Very Important Beverage Professionals Chain Beverage Buzz: May 13, 2013

Cider Sales Boom As Category Sees Entry Of Big Players
Hard cider sales are showing remarkable growth in the U.S. market as new brands inject dynamism into the category. Eagerly tapping into the trend, brewers including Boston Beer Co., MillerCoors, Anheuser-Busch InBev and others have all jumped into the cider pool. The U.S. market’s top 10 cider brands increased by 62.6% to 9.58 million 2.25-gallon case depletions in 2012, according to Impact Databank. Most major brands, particularly domestic entrants, showed double-digit increases, including category leader Woodchuck, which grew 25% to 2.53 million 2.25-gallon cases. MORE>>

Beam Backs Cruzan With New U.S. Campaign
Beam Inc. has unveiled a new marketing campaign for its Cruzan rum brand. Centered around a metaphorical “Island of The Don’t Hurry,” the campaign is kicking off with a tourism-style video, designed to explore the island’s laid-back and relaxing vibe. In addition to video vignettes, the Cruzan campaign will also include local market ads, retail extensions, digital and social media support, and a national sampling tour. MORE>>

Diageo hoping Ivan will be great
Ivan Menezes was named this week as the next chief executive of Diageo — the world’s biggest producer of alcoholic drinks and maker of iconic Irish brands Guinness, Bailey and Bushmills and global brands Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff. Mr. Menezes, 54, the current chief operating officer, will replace Paul Walsh as the chief executive on Jul 1. MORE>>

Technomic Top 500 Annual Report Finds Signs of Recovery in U.S. Restaurant Industry
The 500 largest U.S. restaurant chains registered a 4.9 percent annual sales increase in 2012, a marked improvement over 3.5 percent the prior year. According to data released today by Technomic Inc. in its annual reporting on the top U.S. restaurant organizations, the foodservice consultancy found that U.S. systemwide sales for the Top 500 chains grew to an estimated $254 billion in 2012, up more than $12 billion over 2011. MORE>>

Bar Louie Announces Launch of New Food & Beverage Menu
Beginning May 14th, guests at Bar Louie will be able to order from a whopping 28 new food and beverage items from their new menu. The eclectic urban bar and eatery made famous for their handcrafted signature martinis and scratch kitchen food offerings is taking their innovation to new heights with fresh spins on traditional and regionally inspired selections.  MORE>>

Ignite Restaurant Group Begins Franchising Brick House Tavern + Tap
Ignite Restaurant Group, owner/operator of nearly 350 restaurants throughout the U.S., announced that it will begin selling franchise licenses for its popular Brick House Tavern + Tap restaurants and has hired industry veteran Sam Rothschild to lead national and international franchising for the Ignite portfolio. The Houston-based restaurant group, which also owns and operates Romano's Macaroni Grill and Joe's Crab Shack, has filed all required support documentation to become registered to sell franchises in limited states throughout the country, with the intent to add regions as franchisee interest grows. MORE>>

Health-care notice language released
The Department of Labor May 8 released model language and a template for the written notice that almost all employers will be required to provide to their employees about how to access health care coverage through new "exchanges" created by the 2010 health care law. The notice also lets employees know they may be eligible for tax subsidies to buy insurance through exchanges. MORE>>

On-premise still weak but showed further signs of improvement in April 2013
According to GuestMetrics, food & beverage sales at table service restaurants and bars in April 2013 showed some continued improvement as we saw towards the end of 1Q13.  For the 4-week period ending April 21st, total dollar sales were up +0.6% compared to year ago vs. the -0.4% decline during the first quarter of 2013.  Based on data from GuestMetrics, all three on-premise segments showed improvement in the latest 4 weeks compared to 1Q13: casual dining sales were still in negative territory with a 3.3% sales decline but this was an improvement versus the 4.0% decline in 1Q13, fine dining moved further into positive territory at +3.8%, an acceleration from the +2.7% in 1Q13, and bars/nightclubs also moved further into positive territory at +1.4%, an improvement from the +0.3% in 1Q13. MORE>>

US Beverage Alcohol Forum Plays To Packed House at WSWA
The third annual U.S. Beverage Alcohol Forum was held at the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) 70th Annual Convention & Exposition April 30. The USBAF is a partnership between WSWA and the U.S. Drinks Conference, in collaboration with Brand Action Team, Next Level Marketing and MHW, Ltd. The Forum was led by top opinion makers in the industry who covered topics such as trends, technology, digital marketing and distribution of wine and spirits brands in America. MORE>>

Construction Begins on New $30 Million Woodchuck Cidery
Vermont Hard Cider Company, LLC – maker of Woodchuck Hard Cider -- is happy to announce that construction is underway on a state-of-the-art cidery in Middlebury, Vermont.  The $30 million project is being built less than a mile from the current Middlebury facility. The new cidery will provide 100,000 square feet of production, warehouse, and office space.  A post and beam barn will also welcome visitors to Woodchuck, with a gift shop, tastings, and tours. MORE>>


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