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

News Briefs for November 4, 2013

November 4, 2013

•Total Wine & More is planning to open a total of five to eight new stores in Minnesota’s Minneapolis-St. Paul area, according to local news reports. The news follows Total Wine’s recent decision to enter the state in August, when the retailer signed a lease for a 17,310-square-foot space in Bloomington, Minnesota. In addition to the Bloomington outpost—which, when it opens by the end of the year, will be Total Wine’s 100th store—the company is planning to open its second Minnesota location in Roseville next spring. Total Wine & More’s Minnesota stores mark the retail giant’s first move into the Midwest, joining an existing footprint that covers 15 states.

•Argentine wine brand Graffigna has launched its new Centenario Elevation Red Blend in the U.S. market. Made with grapes grown at high altitudes, Centenario Elevation features a blend of Malbec, Bonarda, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tannat. The new offering, which is priced at $13.99 a 750-ml., joins Graffigna’s existing portfolio, which includes Centenario Malbec, Centenario Cabernet Sauvignon, Centenario Pinot Grigio, Grand Reserve Malbec and Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Graffigna is handled in the U.S. by Pernod Ricard USA.

•Brown-Forman has been mounting a push this year to introduce its Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey offering to new global markets. The brand, whose net sales rose 98% in the company’s fiscal 2013 ended in April, will now be overseen globally by Marshall Farrer, who’s been appointed to the new role of vice president, global brand director, Tennessee Honey, effective immediately. Formerly vice president, managing director of Brown-Forman’s Australia and New Zealand business, Farrer is returning to Louisville to take on his new position. Tennessee Honey had global volume of 770,000 cases in B-F’s last fiscal, with the U.S. accounting for around 65% of the total.

Patrón Spirits Co. has named consumer marketing veteran Lee Applbaum as chief marketing officer, replacing Matt Carroll, who is retiring at the end of the year. Applbaum, who began his career in packaged goods at Coca-Cola, has held the CMO position at several large multinational companies including Target Australia and Radio Shack. In his new role he’ll direct all global marketing communications for Patrón, reporting to Patrón’s president, international, and global COO Dave Wilson.

•Yusef Jackson, the son of civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson, plans to sell his Chicago Budweiser beer distributorship, River North Sales & Service, to a partnership of the Hand Family Cos. and BDT Capital Partners, it was learned over the weekend. In a related deal, Hand Family, a large beer wholesaler based in Tennessee, would also buy a 30% stake in an adjacent Chicago distributorship, City Beverage, that Anheuser-Busch had been looking to divest since new Illinois legislation was passed earlier this year banning ownership of distribution facilities by large beer producers. The other 70% of City Beverage is already owned by BDT. If the Illinois Liquor Control Commission approves the transactions, the merger of River North and City Beverage would create a super-distributorship supplying more than 23 million cases of beer annually in northeastern Illinois, according to an analysis by the Chicago Tribune. In Chicago, Miller-Coors still outsells Budweiser.

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