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News Briefs for March 19, 2015

March 19, 2015

•Maison Alex Gambal, the small Burgundy négociant, has acquired 19 acres of vineyards in the Côte d’Or for an undisclosed price. The Beaune-based winery, founded by American Alex Gambal, now controls 30 acres of vineyards, which account for 80% of its 6,000-case production. Wine Spectator has the full story.

•Beam Suntory’s Hornitos Tequila brand has extended its lineup with the launch of Hornitos Spiced Honey. A blend of natural honey, vanilla and spice flavors and 100% agave Tequila, Hornitos Spiced Honey is currently available in 750-ml. and 1-liter formats, priced at around $19.99 a 750-ml. The 70-proof expression joins Hornitos’ existing Plata, Reposado, Añejo, Black Barrel and Lime Shot entries.

•Anheuser-Busch InBev will increase its advertising support behind Michelob Ultra beginning next month while rolling out a new packaging design, AdAge reports. Media spending for the brand will reportedly reach its highest levels in Michelob Ultra’s 13-year history. It’s part of a push to accelerate growth by positioning Ultra to reach a broader range of consumers. The athletic-themed marketing efforts will feature a more easy-going message and social tone. The brand recently transitioned from Havas’ Palm & Havas agency to Interpublic’s FCB in Chicago. The new packaging aims for a more sophisticated look. According to Impact Databank, Michelob Ultra grew 7.6% in the U.S. last year to 53.7 million (2.25-gallon) cases.

•Heineken has unveiled a new patented on-premise draught system called BrewLock that includes a recyclable 20-liter PET keg containing a bladder in which the beer resides. In contrast to traditional kegs that rely on a blend of carbon dioxide and nitrogen, BrewLock uses “a small, customized air compressor that exerts pressure in the area between the shell and the bladder, pushing the beer through the draught lines untouched, which guarantees a perfectly carbonated beer every time,” Heineken says. The brewer adds that the BrewLock kegs are slightly lighter than traditional steel kegs, are horizontally stackable and have driven trial its brands in test accounts. The system is rolling out to select markets with both Heineken lager and Newcastle Brown Ale available in the format.

•Brown-Forman has named company veteran Marshall Farrer as managing director, global travel retail. Farrer joined Brown-Forman in 1988, and has served in a wide variety of roles, including most recently vice president, global brand director for Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey. Farrer replaces Jim Perry, who will now lead B-F’s business across a swath of emerging markets as senior vice president. Perry’s territory will now include India, the Middle East, Africa, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The changes are effective May 1.

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