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

News Briefs for June 30, 2011

June 30, 2011

•Kevin O’Neil is moving from his leadership role at Diageo North America to Charmer Sunbelt Group (CSG), where he’s been named executive vice president of the distributor’s dedicated Diageo/Moët Hennessy Division, effective August 1. In his new role, O’Neil will report to Greg Baird, COO of CSG, and will be based out of the distributor’s New York corporate headquarters. O’Neil has more than 30 years of experience in the spirits and wine industry, including his latest post as president and chief commercial officer of Diageo NA.

•William Grant & Sons is on the hunt for an agency to handle the long-term global advertising for its Scottish gin brand, Hendrick’s. The move comes as the company prepares to invest more in the brand’s marketing. William Grant will approach a number of companies for review before preparing a final list later this month. Until now, Hendrick’s has only worked with agencies on an individual project basis and focused most of its marketing on the experiential segment.

•Proximo Spirits is set to invest in a major expansion of its Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey brand, purchased by the drinks group late last year for an undisclosed amount. According to local media reports, Proximo has outlined plans to triple the micro-distillery’s production capacity by November, allowing Stranahan’s to enter additional national markets. Priced at roughly $60 per 750-ml., Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey does all but a fraction of its business in its home state.

•New York-based Castle Brands Inc reported a 39% increase in revenue to $8.9 million for the three months ended March 31, its fiscal fourth quarter, due in part to strong case sales of brands like Gosling’s Rum and Brady’s Irish Cream. Fourth quarter net losses totaled $1.5 million, compared to $1.6 million for the same period last year. Meanwhile, revenue for the 2011 fiscal year rose 12% to $32 million, compared to $28.5 million in fiscal 2010. The group’s full-year net loss, however, totaled $6.3 million—an increase on 2010’s net loss of $2.9 million—largely because of adverse foreign exchange impact.

•Wine auction house Acker Merrall & Condit sold nearly $3.1 million worth of fine and rare wines during its June 25 auction in East Hampton, NY. Featuring 752 lots, the most notable sales included cases of 1998 Pétrus and1982 Lafite, which sold for $54,900 each, and a 12-bottle assortment of 1985 Domaine de la Romanée Conti for $51,240. In addition to the Hamptons sale, Acker and its affiliates have eight additional auctions slated for 2011, taking place in New York, Hong Kong, and for the first time, Chicago.

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