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

News Briefs for June 13, 2013

June 13, 2013

•Total Wine & More is eyeing the Minnesota market, according to local press reports. The retailer is said to be scouting potential locations in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The Potomac, Maryland-based Total Wine has more than 90 stores in 15 states, but its business is concentrated along both coasts. A move into Minnesota would mark Total Wine’s entry into the Midwest.

•Accolade Wines North America’s XYZin brand has undergone a full package redesign. The new look, which will debut with XYZin’s latest 2011 vintage, features bold, red lettering on a black background and is intended to emphasize the wine’s super-premium quality. An old vine California Zinfandel offering, XYZin is priced at around $16 a 750-ml. Based in Napa, Accolade Wines North America also handles the Geyser Peak, Hardys, Banrock Station, Da Luca and The Light Grape brands in the U.S., among others.

•Young’s Market Co. has announced the promotion of Jason Wooler to the role of executive vice president-general manager California, effective June 17. Wooler will assume responsibility for all California sales and operations at Young’s. An 18-year industry veteran, Wooler is being promoted from his current position of senior vice president, general market-Northern California. Young’s, the second-largest wine and spirits wholesaler in the Golden State behind Southern Wine & Spirits, is projecting 2013 California revenues of $1.7 billion, up from $1.53 billion in 2012, according to Impact Newsletter.

•Heaven Hill Distilleries has unveiled new packaging for the Evan Williams Bourbon range. The new look will roll out across the Black Label brand, the Evan Williams Reserve line of flavored Bourbons, the Evan Williams Green Label and White Label “Bottled-In-Bond” marques and the seasonal Evan Williams Holiday Nog and Evan Williams Apple Orchard variants. The packaging upgrade includes a new proprietary bottle, which features a replica of Evan Williams’ signature blown into all four sides of the bottle’s shoulder. The shoulder label has been removed and the text that appeared on it before is now on the neck wrap. Evan Williams is the number-three Bourbon brand in the U.S., where it was up 6.2% to 1.43 million nine-liter cases last year, according to Impact Databank.

•The Wine Group’s Cupcake Vineyards brand is embarking on a nationwide campaign this summer with its new Cupcake Truck Tour. Kicking off this week, a pair of traveling Cupcake Trucks will offer consumers wine tastings, cupcakes, giveaways and other attractions, while also attending major consumer events like the Aspen Food & Wine Classic. The six-month program will include stops in New York, Colorado, Ohio, Illinois, California, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Washington, Oregon, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Texas. An Impact “Hot Brand,” Cupcake Vineyards—which offers red, white and sparkling wines priced at around $10-$12 a 750-ml.—rose 25% last year to 3 million cases.

•Veneto-based Cantina di Soave has changed the name of its purse-shaped boxed wine label Volére to Viama. The newly named Viama has also debuted two new extensions, Viama Bianco Delle Venezie IGT 2012 white blend and Viama Rosso Delle Venezie IGT 2012 red blend. Both are priced in line with the other Viama wines at $15 a 1.5-liter box. They join Rosé, Merlot-Pinot Noir and Garganega-Pinot Grigio in the Viama lineup. Introduced as Volére last year, the handbag-styled brand, which is imported by Mionetto USA, sold 45,000 cases in the U.S. in 2012 in just six months on the market.

•California-based drinks group Slim Chillers has launched its Skinny Freezers low-calorie frozen cocktail line. At 100 calories per 100-ml. pouch, Skinny Freezers (8% abv) will come in four vodka cocktail varieties—Cosmopolitan, Watermelon Lemonade, Appletini and Lemon Drop. Initially, Skinny Freezers are launching at select retail locations in California including BevMo, priced at $2.99-$3.49 per unit. Slim Chillers also makes BlenderFulls non-alcoholic pouched margarita mixes, available in Peach Mango, Original, Strawberry Lemon and Pomegranate.

•Beam Inc.’s Pinnacle vodka has bolstered its popular dessert flavor line with a new entry, Strawberry Shortcake. Like Pinnacle’s many other flavored entries, the 35%-abv Strawberry Shortcake retails for around $13 a 750-ml. Pinnacle’s flavor range continues to drive the vodka brand’s impressive growth. Last year, Pinnacle’s volume rose by 13.5% to 3.07 million cases, according to Impact Databank.

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