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

News Briefs for January 20, 2012

January 20, 2012

•California’s bulk wine market inventory is now at just 4 million gallons (1.7 million nine-liter cases), down from 25 million gallons (10.5 million cases) in 2002, according to a presentation by Turrentine Brokerage at yesterday’s Sonoma County Winegrape Commission Dollars & Sense seminar. Three light harvests over the past few years, combined with rising wine consumption and inventory reduction by wineries since the onset of the economic downturn, have contributed to the fall in available bulk wine. Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay in particular are in short supply. Just 400,000 gallons of bulk Cabernet Sauvignon are now on the market, compared with 5 million gallons four years ago.

Bacardi global travel retail director Andrew Carter is leaving the company to join Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) as managing director of its Europe, Middle East & Africa, Regional Business Unit (EMEA RBU) and Global Travel Retail. Carter will stay at Bacardi until April to help train his successor, who has yet to be named. At TWE, he will report directly to CEO David Dearie. With the creation of Carter’s position, Treasury said the existing role of managing director EMEA—currently held by Peter Jackson—“will become redundant,” so Jackson will leave TWE in June if an alternative position isn’t found. Carter’s career at Bacardi also includes time as global category director for Bombay Sapphire gin and as U.K. marketing director. The move comes as part of Treasury’s global restructuring, which has already resulted in the recent naming of former Diageo executive Sandra LeDrew as managing director, Americas, as well as new managing director appointments across the core global brands.

•Spirits sales in Ohio rose 5.3% to reach a record high of nearly $800 million last year, according to the Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Liquor Control. After declining for three of the past four years, total wholesale sales increased 4.7% to $244 million, exceeding last year’s total by $10.9 million. By volume, Ohio liquor sales grew 3.9% to 4.8 million nine-liter cases, led by top-selling brands Kamchatka vodka (169,000 cases), Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey (147,000 cases), Bacardi Superior Light rum (123,000 cases), Captain Morgan spiced rum (120,000 cases) and Absolut vodka (116,000 cases). The Ohio Division of Liquor Control currently runs 457 contract liquor agencies throughout the state.

•Harrah’s Casino and former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning have partnered on sports bar/restaurant Mannings, which opened in New Orleans this week. The 210-seat venue has a full bar and serves New Orleans-style food with Mississippi influence from chef Anthony Spizale. The space is decorated with football memorabilia and has 30 large-screen televisions lining the walls.

•Restaurant information and recommendation service Urbanspoon, which competes with companies like OpenTable and Yelp, has partnered with Facebook to create a new feature for the Urbanspoon iPhone app, called Dineline, which enables users to track and share their restaurant experiences—including photos and details about meals and service—with their friends on their Facebook Timelines. The Urbanspoon app, with the new Dineline feature, can be downloaded for free through the iTunes store.

•The Boston Beer Co. has partnered with digital expert Guy Kawasaki to launch the Samuel Adams Crowd Craft Project, a social-media campaign designed to create a new, crowd-sourced beer. Through February 5, consumers can weigh in on the beer’s color, clarity, flavor profile and more using an interactive Facebook app. Samuel Adams brewers will then use the feedback to create a collaborative ale, which will debut in Austin, Texas on March 10. The brand’s Facebook fans will be alerted as the beer is introduced into additional markets.


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