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 PiƱa 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.