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

News Briefs For May 12, 2011

May 12, 2011

• Crown Royal has launched “The Crown Life,” an integrated marketing campaign that celebrates “life’s crowning moments.” As part of the effort, which follows the launch of Crown Royal Black, selected influential artists will create work that celebrates what “The Crown Life” means to them. The artists include rapper Big Boi, who has partnered with Crown Royal to develop content and put his own spin on the iconic Crown Royal bag. Other artists include filmmakers and designers. A short film on Big Boi is also part of the campaign.

• South Africa’s wine harvest is estimated to rise 1.4% to 1.28 million tonnes (1.4m tons) this year, according to industry group VinPro, citing figures from South African Wine Information Systems (SAWIS). Including juice and concentrate for non-alcoholic purposes, wine for brandy and distilling wine, the 2011 crop is estimated to yield 993 million liters, or about 1% more than last year. The 2011 growing season in South Africa was “characterised by considerable climatic fluctuations, especially unrelenting drought and heat throughout summer,” VinPro said. What had appeared to be a large crop early in the season was shrunk by those factors as well as cold conditions during flowering and large-scale flooding in the country’s Orange River growing region. South Africa is the world’s seventh-largest wine producer.

• Skyy Spirits’ Auchentoshan single malt Scotch whisky brand has released 750 bottles of its 1998 Sherry cask matured limited edition in the U.S. Retailing at $79.99 per 750-ml., the 54.6%-abv edition is aged in Fino Sherry barrels and triple distilled, resulting in an unpeated, softer style that aimes to attract emerging whisky drinkers and connoisseurs.

• Diversified Restaurant Holdings Inc (DRH)—the owner, operator and franchisor of Bagger Dave’s Legendary Burger Tavern and franchisee of Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW)—has named East Lansing, Michigan as the new site for its fifth Bagger Dave’s location. Featuring a full-service bar and Michigan craft beers, the casual restaurant will open next fall. Other expansion is planned in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin, with owned and franchised locations. DRH also operates 21 Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants in both Michigan and Florida, with its 22nd location set to open in University Park, Florida during the fourth quarter of this year.

• Corby Distilleries, Pernod Ricard’s Canadian arm, reported net earnings of $2.7 million or $0.09 per share, during its third quarter ended March 31, with year-to-date net earnings amounting to $20.9 million or $0.73 per share. The results included a $1.7 million loss on the sale of the Seagram Coolers brand and an impairment charge of $9.4 million. Excluding those factors, Corby said net earnings per share declined 3% for the quarter and 4% year-to-date. Corby’s key brands include Wiser’s Canadian whiskies, Lamb Rum and Polar Ice vodka, in addition to Absolut, Chivas Regal and the rest of the Pernod Ricard international portfolio.

• Freixenet USA has named company veteran Eva Bertran to the new position of vice president, marketing. Bertran joined Freixenet in Spain back in 1986 and moved to Sonoma to help launch its California winery Gloria Ferrer and establish Freixenet USA, where she’s held numerous roles. Bertran will oversee marketing across the Freixenet USA portfolio.

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