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

News Briefs for March 10, 2014

March 10, 2014

•Artemis Domaines, the company that owns Bordeaux first-growth Château Latour, has acquired a large minority stake in Château Siaurac & Co., according to Siaurac owner and manager Paul Goldschmidt. Siaurac includes three Right Bank estates—Château Le Prieuré in St.-Emilion, Château Vray Croix de Gay in Pomerol and Château Siaurac in Lalande-de-Pomerol—for a total of 143 acres of vines. The deal, for an undisclosed price, is Artemis founder François Pinault’s first investment on the Right Bank. (He made a bid on Château Ausone 17 years ago.) Siaurac owners Aline and Paul Goldschmidt remain the majority shareholders. For the full story in Wine Spectator, click here.

•Washington’s state senate has narrowly passed a bill that would exclude spirits retailers’ sales to on-premise outlets from the state’s 17% retail licensing fee. The bill, which now moves to the state house of representatives, extends the exclusion—currently granted only to former state liquor stores—to supermarkets, big-box stores and other outlets. Backers of the measure say it will help lower spirits prices in Washington, which have risen significantly since the state privatized its retail spirits business in 2012. Opponents argue that the granting of the exclusion to big-box and supermarket stores could cost the state needed revenue.

•Pernod Ricard’s Kahlúa liqueur has declared March 10 national “Cocktail Your Coffee Day,” as part of a new push to engage coffee and cocktail consumers. The holiday, which is being supported via a social media push, encourages drinkers to pair Kahlúa with an afternoon or post-dinner coffee cocktail. Made with sugarcane rum and Arabica coffee from Veracruz, Mexico, Kahlúa’s core portfolio includes Original, Cinnamon Spice, French Vanilla, Mocha and Hazelnut expressions, all retailing for around $16.99 a 750-ml. The liqueur brand currently sells just under 1 million cases in the U.S. market.

•Middlebury, Vermont-based Woodchuck Hard Cider has released its new Woodchuck Hopped Apple as a draft-only offering to bars, pubs and restaurants nationwide. Hopped Apple features the original hard cider blended with cascade hops for a rich hop flavor with a citrus and pine aroma at 5% abv. First released in the Woodchuck Cellar Series, Hopped Apple’s success in that format led to it’s now being offered year-round on-premise.

•Industry veterans Jorge Gutierrez and Lee Strader have launched a new national spirits sales and marketing venture, Liquid Assets Group, based in Miami. Liquid Assets’ portfolio initially will include Voli vodka and Berentzen USA brands, with “a limited number of complementary brands to be on-boarded over the next few months,” according to the company. Gutierrez, who serves as Liquid Assets’ CEO, has been in the drinks industry for two decades and previously held executive positions at Whyte & Mackay and Bacardi. Strader, president of the group, is a 30-year industry veteran who’s held executive roles at Whyte & Mackay, Pernod Ricard and Guinness. Liquid Assets says it will offer a “cost-effective option for immediate national coverage” for mainstream and niche spirits brands through a dedicated national sales force and marketing support.

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