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News Briefs for October 23, 2013

October 23, 2013

•Diageo has revamped its packaging for Johnnie Walker Red Label to align it with its portfoliomates. The new Johnnie Walker Red bottle retains the brand’s distinctive slanted label and square shape, first introduced by Alexander Walker in the 19th century, but it’s taller and wider, with sharper edges creating a stronger, more masculine look. In addition, a series of award visuals have been added on the bottom label to play up the whisky’s provenance and quality, and the Johnnie Walker “striding man” image is both embossed on the neck of the bottle and integrated on the front face.

SPI Group has appointed Silvio Oscar Alberto CEO of its Mendoza, Argentina-based Achaval Ferrer winery. Starting this month, Alberto will oversee all operations at Achaval Ferrer, with a focus on growing the winery’s production capacity and global reach, and report directly to SPI CEO Val Mendeleev. Alberto joins Achaval Ferrer from Argentina’s Diamandes Winery, where he served as general manager and winemaker. Prior to that, he was winemaker and production manager at Andeluna Cellars SRL Bodega de Ward Lay Winery. SPI Group acquired a majority stake in Achaval Ferrer in 2011 for an undisclosed sum.

•Illinois-based A. Hardy USA is introducing a new upscale Tequila brand, Tequila 1519. The 100%-agave label includes Blanco ($44.99 a 750-ml.), Reposado ($53.99) and Añejo expressions ($59.99), and is named for the year in which Andalusian steed horses—which became the seed stock for the Mexico’s symbolic Azteca Stallions—were first introduced to the country. The 1519 brand is produced in Jalisco by Agave Conquista.

•Restaurateur Alain Ducasse and Sauternes winemaker Château Guiraud have teamed up to promote a four-city launch of Guiraud’s imperial size bottlings. The launch is on October 24th at Ducasse’s Benoit in New York; Le Jules Verne and Benoit in Paris; Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester in London, and Beige-Alain Ducasse in Tokyo. Varied vintages of six-liter bottlings will be served by the glass and carafe. Château Guiraud’s four owners will be present at the locales to launch the wine. In New York, owner Xavier Planty will attend at the Benoit bistro and pouring will be managed by chef sommelier André Compeyre. “We want to show that dessert wines can be accompanied with savory dishes throughout the meal,” said Compeyre, who will be suggesting pairings during the promotion, which runs until December 31.

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