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News Briefs for October 25, 2011

October 25, 2011

•Speaking to Treasury Wine Estates shareholders at the group’s first annual general meeting today, Treasury CEO David Dearie said the economic and consumer outlook in key markets including the U.S. and Europe continues to be cloudy, but demand at the high end of the wine segment continues to grow. Dearie underlined Treasury’s commitment to building its export business in Asia, saying the company “intends to allocate more resources—people, brand building investment and the allocation of premium wines—to this growing and profitable region.”

Rémy Cointreau USA has appointed Mark Breene as senior vice president and chief marketing officer. Breene, who will also be part of the Rémy Cointreau USA executive management team, will lead the marketing and branding efforts of the group’s heritage brands portfolio in the super premium category. Directly reporting to Breene are seven vice presidents overseeing marketing and sales. Breene previously was a long-time executive at Diageo North America, where he held a variety of executive positions—most recently serving as vice president, rums, with responsibility for brand development of Captain Morgan, Myers, Parrot Bay and Zacapa rums. Prior to that, he oversaw marketing of other Diageo brands including Ketel One, Jose Cuervo, Smirnoff and Gordon’s.

•Zagat released the results of its 2012 America’s Top Restaurants survey today, which incorporates the votes of more than 156,000 consumers who dine out an average of 3.1 times a week. Top restaurant picks include O Ya in Boston, Le Bernadin in New York City, Gary Danko in San Francisco and Matsuhisa in Los Angeles, among others. The survey also covered current trends among diners, including spending habits and opinions about restaurant standards and behavior. Some 27% of surveyors reported spending more per meal this year over last year, while 14% spent less. American diners on average spend $35.65 per meal, a modest increase from last year’s $35.37. The average tip left by American diners is 19.2%, a figure that has grown steadily over the past 10 years. Some 81% of those surveyed support the requirement that restaurants post their health department letter grades, adding that those grades influence their restaurant choice. The survey also found that 66% of diners cite poor service as their top complaint when dining out, though this figure has been as high as 72% in past years. Despite the growth of deal websites like Groupon and Living Social, 56% of American diners report that they rarely or never make use of these programs.

•Pernod Ricard USA is releasing a new Kahlúa flavor extension—Cinnamon Spice—this month. The new addition will sell nationwide in the on-and off-premise, retailing at $20 a 750-ml. Kahlúa Cinnamon Spice is infused with brown sugar and cinnamon flavors and joins a Kahlúa flavor portfolio that includes French Vanilla, Mocha, Hazelnut, Especial and Peppermint Mocha as well as an RTD line including Original Mudslide, White Russian, Banana Mudslide, Kappuccino Mudslide, Chocolate Latte and Raspberry White Russian flavors.

Hennessy Cognac has a new limited edition package for the holiday season. The second launch from the brand’s super-premium Privilege Collection, the Hennessy Privilege NyX collector edition features a translucent glass bottle with metallic purple trim, as well as label, collar and cork logos printed with luminescent ink and visible only under black light. Each NyX bottle will also be marked with a limited edition number and a flash code tag, which allows consumers to view Hennessy’s mobile hub site via smartphone. Priced at $45.99-$49.99 a 750-ml., Hennessy Privilege NyX will be available at retailers nationwide starting December 1.

•Mexico has lifted a 20% tariff on nearly 100 U.S. exports, including U.S. wines. According to The Wine Institute, U.S. wine exports to Mexico (90% of which are from California) peaked in 2007 with revenues of $23.8 million, but fell to $18.4 million by last year. For the eight months ending August 2011, exports fell an additional 26% by value. The elimination of the tariff is expected to boost U.S. wine exports to Mexico, which is currently the world’s 11th-largest market for California wine.

Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) has signed a deal with FIFA to make Budweiser the official beer sponsor of soccer’s 2018 World Cup in Russia and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The deal gives ABI global sponsorship rights for all editions of the World Cup and allows the company to leverage other beers in its portfolio by extending local sponsorship rights to brands in key markets—including Brahma (in Brazil), Hasseröder (Germany), Jupiler (Belgium and the Netherlands), Quilmes (Argentina) and Harbin (China). The new deal will ensure that Budweiser is the “Official Beer” of the event for the 9th and 10th times. It previously secured the official sponsorship of the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Brazil.


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