cocktail hour

All the News You Can Drink: Frank Comes Back for Jack, Coors Gets Digital and more

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 28, 2014 06:43 PM

Let's Get Digital: Molson Coors Deploys LCD Beer Cases

In a partnership with Groupe Viva, a digital retail innovation firm, Molson Coors has unveiled new beer refrigerators that have a transparent LCD display that serves up digital advertising based on what consumers are seeking. 

"As specialists in digital innovations, our objective is to combine the latest advances in technology and digital content and make them accessible to retail chains and major brands,” said Pierre Gendron, CEO of Groupe Viva, in a press release.

Looking for a way to differentiate its products, the interactive fridges will be trialed in 40 stores and 10 bars and nightclubs in the Montreal area. The partnership follows another digital stunt by the company, which deployed Molson Canadian-branded refrigerators around the world (and at the Sochi Olympics) that only opened after scanning a Canadian passport.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

$16 Billion Beam Inc. Acquisition Will See Greater Distribution of Whiskey Brands

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 13, 2014 05:22 PM

Liquor giants Diageo and Pernod Ricard can start looking over their shoulders. Japan’s Suntory Holdings, which produces some of Japan’s oldest whiskeys, has just agreed to pay $16 billion for Beam Inc., the American producer of Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, Sauza, and Gilbey’s, Ad Age reports. The deal makes Suntory the third-largest liquor company in the world. 

As a result of the deal, Suntory, which also bottles Pepsi in Japan and owns the Orangina brand, will have greater distribution in the US and Beam, whose portfolio includes the lucrative Skinnygirl line, will have much stronger exposure in the Asian marketplace. That’s a pretty good deal for Suntory, which currently sources 90 percent of its business from Japan. 

“Suntory has virtually no U.S. presence,” Mark Swartzberg, an analyst at Stifel Financial Corp., said in a research note today, according to Bloomberg. “This will take their share from less than 1 percent to 11 percent. Meanwhile, Beam stockholders will head to the bank with $83.50 for each share owned instead of the $66.97 share price that it last closed at." The two companies previously had a distribution deal in which Suntory distributed Beam products in Japan, and Beam distributed Suntory products in Singapore and greater Asia.Continue reading...

cocktail hour

All the News You Can Drink: Constellation Snags Corona, AB InBev Goes Green, Wine in a Can

Posted by Mark J. Miller on June 7, 2013 06:14 PM

Constellation Closing Deal to Buy Corona

Now that AB InBev is the proud owner of Mexico’s Grupo Modelo (thanks to a $20.1 billion changing of hands), Constellation Brands is getting to add InBev’s US distribution rights for Corona and other Mexican beers for $5.3 billion, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The transaction, set to close Friday, will make Constellation America’s third-largest beer supplier. With this purchase, “company revenue will double to more than $5 billion, half of it flowing from beer,” the Journal notes.

While mainstream domestic beers like Budweiser and Miller are struggling, imports are doing well, particularly those from Mexico. Five of the top 10 imports came from Mexico last year.Continue reading...

cocktail hour

All the News You Can Drink: Coors' Puerto Rico Problem, MMMHops, Chinese Firewater and more

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 31, 2013 05:35 PM

MillerCoors Apologizes to Puerto Rican Community Over Beer Can Graphics

The National Puerto Rican Day Parade isn’t until June 9 in New York City, but there is already a lot of emotion in the air. Unfortunatley for the folks at Coors Light, which is a sponsor of the event, it isn’t all good.

Many in the Puerto Rican community were incensed that Coors Light placed what appeared to be the Puerto Rican flag on beer cans commemorating the event. The outrage has inspired MillerCoors to apologize and pull further cans from being sold. “We apologize if the graphics on our promotional packaging inadvertently offended you or any other members of the Puerto Rican community,” Nehl Horton, a spokesman for MillerCoors, wrote in a letter to the Boricuas group, according to The New York Times.

MillerCoors has sponsored the event for seven years, but not without incident. Two years ago, MillerCoors had to discontinue its Puerto Rican Day ad campaign that used the word “emborícuate,” which means “make yourself Puerto Rican.” But the play on words in the ad was on “emborráchate,” which means “get drunk.” Not a smooth move.Continue reading...

cocktail hour

All The News You Can Drink: Boston Beer, Miller Lite, Maker's Mark and more

Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 3, 2013 05:40 PM

Boston Beer Takes a Big Hit

America’s drinkers are putting down their Sam Adams. Its brewer, Boston Beer Co., which has gotten a bit of press recently for putting in a trademark request for Boston Strong 26.2 Brew in the wake of the bombings at the Boston Marathon, announced its quarterly earnings Wednesday and they were not good. The company earned 51 cents per share in this year’s first quarter, “down almost 9 percent from a year earlier and well below the 62 cents a share expected by analysts,” CNN reports.

That news sent shares of the country’s top craft brewer down almost 11 percent Thursday. Their spot at the top of the heap is hurting them, the company said, as consumers are turning their tongues to other smaller craft brews that are on their way up.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Apple, Google, Volkswagen and more

Posted by Dale Buss on May 3, 2013 09:15 AM

In the News

Apple dodges $9 billion in US taxes with bond deal.

Google named Advertiser of the Year

Volkswagen makes $10 million donation to the National Mall.

Adidas sales drop on weakening Reebok brand.

Barnes & Noble begins support of Google apps on Nook.

Beam sales rise because of "formula run" on Maker's Mark.

Diet Coke slims down its vending machines.

Ford adds jobs and raises capacity to make pick-up trucks.

Geritol seeks new life with younger consumers.

Huffington Post brings rapid-response "native" ads to its home page.Continue reading...

brands under fire

Drinkers Sue Anheuser-Busch InBev for Watering Down Beers

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 27, 2013 01:41 PM

Budweiser may want its consumers to turn to their brethren and say, “This Bud’s for you,” but there is a growing number of its flock that is increasingly upset with the brand.

Several new class-action suits against Anheuser-Busch filed in California, Pennsylvania and New Jersey claim that the brewer has been watering down 10 of its products, including Budweiser, Michelob and Hurricane High Gravity Lager in order to boost its own profits, NBC News reports. The word is that a few former employees have shared with others that the company waters down some of its brands “just before bottling and cuts the stated alcohol content by 3 percent to 8 percent.” Similar suits are planned for Colorado and Ohio. Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Maker's Mark to Irate Fans: "You Spoke. We Listened. Here's (90) Proof"

Posted by Dale Buss on February 18, 2013 03:01 PM

Maker's Mark hopes it has managed to avoid a New Coke-style disaster by reversing its widely-scorned decision (which was revealed in a Bloomberg Businessweek article) to dilute its iconic bourbon with water. Just days after his initial decision to cut the proof of Maker's Mark from 90 to 84, CEO Bill Samuels Jr. realized the error of his ways, turned tail and just hoped that the brand hadn't sustained any permanent damage.

On Sunday, Feb. 17th, the company announced on Facebook that it had surrendered to the collective will of thousands of bourbon drinkers expressed over the last several days after Maker's Mark tried to extend tightening supplies of its flagship spirit by adding extra water that, it said, didn't affect the taste. Fans, however, rose up on social media and argued that the move diluted the brand, too.

"They've told us that they would rather deal with the occasional supply shortage than have us change their whiskey," Samuels Jr., son of the founder of Maker's Mark, told USA Today.

Effective Monday, supported with a new cover image on its Facebook page (with the tagline "You spoke. We listened. Here's proof"), every bottle coming out of the Loretto, Ky.-based brand owned by Beam Inc. is reverting to its historic 45-percent-alcohol content.Continue reading...

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