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

News Briefs for August 16, 2013

August 16, 2013

•Diageo is extending Baileys with a new flavor entry, Vanilla Cinnamon, to roll out September 1. The new offering is 17% abv and will retail in line with the core brand at $21 a 750-ml. bottle. Made with Madagascar vanilla and cinnamon and billed as a “modern twist on classic Irish cream,” Baileys Vanilla Cinnamon is designed to have a lighter colored liquid and lighter mouthfeel. Diageo recommends serving it neat, on the rocks, in coffee, or in concoctions like the ”Baileys Glamour Shot,” in which it’s mixed with cinnamon schnapps.

•Absolut has opened its first store, a travel retail outlet at Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). The 484-square-foot venue features an Absolut bespoke bar, while an “Absolut Drinkspiration” display offers cocktails for travelers to consume in a lounge area. “This is the first brand store that Absolut has ever opened, so it’s a historic moment for us,” says Paul Duffy, CEO of The Absolut Company. “With the Absolut Brand Store, we’re creating the ultimate brand experience for traveling consumers.” The Absolut Brand Store is a collaboration between The Absolut Company, Pernod Ricard Asia Travel Retail and Eraman Duty Free.

•MillerCoors will introduce two new higher-proof products to its stable, according to AdAge. The company will debut Miller Fortune, a higher-proof beer designed to compete with Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light Platinum. Fortune will come in at about 6.9% abv, compared to Platinum’s 6% and be similarly priced. The company is also prepping a new higher-proof cider, called Smith & Forge Hard Cider (6% abv), designed to fill what it sees as an “unmet need” for ciders that target the male demographic. MillerCoors will put major marketing pushes behind both rollouts, Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi handling advertising for Fortune and WPP’s Cavalry taking the lead on Smith & Forge.

•Chicago restaurant Japonais will be closed at the end of the year and remodeled and rebranded as Japonais by Morimoto as Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto joins the operation as a partner. Morimoto will add a new sushi bar, an open kitchen and private dining rooms as well as a revamped menu that will include some of his signature dishes, such as tuna pizza and toro tartare. The restaurant is expected to reopen by late winter and will also feature a new bar specializing in Japanese spirits, including vodka and whiskey and Morimoto’s own line of a half-dozen sakes developed in partnership with the Fukumitsuya brewery. There will also be exclusive beers developed with Oregon-based Rogue Ales that include a Morimoto Imperial Pilsner and a Morimoto Black Obi Soba. Morimoto, who has nine other restaurants around the world, will be partnered in this venture with Rick Wahlstedt, who’s a principal in both Japonais and Le Colonial.

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