New Products and Packaging
* Fontana Candida wines, imported by Brown-Forman, has undergone a total makeover. The Frascati Superiore and Orvieto Classico have undergone quality enhancements and have new, more upscale packaging to go along with it. Fontana Candida cabernet sauvignon has also joined the family.
* Take your refined customers to The Glenlivet, Scotland, with a taste of The Glenlivet Vintages, limited edition bottlings of Scotch whiskies distilled in ’67, ’68, ’69, ’70 and ’72. Each bottle is numbered, signed and authenticated by William Lamb, The Glenlivet master distiller. A 200 ml boxed set of all five vintages and a 750 ml bottle of The Glenlivet Vintage 1969 will be available from Seagram Americas in major U.S. metropolitan areas.
* R&A Imports has brought in a new import from Italy–Zone Vodka. The 50-proof premium spirit comes in five “slightly sweetened” flavors including melon, tangerine, lemon, peach and banana. All come packaged in a slender, slightly frosted 750 ml bottle.
* Raynal Five Year Old is joining the Shaw-Ross brandy family, which includes Raynal V.S.O.P. Napoleon and Raynal Reserve Extra. The nutty, yet fruity, brandy can be purchased in 750 ml bottles and retail for $14.99 to $15.99.
* Tranca’s Inc. is introducing its three tequilas: La Cava De Don Agustin, an 11-month tequila; Dos Amigos, a 3-month tequila that has sold in Mexico since 1938; and Casco Viejo, a 70% agave tequila that is recommended for use in Margaritas. The three are packaged in 750 ml bottles and will add to the burgeoning tequila market.
* Would you like that super-sized? Beck’s says yes with the release of its 24-ounce bottle, a step up for the former 21.6-ounce Beck’s and Beck’s Dark “bomber bottle.” The new size for the same price as the old, which, according to Axel Meerman, director of marketing for Beck’s Worldwide, is a “win-win situation for consumers.”
* Corner Creek Distillery is rolling out Corner Creek Reserve Bourbon Whiskey in a limited number of markets. The 88-proof spirit is aged for eight years and is available in small quantities. It’s a whiskey that may help round out any upper-end spirits collection.
* As the seasons start to change, so do the seasonal beers, and now the limited-edition Boulder Fall Fest by the Rockies Brewing Company has been released. Since August, kegs and bottles of the dry-hopped amber have been available throughout most of the U.S. and will continue to be until November.
* The 7-ounce Miller Pony is trotting its way back on the market after a 25-year break. Now operators can serve the smaller size for consumers who demand a tinier, and colder, beer. The Miller Brewing Co. will also release miniaturized versions of Miller Lite and Icehouse.
* Freshies Food has added three new products to its Bridal Veil Cocktail Mix recently. Along with its “Original” Bridal Veil Bloody Mary Mix, FFC has now added Bridal Veil Bloody Mary Mix “Habanero Hot!” and “Traditional Smooth-n-Mild.” The new mixes come in 375 ml, 32- and 64-ounce, and 1.0 gallon containers.
* Cognac Davidoff Classic and Cognac Davidoff Extra have arrived from France thanks to Shaw-Ross International Importers. Both are available in 750 ml bottles in selected markets nationwide.
* Things are looking brighter for Minute Maid and Hi-C variety packs with their recent packaging upgrade. The packs have acquired new five-color graphics and more comprehensive product identification insert sheets and flavor mixes on all panels. The variety packs from the Minute Maid Company each contains 27 drink boxes.
* Rodney Strong Vine- yards has changed its wine labels, which now include a view of the Rodney Strong winery building in the background and altered typefaces and borders. The Rodney Strong Sonoma County Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot will be sporting the new design.
* Henry Weinhard’s Blackberry Wheat Ale is now available year-round. The summer seasonal was first produced in May 1997. The Blitz-Weinhard Brewery in Portland is offering the ale in 12- and 6-packs of 12-ounce bottles and in 1/2 barrels.
* Sutter Home Winery has just debuted a new line of three fruit-flavored zinfandels, called Portico. The three Portico wines include a Strawberry-Kiwi White Zinfandel, a Peach-Mango White Zinfandel and a Zinfandel with Raspberry. The three wines are 99.8% wine and 0.2% fruit flavors, and the alcohol content is between 8% and 9%. The Portico line is now available nationally, and retails for approximately $5 per 750 ml bottle.
* The Langer Juice Company claims that it’s in the juice. Now customers can find out for themselves with the recent release of Langers 100 juices, which includes the Langers Ruby Red 100 and the Langers Cranberry 100. The members of the Langer juice line are 100% juice without added sugars and artificial ingredients.
* La Prisonniére (the Prisoner) has escaped the French borders and has come to the U.S. thanks to Marie Brizard. The apple and pear brandies come in a uniquely shaped bottle with the actual fruit immersed in the spirit.
* Brown-Forman aims to strengthen its branded malt portfolio with the introduction of Ardbeg Scotch Whisky. The Ardbeg 17-year-old and the Ardbeg limited 1978 edition are both said to hold “a robust, deep peatiness, a ‘chewy’ body and a… balanced finish.” In addition to Ardbeg, Brown-Forman’s single malt Scotch collection includes Glenmorangie and Glen Moray.
* Kobrand Corp. and Fortant Réserve have released a series of 1996 varietals from the Languedoc region of France, which will include a chardonnay, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. The wines will be available in a limited quantity in major U.S. markets.
* At the tail end of summer, Barton Brands has introduced two new flavors into its Chi-Chi’s line of frozen drinks. The new Calypso Cooler is a blend of pineapple, strawberry and rum, and the new Melon Slushie offers a blend of watermelon and spirits.
New Wine Releases
Penfolds has released a 1995 Yattarna Chardonnay (with suggested retail, $50.00)… Monterra Winery has released a Monterra Promise 1995 Merlot ($9.99) and a 1995 Syrah ($9.99)… Atlas Peak Vineyards has released a 1996 Atlas Peak Sangiovese ($16)… Preston Vineyards has released a 1997 Cuvée de Fumé “Barrel Fermented” ($12)… Seagram Chateau & Estates and Castello d’Albola have released a Castello d’Albola 1996 Chianti Classico ($12); a 1994 Chianti Classico Riserva ($20) and a 1997 Pinot Grigio ($10)… Marchesi Antinori has released a cabernet sauvignon blend, Guado al Tasso 1995 ($52)… Callaway Vineyard & Winery has released a 1997 Calla-Lees Chardonnay ($10); a 1997 Callaway Chenin Blanc ($7.50) and a 1997 Callaway Special Collection Pinot Gris ($12)… Barefoot Cellars has released a 1997 Barefoot Reserve Sonoma County Chardonnay ($9.99)… Stone Creek Wines has released a 1996 Special Selection California Cabernet Sauvignon ($7); a 1996 Special Selection California Zinfandel ($7) and a 1997 Special Selection California Sauvignon Blanc ($7).