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News Briefs for September 28, 2011

September 28, 2011

•Sazerac Co., the fourth-largest U.S. spirits marketer, has significantly strengthened its position in the Canadian market with the acquisition of 17 spirits brands from Corby Distilleries (a subsidiary of Pernod Ricard). The New Orleans-based Sazerac has agreed to pay $32.9 million for the new additions, which include De Kuyper Geneva Gin, De Kuyper Peachtree Schnapps, Red Tassel Vodka and Silk Tassel Canadian Whisky, among others, as well as the Montreal-based manufacturing facility where a significant portion of the brands are produced. As part of the accord, a number of Corby-owned brands will continue to be blended, bottled and warehoused by Sazerac.

•Constellation’s Black Box label is rolling out 500-ml. Tetra Pak cartons of its Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay varietals. Priced at $4.99 each, the new paperboard cartons contain the equivalent of three servings in a lightweight, reclosable package intended for easy transport. The smaller format joins Black Box’s existing 3-liter box range, which also features Shiraz, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and Malbec offerings. Black Box grew 22% by volume to more than 1.8 million cases in 2010, according to Impact Databank.

•Sotheby’s London will be offering a private collection of top Bordeaux at its upcoming two-day sale, to be held October 26 and 27. Featuring 5,500 bottles, 730 magnums, 500 double magnums, 229 Jeroboams and 240 Imperials, the 1,475-lot collection is valued at more than £2.1 million ($3.2m). In addition to a comprehensive assortment of First Growth Bordeaux with vintages from 1955 to 2004, highlights of the sale include cases of Château Lafite 1986 (estimated to be worth £14,000-£17,000/ $22,000-$26,000 per lot), bottles of Château Latour 1996 (£6,200-£7,000/$9,700-$11,000 per lot and cases of Château Margaux 1986 (£3,600-£4,200/$5,600-$6,500) per lot).

•SABMiller has received approval from The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for its recent A$9.9 billion ($10.15b) takeover bid for Foster’s Group Ltd. In a statement made earlier today, ACCC chairman Rod Sims dismissed competition concerns, asserting that the “the proposed acquisition is not likely to result in a substantial lessening of competition for the supply of beer.” Lion Nathan—Australia’s second-largest brewer—and smaller players like family-owned brewer Coopers, as well as various micro-breweries, imports and supermarket control brands, will continue to provide considerable competition, according to the ACCC. Meanwhile, the deal still awaits final approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board and Foster’s shareholders. Foster’s management accepted the bid early last week, just four months after rejecting SABMiller’s A$4.90 ($5.02) per share offer, which valued Foster’s at A$9.5 billion ($9.75b).

•Pernod Ricard is releasing Absolut Mode Edition, a new limited edition line extension, in global travel retail this month. The 40%-abv variant, which was launched in the Stockholm Arlanda airport earlier this month. Absolut is the top-selling spirit brand in Pernod Ricard’s global portfolio, depleting 10.9 million nine-liter cases in 2010, according to Impact Databank.

•Seamless, a web service for ordering delivery and takeout food, has agreed to acquire MenuPages from New York Media LLC for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition of MenuPages, a digital database of restaurant menus and user-generated reviews available on mobile and online platforms, will allow Seamless to provide full service to diners, with the opportunity to find, research and order from local restaurants. New York Media will continue to operate the national network of food blogs called Grub Street, which has a content partnership with MenuPages. Together, Seamless and MenuPages offer restaurant information and delivery capability in more than 50 cities worldwide.

•World Wine Agencies will partner with Heritage Wines to distribute the products of Sonoma, California-based Don Sebastiani & Sons winery in the U.K. Heritage Wines will represent Don Sebastiani & Sons in the on-trade, selected independent and the off-trade, using separate wines and labels. World Wine will represent the brand in the independent sector, direct mail and limited off-trade. The two will launch in the on-trade and independent with Sebastiani’s The Crusher brand, Pepperwood Grove in the off-trade and Smoking Loon in retail and direct mail. Meanwhile, Don & Sons also plans to launch new wines at the Wine Institute California tasting in February 2012.

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