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

News Briefs for July 12, 2011

July 12, 2011

Diageo expects emerging markets to contribute half of all company revenue within five years, the company’s Asia-Pacific president Gilbert Ghostine told Dow Jones today. “There’s no doubt in anybody’s mind that this century will be an Asian century in general and the century of India and China in particular,” Ghostine said. “You have 50 million consumers coming to legal drinking age in Asia-Pacific alone every year, and we expect 20% of Diageo’s global revenue to come from this region by 2015.” Asia-Pacific currently accounts for around 12% of Diageo’s revenue. The company has actively pursued acquisitions in emerging markets this year—gaining control of China’s ShuiJingFang and Turkey’s Mey Içki while also acquiring a stake in Vietnam’s Halico.

Palm Bay International is launching two new wines in the U.S. market: Blue Fish Reel Red from Germany and Alta Luna from Northern Italy. Blue Fish Reel Red is a sweet red blend of Dornfelder and Cabernet Sauvignon meant to be served slightly chilled. Retailing at $9.50 a 750-ml., Reel Red joins Riesling, Sweet Riesling and Pinot Grigio in the Blue Fish portfolio. Alta Luna is a new premium range produced by Palm Bay portfoliomate Cavit in Italy’s Dolomiti IGT (in the Trentino region), selling for around $13.99 a 750-ml. Its product line includes Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir and Phases—a red blend comprised of Merlot and two local grape varieties, Teroldego and Lagrein.

•Laurent-Perrier has unveiled Brut Millésimé 2002, a new vintage Champagne. Comprised of 50% Chardonnay and 50% Pinot Noir, the Brut Millésimé 2002 was bottle-aged in the company’s cellars in Tours-sur-Marne, France for nearly eight years before being disgorged prior to release. The 2002 vintage was considered the best in Champagne since 1996. Brut Millésimé 2002’s suggested retail price is $69.99 a 750-ml.

•Washington State wine grape growers are expecting smaller crops this year, due primarily to the damage caused by last November’s harsh weather. While wine grape shoots typically generate two grape clusters, many Washington growers are reporting an abundance of single grape clusters on the vines, resulting in a lower “cluster count” than in previous years. Last year’s wine grape harvest in Washington was a record 160,000 tons.

•Massachusetts-based M.S. Walker has acquired U.S. bottling, marketing and sales rights for the Grand Macnish Scotch brand through a partnership with brand owner MacDuff International. Walker, with annual revenues of over $300 million from its bottling and distributing activity, will focus on raising brand awareness and boosting distribution of the accessibly priced blend ($10.49 a 750-ml.) within the U.S. The brand, which sold roughly 35,000 cases in 2010, was previously handled by White Rock Distilleries.

•The California Assembly approved a bill Monday that would prohibit the import, production, distribution and retail sale of caffeinated beer and RTD products in the state. The bill, SB39, received a 43-24 vote in the assembly and now goes back to the Senate (which has passed a similar bill) before it can be sent to the governor. Six other states—Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Utah and Washington—already have banned alcoholic energy drinks.


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