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News Briefs for July 24, 2013

July 24, 2013

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates saw sales rise 9.1% in the first six months of 2013, to $263 million. The company’s shipment volume increased 8.6% during the period, led by a 48% leap by surging Impact “Hot Brand” 14 Hands, to 653,000 cases. Among Ste. Michelle’s other key brands, Chateau Ste. Michelle’s shipments rose 2.4% to 1.2 million cases in the first half, while Columbia Crest was up 6% to 798,000 cases.

•Renowned restaurateur Stephen Starr has joined forces with Jesse Camac and his Fatty Crew—the hospitality group behind the New York City-based “Fatty” restaurants—to expand the Fatty brand to eight U.S. cities and London, with plans to enter Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia first. Starr Restaurants will run day-to-day operations at the new Fatty units, while the Fatty Crew will develop the city-specific menus. The Washington, D.C., Fatty restaurant is slated to open by the end of the year. Fatty Crew currently operates Fatty Crab and Fatty ’Cue restaurants in New York City, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Hong Kong.

•Moët Hennessy USA has unveiled the third installment of Hennessy VS Cognac’s limited edition bottle series, with the latest bottle created by Brazilian artists Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo (known together as Os Gêmeos). Priced at $32 a 750-ml., Hennessy VS’s Os Gêmeos bottle is now available for pre-sale at ReserveBar.com and will roll out on shelves nationwide beginning on August 1. The new bottle features an “eye-catching design and warm-colored tones,” showcasing Os Gêmeos artwork. Each bottle is individually numbered. Hennessy will launch a six-city tour to back the launch, beginning with New York on August 15, followed by Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, Houston and Los Angeles.

•Cigar company Nat Sherman has partnered with craft whiskey distiller Widow Jane Whiskey to debut a new pop-up shop at the site of Widow Jane’s distiller, Cacao Prieto, a Brooklyn-based chocolate factory and distillery. Opening this month, the 500-square-foot venue will stock the full Nat Sherman premium cigar portfolio. In collaboration with the shop, neighboring cocktail bar Botanica will host exclusive cocktail and cigar pairings curated by Nat Sherman’s executive director of brand and retail development Michael Herklots. The Nat Sherman pop-up is slated to remain open through the end of October 2013.

•San Luis Obispo, California-based Niven Family Wine Estates is launching a new wine label, True Myth. The new brand, which is debuting with a 2012 Edna Valley Chardonnay made using grapes exclusively from Niven’s Paragon Vineyard, will retail within the $12-$18 range. Niven plans to extend the True Myth line next year with a 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon from the Paso Robles AVA. The True Myth wines were created by Niven’s veteran winemaker Christian Roguenant. The brand joins a Niven portfolio that also includes Baileyana, Tangent, Trenza, Cadre and Zocker wines.

•Voli Vodka, LLC, owner of the low-calorie Voli Light Vodkas range, has appointed Jorge Gutierrez as CEO. Gutierrez has more than two decades of drinks industry experience, including executive positions at Bacardi, Whyte & Mackay and Roberto Cavalli Vodka. He replaces Adam Kamenstein, who led Voli since founding the company in 2008 (Kamenstein will remain as an advisor). Voli has also tapped industry veteran Lee Strader to lead its sales team, as the company’s executive vice president, national sales director. Strader previously held executive sales posts with Whyte & Mackay, W. J. Deutsch & Sons and Pernod Ricard USA.

Pernod Ricard has named Lisa McCann marketing director for its Olmeca Tequila brand, effective next month. A 13-year Pernod veteran, McCann most recently served as brand director for Malibu rum at Pernod Ricard USA. Other previous Pernod roles include senior brand manager for Malibu, as well as on-premise director for Absolut. McCann’s appointment follows the recent departure of Michael Kaller, who has served Olmeca’s international brand development director since 2011.

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