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News Briefs For April 28, 2011

April 28, 2011

• Beam Global Spirits & Wine’s recently unveiled Pucker Flavored Vodka range—featuring Sour Apple Sass, Grape Gone Wild, Cherry Tease and Citrus Squeeze extensions—is calibrated to take advantage of the rising trend of the flavored vodka category, says Gary Ross, senior brand manager, vodkas, for Beam. Priced at $16.99 per 750-ml. and inspired by the Pucker cordials range, the 70-proof vodkas have natural fruit flavors and are designed to be consumed neat or in a mixer or cocktail. Starting at the end of May, Pucker will be backed by a marketing campaign comprised of television, magazine print, digital, social media and mobile components. A sampling program is planned in more than 15 key markets. Beam also plans to add several additional flavors to the Pucker line that are currently in test.

• Opus One, the Napa Valley wine producer co-owned by Constellation Brands and Baron Philippe de Rothschild, is tapping into Asia’s growing thirst for high-end wine by opening sales offices in Hong Kong and Tokyo. The new offices will be led by Yvonne Chiong Mougin (Hong Kong) and Yasuko Cadby (Tokyo). Chiong Mougin is a sommelier with experience in Singapore and China—both key target markets for Opus One—while Cadby is a former wine journalist who previously worked with such trade groups as the Wine Institute, Napa Valley Vintners and Sonoma County Vintners. Opus One was founded in 1980 as a joint venture between Baron Philippe de Rothschild of Château Mouton Rothschild and Robert Mondavi (whose namesake winery was acquired by Constellation in 2004) to create a Bordeaux-style blend in Napa. It gained a foothold in Asia in the 1990s that has gradually expanded over the years.

• Georgia has repealed its ban on Sunday alcohol sales, a move that makes it the 37th U.S. state to allow Sunday spirits sales. The new law takes effect July 1 and allows for special alcohol elections to occur in communities across the state as early as November 2011. With Georgia’s repeal of the Sunday sales ban, only two states—Connecticut and Indiana—still ban Sunday sales of spirits, wine and beer in the off-premise.

• Napa Valley’s Chappellet Vineyard & Winery has acquired the Sonoma-Loeb portfolio of wines, including a collection of Sonoma County and Carneros Chardonnays and a Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, for an undisclosed sum. Chappellet has been producing the Sonoma-Loeb brand—whose production runs from 8,000 to 9,000 cases annually—for over 20 years. The acquisition, made from Ambassador John Loeb Jr, is the first in the 44-year history of Chappellet, which is known for its Napa-grown Bordeaux varietals.

• Correction: In yesterday’s news alert on Diageo’s reorganization of its U.S. sales structure, Greg Armstrong’s title was incorrectly given as senior vice president, control states and national accounts. His correct title is president, control states and national accounts.

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