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News Briefs For April 29, 2011

April 29, 2011

• Brown-Forman has named John Accardo to the newly created role of managing director, China, effective May 1. Since joining Brown-Forman in 1996, Accardo has held a variety of commercial leadership roles in Asia, Europe and the U.S., most recently serving as director of regional strategy for the Asia Pacific region. He previously worked with Anheuser-Busch Asia, helping A-B enter the Chinese market as vice president, finance and planning.

• Washington governor Christine Gregoire signed a bill today that establishes a pilot project for spirits sampling in state liquor stores. Under the year-long program slated to begin September 1, Washington’s liquor control board will designate 30 liquor stores, and each will hold at least six tasting events throughout the year. Samples must be one-quarter ounce or less, with no more than one ounce per person per day. According to the Distilled Spirits Council, some 34 states now permit off-premise spirits tastings.

• Pabst Brewing Co has come under fire for its recent launch of Blast by Colt 45, a 12%-abv fruit-flavored malt beverage. As many as 18 city and state attorneys general have publicly criticized the product, accusing Blast of targeting underage consumers with its brightly colored, 23.5-ounce cans and a promotional tie-up with hip-hop artist and actor Snoop Dogg. In a letter sent to Pabst on April 21, Maryland attorney general Douglas Gansler demanded that the brewer “significantly reduce the number of servings of alcohol presented in a single serving container to eliminate…risks posed by this ‘binge-in-a-can’ product.” The new product also offers a 7-ounce package.

• In honor of its 20th anniversary, New Belgium Brewing Co has launched New Belgium Super Cru, a 10%-abv “double” version of the brewery’s flagship Fat Tire Amber Ale, made with twice the malt bill and hop profile. Concurrently, the Fort Collins, Colorado-based brewer is also relaunching its Abbey Grand Cru, a 9.5%-abv Abbey Ale that’s traditionally brewed after every 1,000 batches. Both extensions are available in 22-ounce bombers and drafts.

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