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News Briefs for February 12, 2015

February 12, 2015

•Beam Suntory has introduced two new offerings under its Skinnygirl brand, a Spicy Lime Margarita and a Pinot Noir, bringing the franchise to a total of 20 products. Targeting the spicy-sweet flavor profile that’s growing in popularity, Skinnygirl Spicy Lime Margarita is 10% abv and retails at $12.99 a 750-ml., with a 1.75-liter positioned at $20 to follow next month. Skinnygirl Pinot Noir, retailing at $11.99 a 750-ml., is 10% abv. Both new Skinnygirl entries are approximately 100 calories per serving, and are currently in national distribution.

•Diageo’s Captain Morgan rum is expanding with three new flavors, including Captain Morgan Pineapple Rum, Coconut Rum and Grapefruit Rum. The trio will be available nationwide, priced at $15.99 a 750-ml., and, according to Diageo, are targeted primarily toward the summer cocktail occasion. Along with Pineapple, Coconut and Grapefruit, Captain Morgan’s portfolio also includes its Original Spiced, Black Spiced and White rum entries. Last year, Captain Morgan was down by 1% to 6.3 million cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank.

•Moët Hennessy’s Belvedere vodka has augmented its flavored lineup with the launch of Belvedere Wild Berry. Launching nationwide this April, the summer-inspired expression is made with a natural blend of Polish strawberries and American blueberries and includes no added sugar, the company says. Wild Berry ($34.99 a 750-ml.) marks Belvedere’s sixth flavored entry, joining the brand’s existing Citrus, Pink Grapefruit, Mango Passion, Lemon Tea and Bloody Mary offshoots.

•Patrón Spirits Co. is backing its Patrón Tequila brand in the U.S. with a new marketing push titled “The Art of Patrón.” The Art of Patrón promotions will include a video partnership with Rolling Stone, which debuts this month; a consumer bottle art contest, slated to launch in March; and the addition of two new extra-aged Patrón Tequilas, which will both appear later in the year. Additional marketing, public relations, digital and event components will follow. Last year, Patrón Tequila rose 4% to surpass 2 million cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank.

•Lodi-based LCF Wines, a collaboration among the LangeTwins, Coors and Ficeli families, is launching Año Verde, a new super-premium wine brand. Taking its name from a Spanish saying referring to a time when all is well, Año Verde is launching with a Santa Barbara County-sourced Pinot Noir positioned at $18-$20 a bottle. The new label will initially be distributed to California, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan and Texas.

•Booker’s Bourbon, part of Beam Suntory’s small-batch whiskey stable, has released the first in a series of limited edition Bourbons celebrating founding distiller Booker Noe. The series’ first offering, called Batch 2015-1 or “Big Man, Small Batch,” is a 128.7 proof Bourbon aged seven years and two and a half months. Hand-selected by Fred Noe, Booker’s son and seventh-generation master distiller, Big Man, Small Batch ($54.99) will be followed by more commemorative limited release Booker’s offerings throughout the year.

•MillerCoors is extending its Leinenkugel’s beer brand with the launch of Leinenkugel’s Grapefruit Shandy. Rolling out at retail on March 1, the new 4.2%-abv brew is billed as featuring notes of white grapefruit and fresh citrus. Grapefruit Shandy marks the fourth expression in Leinenkugel’s rotating shandy range, joining Summer Shandy, Orange Shady and Cranberry Ginger Shandy. Summer Shandy, the lineup’s most popular offering, was up 23.2% to 6.8 million (2.25-gallon) cases in the U.S. last year, according to Impact Databank.

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