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

News Briefs for July 31, 2012

July 31, 2012

•Wine and spirits importer Aveníu Brands—owned by Spain’s Grupo Codorníu—is partnering with Tenuta Poggio Verrano to bring wines from the Maremma region of Tuscany to the U.S. market. Aveníu will represent three of Tenuta Poggio Verrano’s wines—Poggio Verrano 3 ($19.99), Chance ($34.99) and Dromos ($39.99). Valentina Bolla, daughter of winery founder Francesco Bolla, will act as the U.S. spokesperson for the brand. Aveníu Brands’ portfolio also includes wine brands such as Artesa, Septima, Anna de Codorníu Cava, Viña Zaco, Voga and Two Oceans, as well as Amarula cream liqueur, Ocean vodka, Zodiac vodka and Don Roberto Tequila.

Beam Inc. has appointed Southern Wine & Spirits (SWS) as its exclusive broker in Iowa, adding to the agreement Beam has in place with SWS in 15 other control states throughout the U.S., including Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Mississippi and Alabama. The long-term agreement in Iowa takes effect August 1. Southern Wine & Spirits is Beam’s sole distributor now in 30 states, making it Beam’s single largest distribution partner.

Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) said selling-day-adjusted sales to retailers in the U.S. inched up 0.2% in the first half of 2012, giving cause for optimism to a mainstream U.S. beer market that’s been in low-single-digit decline for months. ABI acknowledged that its shipments to wholesalers slipped 2.1% in the second quarter, but attributed that to “planned adjustments to our shipping patterns to ensure a smoother and more cost efficient phasing of deliveries to wholesalers.” Despite the slowed shipments, ABI saw U.S. beer-only revenue increase 4.4% in the second quarter, driven by new entries Bud Light Platinum, Bud Light Lime-a-Rita, the growth of Shock Top and other higher-priced brands and “consumer trade-up from our value brands,” the company said. Globally, ABI’s volume rose 0.8% organically to 195 million hectoliters in the first half of the year, while revenue rose 5.4% to $19.2 billion.

Diageo NA says it will be backing its Red Stripe beer and Tanqueray gin brands with new ad pushes in the coming months. Red Stripe’s new backing will take the form of TV, digital and point-of-sale ads focused around its “Hooray Beer!” tagline. Tanqueray, meanwhile, is seeing its budget rise by 2.5 times in a bid to give it a “stronger national, year-round presence” in the words of the company. Details on the new Tanqueray ads are yet to be released. Including its Rangpur and No. 10 extensions, Tanqueray’s U.S. volume slipped 1.5% to 1.31 million nine-liter cases last year, according to Impact Databank, while Red Stripe was down 9% to 2.65 million (2.25-gallon) cases, excluding its Light variant.

•DineEquity, Inc. has agreed to sell 65 Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar restaurants in Michigan in a deal with franchise operator TSFR Apple Venture LLC expected to net $61 million after taxes. Since acquiring the Applebee’s chain in 2007, DineEquity has sold or made agreements to sell all but 23 of its 510 domestic company-operated units. This most recent deal is one of three pending transactions, and once all three deals are completed in the third or early fourth quarter, Applebee’s will be a 99% franchised brand, which has always been DineEquity’s goal. Between its Applebee’s and IHOP brands, DineEquity currently operates or franchises more than 3,500 restaurants in 18 countries.

•Urban Space, the group that operates Brooklyn’s Dekalb Market, will debut a new outdoor dining and retail space in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District neighborhood on September 1. The project will feature numerous local food vendors as well as a mixology bar and seating area and will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. through the end of the year. Urban Space is also currently looking for a new space for the Dekalb Market, which will be moving from its current Downtown Brooklyn location this fall.


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