie has launched a new California wine line—Ferguson Crest—in partnership with her father, Pat Ferguson. The line will include a Syrah ($30), Cabernet Sauvignon ($24.50), Viognier ($22.50) and a red blend called Fergalicious ($35). Wine Spectator reported earlier this year that Ferguson Crest would produce about 1,000 cases of Syrah, and a smaller quantity of Viognier and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Ferguson Crest winery, located in the Santa Ynez Valley, was founded by Fergie and her father in 2006. In addition to Ferguson Crest, Fergie is also part-owner and spokesperson for Voli Spirits’ Voli Light Vodka brand.

•Moët Hennessy USA’s Moët & Chandon Champagne has named tennis star Roger Federer as its new brand ambassador. Federer will be featured in Moët’s upcoming advertising campaign, which is set to launch in March. The Champagne house partnered with photographer Patrick Demarchelier to shoot photos of Federer for the ads. The brand has also been an official sponsor of the U.S. Open tennis tournament for the last two years.

•American Blue Ribbon Holdings, a subsidiary of Fidelity National Financial Inc., has unveiled a new restaurant model for its O’Charley’s casual-dining brand, which the company acquired earlier this year for $221 million, as reported by Shanken News Daily on February 6. The revamped O’Charley’s is located in Franklin, Tennessee, and the company will roll out the new prototype to all of the brand’s units throughout 2013 and into 2014. Updates include a new logo that’s easier to read, redecorated interiors to allow for larger parties and more floor space, and new menu items that fit into the brand’s Southern-inspired approach to American cuisine.


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