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News Briefs for July 17, 2012

July 17, 2012

Constellation Brands has completed its acquisition of Mark West from Purple Wine Co. for $160 million. Constellation CEO Rob Sands said the deal fills a gap in Constellation’s portfolio for Pinot Noir at the $10-$12 price point. Purple Wine Co. owner and CEO Derek Benham recently told Shanken News Daily he expects Mark West to reach 700,000 cases this year, up from 570,000 in 2011.

Campari America’s Midori melon liqueur has launched a pair of new ready-to-drink cocktails—Midori Skinny Margarita and Midori Sour—in select U.S. markets. Midori Skinny Margarita is a twist on the classic Tequila-based drink with 98 calories per serving. Midori Sour, meanwhile, is a ready-to-drink version of the brand’s signature cocktail, which blends sweet melon flavors with sour mix. Priced at $12.99 a 750-ml., both offerings are currently available in Arizona, California and Texas.

•Pasternak Wine Imports has added New Zealand’s Mud House Wine Group to its U.S. portfolio, effective July 1. Focusing on Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough and Pinot Noir from Central Otago as well as wines from the Waipara Valley, Mud House’s offerings play at the super-premium level, ranging from around $15 and up.

Wirtz Beverage Illinois has revamped its Heartland Division, which has revenues of $200 million annually, switching from its former geography-based model to a channel- and portfolio-driven approach. The Heartland Division will also see an increase in manpower with 60 new personnel added across all staff levels. Led by vice president Jeff Roth, Heartland has three divisions: Regal (specializing in Diageo brands), United (Bacardi, Brown-Forman, Rémy Cointreau, Sazerac, Banfi, William Grant and others) and Premier (on-premise and outlying retail accounts).

•Petaluma, California-based Offbeat Brands has launched Slices Sangria, a Spanish import available in four varieties—Red Wine, White Wine, Rosé and Sparkling Rosé. Priced at $10.99 a 750-ml., Slices will come in “colorful, contemporary packaging typical of the modern graphic arts movement in Spain.” The wines are made with traditional Spanish varietals and all natural fruit juices from lemons, limes, oranges, pineapples, strawberries and blackberries. Formed earlier this spring by industry veteran Mike Kenton, Offbeat Brands began with the launch of Jellybean Wines in April, designed to appeal to Millennial and Generation X consumers.

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