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

News Briefs for February 19, 2014

February 19, 2014

•New Jersey-based Winebow has added Tullibardine single malt Scotch whisky to its U.S. import portfolio. Produced by an independent distillery in the Scottish Highlands, the core Tullibardine range includes the Tullibardine Sovereign ($48), Tullibardine 225 Sauternes Finish ($65), Tullibardine 228 Burgundy Finish ($65), Tullibardine 500 Sherry Finish ($65), Tullibardine 20 Year Old ($200) and Tullibardine 25 Year Old ($300) entries. Winebow will initially distribute the lineup across 24 states, with additional expansion to follow.

Beam Inc. is celebrating Booker’s Bourbon’s 25th anniversary with the launch of a new limited edition offering, Booker’s Batch 2014-1. Aged nine to 11 years and bottled at its natural proof (ranging from 121 to 130 proof), the special edition retails at $99.99 a 750-ml. bottle and is presented in a commemorative wooden case.

•Pheasant Ridge Winery, the historic West Texas estate that helped kick off a resurgence of the Lone Star State’s wine industry in the 1970s, has been sold to Bingham Family Vineyards. The sale, for more than $650,000, includes 60 acres of vines, the winery and the tasting room. And in a twist of fate, the new owners have turned to the winery’s founder, Bobby Cox, to oversee the vineyards and winemaking. For the full story in Wine Spectator, click here.

•A. Hardy USA has introduced a new high-end Caribbean rum, Vizcaya. Created in the Dominican Republic from pressed sugar cane and aged in oak barrels, Vizcaya offers three varieties of its rum—VXOP Cask 21, Cask 12 and Cristal. Vizcaya VXOP Cask 21 is distilled from 100% pure sugar cane juice ($39.99), Vizcaya Cask 12 is a premium dark rum ($21.99) and Vizcaya Cristal is a white sipping rum ($21.99). All are 40% abv. and currently in select U.S. states.

•New York-based Castle Brands reported a sales increase of 28% to $13.6 million for its fiscal 2014 third quarter ended December 31, 2013, resulting in a 16.4% sales gain to $35.7 million over the first nine months of its fiscal year. The increase was driven primarily by the company’s whiskey stable—including its Jefferson’s Bourbon and rye whiskey entries and Irish whiskey offerings—which collectively grew revenue by 74.2% for the quarter. Other third quarter highlights included Gosling’s Rum, with revenue up 12.9%, as well as Gosling’s Stormy Ginger Beer, which grew sales by 79.4%. In addition to the Jefferson’s and Gosling’s franchises, Castle Brands’ spirits portfolio includes the Knappogue Castle whiskey, Clontarf Irish whiskey, Pallini Limoncello and Brady’s Irish Cream brands, among others.

MillerCoors has officially unveiled its new higher-alcohol Miller variant, Miller Fortune, which is now in national distribution. Weighing in at 6.9% abv., Miller Fortune is billed as an “un-distilled, spirited golden lager,” underscoring that part of its mission is to steal share from spirits. Packaged in a jet-black bottle adorned with a Miller script “M,” the new offering is made with caramel malt and cascade hops and suggested to be served in a rocks glass. Launching in bottles in the on-premise, and 6- and 12-pack bottles and 16- and 24-ounce battleship gray cans in the off-premise, Miller Fortune will retail around $6.99 a six-pack depending on the market. The rollout will be backed with TV and out-of-home ads beginning March 3.

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Budweiser beer brand is launching a new global campaign ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil (June 12-July 13). Under the title “Rise As One,” the new push intends to “celebrate the moments that unite and inspire” soccer fans around the world. The campaign’s first TV spots are set to debut March 5, followed by a variety of out-of-home content, local market activations and media partnerships. Concurrently, Budweiser has developed new, limited edition World Cup packaging, including an aluminum, trophy-style bottle, which will be available across more than 40 countries. Additional limited edition glass bottles, cans and secondary packaging will also be available globally. Budweiser has served as the official beer sponsor of the FIFA World Cup for over 25 years, with an ongoing commitment through the 2018 and 2022 events.

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