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News Briefs for February 27, 2012

February 27, 2012

Campari America (the former Skyy Spirits) has named Paolo Perego as chief operating officer effective in March. Perego will oversee sales, marketing, finance, legal, and human resources for Campari America’s operations in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, reporting directly to Campari America chairman and CEO, Gerry Ruvo. Perego started at GrupCpo Campari in 1990 as a sales promoter for Africa and the Middle East, and climbed the ranks to become, most recently, managing director of Gruppo Campari’s South American business unit, one of the largest units in the company. Andrea Conzonato formerly held the COO and CMO posts at Campari America before ascending to the global CMO role at Gruppo Campari last May.

•Washington state’s winegrape production fell 11% last year to 142,000 tons, its lowest total since 2007. The average price per ton of Washington winegrapes was $987 last year, down $53 from in 2010, with prices for reds down 1.3% and prices for whites down 4.3%. The state’s red winegrape crop dropped 20% from its 2010 total, with Cabernet Sauvignon yields down 28% to 23,100 tons. Production of Merlot (-23%), Syrah (-7%), Pinot Noir (-22%) and Sangiovese (-25%) grapes also fell. Washington’s white winegrape crop slipped 2% in 2011, with Riesling, the state’s top varietal (white or red) off by 5.3% to 31,700 tons. Sauvignon Blanc (-10%), Gewurztraminer (-6%) and Viognier (-27%) also declined, while Chardonnay was roughly flat and Pinot Gris saw an increase of 23%. At 7,500 tons in 2011, Washington’s Pinot Gris crop has grown threefold since 2007.

•Delaware’s Dogfish Head Brewery has launched Noble Rot, a wine/beer hybrid that combines traditional barley, hops, water and yeast with winegrapes. Named for the grape fungus botrytis, which is associated with Sauternes and Tokaji dessert wines, Noble Rot uses Viognier and Pinot Gris grapes sourced from Washington’s Alexandria Nicole Cellars. The 9%-abv offering will be available in about 27 states this week, priced at $13 a 750-ml.

•Castle Brands is releasing a new Gosling’s Dark ’n Stormy ready-to-drink cocktail in select U.S. markets. The new offering, which is a blend of Gosling’s Black Seal rum and its own Stormy Ginger beer, is 9%-abv and packaged in four-packs of 8.4-ounce cans. Gosling’s Dark ’n Stormy will hit additional markets later in the year.

•Sunoco Inc. is expanding its Craft Beer Exchange program to 13 APlus convenience store locations in South Carolina. First launched in Buffalo, New York, last summer, the program offers a rotating selection of up to a dozen draft beers available for purchase in 64-ounce growlers, as well as a variety of six-pack, 22-ounce bomber and 12-ounce bottle options. Featured brews include craft offerings from Allagash, Abita, Dogfish Head, Victory and New Belgium, among others. The new Craft Beer Exchange programs will roll out in South Carolina’s Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, joining an existing 40 locations in APlus stores throughout New York State.

•Pittsburgh-based Penn Brewery has launched two new beers, Overlook IPA and Cool River Kolsch-Style. Penn Overlook IPA (6% abv) is brewed with two-row barley malt and American hops. Cool River Kolsch-Style (4.5% abv) is “delicate in flavor, with subdued hoppiness,” Penn says. Both beers will be available on draft in March and in 12-ounce bottles in Penn’s Gourmet Selection variety pack in May. Specializing in German-style craft beers such as its flagship Penn Pilsner, the group’s brands are currently available in Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida and Illinois.

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