Very Important Beverage Professionals Chain Beverage Buzz: May 28, 2013

National Restaurant Associaition Announces Winners of the 2nd Annual Operator Innovations AwardsNRA
The National Restaurant Association has announced the winners of the second annual Operator Innovations Awards, with Kennesaw State University taking home the prestigious Innovator of the Year Award. Selected by an independent panel of expert judges, the winners were recognized for their achievements in driving advancement in the foodservice industry. The innovative restaurant operators were revealed live last night at Destination: Celebration, the gala event for the 2013 National Restaurant Association Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show, in each award category of: Food Service, Health & Nutrition, Menu Development, Sustainability, and Technology. MORE>>

Craft, Premium Plus, and Ciders continued taking share from Premium Light, Imports, and Premium Regular beers
“Similar to what we saw take place in 2012, during the first four months of 2013, Craft, Premium Plus, and Ciders continued to take share from Premium Light, Imports, and Premium Regular beers,” said Bill Pecoriello, CEO of GuestMetrics LLC.  Based on data from GuestMetrics, the unit share trends of the main beer segments during 2011, 2012, and the first 16 weeks of the year through 4/21/13 were as follows:  Craft share of beers purchased increased from 13.7% in 2011 to 15.0% in 2012 to 15.6% in 2013 YTD; Premium Plus increased from 11.1% to 11.6% to 12.1%; Ciders/FMB/PAB increased from 0.5% to 0.6% to 0.8%; Premium Light decreased from 32.1% to 31.0% to 30.4%; Import decreased from 25.6% to 24.8% to 24.4%; and Premium Regular decreased from 6.8% in 2011 to 6.5% in 2012, and has remained at 6.5% in 2013 YTD. MORE>>

Sobieski Battles Pricing Pressure, Targets On-Premise Expansion
In 2011, Imperial Brands’ Sobieski became the fastest vodka brand to date to achieve shipments of 1 million cases in the U.S. But as other accessibly-priced imported vodkas have further proliferated in the market, Sobieski ($11 a 750-ml.) has faced challenges in the form of increased competition and intense pricing pressure. After rising by nearly 50% and 25% in 2010 and 2011, respectively, the brand’s growth slowed to just 3.2% last year. MORE>>

Brands by Value preview
Brand value is the amount that an independent third party might pay to buy the trademark and associated intellectual property. For example, Jose Cuervo's brand value represents Brand Finance’s opinion on how much someone should pay to buy the Jose Cuervo trademark.As part of a brand valuation exercise, the strength of a brand is evaluated against its peers across a number of measures, including emotional connection, financial performance and sustainability, among others. This is used to arrive at a brand rating which ranges from D to AAA. MORE>>

After PBR: Will the Next Great Hipster Beer Please Stand up?pabst blue ribbon
Pabst Blue Ribbon, the so-called nectar of the hipster gods, has been hip for longer than anyone could have possibly imagined. Now that PBR’s popularity is mainstream and the beer has lost some of its authentic, cheap no-frills appeal, the assumption is that another beverage will take its place as the top hipster brew. But there are reasons why the “next PBR” might never come. The research firm Restaurant Sciences recently released data indicating that not only had Pabst Blue Ribbon prices in bars and restaurants risen substantially — up over 10% from April 2012 to April 2013 — but that the entire category of cheap “subpremium” beer had gotten more expensive because of PBR. MORE>>

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Reports Results for the Fiscal First Quarter Ended April 21, 2013red robin
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc., (NASDAQ: RRGB), a casual dining restaurant chain serving an innovative selection of high-quality gourmet burgers in a family-friendly atmosphere, today reported financial results for the 16 weeks ended April 21, 2013. Earnings per diluted share were $0.66, compared to fiscal first quarter 2012 earnings per diluted share of $0.71. Total revenues increased 2.3% to $306.3 million; Company-owned comparable restaurant revenues increased 2.2% compared to the same period a year ago. Restaurant-level operating profit margin increased to 21.5% from 21.2%. MORE>>

Red wines may have premature oxidation problems, say Bordeaux researchers
Researchers at Bordeaux university's faculty of oenology have identified a potential issue with premature oxidation affecting red wines. Denis Dubourdieu, professor at the faculty of oenology (ISVV) in Bordeaux and author of a leading study into premature oxidation in white wines, told, ‘Ten years ago, many people were aware of the premature oxidation problem in white wines, but didn’t want to talk about it. For me, it’s a similar situation now with red wines.’ MORE>>

Technomic Releases Update on Family Dining Restaurants
Family dining occasions are naturally a trademark of the family-style segment; in fact, nearly half of parents polled by Technomic (49 percent) visit family-style restaurants at least once a week. Even though parents and kids may be the primary target audience for family-style restaurants, opportunities exist to boost traffic and sales from other groups, including younger Millennial and Hispanic consumers. MORE>>

IPA Style Leads Craft Beer’s Charge, Say Retailers
In markets around the country, beer retailers and bar operators say the heavily hopped India Pale Ale (IPA) style is now dominating the craft segment. While seasonal crafts (combined) are still craft beer’s top sellers, that’s unlikely to remain the case as IPAs continue to rise. Rob Hill, new programs manager for Total Wine & More, has noticed the incredible growth of IPAs at the 90-unit chain. “The category is now big enough that we’ve created an entire beer-tasting class focused solely on the multiple iterations of IPAs,” says Hill, who’s a certified cicerone. “We have shoppers who’ve heard the term ‘IPA’ but don’t know what it means. So it’s a beer education opportunity for us.” MORE>>

Distillers Sweet on Honey-Flavored Offerings
Spirits producers have latched on to an idea that barbecue purveyors have long embraced: There’s nothing wrong with a little “sweet” to temper a bit of heat. Honey was a leading flavor profile among new spirits introduced in 2012, and other honey-flavored expressions that have hit the market in recent years gained traction. Adult beverage consumers in general and Millennials in particular have shown a heightened interest in exploring the spirits category, and sweeter expressions can serve as an approachable introduction to a spirits segment or even a specific brand. MORE>>



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