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

News Briefs for November 9, 2011

November 9, 2011

•Smirnoff has unveiled two new flavors—Whipped Cream and Fluffed Marshmallow. The 30%-abv offerings are the latest additions to the surging dessert-flavored vodka category, joining Pinnacle’s popular Whipped range and UV’s cake-flavored extension, among others. Priced at $12.99 a 750-ml.—roughly a dollar less than Pinnacle depending on the market—Smirnoff Whipped Cream and Fluffed Marshmallow will be backed by a full marketing campaign featuring TV, radio, print and online components.

•Mario Batali is in the process of signing a deal to open an Italian restaurant in Hong Kong, according to a recent interview in The Daily Meal. The new restaurant’s menu will highlight “pizza, pasta and inexpensive protein,” Batali said. The celebrity chef also expects to open five Eataly outposts within the next 10 years, citing Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Toronto and Mexico City as possible locations for Eataly’s expansion. The New York Eataly venue, an Italian food and wine marketplace owned by Batali, Lidia Bastianich and Joe Bastianich, opened in August 2010.

•Food service research and consulting firm Technomic has released a list of seven expected restaurant industry trends for 2012. Technomic predicts that restaurant customers in 2012 will seek familiar foods with innovative twists, as well as honest nutritional labeling and fresh, local ingredients. In addition, Technomic predicts that restaurant operators next year will cut down on discounts in order to stay ahead of rising food costs and will explore format expansion to increase traffic flow during slow service times. Technomic’s study also finds that social media’s influence on industry sales and guest counts will accelerate in 2012, with more restaurants turning to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter as part of their marketing strategy.

•Two of the better-known South African wine brands in the U.S. are adding Moscato varietals to their lines. Distell Group’s Two Oceans will be adding a Moscato through U.S. marketer Aveníu Brands this month (beginning in the Northeast and Midwest and expected to reach full national distribution by January). Priced at $9.99 a 750-ml., Two Oceans Moscato 2011 is a lightly sparkling wine made from a blend of Chenin Blanc, Colombard and Muscat grapes. Meanwhile, rival brand Jam Jar, handled in the U.S. by Cape Classics, has unveiled a 2011 Moscato of its own, launching into the national market at $11.99 a bottle. Jam Jar Moscato is the first white wine under the brand, known for its original Sweet Shiraz offering.

•French wine output is expected to rise 11% to 50.2 million hectoliters this year, marking a five-year production high for the industry, according to France’s Ministry of Agriculture. French wines with a protected designation of origin, which generally face volume restrictions, are projected to be up 7.2% to 23.3 million hectoliters. The ministry credited dry, favorable weather throughout the final period of September and October. The vintage had previously suffered from a wet August and limited fungal damage in the Atlantic coast regions, including Bordeaux.

•Numerous Georgia cities, including Atlanta, Savannah and Valdosta, have approved Sunday alcohol sales in stores. Statewide, approximately 120 of Georgia’s 694 cities and counties voted on the legislation yesterday, with a majority of metro Atlanta’s 51 jurisdictions approving the measure, according to early poll results. At least two cities—Palmetto and Forest Park—have blocked the initiative so far. Prior to yesterday’s vote, Georgia had been one of three states—alongside Indiana and Connecticut—that prohibited Sunday alcohol sales statewide.


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