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News Briefs for April 11, 2014

April 11, 2014

Moët Hennessy’s global sales fell 8% on a reported basis in the three months through March, its fiscal first quarter, while organic revenues slipped 3%. Moët Hennessy’s first-quarter revenue for 2014 was €888 million ($1.2b), compared with €967 million ($1.3b) a year ago. The company attributed the decline to destocking of Cognac by retailers in China, following the government crackdown on luxury entertaining, which has had an affect on other spirits categories as well. However, the Hennessy brand’s growth in the U.S. market and certain segments of the Chinese market helped ameliorate those conditions, according to the company, which added that Glenmorangie, Belvedere and Moët Hennessy’s Champagne brands had a strong start to the year.

•To celebrate its 40th anniversary, California’s J. Lohr Vineyards & Winery has released two limited edition offerings. The pair, which pay homage to J. Lohr’s first red wine bottling in 1974 and one of its first Pinot Blanc plantings in 1972, include the J. Lohr 40th Anniversary red wine from Paso Robles and the J. Lohr 40th Anniversary Pinot Blanc from Arroyo Seco. Priced at $40 a bottle, both entries are being unveiled at this week’s Pebble Beach Food & Wine event (April 10-13) and will be available at J. Lohr’s San Jose and Paso Robles wine centers starting June 1. Specializing in Central Coast wines, the core J. Lohr Estates brand ($15-$18) is an Impact “Hot Brand,” up 18% last year to 1.4 million cases.

•Former Brown-Forman chief marketing officer Kris Sirchio has been named CEO of Rochester-based North American Breweries, effective April 14. He replaces Rich Lozyniak, who left last month after leading the brewer since 2009. Prior to holding the CMO job at Brown-Forman, which he vacated in 2012, Sirchio served in marketing roles at Procter & Gamble. North American Breweries, whose portfolio includes Genesee, Magic Hat, Pyramid and Labatt, among other brands, was formed by KPS Capital in 2009. KPS sold the operation to Florida Ice & Farm Co (part of Cerveceria Costa Rica) in 2012.

•Spain’s Grupo Codorníu has named Keith LaVine president of the company’s U.S. import unit Aveníu Brands. He replaces Andrew Mansinne. LaVine, who most recently served as president of Codorníu’s Artesa Vineyards & Winery in California’s Carneros region, has also held various sales, marketing and winery management rolls with Sonoma-Cutrer, St. Supery and Lynmar Estate, among others. Along with his new responsibilities as Aveníu Brands president, LaVine will stay closely involved with Artesa’s management and strategy. Grupo Codorníu director of operations Arthur O’Conner, meanwhile, has been named president of Artesa.

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