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

News Briefs For May 10, 2011

May 10, 2011

• Treasury Wine Estates opened at A$3.21 ($2.96) a share and finished at A$3.36 ($3.10) in its first day of trading on the Australian Securities Exchange in Sydney today, valuing the company at around A$2.1 billion ($1.9b). That fell short of the old Foster’s valuation of Treasury, which had been A$3.2 billion ($2.95b), or A$5.38 ($4.97) a share. Foster’s Group Ltd. was valued at A$8.9 billion ($8.2b) on its first day of trading as a pure beer play. It closed the day at A$4.53 ($4.18) a share. The old Foster’s had a market capitalization of A$10.6 billion ($9.8b). The market today valued the two new companies at a combined A$11 billion ($10.15b).

• MillerCoors has created a new position, vice president, brand marketing, to oversee strategy and positioning for its premium and below-premium brands, including Coors Light, Miller Lite, MGD 64, Keystone Light, Miller High Life and Coors Banquet. Rick Gomez, who formerly led marketing efforts for Coors Light and Coors Banquet, has been tapped to fill the new role. Gomez will also oversee multicultural marketing, according to MillerCoors chief marketing officer Andy England. Coors Light grew in a declining market during Gomez’s tenure directing the brand, and MillerCoors projects it will overtake Budweiser as the U.S. market’s second-largest beer brand this year.

• Carlsberg Group has launched Copenhagen, a 4.5% abv beer characterized by a light taste and modern, Danish-style packaging. Initially rolling out in Denmark this month, Copenhagen is set to enter Asia and Northern, Western and Eastern Europe throughout 2011 and 2012. According to Kirsten Ægidius, vice president, marketing for Carlsberg, the new brand is “a highly drinkable beer with a balanced taste—a real alternative to white wine and Champagne.” Copenhagen is currently targeting young LDA males—and especially design-focused females—who dislike the bitter aftertaste of traditional beers.

• The U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) will collect a total of $1.9 million from six of the drinks industry’s top suppliers as part of a settlement from accusations that they violated slotting fee provisions of the Federal Alcohol Administration Act. The six companies—Diageo NA (which will pay $650,000); Pernod Ricard USA ($300,000); Moet Hennessy USA ($275,000); Bacardi USA ($262,500); Future Brands ($250,000) and E&J Gallo Winery ($225,000)—denied violating any laws or regulations. The TTB alleged that, through a third party, the companies illicitly furnished Harrah’s Entertainment with nearly $2 million over a two-year period that ended in 2009, in order to obtain preferential product display and shelf space in Harrah’s Las Vegas properties. Those properties include the Caesar’s Palace, Rio, Harrah’s, Paris, Bally’s, Flamingo and Imperial Palace casino resorts.

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