Very Important Beverage Professionals Chain Beverage Buzz: April 15, 2013

Pernod Ricard Begins U.S. Launch Of Absolut Elyx, A Handcrafted Ultra-Premium Vodka
Pernod Ricard USA has begun rolling out Absolut Elyx, its new handcrafted upscale vodka extension, in key urban markets across the United States. Absolut Elyx is now moving into prestige venues in the on-premise, as well as selected off-premise accounts, the company tells Shanken News Daily exclusively. Launch markets include New York City, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, Dallas, Boston and Washington, D.C. MORE>>

Distell buys international whisky distilleries for $244m
South African wines, spirits and flavoured alcoholic beverage producer Distell is expanding its global exposure with the acquisition of Scotch whisky producer Burn Stewart from CL World Brands (CLWB) and Angostura for $244-million. The deal would see the JSE-listed group take over three Scotland-based malt whisky distilleries – Tobermory, located on the Isle of Mull; the Isle of Islay-based Bunnahabhain; and Deanston, in Doune, near Stirling – producing a total of 6.7-million litres a year of alcohol. MORE>>

Ruby Tuesday, Inc. Announces Third Quarter Fiscal 2013 Results
Ruby Tuesday, Inc. reported financial results for the fiscal third quarter ended March 5, 2013. Highlights for the third quarter of 2013 include: Same-restaurant sales decreased 2.8% at Company-owned Ruby Tuesday restaurants and decreased 1.7% at domestic Ruby Tuesday franchise restaurants Net income from continuing operations of $4.7 million, or $6.3 million excluding special items . This compares to the prior-year net income from continuing operations of $6.9 million, or $13.9 million excluding special items. MORE>>

Ignite Restaurant Group completes acquisition of Macaroni Grill and names new brand president
Ignite Restaurant Group announced that it has completed the previously announced acquisition of Romano’s Macaroni Grill for approximately $55.0 million in an all-cash transaction from private equity firm Golden Gate Capital, management and investors. The acquisition includes 186 company-owned and five franchised restaurants across 36 states as well as 19 additional franchised units throughout nine U.S. territories and foreign countries. MORE>>

Terlato Wines To Launch Kim And Erica Crawford’s Loveblock Brand In May
With the New Zealand wine category booming in the U.S. market, particularly at super-premium price points, Terlato Wines will launch Loveblock, a new wine from New Zealand vintners Kim and Erica Crawford, into select U.S. markets next month. SND first reported news of the partnership between Terlato and the Crawfords a year ago, and now Loveblock is making its U.S. entry. The brand will debut with three organic varietals—including a 2011 Pinot Gris ($23 a 750-ml.), 2012 Sauvignon Blanc ($23) and 2011 Pinot Noir ($34). For Loveblock’s first year on the market, the Crawfords expect to sell 20,000 cases in the U.S. They ultimately expect Loveblock to reach global production of 200,000 cases, roughly 75% of which will be intended for the U.S. market. MORE>>

PERNOD RICARD USA To Appoint Major Brands as its Exclusive Distributor in Missouri
Pernod Ricard USA announced plans to appoint Major Brands, Inc. as the exclusive distributor of its full line of spirits and wine brands in Missouri, effective May 1, 2013. Bryan Fry, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pernod Ricard USA, said Major Brands was chosen based on its local market expertise, as well as its planning and execution skills. “We are very pleased to be able to achieve our goal to consolidate the distribution of our premium portfolio into one wholesaler in Missouri, as this move will further strengthen our powerful Route to Market in that state,” Fry said. MORE>>

Flavored Vodka Companies Continue To Debut New Flavors, But Why?
It seems as if you are on to something. Last year, we learned that flavored-vodka sales are on the rise, and that in 2011, nearly a quarter of all sales were from flavored vodka. This surprised us, to say the least. A year ago, we rounded up some of the worst-flavored vodkas of all time, that included non-appetizing flavors like smoked salmon and fluffed marshmallow. In an effort to understand this craze, we've tasted various flavors, including peanut butter and jelly vodka and salted caramel vodka (the official flavor is spelled "Karamel," for no apparent reason). The caramel was awful. The peanut butter and jelly was barely passable. MORE>>

Big brand brandies top the spirits growth charts
The three fastest growing million-case spirit brands of 2012 all emanated from the brandy category, according to the Millionaires’ Club 2013. United Spirits’ Golden Grape topped the charts with year-on-year growth of 71% to achieve volume sales of 1.4m 9-litre cases. In second place in the fastest growing rankings was the Philippines’ Emperador brandy which, despite its colossal 20m case volumes in 2011, soared 54% to achieve 31m cases last year. MORE>>

A New Whiskey and Classic Favorites from Buffalo Trace Distillery win 2013 Ultimate Spirits Challenge
The winners from last month’s 2013 Ultimate Spirits Challenge have been announced. Buffalo Trace Distillery was honored for one of its newer whiskeys introduced in 2012, along with some classic favorites. For the second year in a row, judges awarded Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon the highest honor of “Chairman’s Trophy” winner among all other bourbon whiskeys. Blanton’s was the first Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey ever commercially sold back in 1984 and remains a favorite among connoisseurs. MORE>>

Johnnie Walker usurped as whisky's no.1
Johnnie Walker’s has been knocked from the apex of the whisky category after United Spirits’ aptly named McDowell’s No.1 sold more bottles in 2012, according to The Millionaires’ Club 2013. Despite sales volumes of Diageo’s flagship Scotch climbing 5% last year to 18.8m 9-litre cases, its Indian adversary – and soon-to-be stable mate - reached 19.5m cases, piling on 21% growth. MORE>>






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