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News Briefs for May 24, 2011

May 24, 2011

• Bloomberg News reported this afternoon that Diageo is in negotations to buy the Jose Cuervo brand from its owners, the Beckmann family. The report, citing three people familiar with the matter, said the price under discussion was around $2 billion and that Diageo is in exclusive negotiations. The sources said that the Beckmann family still hasn’t decided on selling, though it has retained Barclays Capital to explore a sale. Earlier this month, Casa Cuervo chairman Juan Beckmann Vidal told Reuters that his family wasn’t considering selling the brand.

Rémy Cointreau’s P&C Heidsieck is introducing both its Piper-Heidseick Vintage 2004 and Piper-Heidseick Rare 2002 to the U.S. First launched in Europe six months ago, the 2004 expression is priced at $75 per bottle, while the 2002—which marks the brand’s eighth Rare release—is priced at $230 per bottle. Both expressions initially will be available in New York City and San Francisco this week before an eventual nationwide rollout. P&C Heidsieck has been on the selling block, with Rémy entering exclusive negotiations toward a sale of its Champagne business to France’s EPI earlier this year.

• Contract winery Sonoma Wine Co has reportedly begun expanding its Napa-based storage facilities in an effort to better accommodate larger clients interested in producing as much as 200,000 cases annually. The expansion—to be completed by August—will increase the winery’s storage capacity by 500,000 gallons, bringing total capacity up to 1 million gallons. Catering to both small private labels and large contract producers, Sonoma Wine Co currently claims to bottle nearly 5 million cases and provide services for over 65,000 barrels of wine each year.

• Bacardi today announced the launch of a new marketing campaign called “Bacardi Together”. The effort includes a 30-second television commercial entitled “Inventions,” which shows how many things have been invented to help bring get together, including Bacardi.  Created by Young and Rubicam and director Johnny Green, “Inventions” was filmed in locations across Argentina and features the music track “NYC moves to the sound of LA” by the band Funeral Party.  The TV commercial will run in prime time on national cable networks throughout the summer, including sports and entertainment outlets such as ESPN, SPIKE, Comedy Central, FX, TBS and TNT. It’s part of an integrated effort that also includes out-of-home, public relations, experiential marketing, digital advertising and a “Like It Live, Like It Together” program on Facebook.

• Mark Feinberg has been appointed vice president of marketing at Ascentia Wine Estates. A 15-year veteran of the wine industry, Feinberg spent time with Kendall-Jackson and Constellation Wines U.S. before his most recent post as vice president of marketing for Vintage Wine Estates in Santa Rosa, California. His appointment is effective May 31, 2011.

• Diageo’s R&A Bailey & Co has launched a new premix, Baileys Mudslide, in the U.S. Available this month, Baileys Mudslide is priced at $12.99 per 750ml and $19.99 per 1.75ml. The 12.5%-abv expression joins Baileys existing RTD portfolio, which includes Baileys with a hint of Mint Chocolate, Baileys with a hint of Caramel, and Baileys with a hint of Coffee.

• Budweiser has renewed its partnership with the Daytona International Speedway—home to NASCAR’s Daytona 500—in an exclusive, multi-year sponsorship deal. Under the agreement, Budweiser will have rights to signage at all Daytona International Speedway events, branded naming of the infield concession area and a Budweiser Party Porch adjacent to the Speedway’s Superstretch. The deal also includes a non-exclusive promotional partnership with the Homestead-Miami Speedway in 2012. Budweiser has been the official beer of the Daytona International Speedway since 2006.

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