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

News Briefs for January 23, 2012

January 23, 2012

•Global Cognac sales hit a new record last year, according to the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac (BNIC). Boosted by a 20% jump in demand from China, global Cognac shipments rose 6.4% to 163 million bottles last year. The Far East now accounts for more than one-third of shipments. 2011 also saw continued recovery in the U.S. Cognac category, with shipments to the U.S. rising 3.6% to the equivalent of 3.77 million cases last year, still well below pre-recession levels. U.S. Cognac depletions peaked at 3.9 million cases in 2007, before dropping by around half a million cases over the next two years.

•Heaven Hill Distilleries has added a Cinnamon Reserve extension to its Evan Williams Bourbon-based flavored liqueur range. Available in 750-ml. and 50-ml. sizes, the new 70-proof offering will be released nationwide next month, priced at $14.99 a 750-ml. Evan Williams Cinnamon Reserve joins the brand’s existing Honey Reserve, which rolled out in 2009, and Cherry Reserve, launched in 2010. Evan Williams Honey Reserve grew by 67% in control states to roughly 17,500 cases in the first 10 months of 2011. Honey Reserve also was named an Impact “Hot Prospect” last year after selling 55,000 cases in the total U.S. market in 2010. Evan Williams Cherry Reserve, meanwhile, sold more than 6,000 cases in control states in the first 10 months of last year.

•Online retailer Good Company Wines has acquired wine flash sale site CellarThief for an undisclosed amount. CellarThief will operate as a separate subsidiary of Good Company Wines and continue to be based in Sonoma. Launched in 2009, CellarThief offers multiple wines in one-day sales. Sonoma-based Good Company Wines’ holdings include Invino, a members-only private-sale website for wine, as well as an eponymous import/export operation focusing on South American and European wines.

•Anheuser-Busch InBev is set to begin rolling out its new Bud Light Platinum line extension on January 30. The new addition, which is 6%-abv versus traditional Bud Light’s 4.2%, has a slightly sweeter taste than the core brand and comes in a signature cobalt blue glass bottle. It’s intended as an “upscale option that will help light beer expand into new occasions,” according to ABI, and attempts to recapture beer consumers who have been migrating toward wine and spirits. Bud Light Platinum is the first new product under the Bud Light banner since Golden Wheat in 2009.

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