Liquor Industry News 1-23-13

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FTC study taking aim at online marketing of booze

 

Source: Reuters

By Sue Zeidler

Tue, Jan 22 2013

 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) plans this summer to recommend ways that the alcoholic beverage industry can better protect underage viewers from seeing its advertisements online.

 

Distillers, brewers and wineries pour millions of dollars into brand promotion on Twitter, Facebook and other social media, and industry critics contend they are not doing enough to prevent young consumers from receiving these messages.

 

“We’re doing a deep dive on how they’re using the Internet and social media,” said Janet Evans, a lawyer with the FTC, which is conducting a year-long study due to be released by early summer. “We’re focusing on underage exposure.”

 

She would not elaborate on any potential recommendations that might come out of the study, which began in April 2012.

 

The FTC is reviewing data from 14 big producers, Evans said, including Beam Inc, the maker of Jim Beam, Diageo Plc , home to Johnnie Walker, and Constellation Brands Inc , which makes Robert Mondavi and Ravenswood wines.

 

The FTC report “is something we take seriously and place at high priority,” said Karena Breslin, director for digital marketing at Constellation.

 

The FTC has made two requests for information since the study began, she said.

 

The regulatory agency has not said it intends to impose restrictions on liquor company social media advertising but it can make recommendations to the industry.

 

The FTC is empowered to file suit to ensure consumers are protected from deceptive marketing practices, Evans said, but she stressed that studies of this nature are meant to promote better self-regulation, not provide a basis for a case.

 

Industry executives say alcohol makers and distributors voluntarily adhere to the same industry-set standard for marketing to underage viewers on social media sites that the industry set for its ads on TV and other media. That requires that at least 71.6 percent of an audience consists of adults 21 and older.

 

“No one in their right mind would want to advertise to people who can’t legally buy their product,” said Frank Coleman, senior vice president for Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), the trade group that sets the industry’s advertising codes.

 

Coleman also cited recent data showing the audiences for Facebook and Twitter are skewed heavily towards viewers who are above the legal drinking age.

 

“According to Nielsen’s latest data, the demographic audience for Facebook is 83.5 percent 21 years and older, and for Twitter it is 85 percent,” Coleman said.

 

In June 2011, DISCUS revised its code upwards to 71.6 percent from 70 percent, after the FTC recommended it review the standard to better reflect U.S. Census population data.

 

Industry critics, including David Jernigen, director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Johns Hopkins University, and Sarah Mart, research director of the advocacy group Alcohol Justice, contend the industry didn’t go far enough and should raise the standard further.

 

Jernigen said it needs to be at least 85 percent to effectively protect youth, so there would be no more than 15 percent exposure to the underage drinking population.

 

“The industry says its self-regulating but it’s ineffective and social media opens up a whole new set of problems because their ads are everywhere,” said Mart.

 

Coleman said the group now requires members to install age-checking tools via instant messaging as a gateway to Twitter feeds and other branded Web platforms that ask the user for a birth date before admitting them.

 

In the first nine months of 2012, beer, wine and spirits manufacturers spent an estimated $35 million for paid Web display advertising, but industry executives estimate many millions more were spent on website creation, video production for platforms like Google’s YouTube and social media marketing efforts.

 

“We’ve significantly adjusted more money to digital for online video, websites, Facebook and Twitter content,” said Kevin George, global chief marketing officer for Jim Beam, which spends 30 percent of its media spend for online outlets, up from 10 percent in 2008, he said.

 

Many companies are expanding their digital staff. Wine maker Constellation hired Breslin three years ago to initiate digital marketing and now has a team of five reporting to her.

 

Many alcoholic beverage companies flocked to Facebook because it requires users to post their birth dates when signing up.

 

Last year Twitter partnered with Buddy Media to offer a screening tool that sends a direct message to fans who click on an alcoholic brand. The message sends the fan a link to a site that asks for date of birth.

 

Salesforce.com bought Buddy Media last June, which is now folding the platform into its marketing cloud portfolio.

 

Health advocates and industry critics are crying foul. “Facebook and other interactive platforms are poorly monitored and not well age-protected,” said Jernigen of Johns Hopkins University. “Anyone can say they’re 21 and click yes.”

 

 

——

A History Lesson from the UK

 

Source: Public Action Management

by Pamela S. Erickson

Jan 22nd

 

Headlines read: “Health warning after boozy New Year celebrations sparks rise in ambulance calls.” “Shameful scenes of booze-fuelled New Year’s chaos in cities across Britain.” And, these are just two of the many headlines documenting the UK’s continuing alcohol crisis. Photos showed young women in scanty clothing, and young people passed out on the streets.

 

But, Britain should know better. It has happened before – several times. And, each time, the pattern involved loosening regulations to promote business, followed by out-of-control drinking, followed by government attempts over many years to re-gain control.

 

The Gin Craze: In the 1700s, laws were changed to help the gin industry and increase gin consumption. The tax was decreased, which made it an attractive product versus beer. Consumption quickly rose and huge problems ensued. For almost a decade, Brits tried to get the problem under control, mostly via major tax hikes. The high taxes were initially ignored, but eventually a balanced tax and campaign against spirits took hold. But it took over 100 years.

 

World Wars: When the First World War commenced, drinking was again very heavy and England realized it could lose more people to alcohol than to the war. At that point, the government instituted tight controls over drinking hours and places, and encouraged people to drink a weak beer product. These strategies worked well – so well that they were retained and loosened somewhat. During the Second World War, tight control was again instituted and mostly retained after the war.

 

The slippery slope of deregulation: But in the 1960s, when memories began to fade, things changed. As the British Medical Association Board of Science noted, “Since the Second World War, there has been considerable deregulation and liberalization of alcohol control policies in the UK. This has been accompanied by an increase in consumption levels and alcohol-related problems . . .” Alcohol was allowed to be sold in grocery stores in the 1960s; bar and pub closing hours were extended, as were Sunday sales. After 2003, 24-hour sales were allowed. Drinking laws for youth were very weak and there was little enforcement. Large increases in alcohol disease and hospitalization occurred.

 

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

George Santayana, Reason in Common Sense

 

The UK has been engaged in numerous attempts to quell the problems. Some of these attempts may eventually work, but a mere review of their history could have told them that when you loosen regulations, problems ensue. It’s a good lesson for the United States, where in many places alcohol regulation is under threat. We have a good regulatory system that meets World Health Organization criteria to a great extent. Do we really want to throw that all away in order to make a few more bucks?

 

 

——

December 2012 Control State Results

 

Source: NABCA

Jan 22nd

 

END-OF-YEAR Results

 

Nine-liter case control state spirits sales during 2012 increased 3.6% over sales during the same period last year, led by Irish Whiskey, Cordials, Vodka, Domestic Whiskey, and Brandy/Cognac reporting annual growth rates of 19.6%, 6.1%, 5.1%, 3.9%, and 3.8%, respectively. Sales of Cocktails and Gin were soft during the year. Iowa, Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming reported annual increases exceeding the control state trend.

 

Control state spirits shelf dollars grew 6.4% during 2012. The growth rates reported for Irish Whiskey (23.3%), Domestic Whiskey (8.5%), Cordials (7.9%), Brandy/Cognac (7.5%), Vodka (7.4%), and Scotch (7.3%) are notable. Shelf dollars reported by Iowa, Idaho, Montana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming grew above the control state trend.

 

Control state volume growth during 2012, 3.6%, follows growth rates reported for 2011 and 2010 of 3.2% and 2.3%. 2012’s shelf dollar growth, 6.4%, compares to 4.5% and 2.6% reported for 2011 and 2010. These reported growth rates yield annual price/mix calculations during 2010 through 2012 of 0.3%, 1.3%, and 2.8%, respectively, and suggest that the growth of premium-priced spirits has accelerated because of the economic recovery in the Control States market since 2011.

 

END-OF-DECEMBER Results

 

During December, nine-liter spirits case sales in the control states were down 2.7% compared to same month last year sales. Rolling-twelve month volumes grew 3.6%, lagging November’s 4.2%. No control jurisdiction reported a monthly growth rate exceeding its twelve month trend.

 

Control state spirits shelf dollars were flat during December while trending at 6.4% during the past twelve months. No control jurisdiction reported a growth rate exceeding its twelve month trend.

Price/Mix for December is 2.7% compared to November’s 4.2%.

 

Control State spirits sales were soft during December. For explanations, consider the following:

 

Michigan, with 16% of the Control States’ spirits and dollars volume, reported four weeks of sales this December against five weeks last year, artificially deflating sales and skewing Control States results. Michigan had seven fewer selling days-21% fewer-during this year’s December compared to last year’s. Utah, with 2% of Control State spirits volume, reported four weeks of sales against five weeks the previous year: there were 6 fewer selling days-21% fewer-during this year’s December. After normalizing nine-liter spirits case sales for Michigan and Utah, December’s nine-liter case growth is 1.5%, and rolling-twelve month volumes show an increase of 4.0%. Likewise, after normalizing shelf dollars, December’s control state shelf dollar growth rate is 4.4%, and its twelve-month trend is 6.9%. December’s normalized Price/Mix is 2.9%.  

 

The December, 2012, calendar has five Sundays compared to four last year. Retail outlets in six control jurisdictions-Alabama, Montana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Utah, West Virginia-are closed on Sundays. Christmas, 2011, was celebrated on Sunday; Christmas, 2012, was celebrated on Tuesday. Many retail outlets in the Control States are closed on Christmas. December, 2012, had twelve fewer selling days because of Christmas’ position in the Calendar relative to 2011. The December, 2011, calendar had five Thursdays and five Fridays, which were replaced by four Thursdays, four Fridays, and a Sunday and Monday in the December, 2012, calendar. On average, 38% of weekly business is done on Thursdays and Fridays versus 14% on Sundays and Mondays.

 

During December, Irish Whiskey, with 0.8% share of the control states spirits market, was the fastest growing category with 9.8% growth reported and a twelve month growth trend of 19.6%. Vodka, with 35% share, grew during the same periods at -2.8% and 5.1%. No category’s growth rate exceeded its twelve-month trend.

 

December’s nine-liter wine case sales growth rate was 0.4%. Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Utah, Mississippi, Montgomery County Maryland, and Wyoming reported 3.1%, 0.8%, -13.2%, -5.8%, -1.9%, and 3.9%, respectively. December’s rolling-twelve month wine volume growth, 4.2%, is down slightly from November’s 4.5%.

 

 

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Beverages: Nielsen Spirits: Strong Results

 

Source: Morgan Stanley

Jan 22nd

 

Key takeaways for spirits scanner data (ex- WA State) for the 4-weeks ended 1/5: (1) Spirits category sales growth was +6.0%, well above +3.5% in the prior 12-weeks, as volume accelerated. Two-yr stacked sales growth of +6.3% was above +4.7% in the prior 12-weeks. (2) Price/mix of +3.2% was above the prior 12-weeks at +2.3%. (3) Bourbon continues to gain share. The strong Nielsen results is at odds with industry feedback that US alcohol holiday sales were weak, but we believe non-Nielsen channel softness (particularly on-premise) drove weak total holiday sales.

 

Key Industry Trends: Total spirits sales for the 4-week period ended 1/5 were up +6.0% y-o-y (+6.3% on a 2-yr avg. basis), driven by +2.7% volume and +3.2% price/mix. Category strength in Bourbon (+12.1%), Vodka (+6.1%), and Canadian whiskey (+8.6%) were partially offset by slowing prepared cocktails (-2.7%), which was lapping a difficult y-o-y comparison.

 

Beam: Beam sales were up +6.7% (+10.3% 2-yr avg.), gaining 7 bps of dollar share, despite lapping a tough +13.8% y-o-y comp, as competitor pricing ramps up. Two-year stacked growth of +10.3% accelerated vs. +7.1% in the prior 12-weeks. Strong +4.3% pricing (slightly below the prior 12-weeks trend of +5.4%) was driven by mix and MSD (%) bourbon pricing. Strength in Pinnacle Vodka (+17.7%) and Skinnygirl (+8.2%) was partially offset by weakness in Dekuyper (-4.5%).

 

Brown-Forman: BFB sales increased +6.7% y-o-y (2-yr avg. +9.5%) driving 5 bps of $ share gain on +4.5% volume (above +1.4% in prior 12-weeks) and muted +2.1% price/mix. Two-year avg. sales growth of +9.5%, was also above +7.0% in the prior 12-weeks. Jack Daniels ex. Tenn. Honey was up +4.5% and El Jimador was down -8.6%. Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey continues to be strong, up +51.0% y-o-y.

 

Constellation Brands: STZ sales were up +9.1% (2-yr avg. of +8.0%), gaining 7 bps of $ share. Prior 12-week sales growth was +7.5% (2-yr. avg. of +8.0%). Sales growth was driven by Svedka strength (+16.4%).

 

 

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John Distilleries seeks foreign partner

 

Source: TNN

Anshul Dhamija

Jan 23, 2013

 

John Distilleries (JDL), founded by NRI businessman Paul John, has mandated Morgan Stanley to scout for potential suitors interested in picking up a major stake in the country’s fifth largest alcoholic beverage company by volume.

 

The promoter and private equity investor Gaja Capital, which holds about 35% stake in the Bangalore-based maker of Original Choice whiskey, has valued the company at about Rs 900 crore, said banking sources with knowledge of the matter.

 

The Rs 450-crore JDL’s Original Choice sells over 10 million cases with strong presence in the southern markets. The brand is the largest selling in Karnataka, the home turf of domestic liquor heavyweight United Spirits (USL).

 

This development comes 60 days after Vijay Mallya-led USL, which commands a 53% share in the Indian spirits market, hived off controlling stake to the world’s largest spirits maker Diageo for approximately Rs 5,500 crore. The USL sale is widely expected to set off further consolidation moves in a sector where MNC brands are gaining ground.

 

The deal, which is likely to see two existing shareholders offload majority stake, would also give an exit window to India focused private equity fund Gaja Capital, which had entered the company two years ago.

 

Sources briefed on the matter said that smaller international firms like Italian spirits maker Gruppo Campari and American spirits maker Beam Global could be attracted to a potential deal, but a definite picture would emerge only after Morgan Stanley starts an official search for a foreign partner. The transaction could give foreign buyer a strategic foothold in the country’s bigger whiskey markets.

 

A region wise break-up of the Indian Made Foreign Liquor market, which accounts for 36% of the overall alcoholic beverage space, shows that South accounts for 49% of sales, West 30%, North 12%, and East 9%. JDL’s brand portfolio also include Mont Castle Brandy, Grand Duke premium whisky, and Big Banyan Wines.

 

What makes Indian liquor companies sport high valuations as well as attractive to foreign players is the strong entry barriers that protect the local incumbent players.

 

Financial services company Anand Rathi, in its report on the Indian alcoholic beverage market, pointed out limited distribution networks and importantly the tight government control of the liquor market at the state level, are some of the barriers new entrants are weighed down by.

 

 

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Kirin’s Next Move in Fraser & Neave Still in Question

 

Source: WSJ

By Isabella Steger

Jan 23rd

 

Japan’s Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd. says it hasn’t decided yet what to do with its 14.8% stake in Singapore’s Fraser & Neave Ltd., now that its settled on a Thai buyer. Shareholders, however, seem like they know what they want.

 

Thai tycoon Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi beat out a competing offer from Indonesia’s Riady family with an offer that valued the property and drinks conglomerate at $11 billion on Monday. Kirin had previously said it would cooperate with Overseas Union Enterprise Ltd., a Singapore-listed unit of the Riadys, and tender its stake to OUE. On Monday, OUE said it would not raise its $10.6 billion offer, effectively pulling out of the race to buy Fraser & Neave.

 

Kirin’s choice now is either to make a lot of money selling its shares — around S$2.5 billion ($2 billion) — or retain an interest in the company, which would continue to give it access to fast-growing beverage markets in Southeast Asia. By teaming up with OUE, Kirin had hoped to buy back F&N’s food and beverage operations, mainly the Malaysian arm of F&N.

 

Shareholders certainly like the idea of the former option, with Kirin’s stock jumping more than 3% to a ten-month high Tuesday after it was announced that the Thais had won. One reason could be that Kirin has a history, according to analysts, of overpaying for assets, for example, in Brazil, when it bought brewer Schincariol in 2011 for $3.9 billion. Analysts thought the price was high, at about 16 times EV/Ebitda compared to around 11 to 12 times for brewery deals on average, based on calculations by Credit Suisse at the time.

 

“Investors welcomed this because the share sales will help to improve Kirin’s earnings,” said Nomura Securities analyst Satoshi Fujiwara.

 

There may also be no major merit to holding on to the stake in F&N, as Kirin’s tie-up with the company is limited to areas such as manufacturing F&N products at Kirin’s plant in Vietnam. It no longer has a beer marketing accord with the company after F&N sold its interest in the Tiger beer joint venture to Heineken NV, which put the rest of F&N in play.

 

Kirin said Tuesday that it has made no decision yet on the stake.

 

As of Tuesday, Mr. Charoen, through his vehicle TCC Assets, controls 44.05% of F&N, up from 42.5% on Monday. His offer for F&N is conditional upon getting more than 50% of the company’s shares by Feb. 4.

 

 

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AB Inbev wins battle of the Bud in trademark war

 

Source: Drinks International

By Hamish Smith

22 January, 2013

 

An EU court has dismissed Budweiser Budvar’s challenge against AB Inbev’s use of the term ‘Bud’  in the latest round of the decade-long trademark saga.

 

AB Inbev’s Budweiser can now be referred to as Bud in all 27 EU states.

 

In a statement today (Tuesday 22 January) the General Court said it “dismisses the actions brought by Budejovický Budvar against the registration of the Community trade mark ‘Bud’ for beer applied for by Anheuser-Busch”.

 

The Czech brewer’s challenge hinged on the argument that ‘Bud’ could be considered an appellation of origin.

 

The Luxemberg-based court found that Budweiser Budvar’s evidence was insufficient to prevent AB-Inbev registering and using the trademark.

 

The statement continued: “That trade mark can be registered because of the insignificant use in France and Austria of the appellation of origin ‘bud’.”

 

In response to the ruling, AB Inbev said: “We are extremely pleased to have confirmed our right to a Bud trademark registration valid throughout the entire European Union. This ruling is majorly important in that it will expand our already strong global protections for Bud and Budweiser.

 

“While there are only a few countries in Europe where we do not have a registration for Bud or Budweiser, this registration will fill in those few remaining gaps. We will now have virtually world-wide protection for the Bud or Budweiser brands.”

 

Last week (January 15), the Czech brewer won a ruling at the UK’s Supreme Court that cleared the way for both Budweiser Budvar and AB InBev to use the Budweiser name.

 

The case,  in which AB-Inbev tried to have Budweiser Budvar stripped of its right to Budweiser trademark in the UK, was at appeal stage and so marks the cessation of litigation in the market.

 

Commenting on the decision Budvar CEO Jiri Bocek said: “This attempt to change the final decision of the court proves the long term interest of AB InBev in trying to gain exclusive rights for the Budweiser name at any cost.”

 

 

——

Minimum pricing legal challenges underway

 

Source: The Spirits Business

by Tom Bruce-Gardyne

22nd January, 2013

 

After a three year battle, the Scottish Government’s bid to introduce a minimum price on alcohol has reached the Court of Session in Edinburgh, in what is being seen as a test case for British Prime Minister David Cameron.

 

Minimum pricing could damage the Scotch export industry, worth £4bn a year to the economy

 

Lawyers for the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) have argued that the measures contravene EU free trade rules, would prove ineffective in tackling alcohol misuse, and could damage an export industry worth £4bn a year to the Scottish economy.

 

This week the Judge – Lord Doherty  – will hear the counter argument from lawyers representing Holyrood and Westminster.

 

Behind the scenes, EU trade ministers are said to be broadly sympathetic with the SWA’s views, while the Scottish National Party (SNP) are furiously lobbying European health ministers for their support.

 

The Scottish Government’s desire for a 50p per unit price, which would raise the cheapest 70cl bottle of Scotch to £14, was passed by the Parliament in May last year at its second attempt. Meanwhile Cameron has voiced support for a 45p per unit minimum south of the border.

 

The case is set to conclude this Friday 25 January, after which the Lord Doherty will consider his ruling. Whatever that is, it may well be the first of a series of legal challenges that could go to the Supreme Court in London or the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

 

Either way, it appears unlikely that minimum pricing in Scotland will hit the streets this April as planned.

 

 

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Chicago Energy Drink Ban? Ed Burke Wants To Curb High-Caffeine Beverages For Adults

 

Source: Huff Post

01/18/2013

 

A Chicago alderman is proposing a ban on energy drinks for kids and adults, citing the number of high-caffeine drink-related deaths in recent years.

 

Buzzkill.

 

In a Thursday City Council meeting, Chicago’s most powerful Alderman, Ed Burke (14th) proposed an ordinance that would nix “highly caffeinated” energy drinks for everyone in Chicago, according to the Tribune.

 

In Burke’s crosshairs are popular drinks like Monster Energy Drink, Full Throttle and 5-Hour Energy, reports NBC Chicago.

 

Unlike his fellow Ald. George Cardenas’ (12th) Nov. proposal to ban the sale of the controversial beverages to anyone under 21, Burke’s ordinance introduced Thursday would bring drink sales and distribution in Chicago to a screeching halt – and would be a blanket ban for everyone, not just minors.

 

The Sun-Times called Burke’s measure a “surprise crackdown” on the drinks that have been previously linked to deaths, in the cases of 5-Hour Energy and Monster.

 

The ordinance states “No person shall sell, give away, barter, exchange or otherwise furnish any energy drink,” reports the Sun-Times. Here, an energy drink is defined as “a canned or bottled beverage which contains an amount of caffeine exceeding or equal to 180 milligrams-per-container and containing Taurine or Guarana” – and scofflaws would face fines of $100 to $500 per offense.

 

WIthin the parameters of the ordinance, the ban would really be targeting drink size; a standard 8.4-ounce can of Red Bull or a 16-ounce can of Monster would still be in play, but the 24-ounce can of Monster would not.

 

According to Fox Chicago, a federal survey released in January indicates emergency room visits involving energy drinks rose from about 10,000 to more than 20,000 between 2007 and 2011.

 

 

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Alcohol and a Good Night’s Sleep Don’t Mix

 

Source: WebMD Health News

By Denise Mann

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Jan. 22, 2013

 

Think a nightcap may help you get a better night’s sleep?

 

Think again.  

 

A new review of 27 studies shows that alcohol does not improve sleep quality. According to the findings, alcohol does allow healthy people to fall asleep quicker and sleep more deeply for a while, but it reduces rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

 

And the more you drink before bed, the more pronounced these effects. REM sleep happens about 90 minutes after we fall asleep. It’s the stage of sleep when people dream, and it’s thought to be restorative. Disruptions in REM sleep may cause daytime drowsiness, poor concentration, and rob you of needed ZZZs.

 

“Alcohol may seem to be helping you to sleep, as it helps induce sleep, but overall it is more disruptive to sleep, particularly in the second half of the night,” says researcher Irshaad Ebrahim. He is the medical director at The London Sleep Centre in the U.K. “Alcohol also suppresses breathing and can precipitate sleep apnea,” or pauses in breathing that happen throughout the night.

 

The more a person drinks before bed, the stronger the disruption. One to two standard drinks seem to have minimal effects on sleep, Ebrahim says.

 

“The immediate and short-term impact of alcohol is to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, and this effect on the first half of sleep may be partly the reason some people with insomnia use alcohol as a sleep aid,” Ebrahim says. “However, this is offset by having more disrupted sleep in the second half of the night.”

 

“Alcohol should not be used as a sleep aid, and regular use of alcohol as a sleep aid may result in alcohol dependence,” he says.

 

The findings will appear in the April 2013 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

 

Alcohol tricks people into thinking they are getting better sleep, says Scott Krakower, DO. He is an addiction specialist at North Shore-LIJ in Mineola, N.Y. “People who drink alcohol often think their sleep is improved, but it is not.”

 

REM is the more mentally restorative type of sleep, says Michael Breus, PhD, a sleep specialist in Scottsdale, Ariz. “Alcohol is not an appropriate sleep aid. If you rely on alcohol to fall asleep, recognize that you have a greater likelihood to sleepwalk, sleep talk, and have problems with your memory.”

 

If you are having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about how to improve your sleep quality. He or she may be able to rule out underlying sleep disorders like sleep apnea and suggest appropriate sleep aids.

 

Better sleep habits can also help. Some tips to improve sleep habits include:

 

    Get regular exercise, but no later than a few hours before bed.

    Avoid caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine in the evening.

    Reserve the bed for sleeping and sex only.

    Keep your bedroom at a cool temperature.

    Set regular wake and bed times.

 

 

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Consumer Wine Trends: Americans Drinking More, “Better” Wines

 

Source: WineBusiness.com

by Erin Guenther

Jan 21st

 

The fundamental consumer base has and will continue to change, and wine marketers and makers can not ignore the new way people drink wine, according the research presented at the Wine Market Council Update on Jan. 18, 2013. Consumers are finding more reasons to “celebrate” with a bottle of wine or drinking more wine when a bottle is opened, and in some cases doing both-a very good sign for an industry that posted $13.3 billion in off-premise sales last year.

 

Of all wine drinkers, 57 percent are now considered “core” drinkers, meaning they drink wine on a fairly consistent weekly or monthly basis, and they account for 25 percent of the United States’ adult population. This group consumes an astounding 93 percent of the 175 million cases of wine sold off-premise last year.

 

“When Wine Market Council did its first survey in 1994, only 34 percent of all wine drinkers were cores. The reversal of fortune for us today is remarkable and it really is in my mind, the truest sign of the acculturation of wine into American society,” said John Gillespie, president of Wine Market Council.

 

A trend of drinking more for the simple reason of making it home after a long day at work has produced a corresponding rise in table wine sales, which are up 4.6 percent in dollar sales and 1.7 percent in volume, compared with last year, according to Nielsen-tracked data also presented at the conference. The average price of table wine sold reached $6.30, up 2.7 percent since 2011, nearly matching inflation rates.

 

In addition, new items saturated the market, accounting for 34 percent of wines in the $10 to $15 price range, and 30.7 percent of those sold in the $6 to $9.99 range. But the rise in “occasion” wine hasn’t just added up to stronger table wine sales. Consumers are still wary of economic conditions, but it seems that they’re tired of feeling poor.

 

“Consumers continue to drink a little bit more and they’re drinking better, and that’s across the board-beer, wine and spirits,” said Dale Stratton, vice president of Constellation Brands.

 

This is perhaps best demonstrated by recent restaurant purchasing habits chronicled in Wine Market Council’s most recent survey. On an average weeknight dinner, 48 percent of respondents will spend less than $10 for a glass of wine and 29 percent are willing to spend anywhere from $10 to $12. However, if that same consumer were to buy wine by the glass on a weekend when out with friends, 30 percent will pay more than $15, 24 percent would pay between $13 and $15, and another 29 percent would order a glass that cost $10 to $12.

 

The same holds true for bottle purchases at restaurants. A staggering 45 percent would not spend more than $30 on a bottle for a weeknight dinner, but 34 percent would spend $30 to $49 and another 35 percent would spend $50 to $74 dollars if they were out with a group on Saturday night.

The Generational Challenge

 

It’s no surprise that the largest amount and most frequent buyers are Baby Boomers (ages 49 to 67) and Millennials (ages 19 to 36), who either have enough money to purchase or now accept wine as part of their culture. Both groups are finding more occasions to drink wines, and their influence on the market continues to grow.

 

Of the 70 million Millennials, there are still 8 million who have yet to reach legal drinking age. As they do, the older Millennials will become more settled in their careers, homes, and purchasing habits, leaving the door open for an even larger number to learn to love and appreciate wine.

 

“The Millennial share of core wine drinkers continues to grow, not only because 4 million of them turned 21 this year, but also because more Millennials are in their late twenties and early to mid-thirties, a stage in life where wine consumption often rises, as we have seen with the Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers before them,” said Gillespie.

 

By sheer numbers alone, Millennials have the potential to shape and influence the evolving American perception of wine. “Millenials are significantly more likely to believe that an open bottle of wine stays fresh for two to three days,” he said. “If they could just pass that data along to their elders we would be in much better shape.”

 

Boomers are getting older, however, and as they do they are less likely to spend money on wine as issues such as retirement and fixed income become more prevalent.

 

Hispanic Headwinds

 

The Latino population is one of the largest untapped markets for wine. As a group, Hispanics only account for 16.3 percent of today’s population, but it is estimated that by 2050, they will be the majority, nearly doubling in size to reach 30.8 percent of the population, according to Nielsen data. Their core values coincide with that of many wineries-family comes first, food and drinks are for bonding, and language is a connecter-but the group is still largely ignored by wine marketing efforts.

 

While Hispanics typically are consumers of beer and spirits, those that do drink wine aren’t simply content with table wine. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they prefer wines sourced from Spain, Argentina and Chile, in that order. It seems they also have a bit of a sweet tooth-dessert wines and Moscatos were the most popular varieties of choice.

 

“This is going to change the footprint and change really what we’re doing and how we’re going to go forward,” said Stratton.

 

http://www.winebusiness.com/news/?go=getArticle&dataid=110521

 

 

——

Barossa Valley Estate winery placed in receivership

 

Source: Adelaide Now

Tony Love

January 18, 2013

 

GRAPE-grower shareholders of Barossa Valley Estate have been left up in the air after their winery cooperative was placed into receivership.

 

The timing of the move couldn’t be worse as the 2013 vintage nears and the future of grape contracts remains uncertain.

 

It’s also understood many of the supplier shareholders have yet to be fully paid for their 2012 crops.

 

Barossa Valley Estate Ltd’s assets and affairs were placed into the hands of receivers McGrath Nicol on Tuesday.

 

Company partner Sam Davies said they intended to continue operating the winery while working closely with the contract growers and BVE management over the next two weeks to determine and settle 2013 grape supply requirements.

 

Existing domestic and export distribution arrangements will be reviewed, Mr Davies said.

 

Upcoming functions booked through the cellar door and function facility would be honoured, he said.

 

A source close to BVE said the company would need to quickly sort out what the present financial scenario meant before the coming harvest.

 

“It’s the busiest time of the year,” the leading Barossa identity said.

 

Barossa Valley Estate not only makes its own labelled wines but also has a large contract processing component to its business, he said.

 

The winery became a fully owned shareholder cooperative venture in April 2011 after a consortium of Barossa Valley growers bought out the half stake in the company previously owned by Accolade Wines.

 

 

——

Margaret River bolsters Western Australia export figures

 

Source: Decanter

by James Lawrence

Tuesday 22 January 2013

 

The value of bottled wine exports from Western Australia – excluding the Margaret River appellation – fell by 41% in 2012, Wine Australia has revealed.

 

Bottled wine exports from the region fell from AUS$12.9m to AUS$7.6m, according to the December 2012 Wine Export Approval Report released this month.

 

Margaret River was the only appellation that had shown an increase in export value, rescuing the region from recording an overall decline.

 

Overall, Western Australia’s total wine export value rose from AUS$23.7m to AUS$26.2m in 2012, a lower than expected increase.

 

However, Wines of Western Australia general manager Aymee Mastaglia downplayed any notion that the region’s export value was in rapid decline.

 

‘I think the figures are a little misleading – between 2010 and 2011 WA experienced a very large growth in export sales, from AUS$33m up to AUS$43.m.

 

‘Although WA companies in general experienced a decline from the previous year, the total figure is larger than in 2010,’ Mastaglia told Decanter.com.

 

Mastaglia said that the growth was being largely generated from Margaret River wine exports to Asia, and in particular China, which is now Margaret River’s biggest market.

 

According to IWSR figures released in 2012, Australia recorded an overall 37% increase in wine sales to China in 2011, and is the second largest wine exporter to China, after France.

 

Simone Horgan-Furlong, marketing manager for Leeuwin Estate, said that the region had also greatly benefited from Chinese tourism.

 

‘As a result of the growing Chinese interest in wine tourism, our cellar door visits are rapidly increasing,’ he said.

 

Wines of Western Australia said that the top WA brands in China by volume included Cape Mentelle, Ferngrove, Howard Park, Leeuwin and West Cape Howe Wines.

 

‘The Great Southern region is also doing very well, they have a major push into the second tier cities in China at the moment,’ Mastaglia added.

 

 

——

New York: LAST STORE ON MAIN STREET COALITION RESPONDS TO GOVERNOR CUOMO’S 2013-2014 BUDGET PROPOSAL

 

Source: LAST STORE ON MAIN STREET

Jan 22nd

 

The following is a statement from Jeff Saunders, founder of the Last Store on Main Street Coalition:

 

“With his Executive Budget today, Governor Cuomo has demonstrated once again that he recognizes the best way to lift the New York wine industry and create jobs is to invest in a consumer-based marketing program, which is exactly what he does with his $2 million Taste NY program. The more New Yorkers understand the high quality wine made right here at home, the more they drink it and the more they buy it. That growing demand will generate jobs and investments as wineries expand and new ones spring up across the state. Wine retailers across the State stand ready to help play our part in that growth.

 

“In a budget that has a strong focus on creating jobs upstate, it’s especially fitting that the Governor has rejected the job-killing Wine in Grocery stores gimmick for the third straight year. He knows this bad idea would generate little in way of revenue and put mom-and-pop wine stores out of business across the State, especially upstate. We know the Big Box stores care little about putting more than 4,000 people out of work just to increase their profits, but we are fortunate we have a Governor who understands and stands with small businesses in this State.”

 

 

——

Tastevin Research Reveals Wine List Placement Is As Important As Shelf Placement

 

Source: Balzac

Jan 22nd

 

Labrador OmniMedia, a team of beverage and software experts who produce the Tastevin tablet beverage list, has used the data collected from their revolutionary wine list to provide key insights into consumer behavior at restaurants across the nation. Tastevin analyzed the wine sales data of a large sample of accounts in 12 of the largest states and markets in the US. The aggregate, anonymized results show that where a wine appears on the list plays a critical role in sales volume.

 

“Hard data adds a whole new perspective to the on-premise world,” says Labrador OmniMedia president Josh Hermsmeyer. “Most of the previous information about consumer on-premise behavior has been anecdotal. We’ve been able to use our tablet beverage lists to collect data across the country and measure how important it is to be near the top of your category on wine lists. This is hard data as collected by actual transactions at our client restaurants.”

 

The right digital “shelf space” sells

 

Tastevin ran an analysis of six months’ worth of data for 50 restaurants across the United States. Sales were compared to the position a wine held on the various lists. A very strong correlation was found between position on the list and quantity sold. For instance, a wine listed first in a group (“Un-oaked Chardonnays,” for example) will perform 265 times better than the wine listed 30th in that group. Similarly, the wine listed first will perform 3.4 times better than the wine listed 10th in that same group.

 

“If you want to increase your wine sales, move to the top of the list,” says Hermsmeyer. “The case is much the same in the publishing industry, specifically the newspaper business. If your headline is ‘above the fold’ many more people will see it and read it.”

 

For tablet wine lists, the research shows a significant drop after the first page. “We see a 35% drop in sales from the sixth to the seventh wine in a group,” says Hermsmeyer, “which aligns with the ‘above the fold’ phenomenon described above. Tastevin wine lists show six full items per screen, so this implies that a consumer often makes a choice on the type of wine they are going to purchase after viewing one of the first items they see. In short, it matters very much in which position on a list a wine lives. Crucially, this behavior is very likely to hold regardless of whether the list is digital or print.”

 

Restaurants across the country are using the Tastevin system to track consumer behavior, understand their customers, and integrate their wine list sales seamlessly into their accounting and inventory control software. The results from the data are helping both restaurants and wineries sell more wine on-premise.  

 

“Tastevin is the first truly complete restaurant beverage program I’ve seen,” says Michael Klauber, Co-Proprietor of Michael’s On East in Sarasota, Florida. “It’s designed from a restaurateur’s point of view on the back-end, with comprehensive reporting and inventory control, but even more importantly, the program caters to consumers. It’s interactive, intuitive, and easy for guests to navigate. With more than 350 wine selections on our restaurant’s list, Tastevin provides our staff the opportunity to learn even more about individual wines on our ever-changing wine list while also encouraging Michael’s On East guests to browse detailed winery information, winemakers’ stories and food pairings.”

 

About Labrador OmniMedia

Labrador OmniMedia is reinventing on-premise beverage sales with Tastevin. Founded by industry veterans John Jordan and Josh Hermsmeyer, Labrador is obsessively dedicated to creating technology that makes their beverage lists the easy choice for diners, restaurateurs, and wholesalers alike. The application is currently in use in a number of top restaurants around the country, including Coohills Restaurant, Downtown Dining, Hawthorn, Hyatt Irvine, Michael’s on East, Pacifica Group of Restaurants, and Ruth’s Chris Steak House.

 

 

——

Central European Distribution Appoints Ryan Lee As CFO

 

Source: RTT News

1/22/2013

 

Central European Distribution Corp. (CEDC: Quote) announced Tuesday that it appointed Ryan Lee as Chief Financial Officer. Lee, who had served as CFO of Russian Alcohol Group, a CEDC subsidiary, since April 2012, brings over 23 years of financial management experience in both retail and tobacco. He has worked for 13 years in Russia, five years in Switzerland, and two years in each of the UK and the Netherlands. From November 2008 to March 2012, Lee worked for Eldorado as Vice President Finance.

 

From 1999-2008, Lee worked for Japan Tobacco International, Geneva as Vice President Finance, business Service Centres & Integration, among other senior roles, including as CFO, Vice President Finance and Financial Controller for Russia. From 1989-1999, Lee held accounting, finance and commercial positions at Unilever PLC and its group subsidiaries.

 

CEDC also announced that Bartosz Kolacinski agreed to resume his position as Deputy CFO of the company. Kolacinski had been serving as Interim CFO of CEDC since September 2012.

 

 

——

Family Dollar stores to begin selling alcohol

 

Source: News 4

Jan 22nd

 

SAN ANTONIO — Olivia Lopez has lived in the same neighborhood for 16 years and she worries about people loitering and drinking. It’s a problem she thinks will get worse if a nearby Family Dollar Store starts selling beer and wine.

 

“Yeah, you can see them walking with their can in a brown paper bag. So that would be my concern that there would be more people like that,” said Lopez.

 

According to Bryn Winburn, the discount retailer company is testing beer and wine sales in a few markets, at customers request. The company has more than 7000 stores across the country in 44 states.

 

So far, no official word on the sale of liquor in San Antonio.

 

The idea of liquor at Family Dollar doesn’t bother Sandra Jimenez, as long as students at two nearby schools are protected.

 

“Like I said, as long as they don’t sell to minors, I’m okay with it,” she insisted.

 

In a news report, some North Carolina employees raised concerns about safety if their employer starts selling beer and wine. Those employees think it will heighten the threat of robberies, shoplifting and loitering.

 

In an email, Winburn stated “the safety of our team members and customers is our number one priority.”

 

Winburn added, all employees have been trained on alcohol sales and the company is compliant with all local, state and federal regulations, when it comes to the sale of alcoholic beverages.

 

 

——

Brinker: 2Q sales rise despite traffic decline

 

Company reported a 4.2-percent increase in profit for the quarter

 

Source: NRN

Ron Ruggless  

Jan. 22, 2013

 

Brinker International Inc., parent to the Chili’s Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy casual-dining chains, reported a 4.2-percent increase in quarterly profit on Tuesday, as same-store sales rose slightly despite dips in traffic.

 

Dallas-based Brinker reported net income of $37.2 million, or 50 cents per share, for it’s second quarter ended Dec. 26, compared to $35.7 million, or 44 cents per share, in the prior year period. Revenue rose 1.1 percent to $689.8 million.

 

Sales at units open at least 18 months rose 0.9 percent at Chili’s and increased 0.6 percent at Maggiano’s during the quarter. Traffic in the quarter fell 1.9 percent at Chili’s and 2.4 percent at Maggiano’s, the company reported.

 

Wyman Roberts, chief executive and president of Brinker International, said a later-than-usual Christmas holiday and the accompanying sales boost fell after the quarter’s end. He added that weather negatively impacted results by 40 basis points.

 

Restaurant operating margins improved about 30 basis points, to 15.7 percent from 15.4 percent in the prior-year period.

 

Brinker International ended the quarter with 1,549 Chili’s units and 44 Maggiano’s restaurants.

 

 

——

Brinker International (EAT): Some company-specific positives, but Casual Dining trends murky

 

Source: Goldman Sachs

Jan 22nd

 

INVESTMENT LIST MEMBERSHIP: Neutral

COVERAGE VIEW: NEUTRAL

 

What’s changed

We raise our FY2013-2015E EPS to $2.26/$2.44/$2.69, still below consensus, but higher to reflect increased confidence in the forward margin trajectory. Our revenue forecasts are for the most part unchanged.

Implications

 

We retain our Neutral rating on EAT shares. To the positive:

(1) The company has several company-specific revenue drivers in place, and as such its trajectory is not entirely at the whim of soft industry trends. It is starting to build units again, is in the early stages of a system-wide restaurant remodel program, and has several new product launches in the pipeline (including pizza in the coming quarters).

 

(2) EAT’s margin enhancement initiatives continue to bear fruit. We project restaurant margins of 16.8% for FY2013, up from 14.0% in FY2010. Margin expansion stalled in 2QFY13; however, based on management commentary on the conference call, this appears to be driven by temporary items such as a spike in overtime and health insurance claims.

 

(3) The company continues to generate a significant amount of FCF, and is shareholder-friendly in its deployment. It has a 2.5% dividend yield and we expect 6-7%/year in ongoing repurchases. It bought back $45 million of stock in the quarter, and another $41 million post quarter close.

 

This said, we remain concerned about Casual Dining trends more broadly, and believe EAT may struggle to post robust financial results even with some solid programs in place. Consensus forecasts for positive traffic growth looking forward may ultimately prove optimistic.

 

Valuation

We maintain our $34, P/E- and DCF-based 12-month price target.

 

Key risks

Upside/downside risks relate to SSS/traffic trends in the coming quarters.

 

 

——

GuestMetrics Releases Restaurant and Bar Tender Study: Amex Cardholders spend well ahead of Mastercard/Visa and cash customers

 

Source: GuestMetrics

Jan 22nd

 

According to GuestMetrics, based on its proprietary database of POS transactions of over $8 billion dollars in transactions and over 250 million checks from restaurants and bars across the United States over the past two years, the average check among patrons who pay with American Express at casual and fine dining restaurants is significantly higher than with other payment methods.

 

“In analyzing the different tender types among the casual restaurants in our universe, the average check with MasterCard, Visa and Discover is about 36% below that of American Express, and the average check amount with cash is even lower,” said Bill Pecoriello, CEO of GuestMetrics LLC. “Similarly, in analyzing the tender types among fine dining restaurants in our universe, the difference between American Express and the other credit card types is even greater, at 39%,” continued Pecoriello.  Based on data from GuestMetrics, the average check at casual restaurants when paid with American Express is about $66, versus $44 with Discover, $43 with MasterCard, $39 with Visa, and $20 with cash.  In fine dining restaurants, the average check is $105 when paid with American Express, versus $68 with Discover, $66 with MasterCard, $60 with Visa, and $17 with cash, which are predominantly transactions for drinks from the bar while patrons are waiting to be seated.

 

“To get a sense of the size of the white space opportunity here, about 9% of dollar sales at casual restaurants are paid for with American Express. However, when you factor in the significant difference in check size, American Express only accounts for 5% of total checks in the casual restaurant space,” said Peter Reidhead, VP of Strategy and Insights at GuestMetrics.  “In the fine dining space, the difference is even starker, with American Express representing 26% of all dollar sales, but just 10% of the number of total transactions.”  

 

“While it is true the transaction fee paid by the restaurant operator is higher with American Express than with the other credit card companies, the incremental dollars that can be captured by accepting AmEx could more than justify the added transaction cost,” said Brian Barrett, President of GuestMetrics. “So in the highly competitive restaurant environment where the average consumer is clearly still under economic pressure, restaurants may be able to capture some incremental sales by also accepting American Express as a payment method, if they are not doing so already.”      

 

About GuestMetrics LLC

GuestMetrics, LLC is revolutionizing how the hospitality industry operates.  Despite the dawn of the Digital Age having begun more than three decades ago, the hospitality industry essentially functions the same way it did centuries before.  GuestMetrics has cracked the code by collecting data from tens of thousands of restaurants and turning billions of raw transactions into intelligible data that is fundamentally transforming the business operations of everyone from the independently-owned bar/restaurant on the corner, to multi-national chains, to the food & beverage companies that supply them.  Please visit www.GuestMetrics.com for more information and to arrange for a free demonstration.

 

 

——

Bartenders Are Doing More Than Taking Orders

 

Source: NY Times

By ROBERT SIMONSON

Jan 23rd

 

Around the neck of every bottle from the fledgling spirits outfit the 86 Co. – the gin, the vodka, the tequila, the rum – is a small glass ridge. To the untrained eye, it looks like a packaging flourish. It is not.

 

The ridge is there to make it easier for a bartender to grab the bottle, upend it and pour. It was the suggestion of the Los Angeles mixologist Eric Alperin, one of many bartenders sounded out by Simon Ford, Dushan Zaric and Jason Kosmos before they and two other partners started the liquor line last year.

 

The neck is not the only thing designed to please the men and women behind the bar. The mouth is slightly tapered so speed-pouring spouts don’t slip out when they begin to wear thin. The bottle has liter and ounce measurements on the side, so that once empty, it can be used for other juices and syrups. The spirits themselves were concocted to be affordable yet pass the quality test and be eminently mixable. (While developing the Caña Brava rum in Panama, Mr. Zaric got in the habit of making a daiquiri on the spot with each new sample that came off the still.)

 

“It’s about creating the tools that make our lives better,” he said. By “our” he meant bartenders’ – Mr. Zaric, Mr. Kosmos and Mr. Ford all have backgrounds in bartending.

 

The spirits industry has long marched to the voice of the consumer, but today, as the new cocktail culture turns mixologists into tastemakers, it is starting to heed the bartending elite. Mammoth liquor conglomerates like Bacardi and Pernod Ricard have even collaborated with barkeeps in creating new spirits.

 

“Bartenders are reaching a level of influence that they had pre-Prohibition in how they’re introducing consumers to new and exciting cocktails,” said Giles R. Woodyer, the brand managing director for Bacardi USA. “They’re looking for spirits that add a dimension to the cocktails they create.”

 

One of the top concerns of bartenders is that spirits mix well in cocktails; not all do. “Most people these days make a good spirit, but they make it for sipping,” Mr. Ford said. “They never consider how it’s being used. That was the key thing for us.”

 

The big liquor companies were not always so receptive. Long before he helped start the 86 Co., Mr. Zaric said, companies sometimes invited him to offer feedback on spirits. “They were looking for our expertise and how bartenders will perceive it,” he recalled. “But at the end of the day, our recommendations were not taken seriously. They paid us lip service. The marketing agency already had a direction, and they hired you to verify it.”

 

The last few years have brought a change. Mr. Ford, who used to work for Pernod Ricard, took particular inspiration from the company’s creation of Beefeater 24. Introduced in 2009, the gin is a rare line extension for the classic Beefeater brand. (Its botanicals include Chinese green tea and Japanese Sencha tea.) It was the brainchild of Beefeater’s master distiller, Desmond Payne, with some help from a small group of industry professionals, including Audrey Saunders, the mixologist and founder of Pegu Club in SoHo.

 

“As a very big fan of Beefeater for many years, it was quite an honor for me to be invited to the table,” Ms. Saunders said. “Desmond wasn’t so much seeking help on the structure of the actual distillate as he was looking for feedback with regards to the mixing potential of it.” In one instance, it was suggested that Mr. Payne slightly reduce the tea botanicals, so that the gin would shine better in cocktails. “We also had input on bottle design,” she said.

 

When Bombay Sapphire decided to make the new variety that became Bombay Sapphire East, flavored partly with Asian botanicals, it turned to a few stars in the food and drink worlds, including the well-known San Francisco-based mixologist Duggan McDonnell, who also helped develop the pisco brand Campo de Encanto. “My feedback on East,” he said, “was always one of making sure every step we took brought us closer to something my colleagues behind the stick would embrace.”

 

“Gin is primarily consumed via cocktails – not shots or on the rocks – and so every gin has to do well in the tin,” he added, referring to the cocktail shaker.

 

The interaction of large liquor concerns and idealistic mixologists is not without its bumps. The renowned London barman Nick Strangeway was asked by Pernod Ricard to create a series of bartender-friendly Absolut vodkas. He experimented for months with myriad infusions, often using expensive and hard-to-get ingredients, tasting and blending them until he came up with a number of potions that met his standards. But when Absolut tried to produce his creations on a large scale, the results sometimes fell short of the mark.

 

“I was fairly naïve about how the big company works,” Mr. Strangeway said, “and they were naïve about how exacting I would be.” In his contract, he had veto rights. “Making 5 liters is easy, and making 500 isn’t fairly hard,” he said. “But making 3,000 is different.”

 

The first in the Absolut Craft series, called Herbaceous Lemon, will be sold on allocation and made available only to bartenders. Mr. Strangeway thinks of the experiment as taking the familiar Absolut brand “and giving it back to the bartender.” (Pernod also worked with two London bartenders on its Olmeca Altos tequila brand, which was released in 2010.)

 

“All the big brands have to pay attention to the bartenders now,” Mr. Strangeway said. “It’s a massive industry. Bartenders make the sale for you.”

 

 

——

Snow brings less cheer to Marston’s

 

Source: FT

By Christopher Thompson

Jan 22nd

 

New year snowfall weighed on Marston’s sales growth as bad weather deterred pubgoers in mid-January.

 

The pub company and brewer, whose 2,150 pubs are mostly tenanted, said like-for-like sales at its 500 managed pubs grew 1.2 per cent in the 16 weeks to January 19, a slower rate than the 5 per cent achieved in 2011.

 

Excluding the final week of the period, food sales at managed pubs, whose total takings account for about half of Marston’s pre-tax profits, grew 3.5 per cent compared with a 1 per cent increase in like-for-like drinks growth.

 

Ralph Findlay, Marston’s chief executive, said the impact of the cold weather was unsurprising.

 

“It’s important to draw a distinction up until it snowed, when trading was encouraging. It’s no surprise people don’t like going out when it’s difficult to walk or drive,” he said. “Our primary growth drivers [in 2013] will come from the 25 new pub-restaurants and more franchisees.”

 

Marston’s – whose share price has risen 40 per cent over the past 12 months – said that while operating margins were “slightly ahead” of last year during the period, they would be challenged by higher food and utility costs.

 

“I think we’ll be able to broadly hold our margins with relatively small price increases,” said Mr Findlay.

 

Profits at the company’s tenanted and franchise pubs grew by 2 per cent year on year, reflecting a particularly robust performance from its 550-strong franchised estate. Mr Findlay said he hopes to have 600 franchised pubs – in which Marston’s determines the beer, food and decor, while the licensee earns a percentage of sales – by the end of the year.

 

Meanwhile, brisk business in off-licences and supermarkets helped buoy the company’s own-brewed beer volumes, which include Hobgoblin and Marston’s Pedigree, which grew by 5 per cent year on year.

 

Patrick Coffey, an analyst at Liberum, said Marston’s would see like-for-like sales growth pick up in the second half of the financial year, but not enough to change year-end profit forecasts.

 

“Marston’s shares have had a very good run and I do not see any catalyst to drive the share price over the next six months,” he said. “The last week of trading was weak because of snow but, fundamentally, I like their management and their new-build strategy, which focuses on growth in food sales.”

 

Marston’s shares fell 1.1 per cent to 132.7p.

 

 

——

Washington: Wash. looks to build strict controls for marijuana

 

Source: KTVB

by Associated Press

Jan 22nd

 

Washington voters passed I-502 in the November 2012 general election. The law legalizing marijuana possession in the state, even though federal law still proscribes its sale and use.

 

Washington state officials are looking to build a strictly regulated marijuana system that could forestall federal concerns about how the drug will be handled once it’s available for public purchase.

 

Rick Garza of the Washington Liquor Control Board said Monday he expects the federal government will try and take action if Washington’s system has loose controls. He says it’s important for Washington to have a strong regulatory structure that would limit how much marijuana is grown to ensure that it’s only meeting demand for in-state users.

 

Garza’s comments came a day before Gov. Jay Inslee was set to meet with the federal Department of Justice to discuss the marijuana law. Washington voters approved the marijuana law in November, but DOJ officials have not indicated whether it will allow Washington and Colorado to create legal marijuana markets, since the drug is illegal under federal law.

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One Response to “Liquor Industry News 1-23-13”

  1. Ericka Says:

    I all the time used to read article in news papers
    but now as I am a user of web therefore from now I am using net for articles, thanks to
    web.

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