Thursday, August 16, 2012

Plantation 3 Stars by Cognac Ferrand Launches In September

(News Brief by Shanken News Daily) Cognac Ferrand’s Plantation rum franchise is launching its first white rum, Plantation 3 Stars, in the U.S. this September. Named for three of the Caribbean’s rum producing islands—Barbados, Trinidad and Jamaica—Plantation 3 Stars is a blend of three-year-old, carbon-filtered rum from Trinidad, un-aged rums from both Barbados and Jamaica and a 12-year-old Jamaican rum. The 41.2%-abv offering will roll out nationwide, priced at around $24.99 a 1-liter bottle. Last year, Cognac Ferrand reported a U.S. sales volume of 70,000 cases across its Pierre Ferrand Cognac, Cerbois Armagnac, Mathilde liqueurs, Plantation rum, Daron Calvados and Citadelle gin brands.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Seasons 52 Partners With Enrique Iglesias's Atlantico Rum To Debut Two New Signature Cocktails

(News brief by Shanken News Daily) Darden Restaurants-owned Seasons 52 has partnered with music star Enrique Iglesias’s Atlantico rum to debut two new signature cocktails. Throughout the summer, Seasons 52 will offer the Watermelon Refresher using Atlantico Platino, watermelon and agave nectar; and the Strawberry Lemon Euphoria with Atlantico Reserva, fresh strawberries, lemon juice, lemon wedges and mint. Atlantico is a Dominican rum selling for around $35 a bottle. Iglesias became a partner in the brand with founders Brandon Lieb and Aleco Azqueta last fall. Seasons 52 currently operates 23 restaurants in 13 states across the country, with additional restaurants opening in Santa Monica and Los Angeles, California, and Dallas, Texas, this fall.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Louisiana Spirits Expects To Be Up And Running By This Fall

(News Brief by Shanken News Daily) Craft distiller Louisiana Spirits expects to have its new rum distillery up and running by this fall, with rum expected to be available by year-end, according to local press reports. Construction on the company’s $5 million distillery, located in Lacassine in southern Louisiana, began last fall. The site will also include a 12,000-square-foot warehouse and 6,000-square-foot tasting room and visitors center. Initially, Louisiana Spirits will use local sugar and molasses to produce about 200 gallons a day of light and spiced rums, with more products to follow. Company president Trey Litel formerly worked in sales and marketing at Bacardi USA.

Serrallés USA and Death’s Door Spirits Unveil a New 25,000-Square-foot Craft Distillery in Middleton, Wisconsin

(News Brief by Shanken News Daily) Serrallés USA and Death’s Door Spirits have unveiled a new 25,000-square-foot craft distillery in Middleton, Wisconsin. Featuring a 2,000-liter still and six 3,100-gallon fermentation tanks, the state-of-the-art facility will bring Death’s Door’s capacity to 200,000 six-bottle cases. Founded in 2005 on Wisconsin’s Washington Island, Death’s Door inked a long-term, national U.S. distribution and marketing agreement with Serrallés USA—the U.S. unit of Puerto Rico’s Destilería Serrallés—last year. The craft distiller’s portfolio includes its flagship Death’s Door gin, as well as a vodka and white whiskey, all priced between $29.99-$34.99 a bottle. According to Serrallés USA, Death’s Door sold a total of around 16,300 six-bottle cases last year.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Rum Liqueur RumChata Enjoying Fast Start Through Cross-Category Appeal

(by Shanken News Daily) Rum-based cream liqueur RumChata may be a difficult brand to classify, but there’s no ambiguity about its success in the first half of 2012. In the first six months of the year, RumChata shipped more than 1 million bottles (the equivalent of roughly 83,000 cases) in the U.S. market, and its impressive growth trend—17,000 cases sold in calendar 2010 and 64,000 cases sold in 2011—suggests that it may well grow much larger in the near future.

Introduced in 2009, the 13.8%-abv RumChata is a mix of five-times distilled Caribbean rum and Wisconsin dairy cream. It’s produced and bottled by Agave Loco Brands of Pewauwee, Wisconsin, and retails for $19.95 per 750-ml.

While relatively new offerings like RumChata are often strongly reliant on a single region and/or channel, the brand’s early success has been quite diverse. Available in 49 states, RumChata has enjoyed its fastest growth in Wisconsin, Maryland, Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska. Until recently, its sales were basically split 50-50 between the on-premise and off-premise channels, although the addition of new sizes and expanded distribution is now skewing the balance towards the off-premise. Recent Nielsen national scan data ranks RumChata among both the U.S. market’s leading rum and cream liqueur brands.

Straddling the rum and cream liqueur segments, RumChata has benefited from a diverse consumer base and has carved out a place in various consumption occasions. The brand’s younger consumers often drink it as a straight shot or mixed in a variety of shooters, while older consumers tend to drink it on the rocks or in their coffee.

RumChata’s versatility has made it increasingly popular among bartenders and mixologists, Agave Loco tells Shanken News Daily, and the brand is also gaining notice via social media outlets like Facebook. A cameo appearance in a 2011 episode of HBO’s “Entourage” has also raised RumChata’s profile. On pace to add roughly 100,000 cases to its volume this year, RumChata certainly appears to be a brand to watch.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Diageo Launches Premixed Cocktails in Frozen Pouches

(News Brief by Shanken News Daily) Diageo has launched new premixed cocktails in frozen pouches under the Parrot Bay and Smirnoff brand names. The new offerings are at 5% abv and retail for $1.99 a 10-ounce pouch. Parrot Bay’s frozen pouch flavors include Strawberry Daiquiri, Mango Daiquiri and Piña Colada, while Smirnoff’s line is comprised of Strawberry Lemonade, Blue Raspberry Lemonade and Cherry Limeade. Diageo suggests freezing the pouches overnight and enjoying them by squeezing into a glass the next day. One key competitor in the segment is Daily’s (American Beverage Corp.), which recently filed a federal trademark lawsuit against Diageo claiming the new Parrot Bay frozen pouches are too similar to the Daily’s design.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Focusing On Aged Rums, Appleton Estate Seeks To Expand Foothold In U.S. Market

(by Shanken News Daily) Appleton Estate rum is rolling out a 50-year-old variant this year in an effort to raise its profile in the U.S. market. The Jamaican rum, which joined the Kobrand portfolio in 2008 (it was previously with Brown-Forman), saw its U.S. volume grow from about 100,000 cases in 2002 to 150,000 cases in 2009, though it’s been flat since then. Owned by J. Wray & Nephew, the brand’s annual global volume is 1.2 million cases.

“The standard rum category is pretty flat in the U.S.,” says Appleton’s master blender Joy Spence. “But the premium category is growing, so we’ll continue to focus on that segment. Our aged rums—the Reserve, 12-year-old and 21-year-old—are the clear priority.”

Spence adds that Appleton’s aged offerings are matured for the minimum number of years stated on the bottle—akin to Scotch whiskies but unlike many other rum brands, some of which use an average age for their statements.

Seeking to further extend its footprint in the age-statement rum category, Appleton introduced a limited-edition 30-year-old two years ago, and this year it’s seeking to burnish its image with a limited-edition 50-year-old, which Spence says is the oldest rum on the market. The Appleton Estate 50-year-old, which is being released in honor of Jamaica’s 50th year of independence, comes in a Glencairn crystal decanter and sells for $5,000 a bottle. Only 60 bottles will make their way to the U.S. (out of global production of 800 bottles), where consumers can find them through an “online white-glove concierge service.”

The Appleton line also includes a V/X level ($18), which is geared toward cocktails. Spence says that while the emphasis remains on the aged rums, which are mainly meant to be sipped, Appleton’s mixology-friendly extensions are playing a key role in building the brand’s presence in the on-premise, another point of focus.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Texas Retail Market Continues To Be Cross-Border Battleground

(by Shanken News Daily) Competition at the Texas retail tier, once a local affair, continues to escalate into an intense statewide battle. Texas is already the biggest state for alcohol sales behind California, and unlike much of the country, it’s in economic expansion mode. State economic trends, along with population gains and liberalized alcohol laws, have enticed retailers to boost their presence dramatically.

Houston-based Spec’s was operating about 100 stores at the start of the year. By July 1, Spec’s is projected to have around 135 units, with more expected later this year. That’s nearly double the 71 stores Spec’s operated at the end of 2010.

“Houston has always been a competitive market,” says John Rydman, owner of Spec’s, pointing to rivalries with grocery chains like Kroger, which markets wine and beer. “The only market that wasn’t particularly competitive was Dallas. It was under a bubble, but now that is changing.”

Local option elections in Dallas in recent years have transformed formerly dry areas into markets where wine and beer, at least, can be sold for off-premise consumption. Those revised selling laws have changed the Dallas retail landscape, as grocery and convenience stores have added beer and wine, while package store operators from other Texas markets—including Spec’s and San Antonio-based Gabriel’s—have entered Dallas.

Ronnie Gabriel, president of the 53-unit Gabriel’s chain, expanded into Dallas last year. “We did it to keep up with the times,” Gabriel said. “You’ve got to watch out for what the future might bring.” Gabriel’s now leases space and manages the liquor department within a newly opened Sam’s Club in Dallas.

Total Wine & More entered Texas in June, opening a store in Dallas, less than a mile from a newly launched Spec’s. Billed as “a new generation concept for the company,” the Total Wine store will have “the largest selection in Dallas,” Total Wine claims. Company president and co-owner David Trone recently told Shanken News Daily that Total Wine is scouting other locations in the Dallas/Fort Worth market, with a new location expected to open in the fall. Total Wine is looking to open stores statewide, targeting metro markets such as San Antonio.

Texas liquor store operators are now bracing for the entry of other major out-of-state players. Trader Joe’s plans four stores in the Dallas metroplex this year, including a location on Hulen Street in Fort Worth that opened June 15. A Trader Joe’s will open in Plano (Preston Road) in early September, followed by two Dallas locations (Greenville Avenue and Preston Hollow Village) in the first quarter of 2013. Trader Joe’s also opened a store in the Houston area (The Woodlands) on June 15 and plans other openings in Houston and San Antonio this year, as well as a launch in San Antonio that’s slated for 2014. All those stores will offer beer and wine.

Meanwhile, Texas continues to liberalize its selling laws. New state laws passed in 2003 and 2005 made it easier for pro-alcohol initiatives to get on the ballot in Texas, creating a surge in statewide local option elections. According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, there were some 545 elections attempting to legalize beverage alcohol sales in some form between 2004 and 2011, with a success rate of 77%. During that period, only two communities have voted to prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages. Recent local option elections in May saw Texas voters pass 13 ballot initiatives to allow and/or extend alcohol sales in previously dry or damp Texas cities, representing a 100% passage rate for alcohol initiatives on the ballot.

All those changes have altered the playing field. “The wet-dry line (in Dallas) is now non-existent for beer and wine, and grocery stores have been quick to add wine,” says Eric Sorensen, owner of PK’s Fine Wine & Spirits, which has four locations in the Dallas market.

Austin Keith, owner of the Pinkie’s chain of package stores in western Texas, sympathizes with the likes of Sorensen. A few years ago, the city of Lubbock moved from dry to totally wet for off-premise beverage alcohol sales. With Pinkie’s stores located just outside the Lubbock line, the chain expected a big hit. Rather than stand pat, Keith opened three stores in Lubbock—a move he says has paid off.

As of May, Texas had 46 completely wet counties (allowing sales of beer, wine and spirits on-premise and off)—up from 35 in 2003—and 22 completely dry counties, where no alcohol sales are allowed. The remaining 186 are “damp”—where some alcohol sales are permitted, with limitations.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Bacardi To Take Havana Club National

(by Shanken News Daily) Following a recent victory in its U.S. legal battle over the Havana Club rum trademark with Pernod Ricard, Bacardi is gearing up to expand its version of the rum brand into national distribution. The Huffington Post quoted a Bacardi spokesperson as saying the national rollout of Havana Club will come “in the near future.” Bacardi told Shanken News Daily this morning it was too early to provide more specifics on the launch.

On May 14, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal from Pernod regarding its efforts to renew its Havana Club trademark in the U.S. Following that decision, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office now might cancel the trademark in question—thus paving the way for Bacardi to expand the footprint of its own Havana Club rum beyond the southern Florida market, where it’s currently sold in small quantities. Pernod responded to the Supreme Court’s demurral by registering a new trademark of its own, Havanista, under which it will market a Cuban rum in the U.S. if and when the government lifts its current embargo against Cuban products.

Bacardi Adds Two New Flavors: Wolf Berry and Black Razz

(News Brief by Shanken News Daily on 06/02/2012) Bacardi rum is rolling out two flavor extensions—Wolf Berry, a blend of blueberry and wolf (or goji) berry, and Black Razz, a mix of raspberry and black sapote. Both will be priced at $14.99 a 750-ml. Along with the new products, Bacardi is also releasing new packaging, including temperature- and light-activated bottles. When chilled, the Wolf Berry bottle shows a red claw mark across the label and Black Razz shows a large red berry logo. Bacardi is supporting the product launch with a multimillion-dollar campaign that focuses on sampling in the on-premise and advertising in key markets.

Beam Inc. Completes Acquisition from White Rock Distilleries

(News brief by Shanken News Daily on 06/01/2012) Beam Inc. has completed its acquisition of Pinnacle vodka and Calico Jack rum from White Rock Distilleries for $605 million. Last year, Pinnacle (an Impact Hot Brand) sold 2.7 million cases on 93% growth, and the brand has the potential to become Beam’s biggest-volume brand in the U.S. market by the end of 2012. Beam CEO Matt Shattock said the company will “substantially increase brand investment” in Pinnacle, which recently launched its first TV ads behind a $7-million 2012 ad budget under White Rock. Calico Jack rum, also an Impact Hot Brand, sold 400,000 cases on a 16% volume increase in 2011.

Bahama Breeze Introduces “Legendary Island Cocktail” Program

(News Brief by Shanken News Daily on 05/30/2012) Casual dining chain Bahama Breeze has introduced its “Legendary Island Cocktail” program, a premium list of eight tropically inspired drinks. Each of the cocktails are based on popular drinks originating from famous island locales, such as Cuba’s Hotel Nacional and the Parrot Club in San Juan. Program offerings include the Original Daiquiri (made with Bacardi Superior Rum), Painkiller (Pusser’s Dark Rum), Dark ’n Stormy (Gosling’s Black Seal Rum), Goombay Smash (Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum and Myers’s Original Dark Rum), Batida de Coco (Leblon Cachaça), Havana Hotel Special (Bacardi Superior Rum and DeKuyper apricot brandy), Parrot Passion (Cointreau and Bacardi Limón) and Barbados Rum Punch (Mount Gay Rum).

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Beam Inc. Completes Acquisitions From White Rock Distilleries For $605 Million

(News Brief by Shanken News Daily) Beam Inc. has completed its acquisition of Pinnacle vodka and Calico Jack rum from White Rock Distilleries for $605 million. Last year, Pinnacle (an Impact Hot Brand) sold 2.7 million cases on 93% growth, and the brand has the potential to become Beam’s biggest-volume brand in the U.S. market by the end of 2012. Beam CEO Matt Shattock said the company will “substantially increase brand investment” in Pinnacle, which recently launched its first TV ads behind a $7-million 2012 ad budget under White Rock. Calico Jack rum, also an Impact Hot Brand, sold 400,000 cases on a 16% volume increase in 2011.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bacardi Unveils Bacardi Classic Cocktails Light

(News Brief by Shanken News Daily) Bacardi has unveiled Bacardi Classic Cocktails Light, a new range of low-calorie, RTD beverages. Made with natural flavors, juice and cane sugar, the line-up includes Piña Colada and Mojito offerings at less than 95 calories per 4-ounce serving. The Classic Cocktails Light launch will be backed by a full ad campaign—which is set to run through September—and a partnership with actress Busy Phillips. Featuring print, digital and social media components, the campaign will also include sampling events in 22 key U.S. markets. Bacardi Classic Cocktails Light will be available nationwide in 750-ml. and 1.75-liter formats, priced at $19.99 for the latter.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Texas Voters Opt To Expand Liquor Sales

(by Shanken News Daily) Texas, the second-largest U.S. drinks market despite more than 20 dry counties within its borders, continues to liberalize its liquor sales laws in a big way. In results updated Wednesday, Texas voters passed 13 ballot initiatives to allow and/or extend alcohol sales in 11 previously dry or damp Texas cities. The vote represented a 100% passage rate for alcohol initiatives on the ballot.

The 13 ballot initiatives covered the 11 cities of Bartonville, Kyle, Muenster, Hudson Oaks, Rusk, Pantego, Mineral Wells, Heath, Knox City, Ferris and Saginaw. (Two cities, Ferris and Saginaw, each had two separate alcohol initiatives covering the on- and off-premise, bringing the total number of initiatives to 13.)

Kyle, Muenster and Hudson Oaks voted to liberalize alcohol sales in all forms. Bartonville, Rusk, Pantego and Mineral Wells voted to allow sales of all alcohol types in the off-premise only, while Heath and Knox City voted to allow beer and wine sales in the off-premise only. Ferris and Saginaw both voted to allow beer and wine sales in the off-premise and all alcohol for restaurants.

The vote means that municipalities like Knox City (population 1,200) will now be able to legally sell beer and wine for the first time since Prohibition, as well as extend all beverage alcohol sales to newly annexed areas of “wet” cities such as Cooke County’s city of Muenster.

Many Texas beverage alcohol laws are consistent statewide, but the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Code allows citizens to determine what types of beverages may be sold and where. Local option elections set liquor sales policy for counties, cities and even specific precincts.

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Sazerac Co. Agreed to Acquire Spirits Brands from White Rock Distilleries

(News Brief by Shanken News Daily) For the second time in nine months, Sazerac Co. has agreed to acquire a number of spirits brands from White Rock Distilleries. The brands include Baja, Tenure, Epic, Superia, Stroyski, El Charro, Blackmaker, Chocolate Valley Vines and others. The price for the sale, which becomes effective May 31, was undisclosed. Last September, Sazerac purchased more than 30 brands from White Rock, which also recently sold fast-rising Pinnacle Vodka and Calico Jack rum to Beam Inc.

Connecticut's Governor Signed Legislation to Legalize Sunday Sales of Alcohol

(News Brief by Shanken News Daily) Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy signed legislation to legalize Sunday sales of alcohol late yesterday afternoon. The law becomes effective immediately, meaning that Sunday sales will begin May 20. Sunday hours for package stores and grocery stores will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and package stores will now be allowed to sell fresh fruits used in cocktails, as well as olives, cheeses and crackers. The bill maintains minimum pricing laws, but does raise the permitted number of licenses per retailer from two to three. A bipartisan task force will now study the issues of minimum pricing, volume discounts and taxation, and prepare a report to be submitted to the legislature in January.

The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) Threaten to File a Complaint For Ongoing Rum Subsidy Batle

(News Brief by Shanken News Daily) The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) is threatening to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the U.S., regarding the region’s ongoing rum subsidy battle. The organization has been critical of recent measures taken by Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to use U.S. government refunds to create subsidies and incentives for large international rum producers like Bacardi and Diageo. CARICOM is claiming that the subsidies violate WTO regulations and make it impossible for smaller rum players to compete. Triggered by Diageo’s 2010 decision to shift production of its Captain Morgan rum brand from Puerto Rico to the USVI after being lured by higher rebates, the Caribbean rum war has since resulted in increased incentives for Bacardi—which does much of its production in Puerto Rico—as well as Beam Inc.’s Cruzan rum distillery in the USVI.

Pernod Launches New Cuban Rum Trademark After Supreme Court Opts To Stay Out Of Dispute

(by Shanken News Daily) With the U.S. Supreme Court deciding earlier today not to intervene in the long-running Havana Club trademark dispute between Pernod Ricard and Bacardi, Pernod has registered a new trademark—Havanista—with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office so that it can market a Cuban rum brand in the U.S. if the embargo with Cuba is eventually lifted.

The introduction of the Havanista trademark follows the U.S. High Court’s decision to leave intact the U.S. Treasury Department’s refusal to renew the Havana Club trademark that was held by Cubaexport, the state-owned agency that produces Havana Club. That decision paved the way for Bacardi to sell its own Havana Club brand in the U.S., which the rum giant has been doing in small quantities in the Florida market for the past five years.

Pernod—which has sold Havana Club around the world since forming an alliance with Cubaexport in 1993—and Bacardi have been embroiled in the trademark dispute since 1994, when Bacardi applied for a U.S. trademark for Havana Club. Pernod sells nearly 4 million cases of Havana Club annually, even though the brand is embargoed from the world’s largest premium rum market.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Beam Inc. Appoints Nicholas Fink as Senior Vice President

(News Brief by Shanken News Daily) Beam Inc. has appointed Nicholas Fink as senior vice president, chief strategy officer. In this role, Fink will lead all strategic planning and corporate development initiatives for the Chicago-based company. He has held a number of strategic business and commercial positions at Beam since joining the company in 2006, including his most recent position as vice president, strategy & corporate development, in which he led the company’s recent $605 million acquisition of Pinnacle Vodka and Calico Jack rum from White Rock Distilleries. Prior to joining Beam, Fink was a partner in the corporate department of the law firm of Bell, Boyd & Lloyd.

American Beverage Corp. (ABC) is Suing Diageo

(News Brief by Shanken News Daily) Verona, Pennsylvania-based American Beverage Corp. (ABC) is suing Diageo in Pennsylvania, charging that Diageo’s Parrot Bay single-serve frozen cocktail pouches could create consumer confusion because of their alleged similarities to ABC’s own Daily’s Cocktail pouches, which debuted in 2005. American Beverage filed a trademark lawsuit in federal court in Pittsburgh earlier this week, asking the court to intervene to “restrain and enjoin (Diageo’s) infringing conduct” before the key summer selling season. Diageo issued a statement saying it was “confident it would prevail in this matter,” while ABC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Connecticut Sunday Sales Bill Passes Senate, Heads To Governor’s Desk

(by Shanken News Daily) Less than a week after clearing Connecticut’s House of Representatives, a Sunday alcohol sales initiative yesterday passed the state’s Senate in a 28-6 vote. The bill now goes to Governor Dannel Malloy, who is expected to sign it. Sunday sales will be allowed from 10 a.m to 5 p.m., effective immediately. The bill also allows alcohol sales on Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day.

The legislation is a scaled-down version of the proposal unveiled by Malloy in January, which called for sweeping deregulation of the liquor business. Malloy sought the elimination of minimum pricing requirements and an increase in the number of permitted licenses per retailer from two to nine. The final bill does not address the minimum pricing issue, and it raises the number of permitted licenses per retailer to just three. The legislators agreed to form a bipartisan task force to study issues including volume discounts, taxation and minimum pricing, and their report will be completed on January 1, 2013.

Legislative analysts are projecting that Sunday sales will generate $5.2 million in new tax revenue for Connecticut, although some lawmakers dispute that figure. Once Connecticut’s governor signs the bill, Indiana will be the last remaining state to have a total ban on Sunday alcohol sales.

Total Wine Reveals First Washington Location

(by Shanken News Daily) Total Wine & More will open its first Washington state store in Bellevue in late June, following the state’s privatization of spirits sales on June 1. The new 30,000-square-foot outlet will be Total Wine’s 81st, located at 699 120th Avenue (formerly Larry’s Market) in Wilburton Crossing. It will feature a climate-controlled wine cellar for rare selections, a walk-in humidor for fine cigars, as well as space for private tastings, consumer education courses, community meetings and special events.

Total Wine has been rumored to be scouting up to 10 Washington locations covering cities like Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane and Vancouver. Its Washington entry will see it take on mega-retailer Costco—the driving force behind the state’s privatization initiative—as well as fellow chains like BevMo, which has announced two summer store openings of its own, in Tacoma and Silverdale, respectively.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Connecticut Sunday Sales Law Passes House, Moves To Senate

(by Shanken News Daily) Connecticut’s proposed Sunday alcohol sales initiative has taken another step toward passing, clearing the state’s House of Representatives last week with a 116-27 vote. The initiative, House Bill 5021, allows for alcohol sales on Sunday and certain holidays, the ability for retailers to own three liquor licenses instead of two and a task force to study other liquor law reforms. The bill will now move on to the full Senate, where it must be passed by midnight on May 9, the last day of session.

The legislation is a scaled down version of Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy’s original sweeping proposal that allowed nine liquor licenses per retailer, the sale of beer in c-stores, extended bar hours until 2 a.m. and eliminated minimum pricing, among other changes. Some supporters still hope those measures will be reinserted into the final version of the bill now being considered by the Connecticut Senate.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Jameson, Malibu Pace Pernod Ricard USA In Third Quarter

(by Shanken News Daily) Jameson Irish whiskey continues to drive Pernod Ricard USA’s progress, with 23% organic sales growth in the nine months through March. Pernod's top 14 strategic brands were up 5% in the U.S. over the same period. The Glenlivet single malt Scotch and Malibu rum also delivered healthy U.S. growth, with each rising by 9%. Malibu’s recent sales lift has been led by innovations such as its new Malibu Red and Malibu Sunshine extensions, Pernod said.

In an encouraging sign, Kahlúa liqueur returned to U.S. growth in the three months through March after sliding by nearly a quarter of a million cases over the past five years. On the other hand, Pernod’s largest brand, Absolut, which rebounded in 2010 after two down years, is continuing to face intense competition in its core U.S. market, and declined 1% over the first three quarters of Pernod’s fiscal year, which ends in June. Absolut has lost half a million cases in the U.S. since 2007.

Globally, Pernod Ricard posted a 9% organic sales increase to €6.32 billion ($8.4b) in the nine months through March. China (+22%) and India (+25%) continue to be the top growth areas for the company. On a brand basis, Royal Salute (+24%), Martell (+23%), Perrier-Jouët (+21%), The Glenlivet (+18%), Jameson (+17%), Chivas Regal (+12%) and Ricard (+11%) were among Pernod’s biggest gainers worldwide over the past nine months.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

U.S. Virgin Islands legislature Votes To Increase Government Subsidies For Beam Inc.’s Cruzan Rum Distillery

(News Brief by Shanken News Daily) The U.S. Virgin Islands legislature has voted to increase government subsidies for Beam Inc.’s Cruzan rum distillery, located in St. Croix. Under the measure, the USVI will pay 25% of the distillery’s federal excise taxes for bulk rum production, compared with 18% under a previous agreement. The new deal, set to run through 2018, is the most recent development in an ongoing rum subsidy war between the USVI and Puerto Rico, triggered after Diageo relocated rum production for its Captain Morgan brand from the latter territory to the former. As a result, Puerto Rico has since enhanced its own rum production incentives, luring an increasing number of rum contracts from surrounding Caribbean neighbors, including the USVI.

Pinnacle May Become Beam’s Biggest-Volume Brand By Year-End

(by Shanken News Daily) Beam Inc.’s announcement this morning (04/23/2012) that it will pay $605 million to acquire Pinnacle vodka and Calico Jack rum from White Rock Distilleries has instantly transformed it into a leading vodka player in the U.S.—and Pinnacle also could become Beam’s biggest-volume brand in the U.S. market by year-end, overtaking its flagship Bourbon. Shanken News Daily tweeted news of the deal early today.

Thriving on the dynamic performance of its Whipped dessert-flavor range, Pinnacle sold 2.7 million cases on 93% growth last year, according to Impact Databank. White Rock CEO Paul Coulombe recently told Shanken News Daily he expects “at least 50% growth” on the brand for 2012, and that prediction was made before Pinnacle gained the scale advantages of Beam’s 18-million-case U.S. portfolio. Growth of 50% this year would bring Pinnacle to just over 4 million cases, well ahead of Jim Beam Bourbon, which rose 4% to 3.4 million cases in 2011. The deal comes just three months after Beam became a major player in the fast-rising Irish whiskey category when it acquired Cooley Distillery for $95 million.

Beam CEO Matt Shattock said the company will “substantially increase brand investment” in Pinnacle, which unveiled its first TV ads this year behind a $7-million 2012 ad budget under White Rock. Since losing the U.S. joint distribution (with V&S Group) of Absolut in 2008 when Pernod Ricard bought that brand, Beam’s presence in the U.S. market’s top spirits category has been limited to Gilbey’s, Pucker, Effen, Vox and, recently, Skinnygirl vodkas (the company revealed in recent days it would transition its low-priced Kamchatka and Wolfschmidt vodka brands into liqueurs). On a pro forma basis, including Pinnacle and Calico Jack, Impact Databank estimates Beam’s U.S. volume is now above 22 million cases.

Meanwhile, White Rock has achieved its second blockbuster vodka sale in five years. In 2007, it divested Three Olives vodka to Proximo Spirits for an undisclosed sum. Following that deal, White Rock quickly reloaded its vodka stable with Pinnacle. It remains to be seen if the Maine-based brand-builder can again start from scratch now that it’s sold off its top two brands (Calico Jack was up 16% to 400,000 cases in 2011). One possible contender to replace Pinnacle is White Rock’s newer Epic vodka brand, released last year and priced a few dollars less per bottle, roughly even with Heaven Hill’s Burnett’s in the $10 segment. Epic already has Cake, Gummy, Whipped and Orange Whipped flavors. “We think we have more expertise in vodka than elsewhere, and it’s also where most of the growth lies,” Coulombe said.

Besides Epic, the White Rock stable also includes Raynal brandy (-24% to 65,000 cases in 2011), McClelland’s single malt Scotch whisky (+2% to 55,000 cases), Tenure vodka (-14% to 30,000 cases), Baja Cream liqueur (-14% to 30,000 cases), El Charro Tequila (+36% to 30,000 cases) and Blackmaker liqueur (+50% to 15,000 cases).

Though Officially Neutral, WSWA, DISCUS Execs Warn Of Privatization’s Unintended Consequences

(by Shanken News Daily) Executives from the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA), the Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS) and the American Beverage Licensees (ABL) traded views on the recent trend toward privatization of beverage alcohol control states at an industry briefing in Washington, D.C., yesterday. While each of the participants expressed official neutrality in the privatization debate, Washington state’s recent move to end its retail and wholesale spirits monopolies was questioned not only on policy merits but also on the methods used to achieve it. Costco, the chief backer of that initiative, was the target of ample criticism during the discussion.

On the policy side, WSWA president and CEO Craig Wolf argued that vertically integrating the supplier and wholesaler functions, as will happen under Washington’s plan, benefits only large chain businesses like Costco at the expense of other industry participants and consumers and threatens to undermine the existing regulatory balance. “Unfortunately some interests have tried to hijack the recent privatization movement and destroy the balance (between the tiers) by tilting the beverage alcohol system in favor of one party or another,” he said. “That’s something that WSWA has vehemently opposed.”

The issue of lost revenue from Washington’s spirits business activity was also raised. “How do you possibly expect to have the same revenue—absent the contribution of the retail and wholesale businesses—without some extraordinary fee or tax structure?” DISCUS president and CEO Peter Cressy asked, suggesting that Washington’s experience will prove instructive to would-be privatizers looking ahead. Wolf added that, because of new taxes and fees aimed at replacing that lost revenue, current supplier and wholesaler estimates were that spirits prices would rise by between $4 and $20 a bottle in Washington after privatization takes effect June 1 (echoing comments made to Shanken News Daily in recent months by local spirits companies like Dry Fly Distilling).

Meanwhile, John Bodnovich, speaking for smaller retailers as executive director of the ABL, said that because Washington’s privatization was enacted by referendum, it didn’t receive the same level of public debate it would have if taken up by the legislature. He also took umbrage with its requirement that spirits sellers have at least 10,000 square feet of retail space. (While that requirement will clearly hinder some mom-and-pop retail operations, it’s also been cited as a way to keep convenience stores and gas stations out of spirits retailing.) Bodnovich too predicted higher prices and fewer choices for Washington spirits consumers after June 1.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Total Wine & More Opens Its Third Orange County, California Location

(News Brief by Shanken News Daily) Total Wine & More has opened its third Orange County, California location with a new store in Huntington Beach. The 22,000-square-foot outpost will feature more than 8,000 wines, 3,000 spirits and 2,500 beer offerings—including rare microbrews and imports—and offer a range of educational consumer programs. The new Orange County location joins Total Wine’s existing 79 stores in 11 states. The retail chain recently announced plans to enter the Dallas, Texas, market this summer, as well as New Mexico and newly privatized Washington by year-end, which will bring its footprint to 14 states. Total Wine is aiming to double its annual sales to $2 billion within five years.

U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement Becomes Effective May 15th

(News Brief by Shanken News Daily) The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which becomes effective May 15, will open an emerging market to U.S. spirits exporters. Colombia’s current 15% tariff on U.S. produced brandy, gin, liqueurs and certain other spirits will be eliminated on that date. Looking ahead, the 15% tariff on U.S. whiskey, rum and vodka will be reduced to 14% in 2014 and lowered by 2% annually after that, until it is completely eliminated. Colombia will also recognize Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey as distinctive products of the United States. U.S. exports to Colombia increased by 10% last year to $1.3 million, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.

Friday, April 13, 2012

FTC To Review Major Producers’ Digital Marketing Tactics

(by Shanken News Daily) The Federal Trade Commission is requiring 14 major beverage alcohol advertisers to provide details on their use of digital media and data collection for the first time as part of an ongoing study of the effectiveness of the agency’s voluntary guidelines aiming to reduce underage consumers’ exposure to alcohol ads.

Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Anheuser-Busch and others have been directed to report advertising expenditure and placement data, as well as background information about business practices, to the FTC by June 11. Past FTC inquiries on traditional alcohol advertising have led Discus, The Wine Institute and the Beer Institute to introduce their own guidelines governing advertising activity, including on digital and social media platforms.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New York State Liquor Authority (NYSLA) Introduces Interactive Online Map

(News Brief by Shanken News Daily) The New York State Liquor Authority (NYSLA) has introduced an interactive online map of the state’s licensed liquor retailers, bars and restaurants, which number about 55,000 venues. The map, which will be updated daily on the NYSLA website (, will help new licensees by allowing them to explore potential locations’ proximities to other licensees, as well as comply with distance requirements related to licensed establishments near churches and schools, according to state senator Daniel Squadron, who supported the project. The map also includes individual locations’ disciplinary histories and pending license applications.

Anchor Distilling Launches Pink Pigeon Rum

(News Brief by Shanken News Daily) Anchor Distilling has launched a new super-premium rum brand, Pink Pigeon ($34.99 a 750-ml.), into select U.S. markets. Produced by Mauritius’s Medine Distillery (and owned by the U.K.’s Berry Bros. & Rudd), Pink Pigeon is made from molasses and blended with handpicked Bourbon vanilla from Madagascar and the Reunion Islands. The brand, which is aimed toward the mixology segment, is named for the rare and endangered Pink Pigeon found off the coast of Africa. Currently available in California, Arizona, Florida and Nevada, Pink Pigeon will extend into additional markets in the coming months.

Desert Diamond Distillery Awarded Gold Medal For Their Barrel Reserve Rum

Press Release:

Desert Diamond Distillery has been awarded a Gold Medal in the San Francisco World Spirit Awards for their Barrel Reserve Rum, which was just bottled in February of this year. The new Barrel Reserve, out of D3's very first barrel, is a harbinger of incredible things to come...garnering a Gold in such a prestigious event as the San Francisco World Spirit Awards is setting the bar high for this family owned and operated small micro-distillery. When you consider that every Spirit that D3 has on the market has won an award, it is easier to come to terms with the fact that D3 rum, a rum made right here in the United States of American, in Arizona, in the Mohave Desert, is something that is going toe to toe with rum from the Caribbean islands.

Our "Roll out the Barrel" event at the end of January was well attended with 51 friends of the Distillery attending, and they were the first to taste and toast our newest addition, the Barrel Reserve rum. Little did they know (mabye they guessed?) that less than 3 months later, we would be reporting that this very special rum, out of our very first barrel, has been judged a Gold Medal winner, one of only four Golds this year from the SFWS awards. We plan to have another "Roll out the Barrel" event in about four months to celebrate the "birth" of our next barrel. Please visit us on facebook or the web to be on our email list.

Deborah Patt
702-335-7448 cell
928-757-7611 d3
Visit us on Facebook
Twitter: @D3Spirits

Monday, April 09, 2012

Anchor Distilling Looks To Expand With Artisanal Focus

(by Shanken News Daily) San Francisco-based Anchor Distilling is aiming to become a one-stop artisanal spirits shop for independent-minded bars and restaurants in the United States. With a portfolio of 35 craft spirits suppliers, Anchor’s volume grew by 30% last year. Anchor president David King says the company expects to outpace that performance this year, growing to around 70,000 cases.

Anchor Distilling is the spirits arm of Anchor Brewers & Distillers, created in 2010 when former Skyy vodka executives Tony Foglio and Keith Greggor purchased Anchor Brewing from home-appliance heir Fritz Maytag and combined it with their existing marketing company, Preiss Imports. Foglio serves as chairman of the group, while Greggor is CEO. London drinks merchant and marketer Berry Bros. & Rudd also holds a significant minority stake in Anchor.

Included in Anchor Distilling’s portfolio are Berry Bros.-owned brands like No. 3 Gin, The King’s Ginger Liqueur, Pink Pigeon rum and, most recently, the Glenrothes single malt, which Anchor will begin marketing in the United States on May 1. (Glenrothes was previously handled by Campari America.) Anchor-owned brands like Old Potrero American whiskey and Junipero gin are also part of the mix, as are agency labels like Chinaco Tequila, Luxardo liqueurs, Hirsch Bourbon and the BenRiach and GlenDronach single malts.

“Our whisk(e)y portfolio is up nearly 40% year on year, and there are huge opportunities,” says King, a Berry Bros. veteran. “Glenrothes is a 10,000-case brand—the largest in our portfolio but still tiny in the context of the U.S. market. It’s about 12% of our total sales, so it will be a key part of our whisk(e)y stable but won’t dominate the portfolio.” Anchor prefers to use a “range” or “category”-oriented strategy rather than pushing individual brands, because its customers tend to be less brand-centric than the industry at large, King says. Along with its whisk(e)y brands, No. 3 Gin and Luxardo, particularly its Maraschino cherry variant, have been among its growth drivers.

“I think the big spirits brands will continue to do well off-premise,” King says. “But in the urban on-premise people are often seeking an experience that’s more difficult to replicate at home. In cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco, there are lots of new bars and restaurants popping up that don’t stock the big brands. So our specialty is selling into those ‘craft’ accounts.”

Anchor intends to continue extending its brand list to serve the increasingly adventurous on-premise consumer. “We can handle a few more suppliers, and we’re on the lookout,” King says, adding that entry into new spirits categories is likely. “I think Mezcal is an interesting area. With its smoky note, it can be like the Islay single malt of Tequila,” he says. “And, despite being partially owned by two former Skyy executives, we don’t have a vodka. I also think there’s potential around smaller producers of Cognac and Armagnac as the economy continues to recover.”

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Pernod Ricard USA Introduces Melon Margarita To Their Malibu Premixed Cocktails Line

(by Shanken News Daily) Pernod Ricard USA has introduced a new flavor extension to its Malibu premixed cocktails line, Melon Margarita. The new product will retail for $19.99 a 1.75-liter pouch. The Malibu cocktails range, launched last June, also features Tropical Sea Breeze, Rum Punch, Caribbean Cosmo and Tropical Mojito variants. The Melon Margarita cocktail follows two recent extensions to the core Malibu rum brand, Malibu Red and Malibu Sunshine. After reversing a decline in 2010 with 1.9% growth, Malibu rose 5.6% in the U.S. last year to 1.7 million cases, according to Impact Databank. The brand does approximately half its global business in the U.S.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pernod Ricard USA Unveils Malibu Sunshine

(by Shanken News Daily) Pernod Ricard USA has unveiled Malibu Sunshine, a citrus-infused addition to its Malibu flavored rum range. Priced at $12.99 a 750-ml., the new lemon-lime offering will also be available in 50-ml., 1-liter and 1.75-liter formats. Malibu Sunshine follows the recent debut of Malibu Red, a higher-proof rum-Tequila hybrid priced above Malibu’s core brand. After reversing a decline in 2010 with 1.9% growth, Malibu rose 5.6% in the U.S. last year to 1.7 million cases, according to Impact Databank. The brand does approximately half its global business in the U.S.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Diageo Inks a Multiyear Deal With the Texas Rangers to Sponsor Captain Morgan Club

(by Shanken News Daily) Diageo has inked a multiyear deal with the Texas Rangers to sponsor the Captain Morgan Club, a new restaurant and sports bar at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The 9,000-square-foot, two-story venue, expected to be open in the first week in April for the start of baseball season, will seat 230 guests and feature a full-service bar with Diageo-branded products. Diageo has been a Rangers corporate partner since 1999 and has had naming rights to the Cuervo Club, a similar concept at the stadium, since 2001.


New York, NY (March 15, 2012) – The annual Ultimate Spirits Challenge (USC) was held at Astor Center in New York City on March 5-9, 2012. Ultimate Beverage Challenge LLC, the sponsoring company, proudly announces the top spirits in more than 30 categories. USC began with a record number of contestants as more than 650 spirits were entered (up 15% from 2011) from more than 70 companies and 30 countries around the world.

Led by Ultimate Beverage Challenge (UBC) Founder and Judging Chairman F. Paul Pacult and Judging Co-Chairman Sean Ludford, fourteen of the world’s foremost distilled spirits authorities, including award-winning authors, spirits buyers, journalists, educators, bar owners and consultants rated the world’s finest distillates on USC’s innovative multilevel system, rendering the most unassailable results in the industry. This remarkable super-group of experts named 31 Ultimate Spirits Challenge Chairman’s Trophy winners and more than 80 Finalists.

Said UBC Founder F. Paul Pacult, “Since we started Ultimate Spirits Challenge we have seen double digit growth in number of entries each year. Whether a product receives a Chairman’s Trophy Winner, a Finalist or a regular score, USC entrants are able to use their credible scores and insightful tasting notes to market and sell their products to bars, retailers and ultimately the consumer. USC is in the business of helping spirits companies achieve their sales goals, not by pandering to false aspirations but by telling the truth. With USC, you know the score.”
Judges for USC 2012 were: Chairman F. Paul Pacult, Co-Chairman Sean Ludford, Jacques Bezuidenhout, Tad Carducci, James Conley, Dale DeGroff, Doug Frost, MS, MW, Jim Meehan, Steve Olson, Julie Reiner, Jack Robertiello, Andy Seymour, Marcos Tello and David Wondrich.

For a complete list of results go to
For downloadable images (hi/lo res) go to

(Press Release sent to us by Savona Communications)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Bacardi Planning New-Product Blitz

(by Shanken News Daily) Just days after naming a new global chief executive, Bacardi says it’s planning a raft of new products for the U.S. market. The spirits giant’s president for North America, Robert Furniss-Roe, speaking yesterday at the Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit, said Bacardi intends to enter the U.S. Cognac category early this summer as part of an effort to tap into the growing brown spirits trend. Furniss-Roe declined to provide specifics on the Cognac launch, but Bacardi does own the Baron Otard label, which isn’t currently available in the U.S. Cognac shipments to the States rose 3.6% to the equivalent of 3.77 million cases last year according to the BNIC, though they’re still well below the pre-recession peak of 3.9 million cases.

Meanwhile, Bacardi is prepping new extensions for both its flagship rum brand and Grey Goose vodka. Grey Goose will soon add its fourth flavor, Cherry Noir, which joins lemon, pear and orange in the brand line. Grey Goose’s U.S. depletions rose 1% to 3.4 million cases last year, but the brand was leapfrogged as the market’s second-largest imported vodka (after top-ranked Absolut) by lower-priced Svedka, according to Impact Databank.

Additionally, Bacardi rum will see two new flavors this year, Wolf Berry—a blend of blueberry and wolf (or goji) berry—and Black Razz, a mix of raspberry and Mexican soft fruit black sapote. The rum brand’s Bacardi Cocktails premixed offshoot is also expanding this year with several low-calorie variants including Light Mojito and Light Piña Colada.

The Wine Group Enters Rum With Flipflop, Low-Cal Cocktails With Lulu B

(by Shanken News Daily) Extending its foray into spirits, The Wine Group (TWG) has entered the rum and low-calorie premix cocktail categories with the launch of Flipflop rum and Lulu B. Fabulous Cocktails, respectively. An extension of TWG’s fast-rising Flipflop wine range, Flipflop rum features both silver and spiced expressions, priced at $13.99 a 750-ml. and $22.99 a 1.75-liter. The rums are currently shipping into select U.S. markets. Flipflop rum follows the 2010 rollout of Flipflop wines, which last year shipped 600,000 cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank. “Rum is a large and growing spirits segment, and a logical next step in Flipflop’s evolution,” says Jeff Dubiel, EVP of marketing for Flipflop.

Lulu B. Fabulous Cocktails, meanwhile, are a spin-off of the Lulu B. wine brand, owned by Montreal-based Kruger Wines and Spirits and marketed by TWG in the U.S. TWG subsidiary Underdog Wine & Spirits will import the newly launched premix range, which features Chocolate Martini, Margarita, Cran Cosmo and Mojito cocktails, each with 37-48 calories per serving. Retailing for $14.99 a 750-ml., Lulu B. Fabulous Cocktails are priced in line with Beam’s Skinnygirl cocktails, which reached 586,000 cases on nearly 300% growth last year (Skinnygirl’s flagship Margarita weighs in at 38 calories a serving). The full Lulu B. cocktail lineup will be available nationwide by April 1.

The Wine Group’s other spirits labels include Cupcake vodka, which recently released two new flavors, Ginger Snap and Verry Berry, and depleted 100,000 cases last year, as well as Coyote Gold All Natural Margarita.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Destileria Serralles Names Haleybrooke International Its Exclusive Travel Retail Agent

(by Shanken News Daily) Destileria Serralles has named Haleybrooke International as its exclusive travel retail agent in the Americas, covering the U.S., Canada and other select markets. The primary focus will be on Serralles’s Don Q rum brand, especially its high-end Don Q Grand Anejo variant, which sells for around $60 a bottle. Don Q has been rising fast in the U.S., with sales up 16% to 220,000 cases last year, according to Impact Databank.

Friday, March 09, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Bacardi Names New Worldwide President And CEO

(by Shanken News Daily) Shanken News Daily has learned in an exclusive interview that Bacardi Limited has named Ed Shirley, former vice chairman of Procter & Gamble’s Global Beauty & Grooming division, as its new president and CEO.

Shirley will be based at Bacardi headquarters in Bermuda, and he starts his new job on Monday. He replaces the retiring Seamus McBride, who has been Bacardi’s president and CEO since September 2008.

Bacardi Limited chairman Facundo Bacardi said in an exclusive interview that the search for McBride’s replacement took about nine months and that the move was aimed at coinciding with the company’s fiscal year-end of March 31.“This timing made the most sense, so Seamus’s successor could start off with a new fiscal year,” he said.

“We were looking for somebody who understands premium brands, who has international experience and also has experience marketing both mass-brands and luxury brands, as well as someone able to transform their own culture,” Facundo Bacardi added. “We did consider our internal group, but the general feeling was that we were a couple of years away from being able to select somebody internally.”

Shirley, 55, began his tenure at P&G in 2005 after it acquired Gillette, where he had worked for 27 years. As head of P&G’s beauty and grooming unit, Shirley led a portfolio with $38 billion in sales and $6 billion in profits—and a brand portfolio including Gillette, Braun, Old Spice, Oral-B, Crest, Pantene, Olay, Hugo Boss and Gucci fragrances and Dolce & Gabbana fragrances and makeup. Shirley led a reorganization of the unit, which included moves to make it consumer-focused by regrouping the portfolio into female and male products and increasing the presence of high-growth, high-margin brands. Under his direction, the previously struggling P&G unit delivered seven consecutive quarters of sales growth.

Prior to heading up the beauty and grooming unit, Shirley served as P&G’s group president, North America. Shirley retired from P&G last July.

At Gillette, Shirley held a number of high-profile positions including president of Gillette Europe, president of Braun, president of Oral-B and president, international commercial operations. Shirley was known at Gillette for restructuring the international business and supply chain to become more consumer-focused.

Regarding the key priorities for the new president and CEO, Facundo Bacardi said the clear focus would be the core portfolio—the Bacardi brand, Grey Goose and Dewar’s. “We need a strong, deeper focus on our core brands going forward, we need the U.S. market to grow at a faster pace, and we need to continue evolving our emerging markets strategy,” he added.

Facundo Bacardi praised Seamus McBride’s help during the transition and his contributions to the company. “During his three and a half years, Seamus kept us on the path toward our over-arching goal, which is to be recognized as the best in class spirits company,” he said. Noting McBride’s accomplishments, Facundo Bacardi cited a company-wide reorganization that better leveraged the operating structure, an optimized resource allocation model and an improved U.S. sales force. “Seamus transformed our marketing capabilities by developing a very strong global marketing function that added innovation capabilities,” he said. “A good example of that is our recent launch of the OakHeart rum brand, which had a global rollout in 26 different countries. We didn’t have that ability before Seamus. And he also developed a strong and talented bench for us in the future.”

Facundo Bacardi added that while the company “did look within the spirits industry, we thought we could bring added expertise from an individual with a successful career in the consumer product space. But frankly, there wasn’t any requirement that knowledge of the spirits business would be essential.”

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Rhum Clément Introduces New Packaging In Line With the Company’s 125th Anniversary

(by Shanken News Daily) Martinique-based Rhum Clement has introduced new packaging for its Première Canne white rum, in line with the company’s 125th anniversary. The new bottle, which was redesigned to look more contemporary as well as reflect the brand’s lineage and history of rum making, recently started shipping. Priced at $29.99 a 750-ml., Première Canne (40%-abv) is one of the newest releases to the Rhum Clement line, which also features Créole Shrubb, V.S.O.P., Cuvée Homère and X.O. The brand is distributed in the U.S. by Clément USA Inc. and is available nationally.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Gold Miner Spirits featured at Biscayne Restaurant

An Arizona product is featured in Nevada: All four of our Spirits, our Rum, Dark Rum, Agave Rum & Vodka are being featured at the Biscayne Restaurant all of February, with a cocktail hour and dinner scheduled Feb 28th. So if you or someone you know will be in Las Vegas, NV, let them know to stop by and try our Spirits! The Biscayne Restaurant is located in the Tropicana Hotel. Two of the cocktails will be chosen to go on the "specialty cocktail" list for the property!

Deborah Patt
702-335-7448 cell
928-757-7611 d3
Visit us on Facebook
Twitter: @D3Spirits

Monday, February 13, 2012

Texas Retailer Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits Planning To Close Several Store Locations

(by Shanken News daily) Texas retailer Centennial Fine Wine and Spirits is reportedly planning to close several store locations in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area. A total of seven stores across the company’s Centennial, Majestic, Apple Jacks and Big Daddy’s brands are said to be affected, including four in Fort Worth, two in Dallas and one near Dallas in Hebron, Texas. The closings follow the retailer’s April 2011 acquisition of the Majestic Liquor Store chain, which added 32 units to Centennial’s 35, bringing the group’s count up to 67 stores and five warehouses.

Louisiana Spirits Receives DSP Permit from TTB

For more information contact:
Trey Litel, 832-766-0476

LACASSINE, La., February 13, 2012— Louisiana Spirits LLC was approved for operation on Wednesday,February 8, 2012 by the United States Department of the Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau(TTB). Louisiana Spirits’ new registry number is DSP – LA – 20001 which signifies the first distillery in Louisiana under the current TTB numbering system. Louisiana Spirits is now fully bonded and has a Basic Permit and Operation Permit from the US Government to manufacture distilled spirits.

“Our vision for a world class rum distillery in Louisiana is coming to life. The DSP Permit represents a major milestone in our overall project to bring a distillery to Louisiana. We are energized by this approval and we look forward to working with the Louisiana ATC and Department of Revenue to complete our operating license requirements.” said Trey Litel, President of Louisiana Spirits LLC.

This important approval comes ahead of schedule as the building is still under construction. The recent rainy weather has caused some delays in the construction schedule for the new state of the art distillery in Lacassine,La, along the South Frontage Road of Interstate 10. However, the roof and warehouse structure are complete which will house the distillery equipment, beverage tanks, barrel storage, bottling line, and raw materials. The
next phase includes the dirt work for the ponds, entrance road, and the foundation for the Louisiana Spirits offices and visitor center. Visitors will be treated to a gift shop, tasting room, and viewing gallery that explores the state’s historic role as a sugar cane producer and rum distiller with memorabilia and curated exhibits. The historic 1903farmhouse will be relocated to the site soon after the office phase is complete.

Louisiana Spirits is positioned to add value to the harvest from the second largest producer of sugar cane in the United States. By utilizing Louisiana sugar cane as its primary ingredient, and investing in an appealing cultural visitor destination, the company is creating 17 to 20 direct full-time jobs and additional economic opportunities for Louisiana contractors, partners, and suppliers.

About Louisiana Spirits LLC:
Louisiana Spirits is currently in the process of building a new state-of-the-art distillery in Lacassine, Louisiana to produce world class rum from local Louisiana sugar cane products. Members Tim Litel and Skip Cortese have worked together over the past 12 years to build and sell environmental service companies. Tim brings his environmental expertise with specialties in operations, compliance and general management. Skip is a successful
entrepreneur with an environmental engineering background and specializes in construction and startup management. Trey Litel brings over 25 years of sales and marketing expertise, with over 10 years in the distilled spirits and beverages industries. For construction photos and more information, visit

For more information contact: Trey Litel, 832-766-0476, or

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tiki Bowl- A Cocktail Built for Two for Valentine's Day

Tiki Bowl
(contributed by Trader Vic)

2 oz Orange juice
1.5 oz Lemon juice
.5 oz Almond orgeat
1 oz Puerto Rican light rum
1 oz Jamaican dark rum
1 oz Brandy
Garnish: Gardenia
Glass: Tiki bowl or hurricane


Add all the ingredients to a blender with 1 scoop of shaved ice. Blend, and pour into a tiki bowl or hurricane glass. Add ice cubes and decorate with a gardenia.

For more cocktail ideas click HERE.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

New York Craft Distiller Dutch’s Will Launch New Moonshine

(by Shanken News Daily) New York state craft distiller Dutch’s Spirits is set to introduce a new label, Dutch’s Spirits Sugar Wash Moonshine ($23 a 750ml), crafted as a tribute to the company’s namesake—Prohibition-era gangster Dutch Schultz. Sugar Wash Moonshine joins Dutch’s Spirits Peach Brandy ($50 a 750ml) and its Colonial Cocktail Bitters ($18 per 4-oz. bottle) in the portfolio, which is currently available both on- and off-premise in the New York metro market.

Dutch’s, led by co-founder and president Ariel Schlein, is employing upstate contract distillers until its own Pine Plains, New York distillery—to be housed on a historic 400-acre estate that harbored a clandestine bootlegging operation bankrolled by Schultz—is constructed. About 1,000 bottles each of the Peach Brandy and Sugar Wash Moonshine were made for the first batch, by contract producers Still The One and Mazza Winery respectively. A Dutch’s spokesperson told Shanken News Daily today, “Dutch’s is currently building a temporary distillery on their site to pick up production while they build the main distillery, whose completion is targeted for the fall. They anticipate this temporary distillery will be complete around June.”

Sunday Sales Debate Set To Kick Off In Connecticut

(by Shanken News Daily) As Connecticut’s General Assembly begins its 2012 regular session today, lawmakers once again will reconsider the state’s law against Sunday sales of alcohol, following last month’s proposal by Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy to lift the ban.

Malloy’s plan would allow retailers to remain open until 10 p.m. (compared to the current 9 p.m.) seven days a week and would permit bars and restaurants to sell alcohol until 2 a.m. (Bars and restaurants now can serve alcohol until 1 a.m. Monday-Thursday and Sunday, and until 2 a.m. Friday-Saturday.) Other proposed licensing changes by Malloy include the elimination of minimum pricing.

In the past, Connecticut’s liquor retailers have successfully battled attempts to repeal the Sunday sales ban, with their efforts led by the 1,100-member Connecticut Package Stores Association (CPSA). In a January 2011 legislative debate on the issue, the CPSA estimated that Sunday sales would bring in just $140,000 in new tax revenue—a number that differs sharply from the Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS) analysis, which said Connecticut Sunday sales would reap $8 million in incremental annual tax revenue. The CPSA has also claimed that lifting the Sunday sales ban would shift 20% of the state’s beer sales from independent retailers to supermarkets. (The state’s supermarket operators favor lifting the Sunday sales ban, hoping to increase their beer sales on one of the week’s busiest supermarket shopping days.)

Mike Cimini is president, CEO and owner of Great Spirits, which operates two Connecticut stores: Save-Rite Liquors in North Haven and Great Spirits in Southington. His company also has two stores in Massachusetts: Austin Liquors in Worcester, and another Austin Liquors in Shrewsbury. Cimini, who is a CPSA member, is strongly against lifting Connecticut’s Sunday sales ban.

“I think this proposal has a chance because Governor Malloy is such a strong proponent, but I hope the legislature will consider the impact on an industry filled with some of the last small businesses left in Connecticut,” says Cimini. In Massachusetts, Cimini saw no major change in his business after the Sunday sales ban was lifted in 2004. “All it did was divide six days’ worth of sales into seven,” he adds.

But some retailers favor Sunday sales. Michael Berkoff, president and CEO of BevMax, which has five Connecticut locations (in Stamford, Norwalk, Hamden, Bridgeport and West Haven) as well as a store in Port Chester, New York (on the New York-Connecticut border), believes it’s time for a change. “We are for Sunday retail sales,” he says. “If you can go to a bar or restaurant and get served on a Sunday, why shouldn’t the consumer be able to purchase product in a closed container and consume it at home?”

Other support for the plan also tends to come from retailers who operate near Connecticut’s borders with Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York, states where Sunday sales are allowed. These retailers generally favor the change because they’re losing Sunday shoppers to out-of state rivals.

Malloy will include the new licensing proposals in his agenda that’s being submitted to the state legislature as the general session begins. The licensing plan will be raised by a committee (likely the General Law Committee, in charge of beverage alcohol), and then be given a public hearing and a committee vote. If the vote is favorable, legislation will be sent to the Assembly and Senate floor. It’s not yet clear when a successfully passed law would be implemented, but some proponents envision the Sunday sales ban being lifted as early as this summer.

Connecticut is one of only two states in the country (the other is Indiana) that bans the retail sale of all alcohol on Sundays. The proposals in the past have been blocked by the General Law Committee and have never made it to the floor for a vote.

Gold Miner Spirits has a new member in the family, Barrel Reserve Rum

Press Release from Desert Diamond Distillery in Kingman, Arizona

Gold Miner Spirits has a new member of the family. Our premium Barrel Reserve Rum officially came out of the Barrel Room on January 28th, 2012. Desert Diamond Distillery celebrated with friends and family at our special “Roll Out the Barrel” event Dinner. The first official taste of the new Barrel Reserve Rum was toasted and celebrated after a delicious dessert of tiramisu and rum balls…dinner was chicken with vodka sauce, pork roast with agave glaze, and scalloped potatoes and asparagus served on the side.

With a new bottle and beautifully foiled label, our new Spirit takes center stage with black wax sealing the top and stamped with our family seal. Our gold ribbon finishes it to a finely crafted, one of a kind, old fashioned look. Each label will have room for the barrel and bottle number so you know exactly where your bottle of hand crafted premium barrel reserve rum has come from. We offer our first fifty bottles from our very first barrel at very affordable collecter prices. Bottle #1, $500, Bottle #2, $450, Bottle #3, $400, Bottle #4, $350, and Bottle #5, $300. Bottles #6 through #50 will be $79.99. All bottles numbered #1-#50 will be signed by the owners John and Peter Patt. Bottles #51 and up will be sold at $39.99.

If you haven’t heard of Gold Miner Spirits or Desert Diamond Distillery, please check us out at, and look us up on facebook. We have won several awards since our first day of business April 1, 2010. We are open to the public for tours and tastings. Our tours are $5 per person, which is applicable as a credit for any purchase in our show room. The centerpiece of our show room is our iconic bar, rescued from Andre’s now closed restaurant on the old downtown Las Vegas strip. Andre’s bar and restaurant was frequented by Las Vegas celebrities from Frank Sinatra to Danny Gans.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Interview: Binstein Talks Specialty Spirits, Forecasts Revenue Rise Of 10% For 2012

(by Shanken News Daily) Chicago-based retailer Binny’s Beverage Depot posted revenues of $254 million in its fiscal year ending August 31, 2011 and projects a 10% sales increase to $280 million for fiscal 2012. This month, Binny’s will open its first downstate store, in Champaign, Illinois, as reported by Shanken News Daily last fall. That new addition will be the company’s 28th store. Binny’s is also exploring other downstate Illinois venues as well as looking into the Wisconsin markets of Madison and Milwaukee.

In this exclusive interview, Binny’s owner Michael Binstein talks with Shanken News Daily about market trends and his commitment to the specialty spirits market through his Whiskey Hotline, which was launched in 2003.

SND: How were sales at Binny’s during the fourth quarter of calendar 2011—particularly during the holidays?

Binstein: Sales were very robust. All the vital signs were up. Same-store sales during the holiday season rose by more than 5%. On our busiest day of the year, November 23, we had over 4,400 customers an hour and did over $294,000 an hour. That gives you a sense, across our stores, of the ultimate stress test for a retailer.

SND: What were some of your bestsellers during the holidays?

Binstein: All the commodity brands were strong—Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Dewar’s. It was pretty much a sale-fueled holiday season and customers were shopping for value.

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.

Nightclub & Bar Name Rum Bar “Cocktail Lounge of the Year”

Philadelphia, PA—Rum Bar’s goal for the last five years was to become the best rum-based bar in the world. Nightclub & Bar magazine has recognized owner Adam Kanter’s efforts and successes and has named Rum Bar the nation’s Cocktail Lounge of the Year.

“It’s the biggest honor we’ve ever received,” Kanter says. “It’s a great validation for all the hard work our staff has put in, and it provides some energy going into 2012.”

The judges were critical not only of food and drink quality, but also on the behind the scenes and financial aspects of each bar.

“The finalists and winners highlight exactly the characteristics this competition applauds: quality, creativity, financial success and, of course, patron value,” says Megan Hernandez, Digital Content Director for Nightclub & Bar Media Group.

Since opening Rum Bar in 2007 with 30 rums and a simple Latin menu, Kanter has raised Rum Bar up to a top destination with some 230 rums and one of the most creative and authentic Latin-inspired menus in Philadelphia.

“Authenticity is a big deal to us,” Kanter says. “We spend a lot of time in island distilleries and kitchens. Rum Bar works to be a Caribbean respite in Center City Philadelphia. We do that by replicating cuisine, cocktails, décor, and ambiance.”

Currently, the winter cocktail menu is in full force with the most popular choices being Hot Buttered Rum, Jamaican Hot Chocolate Tea, and Irie Daiquiri.

With more than 230 rums, Rum Bar is Philadelphia’s premier place for sampling this complex and spellbinding spirit. Rum Bar is constantly evolving and works to highlight the finest flavors the Caribbean offers. Big-time congratulations to Kanter for recently making it down to the Top 10 in the national Tommy Bahama Rumologist search — and now for Rum Bar for being named “Cocktail Lounge of the Year” by Nightclub & Bar.

Rum Bar Lounge • Restaurant
2005 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19103
215-751-0404 •


Thursday, February 02, 2012

Heaven Hill Takes Aim At 1 Million Cases For Admiral Nelson’s Rum

(by Shanken News Daily) Last June, Heaven Hill Distilleries made a major play in the rum category, acquiring the 700,000-case Admiral Nelson’s rum brand from Luxco Inc. The purchase filled a gap in Heaven Hill’s portfolio. The company already had Whaler’s ($12.99 a 750-ml.) and spiced rum Blackheart ($14.99), as well as super-premium cachaça brand Água Luca ($21.99). But Heaven Hill lacked a large-volume, mainstream rum offering like Admiral Nelson’s, a spiced rum retailing at around $10 a bottle.

Under Luxco, Admiral Nelson’s averaged 25% annual growth from 2006 through 2010, earning five consecutive Impact “Hot Brand” awards. The brand’s pace slowed to 7.5% during last year’s transition, reaching 725,000 cases, but Heaven Hill is projecting growth of 15%-20% for 2012 and ultimately aims to propel Admiral Nelson’s past the million-case threshold.

“Our focus is to grow the brand over the next couple of years at a similar rate to that of the past few years,” says Andy Shapira, Heaven Hill’s director of corporate analysis. “Luxco did a great job, but we’re capable of growing brands to well over a million cases—as we’ve done with Burnett’s vodka and Evan Williams Bourbon. We envision that type of growth with Admiral Nelson’s.”

Competition is intensifying in the spiced rum segment, although it’s still dominated by the 6-million-case Captain Morgan. Bacardi, with OakHeart ($12.99 a 750-ml.), and Beam Inc., with Cruzan 9 (around $15) are among the recent entrants into the spiced arena.

In addition to the core Admiral Nelson’s spiced rum brand, the line also includes Admiral Nelson’s 101-proof spiced rum and flavor extensions Coconut, Raspberry, Vanilla and Cherry. “All the excitement in the category has been with flavored and spiced rums,” says Shapira. “Traditional rums have been suffering a bit.”

Heaven Hill plans to continue focusing on Admiral Nelson’s current line before launching new flavors. “Rum isn’t vodka, so you won’t be seeing a new Admiral flavor every six months like you might with Burnett’s,” says Admiral Nelson’s brand manager Brittany Blevins. “But we’ll be looking more at specific consumer interests to expand the franchise.”

Monday, January 30, 2012

Florida International University (FIU) Has Named Its Hospitality School the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management

(by Shanken News Daily) Florida International University (FIU) has named its hospitality school the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, honoring Southern Wine & Spirits’ chairman and CEO Harvey Chaplin and family. “Southern Wine & Spirits and the Chaplin family are passionate supporters of FIU and the superior hospitality management education we offer,” said FIU President Mark Rosenberg. “This naming recognizes that commitment and augurs an even stronger partnership going forward.” Proceeds from Southern’s Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival benefit the school, whose state-of-the-art facilities include the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center, a 4,500-square-foot facility that was built in 1999 and offers the latest technology for beverage tasting and analysis.

Southern Moves Quickly To Gain Spirits Footprint In Newly Privatized Washington

(by Shanken News Daily) With Washington state voting to privatize liquor retailing and distributing in last November’s referendum, Southern Wine & Spirits has taken a major step in establishing a spirits portfolio in the market. Earlier today, Southern was tapped by Pernod Ricard USA as its exclusive distributor in Washington, effective March 1. Southern previously acted as broker for Pernod in the state.

Southern is closely aligned with Pernod Ricard, handling the company’s brands in 28 markets across the country, which account for 57% of Pernod’s total U.S. business. Pernod’s next-biggest distribution partner is RNDC, which handles 17% of the total Pernod business.

This latest Southern-Pernod accord comes just days after Southern moved to gain greater control of its operations in Washington by acquiring the balance of Southern/Odom Corp., its Pacific Northwest venture with The Odom Corporation.

Earlier this month, Southern agreed to handle Sidney Frank Importing Co.’s portfolio in Washington (also effective March 1), and the distributor also recently formed alliances with Campari America and Beam Inc. in the state. With these agreements, Southern will have five of the U.S. market’s top 15 spirits brands—Absolut, Jim Beam, Skyy, Jägermeister and Seagram’s Gin—in its stable. And it’s highly likely that Southern is working to partner with more key suppliers in Washington as privatization becomes fully implemented.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Squeezing More Profit: On-Premise Operators Focus On Cost Efficiencies To Boost Margins

Above photo is of Willy Shine from

(by Shanken News Daily) Bars and restaurants are taking a closer look at cost efficiencies in the face of a tough economy, re-examining operations to get the most out of their businesses.

Willy Shine, who co-founded New York City-based Contemporary Cocktails Inc. with fellow mixologist Aisha Sharpe, has seen his share of missteps in his roughly 20 years of experience behind the bar. Shine has worked on drinks programs for venues including Pranna restaurant, 1534 bar and The Royalton New York hotel in New York City, as well as Tao Beach lounge in Las Vegas. “The most common issues are inventory control and managing a respectable cost-of-goods percentage every month,” he says.

Companies like Louisville, Kentucky-based Bevintel focus on these issues. “Bars and restaurants lose most of their money by over-ordering, over-pouring and not maintaining security on liquor,” says company CEO Dan Smith, who’s worked with Cheers in Boston and national chains like T.G.I. Friday’s, Applebee’s and Marriott International. “We scan and analyze every bottle in the entire facility. We can tell venue owners exactly how much is being used, sold and purchased, so they can make accurate cost assessments. We usually find thousands of dollars in loss.”

For larger venues, Contemporary Cocktails uses hand-held inventory management system AccuBar, which measures and displays the amount of spirits and wines remaining in bottles while also ordering out-of-stock items by scanning bar codes on empty bottles. Clients have seen a 50%-80% reduction in labor hours spent maintaining inventory, AccuBar claims.

On inventory levels, Shine stresses ordering light and knowing a venue’s theme and demographic. “If it’s a high-volume tourist bar, you’ll probably want to carry more variety compared to a venue focused on cocktails,” he says. Bevintel’s Smith agrees that overstocking is a must-avoid. “Distributors will sometimes offer (volume) discounts on certain items, but is the bar using that product at a speed that makes sense?” he says. “If not, then clearly there’s money sitting on the shelves.”

Proper staff training is another key component of cost-efficiency. Having bar staff measure ingredients with jiggers can keep costs down while also improving quality. “With the increased prominence of cocktails, it’s important to portion a drink correctly and consistently maintain quality,” Smith says.

Bar organization also plays a huge role in cost-efficiency. “If a bar isn’t arranged as well as it could be and staff can’t quickly find bottles, they’ll be grabbing them, dropping them and breaking them,” Smith says. Contemporary Cocktails’ Shine agrees. “Venues lose the most money through glassware breakage, over-pouring and spillage,” he says. Setting up bar stations for efficiency and speed can remedy many of these issues. “A bartender shouldn’t have to take more than one or two steps to reach everything he or she needs,” Shine says. “Combine steps or batch certain cocktails at the service bar.”

Restaurateurs in particular need to keep an eye on beverage alcohol waste. “When a venue’s sales are 80% food and 20% bar, operators often ignore the bar,” Smith says. “We just worked with an accomplished restaurateur who has 12 to 15 restaurants, and we found $20,000 worth of loss on a weekly basis—that’s $1 million a year in alcohol losses.” Contemporary Cocktails’ Shine agrees that paying close attention to the bar sales is integral. “You make your money on the bar, so manage it,” he says. “Set it up to succeed.”

Friday, January 20, 2012

Spirits Sales in Ohio Rose 5.3% to Reach a Record High of Nearly $800 Million Last Year

(by Shanken News Daily) Spirits sales in Ohio rose 5.3% to reach a record high of nearly $800 million last year, according to the Ohio Department of Commerce, Division of Liquor Control. After declining for three of the past four years, total wholesale sales increased 4.7% to $244 million, exceeding last year’s total by $10.9 million. By volume, Ohio liquor sales grew 3.9% to 4.8 million nine-liter cases, led by top-selling brands Kamchatka vodka (169,000 cases), Jack Daniel’s Tennessee whiskey (147,000 cases), Bacardi Superior Light rum (123,000 cases), Captain Morgan spiced rum (120,000 cases) and Absolut vodka (116,000 cases). The Ohio Division of Liquor Control currently runs 457 contract liquor agencies throughout the state.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bacardi Limited Celebrates Its 150th Anniversary With Rare Bacardi Rum

(by Shanken News Daily) Bacardi Limited will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its eponymous rum brand this year with a series of events and the release of a $2,000 limited-edition bottle of rare Bacardi rum. Eight former maestros de ron, all Bacardi family members, created Ron Bacardi de Maestros de Ron, Vintage, MMXII, a blend of rums aged in oak barrels for over 20 years. The luxury offering will be released in 500-ml. crystal decanters presented in leather cases. Some 400 bottles will be available for purchase in selected retail stores and international airports. The company’s anniversary will also include birthday parties thrown around the world, beginning in Germany on January 28, as well as airport displays and a global cocktail competition.

Southern Wine & Spirits Names Ryan Lawrence VP-National Accounts

(by Shanken News Daily) Southern Wine & Spirits has named Ryan Lawrence to the newly created position of vice president, national accounts, leading the Southern team that manages its relationship with Walmart and Sam’s Club. Lawrence will report directly to George Fisher, senior vice president, national off-premise accounts. Lawrence previously served as director of category management at Campbell’s Soup and prior to that was director of strategic accounts for Constellation Brands, where he also focused on category management for Walmart and Sam’s Club.

Sidney Frank Importing Co. Names Southern Wine & Spirits Its Exclusive Wine and Spirits Distributor in Illinois Beginning March 1st

(by Shanken News Daily) New Rochelle, New York-based Sidney Frank Importing Co. has named Southern Wine & Spirits (SWS) as its exclusive wine and spirits distributor in Illinois beginning March 1. The move marks a switch from current distributor Wirtz Beverage Group in Illinois. Also March 1, Southern Wine & Spirits-Pacific Northwest Brokerage will become Sidney Frank’s exclusive spirits broker in the control states of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming; its wine broker in Utah and Wyoming; and its wine distributor in Oregon. SWS is also gaining distribution of Sidney Frank’s brands in Washington state. It will begin handling the group’s spirits brands in the on-premise and wine both on- and off-premise in Washington March 1, and add spirits in the off-premise on June 1. Young’s Market Co. previously handled Sidney Frank’s brands in those states. Sidney Frank’s portfolio is led by Jägermeister, and also includes Gekkeikan sake, Michael Collins Irish whiskey and Bärenjäger honey liqueur.

SPECIAL REPORT: Impact Databank Reveals Top 25 Spirits Brands Of 2011

(by Shanken News Daily) The U.S. spirits market’s top 25 brands enjoyed solid overall growth in 2011, advancing by 2.5%—or more than 2 million cases—to 86.9 million cases, according to Impact Databank. However, that progress was almost totally driven by just two brands—Pinnacle and Svedka, which together added 1.8 million cases last year. Both Pinnacle and Svedka retail for around $13-$14 a 750-ml., putting them near the low end of imported vodka’s pricing spectrum. Low-priced domestic players Barton and Skol were also among the growth standouts in the top 25—advancing by 4% and 8%, respectively, and adding further evidence that competitively priced vodka remains the U.S. spirits market’s most dynamic segment.

Growth was sluggish for the market’s biggest brands. The top five—Smirnoff, Bacardi, Captain Morgan, Jack Daniel’s and Absolut—achieved aggregate growth of just 0.6%. Further down the list, there were some promising performances. Hennessy (+2.8%), Ketel One (+5.3%) and Malibu (+5.6%) experienced their biggest growth in at least five years. Meanwhile, Jim Beam’s 3.9% bump was its largest gain since 2000. (That growth didn’t include Beam extension Red Stag, which is estimated to have advanced by around 30% in 2011.)

While the top 25 brands comprise roughly 45% of total U.S. spirits volume, some of the best performers of 2011 didn’t crack the list. Two examples are Diageo’s Cîroc vodka and Pernod Ricard’s Jameson Irish whiskey. After doubling its sales to 685,000 cases in 2010, Cîroc is projected to have doubled again in 2011 as it surged past the million-case mark. Jameson jumped past the million-case threshold in 2010 when it advanced by 27%, and it accelerated its growth in 2011, with sales up 29% during the first half of the year. Both brands are poised to enter the top 25 rankings by year-end.

For a full report on the Top 25 Spirits Brands of 2011, see Impact’s January 1&15 issue.