Very Important Beverage Professionals Chain Beverage Buzz: June 10, 2013

Diageo Reviewing Smirnoff’s Global Creative
Diageo has issued a global creative review for its Smirnoff vodka brand. According to Edward Pilkington, Diageo’s global category director for vodka, rum and gin, “The time is right to refresh the thinking on Smirnoff in order to align with our bold future vision for the brand.” Diageo will be making its selection from a closed shortlist of agencies. Ad agency JWT (New York), which has handled the Smirnoff account for the past 13 years, has been invited to participate in the review. MORE>>

HHS releases final rule on employer wellness programs
The Department of Health and Human Services has released its final rule on incentives that can be offered to employees who participate in wellness programs that are offered as part of an employer’s group health plan. Notable in the final rule is the increase in the maximum allowed discount that can be offered to employees who participate in wellness programs—which give employees incentives for meeting health or fitness goals or participating in other activities that promote health—from 20 percent to 30 percent of the employee’s health coverage cost. MORE>>

RPI hits 10-month high as business expectations improve
Driven by higher same-store sales and an improving outlook among restaurant operators, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) hit a 10-month high in April.  The RPI stood at 101.0 in April, up 0.4 percent from a level of 100.6 in March, and is the third time in the last four months that the RPI topped the 100 level, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators. MORE>>

Technomic Reveals Spirits Outpacing Wine and Beer to Break 200 Million CasesTechnomic
The spirits industry hit a milestone and exceeded 200 million cases in 2012 and is positioned for ongoing growth in 2013. According to the first of three Trends in Adult Beverage (TAB) reports, the just-released 2013 SpiritsTAB Report from Technomic reveals that spirits volume increased by 6.3 million 9-liter cases. That 3.2 percent gain in total volume pushed the industry to a record-breaking 205 million 9-liter cases. MORE>>

Moonshine Moves Into The Mainstream
As consumers seek out spirits with authenticity and history, one segment that’s clearly benefiting is moonshine, which is now starting to transcend its niche status. Moonshine—also known as white whiskey, white lightning, white dog or hooch—is an umbrella term coined during Prohibition. It once applied exclusively to illegally made, single-process whiskey derived from a combination of grain (usually corn mash, wheat or rye) with sugar and fruit. MORE>>

Anheuser-Busch completes $20.1B Grupo Modelo deal
Anheuser-Busch InBev has completed its $20.1 billion purchase of Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo. The world's largest brewer has been trying for almost a year to buy the half of Modelo that it did not already own. The Department of Justice initially blocked the deal, concerned that it would hurt U.S. beer shoppers' choices, but signed off on the combination after AB InBev agreed to sell Modelo's entire U.S. business to a wine maker, Constellation Brands Inc. MORE>>

Joe’s Restaurant Introduces Chief Intoxicologist and Culinary Creative Zachariah James Parks
Joe’s Restaurant, Abbot Kinney’s original fine dining experience, where farmer’s market-driven ingredients meet a California-French cuisine in a comfortable neighborhood atmosphere, introduces its Chief Intoxicologist and Culinary Creative Zachariah James Parks, who creates cocktail and food pairings at Joe’s Restaurant every Thursday night from 6PM-10PM. MORE>>

Brown-Forman records $3,784m annual net sales
Brown-Forman has reported net sales of $3,784m for the full year ended 30 April 2013, up 5%, as against that of $3,614m during the comparable period last year. Underlying net sales increased 8%, which was primarily driven by geographic gains and brand strength. The company's major brands Jack Daniel's, Casa Herradura and Finlandia's net sales grew 11%, 9% and 6%, respectively. MORE>>

Celebrate Father's Day At Ruth's Chris Steak House
Father's Day comes around only once a year, but Ruth's Chris Steak House can help you create family memories that will last forever. On June 16th, give thanks with Ruth's Chris' surf and turf specials and premium spirits. Ruth's Chris will be offering twice the sizzle with a 12-ounce Ribeye and 8-ounce Lobster Tail for $56.95 and the $46.95 option, which includes a 6-ounce Filet and 8-ounce Lobster Tail. MORE>>

A Chile Summer Forecast
Credit chipotles—the humble smoke-dried jalapenos now flavoring everything from vinaigrettes to cheese—with opening operators’ and consumers’ minds to the versatility of chiles. And with chipotles’ smoky heat now a flavor mainstay on fast-casual restaurant menus, operators are exploring other ways they can use chiles to enliven menu items. MORE>>



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