News Briefs for November 30, 2011November 30, 2011
•The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) is now allowing wine and liquor purchased on its website to be shipped directly to home and business addresses. A shipping fee of $14 will be added to deliveries that include one to three bottles, with an additional dollar added for each bottle after that. Prior to this change in policy, consumers who made purchases on the PLCB website had to pick up their goods at a local PLCB store. The board had been hesitant to make the change because it feared easier access for underage drinkers. To address that concern, PLCB has partnered with UPS and will require a valid photo ID and signature upon delivery.
•Russian Standard has acquired a 9.9% stake in Central European Distribution Corp. (CEDC), owner of Green Mark, Russia’s top-selling vodka brand. Russian Standard, owned by billionaire entrepreneur Roustam Tariko, acquired the 7.2 million shares of CEDC (said to be worth roughly $25 million) between November 15-November 21, terming the move a “strategic investment.” CEDC’s share price has fallen by more than 80% this year.
•Florida-based importer International Spirits LLC has launched Ivana B Skinny, a line of low-calorie RTD cocktails retailing at $13.99 a bottle, into the U.S. market. Featuring Margarita, Cosmopolitan and Appletini offerings, the wine-based cocktails are all 10% alcohol and have less than 100 calories per 5-ounce serving. Currently available in 17 states, with plans for additional expansion in 2012, Ivana B Skinny, which will compete with Beam Global’s Skinnygirl premixed cocktails at around the same price point, joins International Spirits’ existing Ivanabitch spirits brand, which features vodka, gin and brandy offerings.
•Grocery chain Aldi is pushing its private label wines as an alternative to national brands in a holiday promotional effort. Most of Aldi’s private label wines are priced at $4.99 and under, and the line includes a Napa Valley red, Pinot Grigio, Tempranillo, South African Moscato, Malbec and Pinot Noir. Germany-based Aldi has more than 1,100 stores in 31 states across the United States, mostly from Kansas eastward. It recently opened new locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth and South Florida regions.
•The 135-unit Smashburger chain is expanding into Canada, with two outposts slated to open in the Calgary market in 2012 and plans to add 10 to 15 more units throughout Calgary and Edmonton in the longer term. Canada is the second international market for the Denver-based fast-casual chain, which offers beer and wine in addition to hamburgers and fries. Earlier this year, Smashburger announced plans to enter the Middle East, with multiple outposts in Kuwait, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia slated to open over the next few years.
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