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

News Briefs for March 13, 2014

March 13, 2014

•Moët Hennessy’s Belvedere vodka has extended its flavor lineup with the launch of Belvedere Mango Passion. Featuring mango and passion fruit flavors blended with a hint of mandarin, tangerine and lime, Belvedere Mango Passion is set to roll out nationwide next month, retailing at $34.99 a 750-ml. The new addition, which includes no added sugar, is targeted toward the cocktail occasion, intended to be served with tonic water or ginger ale, or in classic cocktails. Mango Passion joins Pink Grapefruit, Citrus, Orange, Black Raspberry, Bloody Mary and Lemon Tea in Belvedere’s flavored vodka portfolio.

•Diageo will introduce a new super-premium Smirnoff vodka variant in travel retail this summer, marking the company’s largest vodka launch in the duty free channel. Smirnoff White will be available in travel retail outlets around the world beginning July 2014 at a suggested retail price of £21 (about $33) for a 1-liter bottle. Diageo says the 41.3%-abv super-premium vodka furthers its strategy of premiumization in the sector and will be supported by several high-impact activations. Smirnoff White is freeze filtered and passed through charcoal filters for smoothness.

•Grupo Codorniu’s Aveniu Brands has taken on exclusive representation of Kelso, Tennessee’s Prichards Distillery in the U.S. Prichards, which opened in 1997 and claims to be Tennessee’s first legal distillery in nearly 50 years, specializes in producing craft Tennessee whiskey and rum using traditional pot still techniques. To support the transition, Prichards’ vice president of sales Terry Marshall has been promoted to the role of chief operating officer, in which he will lead the day-to-day operations at the original Prichards facility, as well as the distiller’s new facility in Nashville, Tennessee. Prichards Distillery joins Amarula Cream liqueur, Don Roberto Tequila, Kah Tequila, La Arenita Tequila, Ocean vodka and Zodiac vodka in Aveniu’s spirits stable.

•Italian wine brand Folonari has unveiled a new nationwide campaign targeted toward 24- to 45-year-olds. Slated to launch in April under the tagline “The Passion of Italy in Every Bottle,” the push will include trade advertising, point-of-sale, social media and sweepstakes components. The campaign spend is said to total $2.7 million. Owned by Gruppo Italiano Vini and marketed in the U.S. by Frederick Wildman and Sons, Folonari sells around 285,000 cases stateside.

•Heineken USA’s Dos Equis brand is launching Dos Equis Dos-A-Rita, a new ready-to-serve Lager Margarita. Rolling out into select markets this April, Dos-A-Rita is an imported blend of Dos Equis Lager and classic Margarita flavors, sweetened with 100% agave nectar. The 7.2%-abv offering will be available at retail, packaged in 24-ounce single-serve cans and 8-ounce can 12-packs. According to Heineken USA vice president innovation Monique Acevedo, Dos-A-Rita is well positioned to tap the market’s growing flavored/beer mix segment, and attract 22- to 34-year-old consumers. Dos-A-Rita’s debut follows the recent success of Anheuser Busch’s Bud Light Lime Lime-A-Rita, Straw-Ber-Rita and Cran-Brrr-Rita malt beverages, which collectively sold around 22.5 million (2.25-gallon) cases in the U.S. last year, according to Impact Databank.

•Anheuser-Busch InBev has extended its Shock Top brand with a new offering, Honey Bourbon Cask Wheat. Rolling out in 6- and 12-packs and on draft, Honey Bourbon Cask Wheat is a 5.5%-abv unfiltered Belgian-style wheat ale aged on Bourbon cask staves. The new entry joins Belgian White, Raspberry Wheat, Honeycrisp Apple Wheat, Lemon Shandy, Pumpkin Wheat, and Chocolate Wheat in the Shock Top line. Shock Top slipped 2.6% last year to 7.7 million (2.25-gallon) cases in the U.S. after recording strong growth the previous two years.

•Pottsville, Pennsylvania-based D.G. Yuengling & Son is launching a new seasonal beer, Summer Wheat Traditional Weizen. The German Weizen-style beer is brewed with a combination of wheat and barley malts, with Hallertau hops and Bavarian-style fermenting yeast. Summer Wheat is the brewery’s third seasonal offering and will be released between spring’s Bock beer and fall’s Oktoberfest release. Starting in April, Summer Wheat will be available in six-packs, 1/4 barrels and 1/2 barrels.

•Frederick Wildman and Sons has announced a flurry of internal promotions, all effective April 1. James DiCicco has been named vice president, finance; Benjamin Kirschner will now be vice president, domestic portfolio and Metro New York key account manager; Kevin Murphy has been promoted to vice president director of operations; Bill Seawright will be vice president northern division manager; John Sellar is vice president director of business development; and Martin Sinkoff is vice president director of marketing. The company says additional promotions and appointments are slated to follow. Headquartered in New York, Frederick Wildman handles more than 50 brands, including wines from Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Argentina, New Zealand, Germany and Austria, as well as a collection of specialty spirits.

•John Donohue has been named senior vice president of Wirtz Beverage’s new Canada unit, overseeing sales execution of a dedicated sales force of more than 120. Wirtz’s new operation in Canada—which will serve as Diageo’s exclusive broker in the market—will open July 1 and be led by Wirtz Beverage executive vice president Julian Burzynski. Donohue is currently director of trade development for Wirtz Beverage Illinois, where he leads channel planning, pricing and reporting for the Diageo portfolio statewide.

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