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

News Briefs for July 20, 2011

July 20, 2011

Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) is raising prices 3%-5% across its portfolio in the U.S. market, beginning September 13th, to offset rising commodity costs. Price increases will vary by brand, market and packaging and will be phased in through October 3rd. The price hikes come despite decreasing shipments for A-B InBev in North America, as volumes declined 3.4% in the second quarter.

•Nashua, New Hampshire residents have a new, state-of-the-art New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlet. The new store, Nashua 69, has opened its doors right behind the old location on Coliseum Avenue. The New Hampshire Liquor Commission (NHLC) said it’s the state’s biggest unit at 20,000 square feet, with over 1,200 spirits SKUs and 2,500 wine SKUs. The NHLC has been conducting an aggressive effort to modernize, renovate and expand its facilities statewide.

•Diageo is launching Smirnoff Coconut, a new Smirnoff vodka flavor extension, in the U.S. market. Coconut is available nationwide with a suggested retail price of $12.99 a 750-ml. It joins a Smirnoff flavor line that includes Blueberry, Raspberry, Strawberry, Vanilla, Watermelon, Black Cherry, Citrus, Cranberry and Green Apple, among others. Smirnoff’s flavor portfolio accounts for around 20% of its 9.7-million-case U.S. volume.

Heaven Hill is taking Fulton’s Harvest Pumpkin Pie Cream Liqueur national, following a strong performance since its launch last fall. The seasonal item, sold only from September-November, was available in only a few markets last year. The 12.5%-abv pumpkin liqueur retails at $9.99 a 750-ml.

•Jamaica’s Blackwell Fine Jamaican rum has named Domaine Select Wine Estates (DSWE) its exclusive U.S. importer. Joining DSWE’s Classic & Vintage Portfolio, Blackwell will begin rolling out in major U.S. markets this summer, retailing at $29.99 a 750-ml. In New York and New Jersey, DSWE’s Merchants wholesale division will distribute the brand. Distilled by J. Wray & Nephew at Appleton Estate, Blackwell Rum is the brainchild of music producer Chris Blackwell and advertising exec Richard Kirshenbaum, who has worked with major drinks brands including Hennessy, Dom Perignon, Grand Marnier and Guinness.

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