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

News Briefs for May 19, 2015

May 19, 2015

•France’s Barton & Guestier (B&G) has launched an estate-bottled rosé, La Villa Barton Côtes de Provence AOC, in the U.S. market. Available nationwide ahead of the summer season, La Villa Barton is sourced from the region around St. Tropez and consists of Grenache (45%), Syrah (35%) and Cinsault (25%). Imported by Barton & Guestier USA, the suggested retail price on the new rosé is $19.99 a 750-ml. Since 2010, Barton & Guestier has been part of the Castel Group, which has global volume of 10 million bottles annually.

•Boston-based Latitude Beverage Company, known for its 90+ Cellars wine brand, is introducing a new Sangria label, Mija. Latitude’s Mija Sangria is made with 100% real fruit juice—including pomegranate, açai and Mediterranean blood orange—and retails at around $11 a bottle. The 9.5%-abv entry is packaged in a 750-ml. bottle with a flip top. Mija Sangria is debuting this week at retail in Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Illinois, New Hampshire, Maine, Maryland, Vermont and Washington, D.C.

•Los Angeles-based Pabst Brewing Co. has won exclusive import rights to Chinese beer brand Tsingtao in the U.S. Previously, the brand had been handled stateside by Constellation Brands. According to Pabst, Tsingtao—which is brewed and bottled in China—is the leading imported Chinese beer brand in the U.S. In other company news, Pabst has forged a new distribution agreement with hard root beer producer Small Town Brewery. Based in Wauconda, Illinois, Small Town Brewery produces the Not Your Father’s Root Beer brand, which includes a 5.9%-abv core offering available in 12-ounce bottled six-packs, as well as a pair of higher-alcohol limited entries. Pabst Brewing, which is owned by Blue Ribbon Intermediate Holdings LLC (backed by TSG Consumer Partners), has an existing portfolio including the Pabst Blue Ribbon, Schlitz, Old Milwaukee and Old Style brands.

•Voli Vodka is launching its 80-proof extension into seven new markets this year. Previously, the offshoot had only been available in Florida. Initially entering New York and California, Voli Vodka 80 Proof is also set to expand into Georgia, Colorado, New Jersey, Texas and Tennessee by the end of the year. The 80-proof offering, which is produced in Cognac, France, will be available in 750-ml. and 1-liter bottles, priced at around $24.99 and $29.99, respectively. In addition to 80 Proof, the Voli range includes the brand’s core Original Light, Mango Coconut and Lemon expressions (all of which are around 60 proof), which retail at $19.99 a 750-ml.

•Ste. Michelle Wine Estates has appointed Dennis Butler national director of sales, imports. A nearly 30-year veteran of the drinks industry, Butler has been with Ste. Michelle since 1997, and is credited with driving sales growth in Florida and the broader Southeast region during his tenure with the group. In his new role, Butler will continue to be based in Florida, and will report directly to Frank Genovese, Ste. Michelle’s executive vice president of sales. Ste. Michelle’s import portfolio includes Marchesi Antinori, Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte and Miguel Torres among others.

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