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

News Briefs for December 2, 2014

December 2, 2014

Proximo Spirits is backing its Three Olives brand with a new comprehensive campaign, designed to showcase the vodka’s core, unflavored expression. Created in partnership with The VIA Agency, Three Olives’ “Werewolves of London” campaign features singer Masha Shirin and her cover of Warren Zevon’s song “Werewolves of London.” Shirin’s cover debuts in a new full-length music video, launched today, and will be joined by three 30-second ads, the first of which is set to air widely next week. A former Impact “Hot Brand,” earning honors between 2005-2010 and eventually rising to 1.5 million cases, Three Olives’ flavor-focused stable has significantly slowed of late. As a result, the English brand (around $20 a 750-ml.) has ramped up its advertising efforts in recent years, most recently investing $20 million in a campaign starring British actor Clive Owen in early 2013.

•Chile’s Concha y Toro has reported a sales gain of 10% to P$148.4 billion ($242m) in the company’s third quarter ended September 30. Though sales by volume decreased 3.3% for the quarter, the group’s operating income rose 15.3%, to P$21.5 billion ($35m), bolstered in part by a favorable currency exchange effect (the Chilean peso has depreciated by more than 13% against the U.S. dollar in 2014) and increased sales prices. The group’s Fetzer franchise also helped drive growth, with the California brand posting a third-quarter sales gain of 13.1% to P$15 billion ($24.5m). For the nine months through September, meanwhile, Concha y Toro’s sales were up 20.6% on the same period last year, to P$405.6 billion ($662.2m), as operating income increased 57.5% to P$56.5 billion ($92.2m).

•Aiming to compete against Open Table, a group of high-profile investors is getting behind a new Chicago-based restaurant reservations service called Tock. The founders are the owners of renowned Chicago restaurant Alinea, chef Grant Achatz and partner Nick Kokonas, a former options trader. Investors include Thomas Keller of New York’s Per Se and Napa Valley’s The French Laundry; Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter; Chicago’s Melman family, owners of the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant empire; and Ming Tsai, the cooking show chef who owns Blue Ginger in Boston. For certain member restaurants, the service will require diners to prepay for their food (but not beverages) when they reserve a table, while other restaurants will be expected to take a second option of assessing a $20 advance deposit to be credited to the final bill. There’s likely to be a dynamic pricing option, where, for example, a $20 deposit might be converted to a $30 dining credit on a slow Mondayor Tuesday night. Keller said he plans to switch his top restaurants from phone and OpenTable reservations to Tock next year, while Tsai plans to do the same at Blue Ginger. Interestingly, Rich Melman, chairman of Lettuce Entertain You, was an early investor in OpenTable.

•Pernod Ricard chief executive Pierre Pringuet has been appointed chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), succeeding Ian Curle, who will remain on the governing council. Peter Gordon, director at William Grant & Sons, replaces Pringuet as vice chairman of the SWA. The SWA said an “immediate focus” will be the high taxation of whisky in the U.K., where it says nearly 80% of the average price of a bottle goes to the U.K. government. Pringuet will be succeeded as CEO of Pernod Ricard by Alexandre Ricard, the company’s current COO and deputy CEO, in February.

•Excelsior Wine Co.—the joint venture between Chile’s Concha y Toro and Banfi Vintners—has appointed Bobby Goodrich to the position of regional accounts manager for the company’s southeast region. In his new role, Goodrich will report directly to regional director Mike Many. Goodrich most recently served as chain account manager for Republic National Distributing Co. (RNDC). Bobby Goodrich is the son of Excelsior president Marc Goodrich.

 

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