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

News Briefs for October 9, 2012

October 9, 2012

•Pernod Ricard has unveiled Absolut Tune, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s Marlborough region and Absolut vodka. It will be priced at $31.99 a 750-ml. and will initially roll out in New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, Las Vegas, Chicago and Boston this fall. The 14%-abv offering, which is packaged in a black and gold Champagne-style bottle, also features an outer sleeve that mimics a zipper when torn off. The launch is supported by collaborations with fashion designer Charlotte Ronson and singer-songwriter and DJ Solange Knowles, who will host launch events in New York and Miami and are also featured in a digital web series. Absolut, the leading imported vodka brand in the U.S., saw volume decline last year by 1.3% to 4.57 million nine-liter cases, according to Impact Databank.

•Beam Inc. has introduced a new line of premium chocolate liqueurs under its DeKuyper brand. Launching nationwide this month, the John DeKuyper & Sons (JDK & Sons) Crave Chocolate Liqueurs range features three expressions—Chocolate Cherry, Chocolate Mint and Chocolate Chili—intended to be served on ice or in cocktails. Each is packaged in a white 750-ml. bottle, priced at $17.99 (15% abv). JDK & Sons Crave Chocolate Liqueurs join DeKuyper’s existing portfolio of close to 60 different flavors of cordials, liqueurs, crèmes, brandies and schnapps.

•A federal appeals court has dismissed wine collector Bill Koch’s lawsuit against auction house Christie’s International regarding the infamous “Jefferson Bordeauxs,” reports Wine Spectator. A three-judge panel of the second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that Koch failed to conduct timely due diligence when doubts were first raised about the wine’s authenticity, saying the statute of limitations has effectively passed for the lawsuit. The ruling upholds a decision by U.S. District Judge Barbara Jones. A spokesman for Koch said he is exploring appealing for a hearing by the appeals court’s entire nine-judge panel. But he admitted he faces an uphill battle on the case.

•Niles, Illinois-based Winesellers Ltd. has become the U.S. importer for Quinta de la Rosa’s wines and Ports. Winesellers will begin expanding the brand’s distribution to all 50 states this fall. Quinta de la Rosa was previously handled in the U.S. by a number of regional importers. Quinta de la Rosa offers a line of red and white Douro table wines priced between $16-$50 and a range of Ports that includes Ruby ($18 a 500-ml.), Tawny ($18), 10-year Tawny ($35), LBV ($28) and a Vintage ($45).

•Indianapolis-based fast-casual dining chain Steak ’n Shake has entered its first international development agreement with the Saleh Bin Lahej Group to bring 40 Steak ’n Shake restaurants to the United Arab Emirates, with the first opening in Dubai in 2013. The Saleh Bin Lahej Group is the franchise operator of such restaurant brands as Chili’s, Macaroni Grill, Black Canyon Asian Cuisine, El Chico Mexican Restaurant, The Pizza Company and Cantina Laredo. This partnership with the Saleh Bin Lahej Group will mark a starting off point for Steak ’n Shake to enter numerous other countries in the future.


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