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

News Briefs for May 19, 2011

May 19, 2011

• Proximo Spirits’ 1800 Tequila is unveiling a new $18 million ad campaign this month featuring actor Michael Imperioli, who made headlines in a previous 1800 campaign by taking shots at rival Patrón Tequila. A total of eight spots created by New York agency Dead As We Know It will launch simultaneously on ESPN in May, with all featuring Imperioli brandishing his signature tough guy persona. The super-premium 1800’s U.S. depletions soared by 29% to 690,000 cases in 2010, according to Impact Databank.

• Following its recent demerger from Treasury Wine Estates, Foster’s Group’s Australian beer business has initiated a cost-reduction plan to improve performance. The first phase involves cutting as many as 50 jobs from Foster’s flagship Melbourne-based brewery, which currently employs around 300 workers. Implemented by Foster’s ceo John Pollaers, the plan aims to address the rising costs of raw materials and slow beer sales in Australia, where Foster’s holds around 50% of the market.

• Heineken USA has appointed Scott Blazek as its new senior vice president, sales. Blazek replaces Tom Steffanci, who left Heineken USA in March to become coo of Pabst. Blazek had been serving as Heineken USA’s regional vice president, Central Region, where he led a team of 80 sales and marketing people in Heineken’s second-largest U.S. region.

• Washington State’s Senate Committee on Ways & Means has passed Senate Bill 5942, which could allow private sector players to enter the control state’s liquor distribution and warehousing operations. The bill is now scheduled for a public hearing and executive session as it awaits full legislative action by both the Washington Senate and House and approval from the Liquor Control Board.

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