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

News Briefs for January 31, 2012

January 31, 2012

•Patrón Spirits has extended its fast-rising Patrón XO Cafe liqueur brand with Patrón XO Cafe Dark Cocoa. Featuring a blend of Patrón Silver Tequila, coffee derived from the Mexican states of Veracruz and Chiapas and the Chiollo variety of chocolate produced in Mexico’s Tabasco region, the new product retails for $24.99 a 750-ml. It’s also available in 50-ml. and 375-ml. sizes. The 60-proof Patrón XO Cafe Dark Cocoa is the first line extension for Patrón XO Cafe, whose global volume advanced by 31% to 148,000 cases in 2011, according to Impact Databank, with the vast majority of its sales in the U.S. market.

•Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Shock Top beer brand has a new extension, Shock Top Wheat IPA. Rolling out nationwide beginning February 6, the 5.8%-abv beer will be available in six- and 24-packs of 12-ounce bottles as well as on draft. Shock Top Wheat IPA will also be sold in sampler packs with Shock Top Belgian White and Raspberry Wheat starting March 19. Anheuser-Busch InBev is also lining up a new summer seasonal to the Shock Top brand, Lemon Shandy (4.2%-abv), a Belgian-style wheat beer with spices and natural lemonade flavoring.

•Frederick Wildman and Sons, Ltd. has been named the U.S. importer for Italian sparkling red wine producer Cavicchioli. Cavicchioli’s 1928 Lambrusco Emilia Dolce IGT will now be available nationally in 750-ml. and 1.5-liter sizes, priced at $7.99 and $10.99, respectively. Described by Frederick Wildman president Richard Cacciato as a “sweet…perfectly-priced red wine,” the brand is expected to benefit from the current popularity of sweet red blends in the U.S.

•Southern Wine & Spirits has named Felix Williams to the newly created position of vice president, strategic accounts, responsible for managing the relationship between Southern and Publix, effective Febuary 1. He’ll report directly to George Fisher, senior vice president, national off-premise accounts. Williams has over 30 years’ experience in the food and beverage industry, including a decade with Florida’s Gold Coast Beverage (the ninth-largest beer wholesaler in the U.S. with annual revenues of around $500 million), where he rose to become CEO. Most recently, he was director of chain sales & strategy at Southern’s Coastal Wine & Spirits unit in Florida.

•Houston, Texas-based Landry’s Inc. has announced plans to build a $60 million food and entertainment complex on Galveston, Texas’s historic Pleasure Pier. The 1,130-foot-long pier will become home to a 450-seat Bubba Gump Seafood Co. restaurant—the first of the chain to open in Texas—as well as a 75-seat Gump on the Run, a quick-service version of the Bubba Gump brand. Landry’s purchased Bubba Gump Seafood Co. in November 2010. The pier renovation project, slated for completion this May, also involves the installation of amusement rides, including a carousel, Ferris wheel and roller coaster.

•The James Beard Foundation has awarded its annual Lifetime Achievement Award to renowned celebrity chef and restaurateur Wolfgang Puck. Puck, who has won several Beard Awards, opened his first restaurant, Spago, in Los Angeles in 1982 and now owns and operates 20 fine-dining restaurants worldwide. Puck also created and owns the fast-casual chains Wolfgang Puck Express and Wolfgang Puck Bistro. The James Beard Foundation Awards ceremony will be held on May 7 in New York City.


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