All the News You Can Drink: Beer Can Cocktails, Sainsbury’s Booze Brand, MillerCoors ‘Craft’ and more

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Red Robin Serves Up Can-Crafted Cocktails

Visitors to gourmet burger chain Red Robin’s more than 400 locations this summer can experiment with the chain’s new Can-Crafted Cocktails, mixed drinks that use beer as the base, NBC News reports

The cocktails are stirred up with either Blue Moon or Coors Light, and are served with straws and fruit slices in aluminum cups that look like beer cans. “I wanted our customers to know at first sight that they were looking at a beer cocktail, and the cans help to do just that,” Donna Ruch, master mixologist for Red Robin, told NBC. “People get it right away.”

The Coors Light cocktail also contains ginger liquor and lemonade and is topped with fresh-squeezed lemons while the Blue Moon drink mixes the wheat beer with SVEDKA Clementine Vodka, orange juice and fresh limejuice.[more]

MillerCoors Expanding Craft Beer Division

Nothing says craft beer more than when a major brewer is behind it, right? MillerCoors, which produces such “craft” brews as Leinenkugel, Blue Moon, and Killian’s Irish Red, is doubling the space for its craft and import division, Tenth and Blake, according to Convenience Store News.

“As demand for our craft and specialty beers continues to increase, this additional space gives us the ability to expand our overall brewing and packaging capacity,” Tenth and Blake President and CEO Tom Cardella said in a released statement.

The new space should be finished early next year so beer drinkers should keep their eyes open for more “craft” brews coming from MillerCoors down the road.

Arrow Points Up for Sainsbury’s Booze Brand 

The tough economy in the UK is benefiting one part of grocer Sainsbury’s business: own-brand booze. 

According to the Sun, sales of Sainsbury’s own-brand beer and spirits, Taste the Difference, have gone up 42 percent in the last three months, allowing it to get closer to the UK’s largest grocer, Tesco. Sainsbury’s remains in third place in the category.

“We target Taste The Difference to be as good as, or better, than the leading brand,” said Sainsbury’s CEO Justin King. “It’s often the first place customers go when they move away from a brand. It is a key brand in our competition with other retailers that focus on high quality.”

Of Britain’s top five supermarket chains, Sainsbury’s was the only one to increase its sales in the quarter. Tesco, meanwhile, went down 1 percent.

More Booze News:

– Celebrity Chicago chef Charlie Trotter has been sued after he allegedly sold a large bottle of wine for $46,200 to two collectors that was a fake.

– Brooklyn small businessman Josh Morton has started to market Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur, though each batch is still produced and bottled by hand.

AKA, which handles luxury rentals for short-term stays, now has its own vodka, a.vod which it stores in a special Vodka Vault at the AKA Central Park that can only be opened with an odd, a-shaped key, of which there are only 12. 

– Music and beer have mixed for generations but Beck’s takes it to a new level, creating a bottle that can be played on the old Edison cylinder phonographs. The phonographs, which were the precursor to Victrolas, aren’t exactly ubiquitous these days, but that didn’t stop Beck’s from commissioning a bottle that makes music all by itself for the Semi-Permanent music festival, which was held in Auckland, NZ, in May. (More details on POPSOP.)

Smirnoff has launched a honey-flavored vodka in Australia and introduced Smirnoff Coconut, which has sold well in the US, to the market as well.

Avion is giving consumers a boost by offering a new product: tequila-spiked espresso.

AB InBev is reviewing a large chunk of its media coverage in a number of countries that account for about $600 million in spending, including 10 in Latin America, France, and China. 

– Tall, colorful mixed drinks are being used in Diageo advertising this summer in order to test if the maker of such liquors as Gordon’s Gin, Johnnie Walker Red Label, and Smirnoff can convince consumers to go for higher-priced options than their usual wine and beer purchases.

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