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News Briefs for September 15, 2015

September 15, 2015

•Accolade Wines has entered the Chile segment, acquiring the Anakena brand along with its winery, inventory, vineyard and tasting room. Founded by Felipe Ibañez and Jorge Gutierrez 15 years ago, Anakena will retain its current leadership team, led by managing director Ricardo Letelier, who will report to Accolade Wines’ U.S. general manager MJ Loza. The winery’s founders said the Accolade deal will help widen Anakena’s distribution reach, bringing the brand to more consumers in more countries. According to Impact Databank, Anakena—which has been handled stateside by Sogrape subsidiary Evaton Inc.—was down 21% to 70,000 cases in the U.S. last year. While the price Accolade paid for Anakena was undisclosed, the Sydney Morning Herald reports that it was likely in the A$30-A$35 million ($21-$25m) range.

•Beam Suntory is set to open its Jim Beam Urban Stillhouse in downtown Louisville on October 1. The site, located at 404 South 4th Street, includes a small working distillery, a bottling line, tasting experience and other features. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, the $5.2 million facility will offer free tastings, education and a look at the distilling process, and will complement the Jim Beam brand’s American Stillhouse in Clermont, Kentucky.

•Proximo Spirits is rolling out two new limited-edition Jose Cuervo bottlings—one each of Jose Cuervo Especial and Reserva de la Familia—commemorating the brand’s role in The Rolling Stones’ 1972 North American tour. The special edition Rolling Stones Jose Cuervo Especial and Collectors Edition Reserva de la Familia bottles are priced at $16.99 and $149.99, respectively. The Especial commemorative bottling will debut nationwide this month, while the Reserva de la Familia will follow in November. In its first full year with Proximo Spirits, Jose Cuervo grew 0.9% to 3.4 million cases in 2014 following a six-year period of declining volume in the U.S., according to Impact Databank.

•With volume on its mainstream beer brands declining in recent years, MillerCoors will close its Eden, North Carolina, brewery in September 2016. Over the next 12 months, production from Eden will be transferred to breweries in Virginia, Ohio, Texas, Georgia and Wisconsin. The Eden brewery produced 7.1 million barrels last year, including Blue Moon, Coors Light, Miller Lite and Miller High Life. In a statement, the company acknowledged that since the creation of MillerCoors by SABMiller and Molson Coors seven years ago, its portfolio’s volume has slid by 10 million barrels.

•Taco Bell has unveiled a new “urban concept,” Taco Bell Cantina, with two new stores that will sell alcohol and a tapas-style menu, do away with the drive-thru, offer digitized ordering and look to mirror local architecture. The first two Taco Bell Cantinas will open in Chicago on September 22 and San Francisco later this month. The San Francisco restaurant will serve beer and wine only, while the Chicago location, situated in the Wicker Park neighborhood, will serve beer, wine, sangria and frozen drinks. A subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Taco Bell plans to build or remodel 600 stores a year looking ahead, and is evaluating opportunities to expand the Cantina concept.

•Beso Del Sol Sangria has received the backing of a new investment group led by South Beach Beverage Company founder John Bello. Beso Del Sol CEO Bradd Levitan said the new round of capital funding will allow the bag-in-box sangria label, which launched two years ago, to ramp up marketing activity and broaden distribution. Beso Del Sol is targeting more than 100,000 cases for 2015, and forecasting a rise to 350,000 cases by the end of next year, supported by the new investment. Bello sold the SoBe juice and tea brand to Pepsi in 2001 for $370 million.

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