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

News Briefs for May 26, 2016

May 26, 2016

•Smirnoff vodka has released a limited edition berry-flavored extension ahead of the summer season. Currently debuting nationwide, Smirnoff Red, White & Berry features a blend of cherry, citrus and blue raspberry flavors and is targeted toward the shot, cocktail and frozen treat occasions. The 30%-abv entry is packaged in a red, white and blue bottle and retails at $13 a 750-ml. The top-selling spirits brand in the U.S. market, Smirnoff grew 1.5% to 9.7 million cases last year, according to Impact Databank.

•An investment firm has filed a lawsuit in New York alleging that 132 rare Domaine de la Romanée-Conti bottles that it purchased in 2011 were fakes created by infamous convicted wine counterfeiter Rudy Kurniawan. But it doesn’t stop there: The suit also charges several prominent experts in the field of collectible wine as co-conspirators in the sale. The saga involves collectors, investors and auctioneers from Staten Island to Singapore, an alias, a plaintiff who owns the largest avocado farm in New Zealand, and vintages of purported DRC wine ranging from 1961 to 1990. Wine Spectator has the full story.

•Jayson Woodbridge’s Hundred Acre Wine Group has established its own in-house sales and marketing team, appointing several executives to the newly-formed unit. The sales team will be led by vice president of sales Landon Patterson, alongside national sales director Chris Avery and national retail chain director Steve Thomas. Lori Green, meanwhile, has been tapped to serve as director of marketing. Patterson formerly held the same role at Vintage Point (which previously handled Hundred Acre wines), while Avery and Green came to Hundred Acre from Jordan Vineyard & Winery.

•30-year wine and spirits industry veteran Frederick Brand passed away suddenly earlier this month. Most recently national sales director for Beluga Vodka, Brand previously held sales roles with Napa Ridge Winery, Shaw-Ross and Southern Wine & Spirits among other drinks companies. Brand is survived by his wife Marcelle and son Jake.

•San Francisco-based Jugos Beverage Co. is introducing Hard Frescos, a new line of 5%-abv aguas frescas. The range includes for four flavors—Citrico, Cola Buena, Juicy Jamaica and Tangy Tamarindo—based on Mexican street food culture. Hard Frescos are available in four-packs of 12-ounce bottles and in 16-ounce cans in California and Arizona, with further expansion to follow. Jugos was founded by food industry veterans Peter Stearns and Mauro Gomez.

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