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News Briefs for May 7, 2012

May 7, 2012

•Australian wine brand FishEye—imported into the U.S. by The Wine Group—has launched Sweet Red, a chillable red wine blend made with Shiraz, Moscato and other varietals. Rolling out nationwide this month, Sweet Red will be available in 750-ml., 1.5-liter and 3-liter formats, priced at around $7, $12 and $18, respectively. Sweet Red is FishEye’s 10th addition, joining a Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Moscato, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz. An Impact “Hot Brand,” FishEye grew nearly 19% last year, to 1.9 million cases, according to Impact Databank.

•Importer Riondo USA is launching a new premixed cocktail, iSpritz, billed as a ready-to-drink version of the Spritz cocktail, which typically features Campari’s Aperol aperitif and Prosecco. Riondo’s iSpritz (8.5%-abv., $13 a 750-ml.) is made with Cantine Riondo sparkling wine mixed with sweet orange and bitter herbs. It’s currently in 12 markets including Texas, New York, Florida, Georgia, Ohio and South Carolina, with more slated to come online next month. The new offering joins a Riondo USA portfolio that includes Italy-sourced Riondo Prosecco, Pink Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, Amarone, red blend Riondo Rosso and Germany’s G.H. von Mumm Estate wines, which were added this spring. Formed in 2008, Riondo USA sells nearly 250,000 cases annually.

•U.K.-based grocery chain Tesco has named Tim Ashdown the new chief retail officer of its U.S. subsidiary, Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market. Ashdown, who joined Tesco in 1981, has served as COO of Tesco’s Homeplus brand in South Korea and, most recently, as CEO of Tesco’s Chinese division. He replaces Jeff Adams, who has been appointed CEO of the company’s Turkish unit. Launched in 2007, Fresh & Easy currently operates 180 stores across California, Arizona and Nevada and offers more than 450 wines, ranging from $1.99 to $40 a bottle. But the chain has struggled to find its footing—reporting a loss of $300 million for its last fiscal year—and shareholders have recently pressured Tesco to abandon the U.S. venture. Instead, Tesco responded by pledging to expand Fresh & Easy’s footprint to 230 stores by next year, and has revised its prediction that the brand would break in early 2013, to early 2014.

•Glazer’s Distributors has made two national level sales appointments, naming David Stuart senior vice president, sales, and Don Pratt senior vice president, on-premise and off-premise national accounts. Both Stuart and Pratt will report to Glazer’s executive vice president, sales and marketing, Shawn Thurman. Their appointments are effective June 1. Pratt was formerly senior vice president, national retail chains, while Stuart was senior vice president, Diageo, for Glazer’s. In his newly created role, Stuart will be responsible for the “overall corporate performance of Glazer’s strategic suppliers,” the company said.


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