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

News Briefs for March 8, 2012

March 8, 2012

•Moët Hennessy-owned Glenmorangie has signed a three-year partnership with the British Open golf tournament. Under the agreement, Glenmorangie will serve as the official whisky for the tournament, which this year will be held at Britain’s Royal Lytham & St. Annes Golf Club from July 15-22. “There’s a lot of common ground between lovers of fine golf and fine Scotch whisky, and we’re extremely excited about this opportunity,” says Glenmorangie Vice President, U.S., Brian Cox. The fourth-largest single malt Scotch brand worldwide at around 300,000 cases, Glenmorangie sells more than 50,000 cases annually in the U.S.

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s U.S. volumes fell 5% in the fourth quarter of 2011 and 3.2% for the full year, against a 1.8% slide for the U.S. beer market as a whole last year. The brewing giant said the loss of volume share resulted from its move to reduce the price gap between its sub-premium and premium beers. Budweiser continued to lose U.S. volume share, although at a slower rate than previously, while Bud Light maintained share and Michelob Ultra and higher-end brands like Stella Artois and Shock Top provided growth. In the first two months of 2012, ABI reported “encouraging” signs in the U.S., owing to improving economic conditions and a strong start for its higher-alcohol Bud Light Platinum variant. On the new-product front, ABI is reportedly planning another Bud Light offshoot for later in the year: Lime-A-Rita, a 6%- or 8%-abv Margarita-esque beer, which could provide a spirits-style experience to on-premise accounts with only beer and wine licenses. Globally, ABI’s volume was down 0.2% to 399 million hectoliters in 2011, while revenue rose 4.6% organically to $39 billion.

•Martinique-based Rhum Clement has introduced new packaging for its Première Canne white rum, in line with the company’s 125th anniversary. The new bottle, which was redesigned to look more contemporary as well as reflect the brand’s lineage and history of rum making, recently started shipping. Priced at $29.99 a 750-ml., Première Canne (40%-abv) is one of the newest releases to the Rhum Clement line, which also features Créole Shrubb, V.S.O.P., Cuvée Homère and X.O. The brand is distributed in the U.S. by Clément USA Inc. and is available nationally.

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