Saturday, December 31, 2011

Economic Buzz: Rum Distillery Heading to Jeff Davis Parish

(this article was written by Olivia Vidal with KPLC 7News which was posted on December 28, 2011- permission was granted to post this article)

A rum distillery is in the process of being built in Lacassine by a local company called Louisiana Spirits.

The company will use resources like sugar cane and other Louisiana product to make a Louisiana-made rum.

President of Louisiana Spirits Trey Litle said starting a distillery like this was a dream of his, along with his brother and friend.

"We really like the Lacassine area. We've been duck hunting for years there," Litle said. "And felt that being close to the sugar mill and being close to the sugar cane growing was a good thing."

Litle said he's been in the spirit business going on 10 years now.

"We'll be using Louisiana sugarcane and Louisiana product to make a true Louisiana rum," Litle said.

But putting his dream to reality wasn't easy.

Construction has begun on the facility, but the zoning for the commercial property right off the I-10 exit at Lacassine was zoned incorrectly.

It was zoned as an I-1, which means the commercial property can be used for light manufacturing. But the land needed to be an I-2 in order to have a distillery. An I-2allows the property to be used for more intense manufacturing, which would allow the rum distillery on the property.

The Jefferson Davis Parish Police Jury had to approve this change and they did so at their meeting the night of Wednesday, December 28.

Executive Director for Jeff Davis Parish Economic Development Marion Fox said now that the zoning change has been approved, the plans for the rum distillery can move forward.

"It's a go!" Fox said. She said this type of facility will help boost economic development as well as tourism.

"It's a Louisiana product and that means everybody wants to come to Louisiana to eat, and to listen to music and now to drink Louisiana rum," Fox said.

The rum distillery will provide up to 25 full time jobs at first. In January the Louisiana Spirit website will be up and running and the design plans will be released.

Click HERE for the complete story. Please visit us at The Rum Shop for all your rum-related needs, including purchasing rum on-line, rum recipes, rum tasting notes, rum event information and rum consulting services. "Got Rum?" Magazine is back in circulation, get your free copy HERE.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Interview: Wayne Chaplin of Southern Wine & Spirits

(by Shanken News Daily) Southern Wine & Spirits is the nation’s largest spirits and wine distributor, with estimated revenues of more than $9 billion for calendar year 2011. The company now has operations in 34 states and Washington, D.C., and also has a distribution license for the state of Texas, although it has yet to make a move in the Lone Star state. It’s always a busy time at Southern—even if 2011 has been relatively quiet on the deal-making front, the company is constantly on the move. Shanken News Daily recently spoke with Wayne Chaplin, Southern’s president and COO, about the company’s performance in 2011 and the strategic issues that lie ahead.

SND: How has your business progressed in 2011?

Chaplin: Despite the challenging economy, wine and spirits is still a great business. It continues to outperform many other consumer product categories. When you look at brands over $2 million in sales through the grocery channel in Nielsen data, volumes in wine and spirits both are in the top 10 among consumer goods categories. As for Southern Wine & Spirits, our volume year-on-year is up by more than 5% for both wines and spirits. In dollar terms, our spirits business is up 6% and wine is up by more than 7%. Overall, we’re in a great position to exceed our revenue projection for 2011.

SND: In our last report on the U.S. wholesalers, we reported that you were projecting total revenues of $9.14 billion for 2011. Are you on target with that?

Chaplin: That’s conservative.

SND: How big is your national footprint now? How many states are you in?

Chaplin: Currently we’re operating in 35 markets—including 17 open markets and 18 control states. We’re the only broker in all control markets. In the Pacific Northwest, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Minnesota, we have joint ventures where we take the lead on sales and our partners leverage their distribution platform. In Texas and Nebraska, we’re licensed but don’t yet have an active operation in either market. We’re challenging the residency requirement in Missouri, and if successful we’ll seek the right opportunity to enter that market as well.

Click HERE for the complete story. Please visit us at The Rum Shop for all your rum-related needs, including purchasing rum on-line, rum recipes, rum tasting notes, rum event information and rum consulting services. "Got Rum?" Magazine is back in circulation, get your free copy HERE.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Railean Distillery Open House Event

Saturday, December 17 from 12-4
Eagle Point Distillery
341 5th Street, San Leon, Texas
(Just 4 blocks south of the intersection of FM 646 & FM 517)

Forget the shopping malls this holiday season, head on down to San Leon & the Railean Eagle Point Distillery. Come for the food, fun, and of course….samples of Railean Rum & Railean Blue Agave! Check out the new Railean merchandise (makes a great Holiday gift) and Railean herself (Master Distiller) will be available to sign bottles purchased from local liquor stores. or 713-545-2742

Friday, December 09, 2011

Texas Retailer Sigel’s Reveals Female-Friendly Strategy

(by Shanken News Daily) The buying power of women has soared, with most estimates showing that female shoppers account for more than 80% of all purchasing decisions. Beverage alcohol is very much in that mix, and many liquor retailers have responded by revamping their selling strategies. Tony Bandiera Jr., owner and CEO of the 13-unit Sigel’s Beverages L.P. in Dallas, Texas, has modeled all his stores with female shoppers in mind, and the effort has paid off. Last year, females accounted for 52% of Sigel’s customer base and a similar share of the retailer’s $120 million in annual sales. Shanken News Daily recently interviewed Bandiera, along with Sigel’s president of marketing John Rector, to discuss their strategies for appealing to female shoppers.

SND: Sigel’s is known for offering a vast product selection in every category. How does that tie in with appealing to the female shopper?

Bandiera: We do have a very large selection—one of the largest in the marketplace—because women like to see a lot of options and prefer to spend more time browsing than men. Women are more willing to sample new products and change brands, so many tasting events—except perhaps for whisk(e)y and a few other categories—skew heavily female. For instance, the shoppers at our liqueurs and cordials tasting festival are 75% female.

SND: What focus do you place on the shopping environment to garner female loyalty?

Bandiera: The presentation needs to be exceptional, and the stores need to be extremely neat. Men are going in with a purpose and don’t care what’s around them, but female shoppers are concerned about clutter. Our stores have a Neiman Marcus look: Our floor stacks don’t rise above five feet. Our interiors are aesthetically pleasing. It may seem counterintuitive to what you see in grocery stores, but we feel that women are anxious about tall sets of shelves that don’t allow a wide-open view of the store. They appreciate a clear view of what’s at the end of an aisle, from the beginning of that aisle. Wide aisles also are important. Shoppers should have spacious aisles so two people standing back-to-back won’t have to worry about bumping into each other. We also hire off-duty police to maintain a presence in stores and to direct traffic in parking lots during the high season. Our interiors are brightly lit and our parking lots are overlit. We’re not really worried about the safety of our customers per se, but there is a stigma attached to package stores, and we want to dispel that by making our customers feel comfortable shopping with us.

SND: How can employees provide women with customer service and education without smacking of condescension?

Bandiera: When a female shopper walks into a store, she wants to have equal treatment; she doesn’t want to be treated any more or less than the typical male shopper. But we do have employees on hand to help women to their cars with oversized packages. The main idea is not to patronize female shoppers—they know what’s going on around them. I think people know when you’re genuine and when you’re talking down to them. We strive to make them feel well-received and well-respected.

SND: Do you use specific merchandising strategies to capture female business?

Rector: In terms of product displays, color is an important aspect of our store and a definite influence in how we set our shelves. We try to capture the eye of female shoppers.

Bandiera: If you position two similar-looking products side-by-side on store shelves, they become completely washed out. So you need to contrast two very different label colors and bottle styles on the shelves so they’re visible and appeal to female shoppers.

SND: How have you geared your product selection to appeal to women?

Rector: Not to any great degree. But if something is presented to us as female-centric, we usually will go with it. For instance, the response to the recent launch of the Skinnygirl Margarita was 97% female. Products like that have been very popular among female shoppers.

SND: Have you found that male shoppers are appreciative of female-geared retailing strategies?

Bandiera: Absolutely. Many of our male customers feel very comfortable shopping with us for that reason. Before we realized that our Elite store status concept had taken off, tons of male customers had given us compliments. I’m very flattered when a customer notices change of any sort—other than the price of our wines.

Cockspur Rum is Preparing a Caribbean Christmas with Silver Belle Rum Cocktail

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) Opens Fine Wine & Good Spirits Store in Philadelphia

(this news brief was posted by Shanken News Daily on December 8, 2011) The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) has opened its latest large-format Fine Wine & Good Spirits store in Philadelphia. Now the largest rebranded PLCB store in the state, the Philadelphia outpost is one of around 10 liquor stores that have recently been renovated under the PLCB’s new, customer-focused retail concept. In addition to an improved floor plan and more welcoming atmosphere, the new store features the concept’s signature center table, which offers staff assistance, a tasting bar and educational and promotional materials. The PLCB aims to redesign all its retail stores over the next five years.

Southern Wine & Spirits Names Stuart Gray VP-General Manager of Pacific Wine & Spirits (PWS) in California

(this news brief was posted by Shanken News Daily on December 7, 2011) Southern Wine & Spirits has named Stuart Gray vice president-general manager of the company’s Pacific Wine & Spirits (PWS) selling division in California. The PWS Division in California represents the Diageo and Moët Hennessy portfolios across the state. Gray joined Pacific Wine & Spirits in Southern California in 2010, first as vice president-sales manager and then as vice president-trade development. Prior to that he was a veteran of E&J Gallo, beginning in 1992 and working his way up to national director of trade development. In his new role, Gray will report to Gerry Rivero, executive vice president and general manager of Coastal-Pacific Wine & Spirits’ corporate leadership team.

Nielsen: Prepared Cocktails, Flavored Vodkas, Irish Whiskey Still Drive Off-Premise Growth

(this news brief was posted by Shanken News Daily on December 5, 2011) Total spirits sales grew 2.8% by volume in the 52-week period ending November 12, 2011 to 57.7 million cases, according to the latest figures from Nielsen. Off-premise growth was even faster on a dollar basis, up 3.5% to $8.37 billion over the same time period.

Vodka, rum, Bourbon and cordials/liqueurs continue to be the biggest sellers in Nielsen channels, but double-digit growth was recorded over the past 52 weeks by prepared cocktails, flavored vodkas and Irish whiskey. Skinnygirl Margarita and Malibu Cocktails led the increase in prepared cocktails, while Jameson continued to spearhead the growth of Irish whiskies. Pinnacle Whipped led the advance of flavored vodkas, and including the Cherry, Orange and Chocolate variants, the Pinnacle Whipped line is projected to sell close to one million cases total by year-end.

Ultra-premium spirits (average price of $35.43 a 750-ml.) comprised less than 5% of overall volume but were the fastest-growing price segment, up 10.3% by volume in the 52-week period. Premium-priced spirits ($18.22 a 750-ml. on average) grew 4.5% by volume, while mid-priced brands ($10.58 average) increased 2.6%. Value-priced spirits ($6.62 average) lagged the industry at just 1.1% growth, another sign that consumers might be trading up a bit in the off-premise, even in an uncertain economy.

Nielsen tracks alcohol sales in food/drug/liquor stores and other select channels that collectively account for 30% of the total U.S. spirits market by volume, as estimated by Impact.

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) Allowing Wine and Liquor to be Purchased on its Website

(this news brief was posted by Shanken News Daily on November 30, 2011) The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) is now allowing wine and liquor purchased on its website to be shipped directly to home and business addresses. A shipping fee of $14 will be added to deliveries that include one to three bottles, with an additional dollar added for each bottle after that. Prior to this change in policy, consumers who made purchases on the PLCB website had to pick up their goods at a local PLCB store. The board had been hesitant to make the change because it feared easier access for underage drinkers. To address that concern, PLCB has partnered with UPS and will require a valid photo ID and signature upon delivery.

Sammy Hagar Unveils New Product, Sammy's Beach Bar Rum

(this news brief was posted by Shanken News Daily on November 28, 2011) Rock musician and spirits entrepreneur Sammy Hagar has unveiled a new product, Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, in partnership with Maui-based Haliimaile Distilling Company. The small-batch silver rum was officially introduced last week at the Hard Rock Café in Waikiki. It’s made from Hawaii-grown sugar cane matured for a full two years and is designed to be sipped as well as mixed in cocktails. Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum is currently only available for sale in Hawaii, but Hagar plans to extend distribution to the rest of the U.S. in early 2012. This is Hagar’s second venture into the spirits business, as he launched the Cabo Wabo Tequila brand before selling 80% of it to Italy’s Gruppo Campari for $80 million in 2008 and the remaining 20% for $11 million to the same company in August 2010.

Cockspur Rum Preparing for the Thanksgiving Holiday

Pernod Ricard Appoints Jonas Tåhlin as VP Global Marketing for Absolut

News Brief by Shanken News Daily posted on November 14, 2011)
Pernod Ricard has appointed Jonas Tåhlin as vice president global marketing for the Absolut Co. He replaces Anna Malmhake, who was appointed CEO of Irish Distillers earlier this year. Tåhlin will be based in Stockholm and have responsibility for global marketing of the Absolut vodka, Malibu rum and Kahlúa coffee liqueur brands. His previous posts at Pernod Ricard include vice president marketing, vodka at Pernod Ricard USA; regional director for the Americas; and zone director, West Europe. Previous to working at Pernod, Tåhlin served in various brand management positions at Procter & Gamble in the Nordic, Western Europe and Latin America regions.

High-End Spirits Continue To Drive Off-Premise Growth, IRI Numbers Show

(this news brief was posted by Shanken News Daily on November 14, 2011) Entering the key holiday-selling season, the spirits industry is showing solid momentum. Spirits sales in food and drug stores were up 2.5% by volume in the 52 weeks ending October 30, 2011, according to Chicago-based SymphonyIRI Group. Off-premise growth was even better on a dollar basis, up 3.2% over the same time period. The data represent roughly 15% of the total U.S. spirits market, as estimated by Impact Databank.

High-end brands continue to drive the market, as super-premium, ultra-premium and luxury-priced spirits, with an average price of just under $20 per 750-ml. bottle, combined for 7.8% volume growth during the past 52 weeks, as well as a 6.8% increase by value. On the other hand, lower-priced segments ($8.60 per bottle on average), combined for just a 1.4% increase by both volume and value.

The fastest-growing spirit types over the past 52 weeks were all priced above the industry average, including Irish whiskey (+23.9% by volume), imported vodka (+15.4%), single malt Scotch (+9.8%) and Cognac (+8.6%), while declines continued for blended Scotch (-5.6%), non-Cognac brandy (-3.3%) and gin (-3.1%).

Among the 200 largest-selling brands ranked by dollar sales, triple-digit growth was recorded during the past 52 weeks by Pinnacle, Skinnygirl, Camarena, Tito’s, Malibu cocktails and The Kraken rum. Among the 25 largest-selling brands in food/drug stores, Jameson (+30.1%) and Svedka (+18.5%) had the fastest volume growth.

Serrallés USA Rolling Out New Aged White Rum, Caliche

(this news brief was posted by Shanken News Daily on November 10, 2011) Serrallés USA is set to roll out a new aged white rum label, Caliche, this March. A joint project between sixth-generation rum distiller Roberto Serrallés of Distilería Serrallés and American nightlife entrepreneur Randee Gerber, Caliche will be priced within the $21.99-$24.99 range. Designed primarily for cocktail occasions, the 80-proof offering will receive an on-premise-focused launch in New York City, Miami, Los Angeles and Chicago before expanding into additional markets. In addition to Caliche, Serrallés’s existing U.S. portfolio includes Impact “Hot Prospect” winner DonQ rum and the recently launched Blackbeard spiced rum brand.

Georgia Cities Approve Sunday Alcohol Sales

(this news brief was posted by Shanken News Daily on November 9, 2011) Numerous Georgia cities, including Atlanta, Savannah and Valdosta, have approved Sunday alcohol sales in stores. Statewide, approximately 120 of Georgia’s 694 cities and counties voted on the legislation yesterday, with a majority of metro Atlanta’s 51 jurisdictions approving the measure, according to early poll results. At least two cities—Palmetto and Forest Park—have blocked the initiative so far. Prior to yesterday’s vote, Georgia had been one of three states—alongside Indiana and Connecticut—that prohibited Sunday alcohol sales statewide.

Celebrate Halloween the Red Rum Way

Pernod Ricard USA In Innovation Drive With Malibu Red, Jameson Black Barrel

(this news brief was posted by Shanken News Daily on October 31, 2011) Pernod Ricard USA has unveiled two spirits innovations in recent days: Malibu Red, and Jameson Black Barrel. Malibu Red, slated to appear in the U.S. in early 2012, is a blend of coconut rum and silver Tequila. It was developed in collaboration with R&B singer and actor Ne-Yo, who will promote the new offering through a long-term partnership with Pernod. Malibu Red is 70-proof—higher than Malibu’s core 42-proof label. Its price hasn’t been released, but it will retail at a premium to the core brand’s $14 a 750-ml. Pernod expects Malibu Red to “expand Malibu usage year-round and into new occasions,” namely “nightclubs and high-energy accounts.” The company will back the new launch with TV, print, online and out-of-home ads, as well as exclusive multimedia content featuring Ne-Yo.

Malibu, which slid by around 70,000 cases in the U.S. market from 2007-2009, resumed growth last year (rising 1.9% to 1.64 million cases), and has seen continued revitalization so far this year, Pernod says. Global net sales for the brand were up 17% in the three months through September. (Malibu does about half of its global business in the U.S.)

Meanwhile, Pernod has introduced an upscale extension to its soaring Jameson Irish whiskey brand, Jameson Select Reserve Black Barrel. Black Barrel is blended from small-batch grain whiskey, triple-distilled on one occasion each year, matured in flame-charred Bourbon oak casks, and finally blended with single pot still Irish whiskey to create the final product, which sells for roughly $35 a bottle. Jameson, which now sells over 1 million cases in the U.S. annually—or 71% of its global total—continues to see torrid growth at the super-premium price tier, with U.S. net sales rising 53% in the recently completed third quarter.

Cockspur Rum Preparing for Halloween

Diageo Rolling Out New Dispensing System Across European Markets

(this news brief was posted by Shanken News Daily on October 28, 2011) Diageo is rolling out a new dispensing system across European markets for a ready-to-serve cocktail range featuring several brands in its portfolio. The Rapak technology featuring a bag-in-a-box serving system will allow bars to offer cocktails at more accessible price points. It also aims for convenience, as the bags are easily exchanged and fitted into the dispensing system. The bag-in-a-box offers 67 servings per pack and is available in Smirnoff Mojito, Pampero Mojito and Cacique Mojito. The new system will be featured in 12,000 bars and restaurants across 11 countries in Europe by the end of the year.

Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (DISCUS) Speaks Out Against a Proposal in Cook County, Illinois

(this news brief was posted by Shanken News Daily on October 27, 2011) The Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (DISCUS) is speaking out against a proposal in Cook County, Illinois to raise spirits taxes by 25%, calling it a job-killing measure for the local hospitality industry. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle has proposed an increase of the county excise tax on spirits to $2.50 per gallon, up from the current $2.00 per gallon. According to DISCUS, the hospitality industry in Chicago is still down 13,000 jobs from when the recession began. The city has had three tax hikes in recent years—two city tax increases in 2005 and 2008, and one state excise tax increase in 2009—which have nearly doubled spirits taxes.

Massachusetts State Senate Passed an Amendment Allowing State Restaurants and Bars to Offer Happy Hour Drink Deals

(this news brief was posted by Shanken News Daily on October 27, 2011) The Massachusetts State Senate passed an amendment this month to a casino bill that would allow state restaurants and bars to offer happy hour drink deals, a practice outlawed in Massachusetts more than 25 years ago. The casino bill calls for construction of three casinos with the permission to serve discounted or free alcoholic beverages to patrons. The bill has yet to reach Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s desk, as the Massachusetts House of Representative still must reconcile differences with the Senate.