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

News Briefs for May 16, 2012

May 16, 2012

Southern Wine & Spirits of Minnesota, the joint venture between Southern and beer distributor J.J. Taylor, is mapping plans to expand its sales and service capabilities and its infrastructure. “We’ll be investing in augmenting our resources devoted to the joint venture,” said Southern president and COO Wayne Chaplin. “That will include leading-edge sales enablement tools and world-class logistics technologies. We’ve also rapidly outgrown our space at J.J. Taylor, and therefore have begun the search for a dedicated, state-wide, state-of-the-art distribution center.” Shanken’s Impact Newsletter projects SWS-Minnesota’s 2012 revenues will be $125 million, more than double from last year. In February, SWS-Minnesota acquired the wine business of fellow Minnesota wholesaler Quality Wine & Spirits for an undisclosed sum.

•The Boston Beer Co. is rolling out a limited-edition Samuel Adams brew—Porch Rocker—in time for summer. Available from May to July, Porch Rocker (4.4%-abv) is a variation of a Bavarian-style Radler beer—a lager with a hint of lemon—and is priced at $7.99 a six-pack.

•Fernet-Branca USA has unveiled Fernet-Branca Band Fest, a new digital campaign focused on viral fan interaction. Created in partnership with Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival, the campaign features a contest to allow one local band with the most Facebook “Likes” to play live at Pitchfork’s Fernet-Branca after-show. The contest is calling for bands in Atlanta, Austin, Chicago and Florida to upload performance videos. In June, public voting and competitions will determine the winner. Fernet-Branca is handled in the U.S. by Infinium Spirits.

•Bar owner John Sanchez has transformed the private event space and dance area of his Sip Bar & Lounge in San Francisco into a 600-square-foot “bar within a bar” called The Hancock Room. Sanchez has redesigned the space, which is sectioned off by partitions and now includes American antiques, chandeliers and art depicting former presidents. The Hancock Room’s cocktail menu reflects the American history theme, with offerings including the George Washington (comprised of Bourbon, Port and sparkling wine) and the brandy-based Ben Franklin. The Hancock Room will celebrate its official opening tomorrow with a private event. It joins other San Francisco “bar within a bar” concepts including The Hideout (within Dalva) and The Wilson (inside Bourbon and Branch).


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