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News Briefs for January 11, 2016

January 11, 2016

•Two of California’s most prominent wine regions experienced a surge in the vine-killing illness Pierce’s disease in 2015, possibly the result of recent warmer winter conditions. Viticulture experts in both Napa and Sonoma counties report a significant increase in the number of vines being pulled up and destroyed due to Pierce’s last year, including in areas where they haven’t seen the disease before, raising anxiety levels (and financial pain) among local vintners. Wine Spectator has the full story.

•Asahi Group Holdings Ltd. is planning to launch a bid for the Grolsch and Peroni beer brands in the coming days, according to news reports from Japan. Asahi’s offer for the two brands is expected to be as much ¥400 billion ($3.4 billion). Grolsch and Peroni are currently owned by SABMiller, which Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) agreed to acquire in November. ABI put the two brews on the block in recent weeks, as regulators continue to examine the ABI-SABMiller megadeal.

•Warsteiner USA is gearing up to launch a special edition of its namesake brand, Warsteiner Grapefruit, this April. The seasonal entry, which looks to capitalize on the trend toward grapefruit-flavored beers, is a play on the classic German radler style, which couples beer and lemon soda. Warsteiner Grapefruit (2.5% abv) will debut this spring in six-packs of 11.2-ounce bottles and four-packs of 16.9-ounce cans.

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