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News Briefs for April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014

•Former Whyte & Mackay CEO John Beard has partnered with Lion Capital to make a bid for the United Spirits Ltd.-owned Scotch whisky business, which is currently on the block, reports the U.K.’s Sunday Times. Beard departed Whyte & Mackay last August after leading the group for four years. Final round bids for Whyte & Mackay, which is expected to sell in the range of $580-$660 million, are said to be due April 17. Drinks firms Brown-Forman, Gruppo Campari, SPI Group and ThaiBev, as well as investment groups KKR & Co. and TPG Capital have also been named as being interested in acquiring the Scotch producer.

•Napa’s Rosenblum Cellars is moving its East Bay Visitors Center to a new location three miles away in Jack London Square on the Oakland waterfront. The new Oakland site with views of San Francisco Bay will open in July. In addition to the Oakland location, Rosenblum Cellars opened a wine tasting lounge and educational center last October in Healdsburg, California, close to its Zinfandel vineyards. Part of Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines’ portfolio, Rosenblum Cellars was founded in 1978 and focuses on Zinfandel varietals and smaller production of Rhone-style wines. Some of its recent projects include Stark Raving, Rose’N’Blum and the Great American Wine Company.

•North American Breweries is backing its Seagram’s Escapes flavored malt beverage brand with a new multimedia campaign that will include its first national TV ads in two decades. The TV spots, running under the tagline “Keep It Colorful,” will begin airing this month on Bravo, Food Network and E!. Other initiatives in the new push include innovative displays at retailers like Kroger and Publix that build off the brand’s 10 bottles for $10 mix-and-match program. Additionally, Seagram’s Escapes is releasing two new flavors this spring—Grape Fizz and Fruit Punch—and offering select flavors in 16-ounce cans for the first time. Canned offerings will include top-selling Jamaican Me Happy, Strawberry Daiquiri and Grape Fizz.

•France’s Belvédère has named Jean-Noël Reynaud as its new CEO, effective May 5. Reynaud spent 14 years in various management positions with Rémy Cointreau, and also has held management roles with Bols and Coca-Cola in Eastern Europe. Krzysztof Trylinski, who previously held the chief executive post, remains chairman of Belvédère. The company, which last year restructured to shed a significant debt burden, has brands including Sobieski and Krupnik vodkas and William Peel Scotch whisky. In 2013, Belvédère saw global sales slip 3.9% to €860 million ($1.2b). In the U.S., Sobieski’s depletions rose 0.5% to just under 1 million cases last year, according to Impact Databank.

•California’s Hahn Family Wines has released new packaging for its Lodi-sourced Boneshaker Zinfandel expression. Making its debut with Boneshaker’s 2012 vintage, the updated look aims to create broader consumer appeal, using bicycle imagery and a glow-in-the-dark label. Additionally, the wine will be supported by a new tagline, “Feel It.” The 2012 Boneshaker Zinfandel, which also features a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon, is currently available at retail for $25 a 750-ml.

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