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News Briefs for November 14, 2011

November 14, 2011

•Pernod Ricard has appointed Jonas Tåhlin as vice president global marketing for the Absolut Co. He replaces Anna Malmhake, who was appointed CEO of Irish Distillers earlier this year. Tåhlin will be based in Stockholm and have responsibility for global marketing of the Absolut vodka, Malibu rum and Kahlúa coffee liqueur brands. His previous posts at Pernod Ricard include vice president marketing, vodka at Pernod Ricard USA; regional director for the Americas; and zone director, West Europe. Previous to working at Pernod, Tåhlin served in various brand management positions at Procter & Gamble in the Nordic, Western Europe and Latin America regions.

•After revamping its U.S. route to market in recent months following its acquisition of Fetzer, Chilean winemaker Concha y Toro has now partnered with Digrans S.A. to form VCT&DG Mexico, a joint distribution, sales and marketing venture south of the border. Digrans is a marketing, distribution and logistics operator focusing on food and wine throughout Mexico. Concha y Toro represents roughly 40% of Mexico’s Chilean wine exports, primarily through its Casillero del Diablo brand.

•MillerCoors’s Tenth & Blake specialty and import division is returning with seasonal entry Blue Moon Grand Cru in the run-up to the holiday season. Originally released in 2009, Blue Moon Grand Cru is a higher-alcohol version (8.2%) of the Blue Moon Belgian Ale brand that sells for $10-$11 per 750-ml. bottle and is available through the holidays. Tenth & Blake President Tom Cardella recently told Shanken News Daily the group planned “a specialty series of higher-alcohol beers” under the Blue Moon banner. Another entry, Blue Moon Vintage Blonde, was test marketed in recent months in Seattle, Colorado Springs, Chicago, Rochester and northern New Jersey.

Whisky Advocate contributor Chuck Cowdery reports on his blog that Proximo Spirits is “in the process” of purchasing the finished goods warehouse and bottling hall of the Lawrenceburg, Indiana, distillery that MGP Ingredients recently acquired from CL Financial. Proximo CEO Mark Teasdale told Cowdery that in addition to Proximo’s own production, the Lawrenceburg site will continue its contract bottling operations in the hope of retaining as many existing customers as possible. MGP, which specializes in naturally derived specialty ingredients and alcohol products, specifically grain neutral spirits and gin, acquired the Lawrenceburg distillery (which was previously owned by both Seagram and Pernod Ricard) for $15 million earlier this month. That transaction was contingent on CL separately selling the distillery’s bottling operation to a third party.

•Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants has named Peter D’Amelio its first chief operating officer, effective December 1. D’Amelio has more than 20 years of restaurant management experience, including serving as president for 14 years and COO for three years at The Cheesecake Factory, and most recently serving as president and COO of the Great American Restaurant Group. Cooper’s Hawk was founded in 2005 and operates a combination of wineries, restaurants and retail stores throughout the Midwest.


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