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News Briefs for April 27, 2012

April 27, 2012

•Trinchero Family Estates is rolling out a new luxury wine brand, Shatter, in collaboration with winemakers Joel Gott (of Joel Gott Wines) and Dave Phinney (of Orin Swift Wines). Sourced from Roussillon, France’s Maury region, the Shatter name refers to the “extreme viticultural conditions” in Maury, which is known for producing sweet wines in a terroir frequently ravaged by high winds. The first Shatter wine is a 2010 Grenache. The new entry joins a Trinchero portfolio including Sutter Home and Impact “Hot Brands” Ménage à Trois and Joel Gott Wines, the latter of which has more than doubled in volume to 260,000 cases over the past two years.

•Pleasanton, California-based retail chain Safeway posted a 2.3% rise in revenue to $10 billion in the three months through March. Income from continuing operations was up slightly on an organic basis to $81.6 million, or $0.30 a share, in line with analysts’ expectations. Safeway, a union chain, has seen increasing competition from non-union retailers like Walmart, Trader Joe’s and Fresh & Easy, and has lately been floated by analysts as a possible takeover target, either for a larger chain like Kroger or a private equity firm. In addition to its namesake stores, Safeway, which stocks a large wine selection (including its own private label), also operates under the Genuardi’s and Vons monikers, with a total of 1,675 stores in the U.S. and Canada.

•Anheuser-Busch InBev chief marketing officer Chris Burggraeve has left the brewing giant. He’ll be replaced by Miguel Patricio, currently ABI’s zone president for Asia Pacific. Burggraeve, a Belgian citizen, joined the brewer in 2007 after 12 years at Coca-Cola Co., most of which he spent in Europe. Patricio, a Portuguese citizen, joined Brazil’s AmBev as a vice president of marketing in 1998. (AmBev merged with Belgium’s Interbrew in 2004 to form InBev, which then acquired Anheuser-Busch in 2008.) The majority of ABI’s executive management board are now Brazilian, while only one American is on the board—chief procurement officer Tony Milikin.

•New York-based Babco Imports is introducing Mickey Finn Irish Apple Flavored Whiskey to major U.S. markets this spring. A blend of Irish and American whiskies infused with natural apple flavors, Mickey Finn Irish Apple is priced at $24.99 a 750-ml. The 70-proof offering hopes to benefit from the rising interest in flavored whiskies, which were the fastest-growing spirits type in the U.S. market in the first quarter of 2012, rising 154.8% to 94,000 cases in Nielsen channels. An unflavored Mickey Finn Irish whiskey will follow, the company tells Shanken News Daily. Babco has also refreshed the packaging for its coca leaf liqueur brand, Agwa de Bolivia. Sourced from Bolivia and distilled in Amsterdam, Agwa de Bolivia is currently available in select U.S. markets, priced at $31.99 a 750-ml.

•The Cheesecake Factory plans to open 22 units in five Middle Eastern countries over the next five years, with three locations expected to debut by mid-summer. This marks the brand’s first international expansion, and after reporting same-store sales growth for the ninth consecutive quarter, the company is eyeing further forays into such locations as Hong Kong, Korea and Japan. In addition, The Cheesecake Factory expects to open seven to eight new U.S. restaurants, one of which will be the company’s 13-unit secondary brand, Grand Lux Café.

•The Brooklyn Winery is debuting custom-designed wine growlers this June. The winery makes its own wine on site, with offerings including Pinot Noir, Riesling and Rosé available on draft at their wine bar. Beginning June 7, all Brooklyn Winery draft wines can be purchased in take-away, reusable 750-ml. glass growlers. Also on June 7, the winery will be debuting eight new varietals, four of which will be available on draft and in growlers, while the rest will be sold in traditional 750-ml. wine bottles.


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