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News Briefs for February 9, 2012

February 9, 2012

•San Francisco’s Gordon Biersch Brewing Company has announced its 2012 “big bottle” program, featuring a series of limited-edition craft brews packaged in 750-ml. bottles. Available in quantities of 4,000 cases or less, the specialty offerings are intended to target “the modern beer connoisseur, as well as wine drinkers.” The program’s first release, launching in May, will be the Imperial Pilsner Brau (IPB), an intensely hopped, 6.5%-abv Pilsner. Retailing for around $8.99 each, the 750-ml. bottles will be offered at specialty grocers and liquor stores, as well as restaurants and bars in select U.S. markets. The big bottle range joins Gordon Biersch Brewing’s existing portfolio of German-style specialty beers, including the Gordon Biersch Czech Pilsner, Hefeweizen, Winter Beer, Summer Beer and Marzen labels, among others.

•A. de Fussigny Cognac has unveiled the A. de Fussigny Vintage Collection, a range of four vintage Cognacs from 1969, 1970, 1975 and 1988, priced at $525, $475, $450 and $390, respectively. Available worldwide in limited quantities, the collection is available now in most major U.S. markets but is currently awaiting a rollout into control states. Each edition features eaux de vies that are hand-selected by the house’s master blender, bottled and then packaged in orange lacquered wood boxes. In addition to the Vintage Collection, A. de Fussigny also offers its Selection, Superieur Fine Champagne, XO Fine Champagne and XO 24 Carats Cognacs.

•Diageo is introducing two line extensions to its Smirnoff premium flavored malt beverage brand, Smirnoff Signature Screwdriver (5.8%-abv) and Smirnoff Ice Tropical Fruit (4.5%-abv). Both are now in nationwide distribution, selling in six-packs of 11.2-ounce bottles for around $7.99. Tropical Fruit is the 12th addition to the Smirnoff Ice line, while Signature Screwdriver is the fourth flavor in the Smirnoff premium malt mixed drinks range. Both are part of Diageo’s Progressive Adult Beverages (PAB) category. In the six months through December, Diageo’s North American RTD sales were flat by value and down 2% by volume, as its Parrot Bay cocktail pouches and Jeremiah Weed RTDs offset weakness in Smirnoff’s RTDs.

•A new craft beer shopping site, www.beerjobber.com, will launch to the public on February 13. Consumers can place orders on the site and Beerjobber will pick up the order at the brewery and deliver straight to the consumer (an adult signature is required and ID is checked). The site is licensed to ship to consumers in 38 states and Washington, D.C. In a recent three-month test run, the site saw more than 2,000 members sign up and shipped beer to consumers in 20 states. Beerjobber currently works with more than 30 craft breweries across the United States, including Heretic Brewing Co., Appalachian Brewing Co., Cottrell Brewing Co. and Dry Dock Brewing Co., but is looking to add more brands to its offering.

•Whisky Advocate has named Bruichladdich 10 year old (46%-abv, $57) as its Islay Single Malt Whisky of the Year. Individual winners from the 18th annual installment of the Whisky Advocate Awards are being unveiled one day at a time through February 13 at WhiskyAdvocateBlog.com, and will also be featured in the magazine’s upcoming Spring edition, due out March 1.

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