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

News Briefs for July 19, 2011

July 19, 2011

Moët Hennessy USA is releasing a limited edition of Hennessy VS in September. Each bottle is individually numbered, with the label featuring a signature piece of artwork by world-renowned artist KAWS. The bottles will debut at a launch event in New York City in late July and then will be available nationwide for $29.99 a 750-ml. Hennessy and KAWS will also work together to create a series of digital shorts throughout the year.

•Finlandia vodka has launched two new flavors in the U.S. market, Finlandia Raspberry and Finlandia Redberry. The 37.5%-abv line extensions retail at $17.99 a 750-ml. Raspberry is rolling out nationwide, while Redberry is still only available only in certain regional markets. Finlandia Raspberry is flavored with raspberries and a hint of strawberries and chocolate. Finlandia Redberry is a sweet blend of cranberries and raspberries with honey and vanilla flavors.

•Robert Swartz has joined Southern Wine & Spirits as its executive vice president/general manager, North American Wine & Spirits Brokers. Swartz was formerly vice president, global advantage of Diageo.

•Wirtz Beverage Illinois has appointed industry veteran Matt Wind as vice president of sales and marketing for its Regal Division, which includes Wirtz Illinois’s exclusive Diageo selling team. Wind replaces Kevin Roberts, who was named senior vice president of Wirtz Beverage Nevada in May. Wind has 18 years of drinks industry experience, most recently as Regal’s director of corporate accounts for Wirtz Illinois. He’s also served as Regal’s director of on-premise and director of off-premise general market. The move is effective August 1st.

•Canadian whisky brand Pendleton is launching Pendleton 1910—a 12-year-old rye whisky—in the U.S. Named in honor of the Pendleton Round-Up rodeo event (first staged in 1910), the new extension will be introduced in September at the 2011 Pendleton Roundup in Pendleton, Oregon and then roll out nationwide in October. Priced at $39.99 a 750-ml., Pendleton 1910 will be an annual limited-release product. A 2010 Impact “Hot Prospect,” Pendleton depleted more than 90,000 cases in 2009.

•Sunoco has introduced a three-month craft beer program to a dozen of its APlus convenience stores throughout western New York State. The Craft Beer Exchange pilot program allows consumers to purchase 64-ounce glass growlers and fill them with a variety of local draft beers, including Buffalo’s Flying Bison Rusty Chain ($7.99) and Syracuse’s Wailing Wench ($16.99).

•Birra Moretti is staging a series of pop-up “Il Pranzo” lunch cafés in New York City this summer. Four events are scheduled, with each featuring a four-course Italian meal paired with Birra Moretti Lager and Birra Moretti La Rossa, the brand’s double-malt higher-alcohol extension. The next event is July 22nd at Adrienne Pizza Bar, with food prepared by chef Nick Angelis. Tickets are $30 and are sold through Tasting Table. Guests should RSVP to: RSVPMOretti@gmail.com and payment will be accepted on-site. Heineken-owned Moretti is imported by Total Beverage Solution.

•William K. “Billy” Busch, an heir to the Busch family empire, is reportedly eyeing St. Louis as the future site of his beer company, founded in partnership with former Anheuser-Busch human resources director Gary Prindiville Jr. and St. Louis brewer Marc Gottfried. Focusing on American-style pale lagers, the newly formed William K. Busch Brewing Co. plans to launch two products in the St. Louis market by November, with additional regional rollouts to follow. The new company doesn’t yet own a brewery, so the lagers initially will be contract-brewed.

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