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

News Briefs for May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013

•Bacardi-owned Dewar’s Scotch is supporting the recent launch of its Highlander Honey extension with a new television ad campaign. The ad, which runs under the tagline “The Drinking Man,” is set in Aberfeldy, Scotland, and stars actress Claire Forlani. Dewar’s unveiled Highlander Honey—a 40%-abv honey-infused blended Scotch—in March, and plans to rollout additional infusions as part of a new “Highlander” range of flavored offerings. The honey expression is currently available nationwide priced at $23.99 a 750-ml.

•Pernod Ricard’s Malibu rum brand has added a pair of dessert-inspired flavors to its rum portfolio. Starting this month, Malibu Swirl—which features the flavors of strawberries and cream—and the chocolate ice cream-flavored Malibu Sundae will launch nationwide, supported by a full digital and social media push. Both 21%-abv offerings will be available in 1-liter, 750-ml. and 50-ml. formats, priced at around $14.99 a 750-ml. Malibu Swirl and Malibu Sundae mark the brand’s first foray into the confectionary spirits segment, which was up 58% over the past two years (ended November 10, 2012), according to Nielsen data. The pair join Malibu’s existing six-flavor range, as well as its Malibu Black, Island Spiced, Red and Original expressions.

•China-based importer ASC Fine Wines opened its new flagship “Wine Residence” in Shanghai in recent days. The 6,500-square meter facility offers an extensive selection of wines from RMB200 ($33) to over RMB100,000 ($16,600) a bottle, as well as educational sessions about wine, wine-themed fine dining restaurants, bars and banqueting services and exclusive members-only facilities such as temperature-controlled wine lockers and cellars. Open to all, ASC’s new Wine Residence offers two levels of membership for wine aficionados and enthusiasts: a “social membership” for RMB75,000 ($12,000), entitling members to discounts, exclusive services and facilities; and a “full membership” for RMB150,000 ($24,000), which adds the ability to store wines in the temperature-controlled Wine Residence cellar.

•Forest Grove, Oregon-based SakéOne has introduced a new extension, G Fifty, to its G saké line. Available nationwide for $25 a 750-ml. bottle and $13 for a 300-ml., G Fifty is a Junmai Ginjo Genshu saké. In addition to the G saké range, which features only Genshu products (meaning the saké isn’t diluted), SakéOne also produces Momokawa and fruit-flavor infused Moonstone, and imports the Murai Family and Yoshi No Gawa saké and Tombo shochu/soju labels. In March, the company also added premium Japanese-made SakéMoto to its import portfolio.

•The number of dry localities in Texas continues to dwindle, as 18 communities out of a possible 22 voted to begin allowing alcohol sales in one form or another in local elections last weekend. The most significant of the localities to go wet was Plano, a fast-growing suburb of Dallas, which voted 65% to 35% to legalize off-premise sales of beer, wine and spirits. Over the past 12 months, 65 Texas localities have held wet-dry votes, with 59 opting to go wet, according to DISCUS.

•Iconic Philadelphia restaurant Le Bec Fin is closing this summer to make way for a new concept from chef Justin Bogle. The new restaurant will feature a progressive American menu with a focus on local, seasonal ingredients. During renovations this summer, the downstairs lounge of the venue will remain open, serving bistro-style food and speakeasy-inspired cocktails. Local chef Chris Scarduzio is serving as director of operations on the new concept, which is slated to open in the fall.

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