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News Briefs for October 11, 2012

October 11, 2012

Beam Inc. has launched Skinnyminis, a four-pack offering of the Skinnygirl ready-to-serve Margaritas in 200-ml. bottles. They’re packaged in unbreakable PET bottles that “provide an entrée into new venues that do not allow glass because of the potential for breakage, opening up new sales opportunities,” the company said. Skinnyminis have been sold at the Yankee Stadium in New York City this season, as well as other similar venues including sporting events and concerts. Prior to the 200-ml. size, the cocktail was previously available only in a 750-ml. glass bottle. Skinnygirl added nearly half a million cases to its U.S. volume last year, jumping out to 585,000 nine-liter cases, according to Impact Databank.

•360 Vodka has launched a new flavor extension to its line—Buttered Popcorn. Released to coincide with October’s National Popcorn Poppin’ Month, 360 Buttered Popcorn is available now across the U.S. for $15.99 a 750-ml. Made by the Earth Friendly Distilling Co. in Weston, Missouri, the 360 Vodka line features Original as well as a range of flavors that includes Glazed Donut, Cola, Double Chocolate, Georgia Peach and Madagascar Vanilla, among others.

•Walmart is planning to accelerate growth of its Neighborhood Market smaller-footprint store concept in the U.S. Bill Simon, president of Walmart’s U.S. division, told reporters yesterday that the retail giant plans to open 95 to 115 new Neighborhood Markets in fiscal 2013, up from the previously projected 80. By fiscal 2016, Walmart plans to have a total of 500 Neighborhood Markets in the U.S. The company currently operates around 217. The units, which at about 42,000 square feet are roughly one-fifth the size of a Walmart Supercenter, sell grocery, household, beauty and pharmaceutical products, with select locations offering beer, wine and spirits. According to Simon, the stores are a low-cost way for Walmart to expand its reach.

•California sparkling wine producer Schramsberg Vineyards has opened a new winery for its still wine labels J. Davies Estate and Davies Vineyards at 555 Main Street in St. Helena. For the 2012 vintage, the new production facility is expected to process 155 tons of fruit. Eighty-five tons will be J. Davies Estate Diamond Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon (selling for around $80 a bottle), 45 tons will be Davies Vineyards vineyard-designated Pinot Noirs ($50) and 25 tons will be the first-ever Davies Vineyards vineyard-designated Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons. Calistoga-based Schramsberg is known for its méthode traditionnelle California sparklers. The company’s brands are handled in the U.S. by Wilson Daniels.

•Groupon acquired restaurant point-of-sale system Breadcrumb in May and this week launched the service nationwide. Breadcrumb is a sales management technology service for restaurant, bar and café operators that runs on Apple iPads. Groupon ran a test of the system in roughly 100 dining venues in New York before offering the service to restaurants nationwide this week. It costs restaurant operators $99 a month to run the Breadcrumb system on one iPad, and that figure can go up to $399 a month for up to 10 iPads. Groupon plans to offer its new Groupon Payments service, which allows merchants to use an iPhone or iPod Touch to accept credit card payments, on the Breadcrumb system, but businesses will also be free to use their existing payment systems.


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