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

News Briefs for January 9, 2017

January 9, 2017

•Starbucks is shaking up its approach to beverage alcohol, announcing plans to discontinue its “Evenings” program, under which it has been selling beer and wine at more than 400 stores in the U.S. Instead, the company will start selling beer, wine and spirits at Roastery and Reserve—its new high-end concepts. The coffee giant had previously planned to roll out the Evenings initiative to thousands of its outlets. According to the Seattle Times, Starbucks says the shift will allow the majority of its locations to focus on its core business, while “optimizing the evening for our premium customer.” Starbucks intends to open at least 20 large-format Roastery locations around the world, and 1,000 or more Reserve stores, which are larger than the chain’s traditional outlets but smaller than the Roastery.

•Constellation Brands is gearing up to test-launch Corona Premier—a new low-calorie and low-carbohydrate offshoot of its Corona beer brand. During Constellation’s third-quarter earnings call, CEO Rob Sands told analysts that Corona Premier will roll out across three to four markets this year, positioned as a competitor to Anheuser-Busch InBev’s upscale low-calorie brand Michelob Ultra.

•Pacific Highway Wines & Spirits has added France’s Mirabeau en Provence to its portfolio. Effective immediately, Pacific Highway will import Mirabeau’s full lineup of Côtes de Provence rosés, including Classic ($20 a 750-ml.), Pure ($25) and Etoile ($35). All three will be available across select U.S. markets in 750-ml. formats, with magnums, jeroboams and imperials available to distributors upon request. Pacific Highway, jointly owned by Australia’s Oatley family and New Zealand’s Giesen family, also markets the Beachhouse, Boschendal and Foppiano Vineyards brands, among others.

•375 Park Avenue Spirits has appointed former Bacardi executive Jason Schladenhauffen to the newly created position of president/COO. Schladenhauffen comes to 375—a subsidiary of Sazerac Co.—after more than a decade with Bacardi, most recently as off-premise national accounts director. He’ll report to 375 chairman and CEO Norman Bonchick and will be based in Louisville, Kentucky. The 375 portfolio includes Van Gogh Vodka, Tap Whisky, Saint-Vivant Armagnac, Antica Sambuca and Saint James Rhum, among others. In 2015, 375 formed a partnership with International Beverage Holdings Ltd. and now handles their spirits portfolio—which features the Speyburn, Old Pulteney, anCnoc and Balblair single malt Scotches—in the U.S.

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