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News Briefs for August 15, 2011

August 15, 2011

•Diageo NA is lining up the release of Jose Cuervo’s 2011 Reserva de la Familia Tequila edition in the U.S. The 16th installment of the extra-aged tequila will be available in most states by December, priced at $125 a 750-ml. Each bottle is assembled by hand, numbered, dated and dipped in wax before being put in the special-edition box, which will feature a design by tattoo artist Jerónimo López Ramírez. Jose Cuervo has chosen a different Mexican artist to design the series every year since 1995.

•Looking to ramp up the global presence of its Jacob’s Creek, Brancott Estate and Stoneleigh brands among others, Pernod Ricard has named two strategic marketing managers to its Australia-based Premium Wine Brands unit, reports Australia’s AdNews. Sarah Dear, formerly Diageo Australia senior brand manager, Bundaberg Rum, and Annabel Wallace, formerly McDonalds senior brand and strategy manager, were appointed to the newly-created positions and will report to Chris Neville, general manager of strategic planning. Wallace will work on the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, while Dear will focus on Asian and European markets.

•North American Breweries (NAB) has launched Seagram’s Smooth—a new brand of flavored malt beverages—in the U.S. retail market, priced at $15.99 per 12-pack and $26.99 per 24-pack. Featuring Classic Lemonade, Tea Lemonade & Mango, Limeade and Pomegranate Lemon flavors, the 5%-abv range is designed to target group get-togethers. Seagram’s Smooth joins NAB’s Seagram’s Escapes malt beverage range, which features 11 flavors, including the recently added Mango and Sangria extensions. Rochester-based NAB was formed in 2009 by KPS private equity through the purchases of High Falls Brewing and Labatt USA. In addition to Seagram’s, it owns the Genessee, Dundee, Pyramid and Magic Hat brands, as well as exclusive U.S. importing and marketing rights to the Labatt range.

•Tilman Fertitta, the owner of restaurant and casino group Landry’s Restaurants Inc., has partnered with actress Eva Longoria to manage, own and operate her Las Vegas eatery Beso. Under the deal, Longoria will retain an undisclosed stake in the restaurant, as well as some creative involvement, Fertitta recently told Vegas Inc. Meanwhile, court filings indicate that Landry’s eventually plans to make a $1 million bid to buy Beso, which has been operating in bankruptcy since January and shuttered its adjoining nightclub, Eve, last month. In addition to Beso, Landry’s owns and operates the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casinos in Las Vegas, Laughlin and Atlantic City; and several restaurant chains, including Claim Jumper, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company and Rainforest Café, among others.

•New York-based Castle Brands Inc. has announced a 21% increase in net sales to $7.4 million for its fiscal 2012 first quarter, ended June 30. Bolstered by Gosling’s Rum, Pallini Limoncello and Boru vodka’s U.S. growth, group volume rose 19% to more than 70,000 cases. Net losses for the quarter, however, grew 21.7% to just under $2.1 million, as operating losses fell slightly, from $1.7 million to $1.3 million. Castle Brands president and CEO Richard Lampden said the company would continue to streamline operations and reduce overhead and distribution costs, with the “full benefits of these cost savings efforts to be recognized in the current fiscal year.”

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