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News Briefs for July 11, 2013

July 11, 2013

•Proximo Spirits has named The Kirkwood Group to handle Jose Cuervo Tequila in Canada. Kirkwood already represented Proximo’s 1800 Tequila, Three Olives vodka and The Kraken rum brands in the country. The addition of Cuervo will double the size of the Proximo portfolio in Canada, the company said, adding that its business in the market has been flourishing of late, rising sixfold over the past three years. Based in Ontario, Kirkwood sells above 1.2 million cases across its wine, spirits and beer businesses. In addition to Proximo brands, its spirits portfolio also includes Lucid Absinthe, Purity vodka and Heering and Canton liqueurs, among others. Its wine stable includes Accolade Wines, MontGras, Les Grands Chais de France and KWV labels.

•Forest Grove, Oregon-based SakéOne has added Kasumi Tsuru imported saké to its portfolio. Kasumi Tsuru Kimoto Extra Dry Saké is now in nationwide distribution retailing at $30 a 720-ml. bottle, and also comes in 300-ml. and 1.8-liter sizes. Kasumi Tsuru, a small saké brewer founded in the Hyogo Prefecture in 1725, is known for its line of sakés created in the Kimoto style (involving a labor-intensive way of making the yeast starter). The addition of Kasumi Tsuru marks the second imported sake to join the SakéOne portfolio this year—in March, they announced that they were launching SakéMoto to the U.S. market. The group also imports the Murai Family and Yoshi No Gawa saké and Tombo shochu/soju labels, and produces the Momokawa, G and flavor-infused Moonstone saké brands.

BevMo is set to open its newest California store in Chico on July 19. Located at 1937 E. 20th Street, the new location will feature a selection of more than 1,797 wines, 1,726 spirits and 1,742 beers, as well as gourmet food items, cocktail mixers, glassware and bar accessories. Opening weekend activities for the store will include in-store events and demonstrations, including presences from brands such as Sierra Nevada, Crispin Cider, Sequin Wines and Bacardi rum, among others. The Chico store is BevMo’s 137th location across California, Arizona and Washington.

•Anheuser-Busch’s Budweiser brand has tapped music artists Jay-Z and Rihanna for its latest global campaign. Rolling out across more than 85 countries, the new “Made for Music” campaign features a pair of television spots starring each performer. The push will also be backed by limited edition Budweiser packaging, digital promos, out-of-home ads and social media initiatives. Additionally, the brand is currently sponsoring Rihanna’s Diamonds World Tour, and will follow with sponsorship of Jay-Z’s upcoming concerts. The campaign follows last summer’s Budweiser Made In America festival, curated by Jay-Z, which A-B says was a success.

•BrewSA, a new beer brand that has pledged to donate a portion of its profits to military veterans’ causes, is currently rolling out in the Pennsylvania and metro New York markets. BrewSA’s co-owners Steve Walley and Tom Limerick—New York-based entrepreneurs who are newcomers to the beer business—claim that the new brew uses exclusively American-produced ingredients, both for its product content and packaging. BrewSA, which is contract-brewed by Minhas Brewery of Monroe, Wisconsin, is retailing at a slight premium to the leading mainstream domestic brews. Walley and Limerick have committed to donate 25% of profits to veterans organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. BrewSA is now available in Pennsylvania’s Centre County, with plans for launching in an additional 20 counties over the coming weeks, as well as in New York City and Long Island.

•Stolichnaya owner SPI Group has named Romain Ambrunn Asia Pacific regional director. He will report directly to Robert Cullins, SPI’s global commercial director. Ambrunn comes to SPI from Group Belvedere-Marie Brizard, where he most recently served as regional director of the company’s Asia Pacific unit. Prior to that, he worked with GBH Group in Asia, and also held a variety of senior roles with companies such as Audi, Peugeot and Illy Coffee in the U.S.

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