Chain Beverage Buzz: March 4, 2013

Diageo Launches New Low-Calorie Flavored Vodka, Smirnoff Sorbet Light
Diageo North America is entering the low-calorie spirits segment with the introduction of Smirnoff Sorbet Light flavored vodka this month. At 78 calories per 1.5-ounce serving, the 30% alcohol-by-volume spirit is a blend of triple-distilled Smirnoff No. 21 vodka and natural fruit flavoring. Sorbet Light is available nationwide in three flavors: Raspberry Pomegranate, Mango Passion Fruit and Lemon, with a suggested retail price of $15.99 a 750-ml. bottle. MORE>>

Restaurants Look to Meet Millennials’ Needs without Alienating Others
Americans born between 1977 and 1992 comprise the largest and most influential generational cohort since the Baby Boomers. As this group transitions into careers, marriage and raising children, restaurant operators and countless other businesses all want to know how to make important in-roads with Millennials, while continuing to appeal to other key segments of the population. MORE>>

Distillers sued for $100m over Michael Collins
The US makers of Jim Beam, Canadian Club and Makers Mark have been sued for $100 million (€76.8m) by an importer that claims Beam Inc and its Cooley Distillery unit broke a contract to supply it with Michael Collins Irish Whiskey. The importer — the New York-based Sidney Frank Importing Co (SFIC) — claimed in a suit filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court that the defendants cut off its access to the private-label whiskey brand after Beam acquired Cooley last year. MORE>>


Proximo to Take Over Jose Cuervo Distribution in US
In a statement released this weekend, Juan-Domingo Beckmann, CEO of Casa Cuervo, said the move from Diageo to sister company Proximo Spirits signalled the “next chapter” for the world’s largest Tequila brand. “Diageo has been a significant partner of Jose Cuervo for many years, but with ten generations of tequila-making in the family, Casa Cuervo is excited to embark on this next chapter in the strategic expansion of its world-renowned tequilas,” he said. MORE>>


After A Challenging First Half, Treasury Ramps Up Activity On Core Brands
With sales and profits at Treasury Wine Estates Americas down in its fiscal first half (ended December 31, 2012), and its high-end business hampered by supply constraints, managing director Sandra LeDrew tells Shanken News Daily that the company is ramping up activity behind core brands like Beringer, Lindemans and Chateau St. Jean. MORE>>

Wauwatosa officials support chain restaurant ban in East Tosa
Chain restaurants would be banned on the east end of North Avenue under a proposal introduced before Common Council members last week. “This is not in any way anti-business," said Alderman Joel Tilleson, who introduced the plan. "On the contrary, it's aimed at preventing the risk of failure" of businesses that "may struggle to catch a break.” MORE>>

Restaurant chain worried about consumer spending
Darden Restaurants Inc., struggling to draw more customers into its Olive Garden and Red Lobster locations, predicted a fiscal third-quarter profit Friday that was below Wall Street's expectations and cut its outlook for the year. The Orlando, Fla.-based chain has tried to revamp menus and marketing for its flagship chains. But revenue at Olive Garden, Red Lobster and LongHorn Steakhouse locations open at least one year is expected to fall 4.5 percent in the quarter ending Feb. 24, indicating those efforts have yet to pay off. MORE>>

Restaurant Chain Uses Mobile Program to Target Nearby Customers
Why do some businesses always seem busy, while their next-door neighbors struggle to draw customers in? It’s a question every merchant has wondered at one point or another. At 54th Street Grill & Bar, a regional chain with 19 locations in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, and Texas, marketing director Kelly Reid set out to find an answer. MORE>>


Budweiser maker AB InBev reports lower fourth-quarter profit, says Corona deal 'remains subject to challenge'
Anheuser-Busch InBev NV, the world's largest brewer, said Wednesday that profit fell 4.9 percent in the fourth quarter due to higher financing costs, and it forecast weak first quarter sales volumes in the United States and Brazil. The maker of Budweiser, Bud Light, Stella Artois and Beck's said net profit was $1.76 billion (€1.35 billion), down from $1.85 billion in the same period a year ago. MORE>>

What a minimum-wage hike could cost restaurants
Restaurant brands’ response to President Obama’s call for a raise in the federal minimum wage thus far has been muted, but industry watchers said the proposal would likely cause labor pains for foodservice companies if it becomes law. In his Feb. 12 State of the Union address, President Obama suggested the federal rate move from $7.25 per hour to $9 per hour. MORE>>



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