MEDIA RELEASE – To celebrate the life and accomplishments of the late Michael Jackson, the world’s foremost expert on beer and whisky before his untimely death in August 2007, thirteen of his colleagues donated original essays to create a new book in his honor called Beer Hunter, Whisky Chaser. The international release got underway in Chicago, London, Austria and the Netherlands on March 27th, which would have been his 67th birthday. Thebook is comprised of original essays by Julie Johnson, editor of All About Beer Magazine, Lucy Saunders, author of The Best of American Beer and Food and editor of beercook.com and other leading international writers on beer and whisky Stephen Beaumont, Dave Broom, Ian Buxton, John Hansell, Charles MacLean, Hans Offringa, F. Paul Pacult, Roger Protz, Conrad Seidl, Carolyn Smagalski, and Gavin D. Smith.
Jackson is well known for helping introduce Belgian beers to the U.S. and giving rise to the North American craft brewery movement, by identifying beers by their flavors and styles and by educating fellow beer-lovers about pairing beer and food. He authored a series of books that were published in 18 languages, including The World Guide to Beer, The Great Beers of Belgium, and the Malt Whisky Companion,and hosted a TV series, “The Beer Hunter,” which popularized his nickname, and was shown in 15 countries. Among his many honors were a 2006 James Beard award, and the “Master of the Quaich.”
Beer Hunter, Whisky Chaser will be available for purchase for $18.99 plus tax at Delilah’s in Chicago and www.beerables.net, “The Accessory Store for the Beer Enthusiast,” while supplies last. All proceeds from the publication, which was supported by leading single malt whisky Glenlivet, will be donated to the Parkinson’s Disease Society of the UK. Jackson suffered from the disease for over a decade leading up to his death.
MEDIA RELEASE — Check out your local newstands or magazine racks for the May 2009 issue of All About Beer Magazine. Three brands imported by DistinguishedBrands International of Littleton, CO will be featured:
• O’Hara’s Irish Stout
• Früli Strawberry Beer
• Fuller’s Vintage Ale
CALIFORNIA – A lawsuit has been filed on behalf Partida Tequila against Intersect Beverage and Maverick Spirits alleging trademark infringement, false advertising and unfair competition. The suit alleges promotional materials and brand positioning for Intersect’s Azuñia tequila brand reflects the trademark of Partida Tequila’s as well as contains incorrect and otherwise misleading information pertaining to the products origin. Partida feels these misleading statements can lead to confusion in the marketplace. Principles named on the suit, which is pending in the US District Court for the Central District of California, include Liliana Partida, president of Maverick Spirits, and former Ketel One execs Kirk Gaither and Jim Riley of Intersect Beverage.
CHICAGO – Crown Imports’, Pacifico Beer will be launching a new 7 oz bottle available in 6 packs and a 4/6-pack case in early April. The roll out markets will include California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Washington, Texas and Louisiana. The new package release stems from continued positive results Pacifico has delivered over the years and the increased popularity of the 7oz package for Crown Imports – Pacifico’s exclusive U.S. importer. The new sku will be positioned in bars – ideal for running bucket specials – grocery and convenience stores and will be marketed the perfect size for cookouts, picnics and other outdoor activities. For additional support of the new launch, Crown Imports will have a World’s Smallest Toast event in the seven roll out markets. Upcoming details can be found on www.mexicoviapacifico.com.
AUSTRALIA – A new update relating to the Foster’s Group announcement to sell off 36 of its non-core vineyards as part of its strategic wine review, the Murray Valley Winegrowers (MVW) is now urging Foster’s Group to consider selling its two large Murray Valley vineyards to the Australian government as a part of the water buyback program. MVW is hoping that taking the vineyards out of production would help lessen the grape oversupply situation. The Winemakers Federation of Australia is stating the country is facing a wine grape oversupply of about 20%.
TEXAS – Dallas based distributor Ben E. Keith Beverages is taking another step into the wine market. Ben E. Keith has begun a statewide distribution of three wine labels from the Chateau Diana winery, located in Sonoma County. The winery offers both table and premium wines under the brand names of Black Oak, Le Baron Ranch, and 1221. Chateau Diana will mark Ben E. Keith’s second entry into the Texas wine market, after the launch of its private-label wine, Solemar, in 2007.
TENNESSEE – Legislation to allow direct wine shipments to in-state consumers has passed a Tennessee senate committee and will now head to the senate for a full vote. If the bill passes it would require that out-of-state wineries obtain a $300 Tennessee license which, in turn, would allow them to ship up to 12 nine-liter case of wine per year to Tennessee residents. Currently, Tennessee is one of only 15 states that ban direct wine shipments.
ITALY — Big news for Italian bubbly…Prosecco has been granted DOC status by the Italian government after issuing a major push to create an official production zone in the northeastern Veneto region. The new rule, effective August 1, states only wine originating from this newly designated region may be called Prosecco.
INDUSTRY – The National Beer Wholesaler Association (NBWA) has launched a new online discussion board, www.alcohollawreview.com, which allows users to obtain information pertaining to alcohol regulation and litigation. The website was designed to facilitate dialogue surrounding current alcohol law cases, legal challenges and other issues. The site will contain links to news and updates on alcohol laws. To sign up, go to www.alcohollawreview.com.
UNITED KINGDOM – As part of its restructuring plan, Diageo announced on March 23 its intent to close its London based headquarters by the end of 2009. The restructuring plan is projected to save the company nearly £100 million (US$142m) a year. It calls for moving the London employees located in the Henrietta Place office to the facility located in West London’s Park Royal.
MEXICO/CALIFORNIA – In retaliation to Washington’s decision to bring a test program to an end that allowed a limited number of Mexican trucks to deliver goods beyond a U.S. border zone, Mexico is slapping a 20% tax increase on U.S. wines. Domestic wine has not faced tariffs since 2006. There are hopes of a better trade agreement in the future and according to the Press Democrat, the Obama administration wants to create a new cross-border, long distance trucking program between the two countries. According the California Wine Institute, U.S. wine sales in Mexico were $17 million in 2006, when the tariff was 20%. When the tariff was eliminated in 2007, sales went up to $24 million. Sales dropped slightly in 2008 to $23 million.
U.S. — The Charmer Sunbelt Group (CSG) announced on March 19, that it has been appointed by Bacardi and Brown-Forman as their distributor in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maryland, Washington D.C. and South Carolina. Brown-Forman will also be moving its portfolio to CSG’s operations in Delaware. The moves will take place within the next 90 days. These new appointments mean that CSG now manages the exclusive distribution of Bacardi and Brown-Forman in 11 markets including Upstate and Metro New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The Charmer Sunbelt Group is a group of affiliated companies in 16 U.S. markets which, collectively, account for over 40% of total U.S. spirit and wine consumption.