brand and bottle

Heineken Wants More US Beer Lovers Flipping Their Lids

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 4, 2012 05:18 PM

When the financial crisis hit in the United States, it also was a big blow to one particular Dutch brewery that pretty much only made one beer. Heineken’s sales went down for a couple of years and its U.S President, Don Blaustein, left in August of 2009 “saying he had a different view over how to expand Heineken in the U.S. during the recession,” as Bloomberg recalls.

We’ll never know if Blaustein’s ideas would have worked given more time, but the new guy, Dolf van den Brink (one of Fortune’s 40 Under 40 execs to watch this year), seems to be figuring it out just fine. “We weren’t in a good position in 2008, 2009,” he told the site. “For 45 years, we were a single-brand operation. We were set in our ways.”

His job, of course, has been to shake up those ways.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Stark Wine to Diageo's Stark Raving Wine: Get Off Our Lawn [UPDATE]

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 13, 2012 02:02 PM

Remember when Orson Welles used to tell us how Paul Masson would “serve no wine before its time”? In those days, it seemed like wine was only consumed by old fuddy duddies who had plenty of time to burn. Things have changed dramatically since then, of course, with lots of younger folk gravitating to vino and plenty of winemakers happy to market to them. One of them, though, has enountered a little bump in the road on the legal front.

Diageo Chateau and Estates, a subsidiary of alcoholic-beverage powerhouse Diageo, recently began marketing a wine called Stark Raving, but now it must stop advertising, promoting, distributing, and selling the stuff thanks to legal action taken by Stark Wine LLC. “We don't want consumers to think that Stark Raving wine is made by Stark Wine as Diageo floods the market with its Stark Raving wine," according to Stark Wine's press release. The company is “pleased with this initial victory and is glad to have Diageo's Stark Raving wine out of its backyard."

Update: Diageo points out that received a limited preliminary injunction to stop the sale of Stark Raving wines only in Sonoma County, CA, so Stark Raving wine is not completely off the market. A company spokesperson commented:

While we would have preferred that the court not issue this limited preliminary injunction, we are pleased that our Stark Raving wines will continue to be sold nationally except in Sonoma County.  We will comply with the Court's order, and we are confident that we will prevail in the end.

In the meantime, Diageo will just have to settle for all the cash it makes from Guinness, Red Stripe, Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Popov, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Baileys, and the slew of other beer, wine, and liquor brands it owns.

brand and bottle

Japan's Suntory Celebrates Rolling Stones' 50th With Limited Edition Whisky

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 8, 2012 03:14 PM

There’s lots of hoopla going around to celebrate the Rolling Stones turning 50. Concerts are coming up next week in London and in early December in Newark, New Jersey. A new 3-disc, 50-song greatest-hits box set, GRRR!, comes out next week as well. A new documentary about the band, Crossfire Hurricane, is hitting HBO and the BBC and theaters next week, joining another documentary on the band that's now playing theaters, Charlie Is My Darling.

And keep your eyes peeled for the massive Stones coffee-table book. Right about now, you can’t escape the Stones — heck, you can even drink up to Mick, Keith and the boys with a special line of drinks being sold in Japan.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

AB InBev Woos Beer-Drinkers With Crowdsourced, Locally Developed Bud Flavors

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 5, 2012 06:33 PM

Budweiser was introduced in 1876 when company founder Adolphus Busch set out to create the United States' first truly national beer brand – brewed to be universally popular and transcend regional tastes — so it's no doubt still smarting from Bloomberg Businessweek's cover story on "The Plot to Destroy America's Beer" (sample quote: "Many people in the U.S. aren’t thrilled that a foreign company now owns Budweiser, America’s beer").

Anheuser Busch InBev is busy with another challenge. Bud's twelve American brewmasters just wrapped the Project 12 Beer contest, for which they "were challenged with coming up with a distinctive beer recipe worthy of the Budweiser name." The three winning beers, named for the zipcodes in which they were developed (Los Angeles, St. Louis and Williamsburg, Virginia), are now rolling out across the U.S. on a limited basis in a 12-bottle package.

The project, which launched in the spring, is described by AB InBev as the biggest focus group in the brand's history, "maybe even beer history," thanks to a summer-long sampling program that invited the public to vote for their favorite brew — re-engaging beer-drinkers with the brand and inspiring its brewmasters. The bigger challenge now, of course, is building on that momentum. That's why Budweiser is spinning one of the Project 12 brews into a new beer called Black Crown.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Armageddon: The World's Strongest, Priciest, Inherently Scottish Beer

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 16, 2012 06:02 PM

A typical Budweiser has 5.3 percent alcohol. Sam Adams Boston Lager: 4.8 percent. Coors Light: 4.2. Armageddon: 65. No wonder the measuring-tape holders at the Guinness Book of World Records are reportedly checking to see if the new brew out of Scotland sets a new high for alcohol content in a beer. 

If so, it will have beaten out a brewery in Holland that produced Start The Future, which featured 60 percent alcohol, since July of 2010. According to the UK's Daily Mail, the battle for the top percentage has been raging for the last three years, started by Scotland’s BrewDog with the fabulously named Tactical Nuclear Penguin brew, which boasted 32 percent alcohol content.

That was followed by Germany’s Schorschbock with 40 percent alcohol and then BrewDog’s Sink the Bismarck, which only upped the ante by one percentage point. A German brewer answered the call with a  44 percent beer but then was trumped again by BrewDog with the 55 percent End of History brew. That one was the most difficult one to get since only 12 bottles produced. However, it was the most uniquely packaged. The Daily Mail reports that each was sold inside a stuffed squirrel.

Now they're all quaking in their boots at Armageddon, which just launched at the Inverness Beer Festival.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Zombie Branding: Grain Belt Rises From Dead with Brain Belt Beer

Posted by Abe Sauer on October 16, 2012 11:02 AM

The Zombie Pub Crawl this year was shooting for a Guinness record. The event, in its eighth year, has grown from a disorganized group of 150 "zombies" traipsing between Minneapolis-St. Paul bars to a 2011 attendance record of 30,000. It is billed as "a cross between Mardi Gras and a George Romero movie."

And this year, local brewer August Schell produced an exclusive brew for the local undead, "Brain Belt," gleefully ripping the heart (in a loving way) in one of America's beer-savvier heartland states, and tapping into the ongoing love affair between marketers and zombies.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

SABMiller Outlines Africa Beer Strategy

Posted by Shirley Brady on October 10, 2012 10:46 AM

SABMiller this week updated its Africa strategy: "Double the price of beer, Halve the price of beer and Go Farming." Double the price is explained above with a case study on its Castle Lite brand; the other two pillars were explained in two other videos, explained as:

Halve the Price of Beer: Halve the price of beer refers to our strategy of innovating and producing more affordable beers using local ingredients and creating an entry point into commercial beers for consumers who are trading out of informal alcohol and entering the formal alcohol market. In this short film we introduce the strategic context and look at how our traditional beer Chibuku Shake Shake has grown in Zambia and showcases how we are innovating to extend our reach to more consumers through PET in our new offer Chibuku Super.Continue reading...

brand and bottle

Heineken Puts a Fresh Star on Its Bottle

Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 9, 2012 01:01 PM

Heineken isn’t just James Bond's new beer of choice, with a swanky limited edition collectors' edition in Europe whetting fans' thirst for the upcoming Skyfall movie. The brand also is consumed by enough Americans to make it the nation’s top upscale beer import. And the Dutch brewer wants to keep spreading the brand love.

With that in mind, Heineken has partnered with New York's up and coming Public School fashion label to create a limited-edition camouflage duffel bag in honor of the third annual “Heineken 100,” which honors “tastemakers,” according to a press release. The pair previously collaborated on a limited-edition T-shirt that you may have missed.

"We chose Public School as a partner because their clientele, like ours, are open-minded, confident, resourceful men who know quality, seek out new experiences and are ever-evolving in all aspects of their life," said (Bond-worthy named) Olga Osminkina, senior brand director of Heineken USA. "We hope this is one of many future collaborations with innovative and accomplished designers who align perfectly with the aspirations of the Heineken consumer."

The brewer is all about new looks these days as it also has redesigned its packaging for the first time since 1946 — meaning that James Bond isn't the only star on its bottle. The brand's new “Star Bottle” design (see below) that's coming to the U.S. is now rolling out to some vendors in New York and is scheduled to be on shelves in the rest of the country by March of next year.Continue reading...

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