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News Briefs for February 22, 2012

February 22, 2012

•Chivas Brothers chairman and CEO Christian Porta said Tuesday that Pernod Ricard is on track to reopen its Glen Keith distillery in Speyside next year. The move will boost Chivas Brothers Scotch production capacity by 10% to 15%. Glen Keith has been out of operation since former Chivas owner Seagram closed it in 1999. Porta added that, with the reopening of Glen Keith, Chivas will have all its distilleries up and running (its Allt a’Bhainne and Braeval distilleries were reopened in recent years, while Glenlivet and Glenburgie have expanded their capacity). Porta said the group would consider a new distillery investment in the coming years if demand for Scotch, especially from Asia, continues on its current pace. In Pernod Ricard’s fiscal half-year through December, Chivas Regal’s volumes were up 12% worldwide, while Glenlivet’s rose 14%.

MillerCoors is set to reformulate and repackage its Killian’s Irish Red beer in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Brand manager Katie Cowan said the revamp will maintain Killian’s signature red color but result in a “more robust, more complex lager” geared to complement a wide array of pub food. Killian’s packaging update is meant to link the brand more closely with its Irish heritage. Marketed by MillerCoors’s Tenth and Blake craft and import division, Killian’s sold nearly 10 million (2.25-gallon) cases in 2000, but since then has lost roughly half its volume.

•M.S. Walker and independent Scotch producer MacDuff International have partnered to launch the Grand Macnish 12-year-old in the U.S. A blended and dual-cask aged Scotch whisky, the offering is packaged in a signature dimpled bottle under the tagline “Patience…Rewarded.” Grand Macnish 12-year-old is first marque in the bottled-in-Scotland Grand Macnish series, and will be followed by U.S. rollouts of the Grand Macnish 15-year-old and Grand Macnish 150th Anniversary editions. M.S. Walker acquired U.S. bottling, marketing and sales rights for Grand Macnish last summer. The brand, which sells roughly 35,000 cases in the U.S., with its core blend priced at $10.49 a 750-ml., was previously handled by White Rock Distilleries.

•The Laurent-Perrier Champagne group saw turnover grow by 8.2% to €91.1 million ($120.5m) in its fiscal third quarter ended December 31. Over the nine-month period also ending in December, turnover was up 10.7% to €183.1 million ($242.2m). Growth for the company was driven mainly by Laurent-Perrier’s flagship Champagne brand, which saw double-digit growth in the third quarter, led by strong export markets such as the U.S., Japan and Europe. Meanwhile, sales volumes from the group’s other brands (Salon, Delamotte and de Castellane) were slightly down in the quarter.

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