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News Briefs for July 6, 2011

July 6, 2011

•Italy’s Gruppo Campari is on the acquisition hunt, chief executive Bob Kunze-Concewitz told the Wall Street Journal. Kunze-Concewitz said he was interested in “meaningful acquisition opportunities,” with a primary focus on Brazil, Russia and the U.S. Campari has been active on the acquisition front recently, purchasing the Frangelico, Carolans and Irish Mist liqueur labels from William Grant for €129 million ($169m) last September and Wild Turkey Bourbon for $575 million from Pernod Ricard in 2009. Those deals have helped bolster the company, which reported a 14.9% sales jump to €268.4 million ($381.1m) and a 16.6% rise in net profit to €50.5 million ($71.7m) for its first quarter ended March 31.

•Southern Wine & Spirits of Indiana delivered 1 million cases within its first year of operations, the company said. Southern, the nation’s largest wine and spirits wholesaler, entered Indiana in July of last year. It initially signed with Diageo in the state and has since added Pernod Ricard USA and Moët Hennessy USA to its Indiana roster. Shanken News Daily sister publication Impact Newsletter recently estimated that Southern of Indiana will account for $175 million of Southern Wine & Spirits’ projected $9.1 billion in nationwide revenue for 2011, making Indiana its 10th-largest market (excluding control states).

•Proximo Spirits is undertaking its biggest promotional effort for Hangar One vodka since acquiring the brand from St. George Spirits Co. in April of 2010. The Hangar One Blimp Tour has the brand’s distillers traveling the country with a 120-foot-long blimp and hosting cocktail contests, blimp rides and picnics along the way. The tour was launched in Miami in late May and currently is on the Northeast coast, with plans to hit the Midwest later this summer and finish the journey on the West Coast in November. The blimp will visit 30 U.S. cities in all, promoting the brand to consumers and trade. Produced in Alameda, California, (just outside San Francisco), Hangar One was launched by craft distiller Jorg Rupf in 1982 and is named after the World War II aircraft hangar where it’s distilled and bottled. Long a favorite of mixologists, Hangar One has been a pioneer in the craft spirits movement. Retailing at $29.99 a 750-ml., Hangar One is made from a blend of pot-distilled Viognier grapes and column-distilled American wheat. The brand depleted 37,000 cases in the U.S. market last year. Along with the core brand, the flavor range includes Mandarin Blossom, Buddha’s Hand Citron, Kaffir Lime, Chipotle, Spiced Pear and Fraser River Raspberry.

•Two Anheuser-Busch executives have joined the board of Craft Brewers Alliance (CBA), which markets the Kona, Redhook and Widmer Bros craft beer brands. A-B vice president of business and wholesaler development Don Johnson and senior associate general counsel Thomas Larson are the new additions. Their appointments follow the recent departure of fellow A-B exec Andrew Goeler from CBA’s board, which also recently welcomed Andy Thomas, former head of Heineken USA and CBA’s new president of commercial operations. A-B holds 32.25% of CBA.


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