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

News Briefs for March 7, 2014

March 7, 2014

•Brown-Forman has launched a new TV spot behind its struggling Southern Comfort liqueur brand in the U.S. Part of Southern Comfort’s ongoing “Whatever’s Comfortable” campaign, the latest ad, titled “Dance,” features the song “Estralar” by Marcos Valle. The new spot debuts in the U.S. this week and will run through the next two months. While the “Whatever’s Comfortable” campaign has been well-received, so far the push hasn’t been able to overcome macro factors working against Southern Comfort, whose global depletions fell 5% in the nine months through January (the brand sells about two-thirds of its 1.8-million-case global volume in the U.S.). In addition to heightening competition in its core on-premise shot occasion, SoCo appears to be suffering from a generally tepid on-premise environment in the U.S. On a conference call to discuss Brown-Forman’s third-quarter results yesterday, CEO Paul Varga said high unemployment among younger consumers in the U.S. is causing them to frequently eschew nights out in favor of more at-home entertaining.

•Wine Spectator has taken a look at the growing trend of California winemakers using concrete fermentation and aging tanks to produce their wines. While concrete tanks have been used consistently in Europe alongside wood vats and stainless steel, they’ve long been out of favor in California. Interest in concrete was sparked again in recent years, but it took off slowly because the tanks were only produced in France, and shipping a 4-ton container overseas made them cost-prohibitive for most vintners. That changed when California companies—such as Vino Vessel and Sonoma Cast—began producing concrete winemaking vessels. Since 2007, more than 400 California-made concrete tanks and fermentors have been produced for the cellars of Staglin, Linne Calodo, Cliff Lede, Continuum, Wind Gap, Sandhi and dozens of other wineries.

•Constellation’s Corona Light has launched a new campaign targeting the brand’s core demographic of middle-aged consumers, reports AdAge. Developed by Omnicom Group’s Goodby Silverstein & Partners, the push—which uses the tagline “a light beer you can actually taste”—emphasizes Corona Light’s more hop-heavy profile in comparison to other light beers, and seeks to attract mature drinkers ages 35 to 44. Jim Sabia, chief marketing officer of Constellation’s beer division, told AdAge that the move is part of the company’s current plan to increase Corona Light’s media spend by 78% this year. In the first 11 months of last year, Corona Light’s measured media investments totaled $6.8 million, according to Kantar Media.

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