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

News Briefs for May 2, 2014

May 2, 2014

•Philippines-based Alliance Global Group may have entered the race to acquire Scotland’s Whyte & Mackay from Diageo-controlled United Spirits Ltd. Bloomberg reports that Alliance, which owns 32-million-case Emperador brandy, is in advanced talks to snare the Scotch whisky producer, which has been on the block since last fall and is valued around $675 million. Emperador, a sub-premium brandy label, has grown more than threefold since 2010 and is now the third-largest spirit label by volume worldwide (following Jinro soju and Ruang Khao Thai spirit), according to Impact Databank. Brown-Forman, Gruppo Campari, SPI Group and ThaiBev, as well as investment groups Lion Capital, KKR & Co. and TPG Capital have all been named as potential buyers of Whyte & Mackay.

•William Grant & Sons has launched Ancho Reyes—a Mexican ancho chile liqueur—in select U.S. markets. Produced by Licorera Ancho Reyes y Cia., Ancho Reyes is based on a traditional 1920s recipe and made using hand-selected ancho chiles. The 40%-abv liqueur, which features dried chile, cinnamon, cacao and tamarind notes, among other flavors, can be consumed neat or in cocktails. Retailing for around $32.99 a 750-ml., Ancho Reyes is currently available both on- and off-premise across California, Nevada, Texas, New York, Florida, Wisconsin, Colorado and Washington. The offering marks the second liqueur in William Grant’s U.S. portfolio, joining Italy’s Solerno blood orange liqueur.

•Hakutsuru Saké Brewery Co., Ltd. has named SakéOne Corp. as its exclusive U.S. importer, effective July 1. The union of Hakutsuru and SakéOne in the U.S. will create a force in the rising saké category, as the two players have a combined 50% share of the premium saké market in the grocery channel, according to Nielsen. Hakutsuru, whose saké is currently imported by Dreyfus Ashby, has owned a significant equity stake in the Forest Grove, Oregon-based SakéOne Corp. since 2010.

•Beam Suntory-owned Sauza 901 Tequila has debuted a new digital media campaign, a first for the brand. Starring Sauza 901 founder and co-owner Justin Timberlake, the “Premium Remastered” campaign urges Millennial consumers to “rethink” premium Tequila. The push will kick off with a video entitled “Don Sauza’s Diary,” in which Timberlake interprets a fictional diary to bring Don Sauza—founder of Sauza Tequila—to life. Timberlake, who had previously marketed a 901-branded Tequila in partnership with Palm Bay, joined forces with Beam to launch Sauza 901 in January. The 80-proof Tequila is currently available nationwide, retailing at $29.99 a 750-ml.

•Heaven Hill has expanded availability Lunazul Tequila’s Primero expression nationwide. A 100%-agave añejo Tequila, Lunazul Primero is aged for 18 months and then filtered eight times, resulting in a clear color. The 40%-abv offering retails for around $24.99 a 750-ml. Along with Primero, the accessibly-priced, 100%-agave Lunazul range also features Blanco, Reposado and Añejo entries, priced at between $20-$22 a 750-ml. Lunazul, which is produced at the small-batch Tierra de Agaves distillery in Jalisco, Mexico, sells roughly of 82,000 cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank.

•MillerCoors is extending Coors Light with its first ever seasonal extension, Coors Light Summer Brew, infused with a blend of natural citrus flavors. Launching now, Coors Light Summer Brew is packaged in 12-packs of 10-ounce cans, which are adorned with a bright orange and yellow citrus-inspired design over Coors Light’s signature Rocky Mountain landscape. The rollout is being backed by a full promotional slate, including English- and Spanish-language TV ads.

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