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

News Briefs for April 24, 2012

April 24, 2012

Rémy Cointreau has reported a 15.6% rise in organic sales growth for the full year ended March 31, to €1.03 billion ($1.36b), due primarily to double-digit gains in the U.S. and Asia. Core brand Rémy Martin Cognac recorded a 25.1% jump in organic growth, along with a strong increase in volumes. Additionally, price increases helped Rémy Martin continue its move upmarket, particularly in Asia. Within the group’s liqueurs and spirits unit (whose sales were up 5%), growth was attributed mainly to Cointreau—which performed notably well in the U.S., Japan, Brazil and Mexico—Mount Gay Rum and the continued rebound of Greek brandy Metaxa. Rémy Cointreau’s distribution partner brands, meanwhile, were up 4.1% overall, driven by the Scotch whisky segment (including Edrington’s The Macallan) in the U.S. and travel retail, as well as a positive performance by Piper-Heidsieck Champagne.

•New York-based South African wine specialist Cape Classics has introduced a new brand, Thelema Mountain Red, to major U.S. markets. The South African red blend, the second label from Thelema Mountain Vineyards, debuts with the 2009 vintage. Made from estate fruit grown on Thelema’s Stellenbosch and Elgin properties, Mountain Red sells for $14.99 a 750-ml. It’s composed of 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Shiraz, 14% Grenache and 14% Petit Verdot. Cape Classics imports around 20 South African wine brands, including Excelsior, Jam Jar and Indaba. South African wine shipments to the U.S. declined 9% in 2011 to 1.16 million cases, according to Impact Databank.

•Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light has officially introduced Bud Light Lime Lime-A-Rita into the U.S. market. A Margarita-flavored beverage blended with a splash of Bud Light Lime, the new 8%-abv offering is targeted toward “adult drinkers seeking sweeter alternatives,” A-B said. Lime-a-Rita is available in 12-packs of 8-ounce cans, 24-packs of 12-ounce bottles or single-serve 24-ounce cans, and a 6%-abv version of the product will be offered in Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire and Tennessee. The launch is concurrent with the debut of an updated package for Bud Light Lime, designed to bring the label in line with the rest of the Bud Light portfolio.

•Paulaner Brewery plans to open its first U.S. beer hall and restaurant, named Paulaner Brauhaus and Restaurant, in New York City in time for Oktoberfest this fall. Lower East Side restaurant supply company Attias Oven Corp./Cannon Co., which is relocating to Brooklyn this summer, is leasing out its former 4,000-square-foot store space on the Bowery to Paulaner for the new project. Paulaner is awaiting approval from the local community board and the New York State Liquor Authority for the beer hall. Once approved, the company plans to begin a full gut renovation of the Bowery space. Paulaner currently operates 17 Brauhaus and Restaurant units in Germany, China, Singapore, Indonesia and Russia.

•Diageo is extending Jose Cuervo’s ready-to-serve cocktail line with a new flavor, Authentic Wild Berry Light Margarita. A mix of strawberry, blackberry and blueberry flavors, the new offering is 90 calories per 4-ounce serving, 9.95%-abv, and will sell in 750-ml. and 1.75-liter bottles for $8.99 and $14.99 respectively.

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