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News Briefs for July 21, 2011

July 21, 2011

•Drambuie liqueur, imported by Bacardi USA, unveiled a new premium offshoot—Drambuie 15—at today’s Tales of the Cocktail event in New Orleans. The 43%-abv product is launching nationwide at around $56 a 1-liter bottle. Created with a selection of 15-year-old Speyside malts, Drambuie 15 is intended to appeal to core Drambuie consumers looking to trade up, as well as “Scotch whisky experimenters,” Drambuie says.

•Brugal rum is releasing Brugal 1888, a new line extension, in the U.S. market next month. Retailing at $49.99 a 750-ml., Brugal 1888 is a blend of rums aged five to 14 years in American white oak with a second maturation in Sherry oak casks. Brugal, owned by the Edrington Group and handled in the U.S. market by Rémy Cointreau USA, depleted 127,000 cases in the U.S. last year.

Total Wine & More is opening a new store in Goodyear, Arizona, its sixth in the Phoenix area. At 28,000 square feet, the location will offer 8,000 wine SKUs, 3,000 spirit SKUs and 2,500 beer SKUs. It will also offer wine-tasting classes and carry a wide variety of wine accessories, including 150 high-end cigars featured in a walk-in humidor. Total Wine & More plans to open a seventh Phoenix-area store in Scottsdale later this year. The Potomac, Md.-based company now has 74 stores across 11 states and is projecting sales of just over $1 billion this year. “We feel that opening eight to 10 new stores a year, each in the 20,000- to 25,000-square-foot range, is a good pace,” co-owner David Trone recently told Shanken News Daily. “We’ll continue to focus on the markets that have the greatest opportunity for expansion.”

•Laurent-Perrier reported turnover of €41 million ($59m) in the three months through June, its fiscal first quarter, an 11.5% increase year-on-year. Strong sales in the U.S., U.K., Germany and other export markets created momentum for the Laurent-Perrier brand, particularly at the higher end of the portfolio. The group said “regular investment to strengthen the image of the premium cuvées, combined with the price increases implemented since the start of the year, should allow us to continue recording a positive price/mix effect over the coming quarters.”

•After a run of difficult years, marketing cooperative Allied Grape Growers of California is reporting an increase in both demand and prices for winegrapes this season. Nat DiBuduo, president and CEO of the group, recently predicted revenue would reach more than $80 million this year, its highest total in years, helped by a projected 6% drop in California’s 2011 grape crush to 3.4 million tons. Allied Grape Growers includes about 600 grapegrowers in the North Coast and San Joaquin Valley areas of California, accounting around 285,000 tons of annual grape production.

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