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News Briefs for December 16, 2011

December 16, 2011

•Diageo has released a new ad campaign for ultra-premium Cîroc vodka, featuring spokesman and musician Sean “Diddy” Combs, under the tagline “Luck Be a Lady.” The campaign features a night out in Las Vegas for Diddy and a group of artists and celebrities to the tune of Frank Sinatra’s song of the same name. The campaign is running on network television channels including ESPN, E!, Bravo, TBS, VH1 and Comedy Central. Cîroc vodka is one of the market’s hottest spirits brands, and is on pace to more than double its volume in 2011, pushing the brand well past the million-case mark.

•Russian Standard founder Roustam Tariko expects to have a deal in place to take a roughly 30% stake—and “management control”—of rival Central European Distribution Corp. (CEDC) by the end of the year, reports Reuters. Tariko said talks with CEDC, which have been hampered by a large debt load over the past year, were at an advanced stage. Russian Standard took an initial 9.9% stake in CEDC in recent weeks, subsequently offering to buy another 19.9% of the group. CEDC’s strength at the lower end of Russia’s vodka market—with brands Green Mark, Juravli and Parliament among others—would complement Russian Standard’s own premium-positioned stable, which includes Russian Standard Original, Platinum, Gold and Imperia variants.

•The New Jersey state Senate voted 23-13 to approve a bill that will allow small wineries in-state and out to sell directly to retailers in New Jersey and ship small amounts of wine directly to state residents. Under the bill (S3172), only wineries producing a maximum of 250,000 gallons (105,000 cases) of wine annually will be able to sell and ship wine directly. The bill, which is widely opposed by wholesalers, comes in response to a federal court ruling last year that struck down a New Jersey measure to allow small wineries to sell at a few locations without wholesalers.

•Pernod Ricard Americas chairman and CEO Philippe Dreano told analysts yesterday that the group is “quite positive on the outlook for year-end sales” in the U.S. market, following a strong Black Friday and buoyant sentiment among its distributors. Dreano added that U.S. price hikes on Pernod’s Glenlivet and Jameson whiskies in recent months haven’t slowed momentum for those brands and that further price increases may follow—but not on Absolut, which has benefited from lower pricing over the past year. The U.S. accounts for 52% of Pernod’s sales in its Americas region.

 

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