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News Briefs for April 22, 2014

April 22, 2014

•The European Commission has given regulatory clearance to Suntory’s $16 billion acquisition of Beam Inc., paving the way for the deal to be finalized in the coming days. The transaction, which has been approved by Beam shareholders, remains subject to customary closing conditions. Suntory and Beam expect that the deal will be completed on April 30, and that Beam’s shares will no longer trade on the New York Stock Exchange after the end of that day’s trading.

•Napa Valley’s Pahlmeyer winery has released its first 100% Cabernet Sauvignon offering under its Jayson brand. Introduced this spring, the 2011 Jayson Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from Pahlmeyer’s Waters Ranch vineyard, as well as from vineyard partners Stagecoach Vineyard and Rancho Chimiles. The inaugural Jayson Cabernet Sauvignon release is priced at $75, and is joined by North Coast Chardonnay ($50) and Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($60) in the Jayson range, which is named for Pahlmeyer founder Jayson Pahlmeyer and has been repackaged for the most recent vintage.

•Beam Inc.’s Knob Creek Bourbon has unveiled its first-ever nationwide television campaign under the title “Bookerisms.” Starring Knob Creek creator and steward Booker Noe, the push highlights the brand’s flavor, age, quality and heritage, as well as a satisfaction guarantee, in which Noe tells viewers that if they’re not satisfied, they can “send back the unused portion and we’ll drink it for you.” Rolling out this week, the campaign is running across networks such as AMC, FX, TBS and NBC Sports and also includes digital and retail components. Beam plans to triple its marketing spend on Knob Creek this year, following a $2.7 million ad outlay in 2013. Knob Creek, which, in addition to the original Bourbon, includes Rye, Single Barrel Reserve and Smoked Maple expressions, was up 18% last year to 230,000 cases, earning Impact “Hot Brand” honors.

•An Atlanta wine collector is suing London wine merchant Antique Wine Company for more than $25 million, alleging that it sold him 15 bottles of fake rare Bordeaux ranging from 1908 back to 1787. Julian LeCraw, a real estate investor, filed suit on April 17 in a federal court in Atlanta, accusing Antique Wine Company and its founder and CEO Stephen Williams of fraud and racketeering. Wine Spectator has the full story here.

•Brown-Forman has named its Distributors of the Year, recognizing its best-performing wholesale partners. In Brown-Forman’s “Heavyweight” category, Republic National Distributing Company of Texas earned Distributor of the Year honors, while Horizon Beverage of Rhode Island was cited as its “Middleweight” award winner. Brown-Forman bases its wholesaler awards on “business performance measures encompassing volume attainment goals, distribution criteria, market activities, and other brand-building efforts spanning the time period.”

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