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

News Briefs for August 17, 2011

August 17, 2011

•While the U.S. economy remains shaky, premium and ultra-premium spirits are rising fast in the off-premise, according to Nielsen. Total spirits volume in food stores, drug stores, liquor stores and other select channels advanced by 3.2% to 57.4 million cases (roughly 30% of the overall U.S. spirits market) in the 52-week period ending July 23. The ultra-premium segment (averaging around $35 per 750-ml.) performed best, with 13.5% growth, while the larger premium segment also enjoyed solid progress. Meanwhile, the value end (averaging $6.60 per 750-ml.) lagged, with 1.6% growth. During the summer season, two spirits brands in particular—Skinnygirl Margarita ($14 per 750-ml.) and Daily’s premix cocktail range ($14 per 1.75-liter bag-in-box)—have driven spirits’ growth, according to Nielsen.

•In an effort to increase their presence in India’s burgeoning wine market—which is expected to grow by 15%–20% annually over the next 10 years off its current base of 1.5 million cases—Washington state winemakers are launching their first-ever promotional campaign in the country. Next month, Washington vintners will hold dinners and tastings for importers, hoteliers, and restaurateurs, among others, in the key Indian markets of Mumbai and Delhi. Participants in the push, led by the Washington State Wine Commission, include Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Claar Cellars, Columbia Winery, Hedges Family Estate, L’Ecole No 41 Winery, Powers Winery and Seven Hills Winery, among others. Looking to expand their global profile, Washington winemakers have also recently held similar events in Canada, Japan and Northern Europe.

•The Irving, Texas-based Omni Hotels & Resorts chain has launched a line of “homegrown” cocktails—based on local trends and flavors and made with local ingredients—to tailor its beverage menus to its locations across the country. Omni hired five mixologists to help create the regional drinks, with each focusing on one region of the U.S. The “Shanghai Gimlet” for the West features Absolut Wild Tea Vodka and Thatcher’s Organic Elderflower Liqueur, while the Southwest cocktail, “Dr. Woodford Bell,” features Woodford Reserve Bourbon. “Ponche el Patrón” in the Midwest contains Patrón Silver Tequila and HUM Botanical Spirit, “Pear & Rosemary Buck” for the Northeast is based on Patrón Silver Tequila, and the “Southern Basil-Berry Smash” includes Woodford Reserve, Dry Sack Sherry and Cointreau.

•Beam Global Spirits & Wine has named Christopher Bauder general manager of its Bourbon Category Business Team. Bauder will be charged with spearheading the growth and development of Beam’s Bourbon portfolio, which includes the Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek and Basil Hayden’s brands. Prior to joining Beam, Bauder worked with S.C. Johnson for 17 years, most recently serving as the company’s vice president of marketing, international markets. He replaces Drew Munro, who was recently named president and CEO at Toronto-based Modelo Molson Imports.


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