News Briefs for February 13, 2014February 13, 2014
•Patron has officially unveiled its upscale Gran Patron Piedra Tequila in the U.S. market. A limited production extra anejo Tequila, Piedra is made via the “Tahona” process in which steam-cooked agave is slowly crushed with a two-ton volcanic stone wheel called a Tahona. The resulting juice is then fermented and distilled along with the agave fiber. Piedra, retailing at $399 a hand-numbered 750-ml. bottle, was previously available only in travel retail. SND originally reported the full U.S. market launch last week.
•Krug Champagne has released a new vintage label, Krug 2003 Vivacité Solaire (Vivacious Radiance), retailing at $240. It’s the first Krug vintage label since the Krug 2000 Gourmandise Orageuse (Stormy Indulgence). The 2000 vintage was preceded by the Krug 1998 Hommage au Chardonnay, a blend dominated by Chardonnay.
•Laurent-Perrier Champagne is releasing two new vintage-dated bubblies, Brut Millésimé 2004 and Cuvée Alexandra Rosé 2004, the first vintage of Cuvée Alexandra since 1998. Brut Millésimé is crafted from 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir and bottle-aged at its cellars in Tours-sur-Marne for almost eight years before being disgorged prior to release. The suggested retail price is $69.99. Bernard de Nonancourt, who led Laurent-Perrier Champagne for almost 60 years, named the Cuvée Alexandra Rosé after his daughter for her wedding in 1987. The offering is produced only occasionally and in small quantities, made from 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay with a suggested retail price of $350. Laurent-Perrier’s global sales were down 3% to $245 million in the nine months through December.
•The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) has reported a sales increase of 3.4% to $949.6 million for the six months through December, representing the wine and spirits retail monopoly’s fiscal first half. Wine and spirits sales both showed growth from the year-earlier period. As a result of the positive performance, the agency reported an interim net profit of $76.1 million, up 1.4%, and remitted more than $236.5 million in sales and liquor tax to the state, an increase of $7.4 million over the first six months of its 2012-13 fiscal year.
•Mount Gay rum, part of the Remy Cointreau USA portfolio, has updated its Eclipse, Eclipse Silver and XO variants with new packaging. The new look brings the rest of the portfolio in line with Mount Gay Black Barrel, which debuted the brand’s revamped identity when it launched a year ago.
•Sidney Frank Importing Co. has tapped Deutsch NY as its lead integrated agency for Jägermeister liqueur, charged with creating a brand campaign and communications plan to “drive reappraisal to a new generation of consumers.” Deutsch’s other clients include PNC Bank, GoDaddy and Microsoft. The top liqueur brand in the U.S., Jägermeister has confronted increased competition in its core on-premise shot segment of late, and fallen from a high of 2.88 million cases in 2008 to 2.4 million cases in 2013, according to Impact Databank.
•Anheuser-Busch is extending its Busch brand with its first new product in more than 15 years. The new entry, Busch Signature Copper Lager, is a higher-alcohol brew reminiscent of the recent Platinum and Black Crown extensions to A-B’s Bud Light and Budweiser brands respectively. Copper Lager is at 5.7% abv, compared with 4.3% for the core Busch brand. It’s rolling out across 12 Midwestern states for now—backed by print, TV and digital ads under the tagline “More Flavor. No Fuss”—with further expansion possible depending on performance.
•The Beer Institute said 948 new brewery permits were issued in the United States last year, bringing the total to a record 3,699 active “permitted breweries” overseen by the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Most of the new permits went to brewpubs, The Beer Institute added. Four states—California, Washington, Colorado and Oregon—now account for one-third of all U.S. breweries.Subscribe to Shanken News Daily’s Email Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each morning.