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

News Briefs for June 15, 2011

June 15, 2011

• Diageo North America and Jose Cuervo have dropped advertising firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky (CP+B), putting the Tequila brand’s account into review. Having served Cuervo since 2009, CP+B was behind the brand’s most recent large-scale campaign entitled “Cuervo Games,” launched in 2010. According to data from Kantar Media, Diageo spent around $10.6 million on measured media for Cuervo in the U.S. last year.

• Colorado-based craft player New Belgium Brewing has signed new agreements with 17 distributors in the Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C. markets, expanding its presence to 28 states and the District of Columbia. Seven of the deals are within the Miller/Coors network, nine are with Anheuser Busch/InBev and one is with the Richmond, VA-based independent, Specialty of Virginia. Beginning August 22, New Belgium’s 22-ounce Fat Tire, Ranger IPA and seasonal Hoptober Ale labels will be available in all the new markets, with its Trippel and Lips of Faith beers available in select markets. Draft versions and 12-ounce packages are expected to follow.

• Codorníu Group has tapped Keith LaVine to serve as president of the company’s Napa-based Artesa Vineyards & Winery. A 23-year industry veteran, LaVine has held the role of managing director for both Sonoma-Cutrer Vineyards and Lynmar Estate Winery, and previously worked with the Brown-Forman Wine Estates Group as senior vice president of sales. Specializing in ultra-premium wines, Artesa focuses primarily on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon offerings from the Napa Valley and Carneros regions.

• Boca Raton, Florida-based Ultimate Beverages has begun a soft launch of its Hard Rock vodka brand in Florida. The brand is now being sold at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida and will roll out statewide in July. Plans call for a nationwide launch in the fall. Ultimate Beverages has licensed the Hard Rock brand from Hard Rock Spirits LLC.

• Tennessee governor Bill Haslam has signed a bill to allow retailers in the state to hold spirits tastings. Tennessee is the 35th state to allow off-premise tastings and follows recently passed liquor sampling laws in Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia and California.

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