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

News Briefs for February 14, 2012

February 14, 2012

•Robert Skalli’s St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery is introducing fresh packaging across its line beginning with its newly released 2011 Napa Valley Estate Sauvignon Blanc. The redesign aims to communicate St. Supéry’s estate-grown status across the portfolio. Designed by artist Jeanne Greco, the new labeling highlights a view of the winery’s Dollarhide Estate Vineyard in the Napa Valley. “We want consumers and retailers to know we grow every grape that goes into our wine,” Skalli said. St. Supéry’s wines range from around $20 for its Napa Valley varietals up through $85 for its Dollarhide and Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignons.

E.&J. Gallo’s Mirassou Winery has expanded distribution of its California Moscato to all 50 states. First launched into key U.S. markets last April, the Moscato is priced in line with Mirassou’s existing range, at approximately $12 a bottle. Mirassou Moscato is the brand’s eighth offering, joining its California-sourced Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon varietals. Last year, Mirassou grew 17% to just under 900,000 cases, according to Impact Databank.

•Denver, Colorado-based craft distiller Spring44 is in expansion mode, announcing its entry into the key Florida market with Southern Wine & Spirits. Southern also handles Spring44’s vodka, honey vodka and gin offerings—which are made with Rocky Mountain artesian spring water—in New York and Colorado, where they rolled out last spring. Spring44 is also available in New Jersey (through Allied Beverage Group) and Utah (M&M Distributing). The group’s vodka and honey vodka retail for around $24.99 a 750-ml. and the gin sells at about $29.99. The company is opening a new 7,000-square-foot distillery in Loveland, Colorado, this spring with annual capacity of 250,000 cases.

•New Orleans-based Sazerac Co. has filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against Oregon’s Hood River Distillers, regarding similarities between the two companies’ cinnamon-flavored whisky brands. Sazerac claims that the label on Hood River’s SinFire Cinnamon Whisky—which rolls out nationally this month, priced at $16.99 a 750-ml.—mimics the label on its own Fireball whisky liqueur brand. Priced in the $16 range, Sazerac’s Fireball has emerged as a popular shot option among the young LDA segment, nearly tripling its volume in 2011 to reach 350,000 cases, according to Impact Databank.

•Wilson Daniels has partnered with actress Drew Barrymore on a new wine label, Barrymore Wines. The Barrymore brand’s first offering is an IGT Delle Venezie Pinot Grigio made from grapes grown in the Triveneto area, which is comprised of three of Italy’s most northern regions: Friuli Venezia Giulia, Trentino Alto Adige and Veneto. Launching now in California, the Barrymore Wines brand, which sells for $19.99 a bottle, will extend to more markets later this spring.

•Retail beer sales by value in the United States increased by 2% in 2011 to $98 billion, according to the Beer Institute. The trade group attributed most of the growth to imported and craft beer sales in the off-premise. On-premise beer sales increased by 3% to $55 billion while off-premise sales rose by 1% to $43 billion. Total U.S. beer volume decreased in 2011, however, by 1.5% to 202.6 million barrels (or 2.79 billion 2.25-gallon cases).


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