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News Briefs for August 20, 2013

August 20, 2013

•Sagging vodka sales in Poland led to a 6% sales decline—to €404.2m (US$538.9m)—for France’s Belvédère SA in the first half of 2013. The company’s sales in Poland, which comprise around 60% of its overall business, fell by 9%, as the country’s vodka market has contracted of late. Still, Belvédère’s Krupnick remains one of Poland’s top-selling vodka brands. In the U.S., Belvédère’s Sobieski was one of the hottest vodka entries from 2008-2011, during which time it jumped from 255,000 cases to 950,000 cases. However, amid increased competition and intense pricing pressure, the Polish import rose by just 3.2% in 2012.

Cognac Ferrand is extending its Plantation rum brand with a new Original Dark offering slated to hit the U.S. October 1. Original Dark ($17.99 a 750-ml.), made from a blend of rums from Trinidad and Tobago, is aged first in American oak and then in French oak. The Plantation rum line also includes Grande Reserve ($25 a 750-ml.), Original Dark Overproof ($30 a 1-liter) and the recently repacked 20th Anniversary XO ($45 a 750-ml.) among others. In other company news, Cognac Ferrand has revamped its Citadelle gin brand ($25 a 750-ml.) with new packaging slated to hit the market later this year. Citadelle, which the company tells SND is currently growing around 40% and will surpass 35,000 cases this year, is also prepping the launch of its 2013 Solera-aged gin, which will retail around $35 a 750-ml. Cognac Ferrand’s brands are imported in the U.S. by Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits.

•Diageo Canada will remain the single national agent for Marnier-Lapostolle’s spirits brands in Canada under a three-year extension of the two companies’ existing partnership. The new deal extends Diageo’s Canada’s agency on Marnier-Lapostolle’s brands until June 2016. The agreement covers Grand Marnier liqueur, as well as ultra-premium marques Cuvée Louis-Alexandre, Cuvée du Centenaire and Cuvée du Cent-Cinquantenaire. The two companies have been partners in the Canadian market—Marnier-Lapostolle’s second-biggest globally—since 2008.

•SPI Group has appointed Chase International as Stolichnaya’s exclusive distributor for the U.S. duty free market, effective September 1. Under the agreement, Chase will handle both Stolichnaya and Elit by Stolichnaya in the travel retail segment, with a focus on building the brand’s presence across all U.S. international airports and major cruise lines. Chase replaces William Grant & Sons as Stoli’s exclusive U.S. duty free distributor.

•Napa Valley’s upscale Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery has tapped New England Wine & Spirits, Inc., to handle distribution in Connecticut. New England Wine & Spirits, Inc. is launching in Connecticut with Smith-Madrone’s 2010 Chardonnay, 2012 Riesling, 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2007 Cook’s Flat Reserve, all originating from the Spring Mountain District appellation of the Napa Valley.

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