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News Briefs for February 20, 2015

February 20, 2015

•Rioja exports grew 3.6% to the equivalent of 11.7 million nine-liter cases in 2014, according to the Consejo Regulador D.O.C.a. Rioja. However, the Spanish region’s shipments to the U.S.—its third-largest export market—slipped 2% to 1.1 million cases last year, following three years of strong growth. Top export market the U.K. posted shipments growth of 10% to the equivalent of 4 million cases, while second-ranked Germany’s Rioja shipments rose 2% to 2.1 million cases. The global Rioja category’s volume expanded by 1.3% to a new record of 31.2 million nine-liter cases, as the export rise was partially offset by flat domestic sales (which currently account for around 63% of total Rioja volume). José Luis Lapuente Sánchez, general manager of the Consejo Regulador D.O.C.a. Rioja, told SND last year that the region is aiming to balance its domestic and export sales to 50-50 by 2020.

•New Jersey-based Vision Wine & Spirits has forged a new U.S. sales and marketing agreement with German fruit liqueur and spirits brand Berentzen. Under the partnership, Vision Wine & Spirits will handle sales and marketing for Berentzen Apple liqueur and Pear liqueur (both $19.99), as well as Bushel & Barrel Bourbon and Apple liqueur blend, White Apple flavored spirit and Ice Mint flavored shooter (all $22.99) nationwide. Berentzen joins Highland Reserve Scotch, Americana vodka, John B. Stetson Bourbon and Master’s Selection London dry gin, among other brands, in Vision’s current spirits stable.

•Lucas Bols has debuted a new single-barrel genever aged for six years, which will be sold in limited quantities in New York and online. Four hundred one-liter bottles of Bols Six-Year Aged Genever (42% abv) are being released at $46.99 each. The barrel-aging process imparts notes of vanilla, wood and spice to the herbaceous, juniper flavors of Bols Genever, the company says. Previous aged Bols Genever products have been crafted in French Limousine oak, while the latest offering was aged in American white oak casks.

•Provence rosé continued its strong upward climb in the U.S. market in 2014, adding to a long run of double-digit growth. According to French customs and the CIVP/Provence Wine Council, Provence rosé exports to the U.S. jumped 29% by volume and 38% by value in the 12 months through last October. Meanwhile, Nielsen reports that sales of imported rosé over $12 a bottle advanced 41% by volume and 53% by value in 2014, with the average bottle price in the category increasing to $17.

•Sazerac Co.’s Taaka vodka has added Pineapple and Watermelon expressions to its existing 11-flavor range. Set to roll out this spring, both 30%-abv entries will be available nationwide, retailing at around $7.99 a 750-ml. In addition to Pineapple and Watermelon, Taaka’s existing flavored vodka lineup includes Cherry, Grape, Cake, Whipped Cream, Orange, Coconut, Peach, Red Berry, King Cake, Pink Lemonade and Fruit Punch offerings.

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