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

News Briefs for August 18, 2015

August 18, 2015

•Constellation Brands has formed a new venture to invest in drinks companies. The new investment arm, called Constellation Ventures, is purchasing a stake in Crafthouse Cocktails, a Chicago-based company that produces pre-mixed bottled cocktails. While terms of the deal weren’t released, Constellation told the Wall Street Journal that it was buying under a third of Crafthouse, at a price of less than $10 million. The move is similar to strategies followed by other major drinks players in recent years.

•MillerCoors is preparing to launch Henry’s Hard Soda, a new 4.2%-abv alcoholic soda brand, AdAge reports. Slated to roll out in January, the range will initially feature two expressions—Henry’s Hard Ginger Ale and Henry’s Hard Orange—packaged in six-packs of 12-ounce bottles ($8.99 each) and individual 16-ounce cans. The Henry’s launch, which will be backed by a national television and digital marketing campaign, follows the recent emergence of hard root beer brands such as Small Town Brewery’s Not Your Father’s Root Beer, which is distributed by Pabst Brewing and expected to achieve a national reach by year-end.

•Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) has named Russell Motz as its vice president, retail national accounts, effective September 1. Motz, who has been with RNDC since 1992, currently leads the distributor’s Texas state wine team as an executive vice president. He’ll report directly to Greg Bowdish, vice president, national accounts and marketing, and will remain based in RNDC’s Grand Prairie, Texas office.

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