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News Briefs for April 11, 2012

April 11, 2012

•Pernod Ricard USA has expanded its Hiram Walker liqueur and Seagram’s gin ranges with the launch of Hiram Walker Whipped Cream liqueur and Seagram’s Pineapple Twisted Gin, respectively. Intended to tap into the recent whipped cream flavor trend within the spirits category, Hiram Walker Whipped Cream will be available in 1-liter, 750-ml. and 50-ml. formats, priced at $9.99 a 750-ml. Retailing for $11.99 a 750-ml., Seagram’s Pineapple Twisted Gin will also be available in 50-ml., 375-ml. and 1.75-liter sizes. The 35%-abv offering is the sixth flavor in the Seagram’s Twisted Gin portfolio, joining Grape, Raspberry, Apple, Lime and Orange. Meanwhile, Pernod has revamped the 1.75-liter packaging for its Chivas Regal 12-year-old label. Rolling out into retail next month, the new bottle is designed to offer easier handling and a more consistent pour.

•Bacardi USA has officially introduced its newest Grey Goose flavor extension, Cherry Noir, to nationwide distribution. Cherry Noir is priced in line with the rest of the Grey Goose range at $29.99 a 750-ml. and also comes in 375-ml. and 1-liter sizes. A TV push behind the release launches today on Comedy Central, ESPN, USA, TBS, TNT, ABC (on Jimmy Kimmel) and BET, among others. It’s part of a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign that also includes print, out-of-home, radio, digital, social media and experiential events. Cherry Noir is Grey Goose’s first flavor extension since La Poire in 2007. The brand’s other flavors are Le Citron and L’Orange. Grey Goose’s U.S. depletions rose 1% to 3.4 million cases last year, according to Impact Databank.

•Boston-based Harpoon Brewery has received $3.5 million in financing from RBS Citizens Bank to revamp its brewery and visitor center. The loan will allow the craft brewer to update its bottling and labeling machinery, renovate and expand its visitor center and add a new beer hall. Established in 1986, Harpoon Brewery produces eight year-round brews—including Harpoon IPA, Leviathan Imperial IPA and UFO Hefeweizen—as well as a variety of seasonal and limited-edition offerings. Last year, the brewer reportedly produced 120,000 barrels at its Boston facility (compared to just 60,000 barrels in 2008), with an additional 55,000 being produced at Harpoon’s second brewery in Windsor, Vermont.

•U.S. craft beer exports hit an all-time high in 2011, increasing 86% by volume to 110,000 barrels, according to the Brewers Association. The value of craft beer exports nearly doubled last year, rising 97% to $23.4 million. The largest export market was Canada, where volume increased 127% to nearly 28,000 barrels, followed by the U.K. and Sweden (exports to both reached 13,065 barrels). As a region, Western Europe showed the largest demand for exports, with shipments increasing 52% last year to 51,613 barrels. The Brewers Association defines a craft brewer as one that has annual production of 6 million barrels or less and is not more than 25%-owned by a larger brewer.

•The owners and operators behind the New York City-based “Fatty” brand of restaurants, including Fatty Crab and Fatty ’Cue, have formed a hospitality management company called Fatty Crew, with Rick Camac as CEO. The company will offer consulting services to other businesses in the hospitality industry, assisting with management operations, finance and/or public relations. The move will also allow Fatty Crew executives to pursue individual projects with the support of the company—the first of which is a new Japanese-inspired restaurant in New York’s Meatpacking District, which Camac’s son (and Fatty Crew vice president of operations) Jesse plans to open this spring. Fatty Crew currently operates three Fatty Crab venues—two in Manhattan and one in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands—and two Fatty ’Cue New York locations in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Future plans for Fatty Crew include a new line of sauces that will be available in wholesale and retail markets by June, and preliminary plans to expand nationally outside of New York and perhaps internationally as well.

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