Bacardi Introduces Low-Cal Spirit

Island_Breeze_FamilyBacardi USA has announced a line of rum-based spirits that feature half the amount of calories contained in traditional spirits and wine. Due to launch nationwide in May, the new Island Breeze line of three flavors — Key Lime, Coconut and Wild Berry — boasts only 48 calories per 1.5-oz. serving, as well as 1.5 grams of carbs per serving.

Made with premium Bacardi rum, the 36 proof Island Breeze is infused with natural fruit flavors and sucralose, a natural-sugar substitute with no caloric content. “Consumers (21+) have asked for a lower-calorie spirit, but they didn’t want to give up great taste. With the advent of sucralose, we have now created a spirit brand with half the calories of traditional spirits and wine with the full flavor and quality that consumers expect from Bacardi,” said Jim Goodwin, senior vice president and general manager of Bacardi-Martini New Product Development.

Island Breeze will retail for approximately $13.99 for a 750 ml bottle.

Coors, Molson Make It Official

With shareholders of both Molson Inc. and the Adolph Coors Company finally giving their official approval, the $3.4 billion deal merging the two companies creates the new Molson Coors Brewing Company. The combined company ranks fifth globally in revenue and barrels sold, includes 15 breweries and about 15,000 employees. For now, Molson Coors Brewing Company will have dual headquarters in Montreal and Denver.

Beer industry commentators generally view the merger as a positive move for the two family-run companies, especially in the face of the increasing dominance of large multi-national brewing companies.


starbucks/liqueur bottleStarbucks Coffee Liqueur Debuts Nationwide

Jim Beam Brands and Starbucks Coffee Co. announced the national launch of Starbucks Coffee Liqueur, a 40 proof spirit made with 100% Starbucks Coffee.

Aiming to expand the already large coffee liqueur market in the U.S., the new brand boasts a successful test market phase in both Denver, CO, and Austin, TX. Indeed, research from Starbucks shows that almost half of its customers already consume coffee liqueur and that Starbucks patrons are nine times more likely than the national average to drink a coffee liqueur. “Based on positive feedback from our accounts and consumers in the test markets, we are very excited about the prospects for Starbucks Coffee Liqueur,” said Thomas J. Flocco, president and ceo of Jim Beam Brands Worldwide.

Starbucks has already teamed with the Pepsi-Cola Co. to create the successful bottled Starbucks Frappuccino coffee drink and Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream to introduce Starbucks Coffee Ice Cream.

The new liqueur, which uses rum as its base spirit, is extremely mixable and appropriate for a wide variety of cocktails, the company said. It has an average retail price of $22.99 for a 750 ml bottle, depending on the market, and is also available in 1 liter and 50 ml sizes.

Already the subject of attacks by neo-Prohibitionists, Starbucks Coffee Liqueur will not be available at Starbucks retail stores. It will be available at on- and off-premise licensed beverage alcohol outlets, such as liquor stores, bars and restaurants where spirits are sold.

TTB Establishes Rule For Flavored Malt Beverages

After considering more than 16,000 comments filed by the public in relation to creating guidelines for the production of flavored malt beverages (FMBs), the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) of the U.S. Treasury Department has established national standards for these beverages.

Under TTB’s new standard, a majority (at least 51%) of the alcohol in FMBs under 6% alcohol by volume must come from a malt beverage base. The TTB established a 12-month conversion period in recognition of the need for producers of existing products to make investments in new equipment and production processes to adjust to the new standards. The TTB also ruled that alcohol content labeling is required for these malt beverages, though virtually all producers already comply with this regulation.

“We applaud the TTB for its diligent work in analyzing an unprecedented number of public comments, and we believe the final rule is both comprehensive and fair,” said Gregory Altschuh, administrator of the Flavored Malt Beverage Coalition, an organization whose members produce or market the majority of FMBs sold in the U.S. “The category has been an overwhelming success with consumers, and the TTB’s action brings a welcome degree of certainty to the business.”


Dear Beverage Dynamics:

Your “By The Way” column by Charles Forman (January/February 2005) hit right at home. We retail wines and rely on the experience of the numbers gurus to market certain wines. We do so because we do not have the time to taste and rate each of the thousands of wines that are available year after year. We expand our wine knowledge base by relying on others’ impressions of the wine we sell. We also rely on the feedback we receive from our customers. As much as we try to provide personal service to each customer, it is literally and physically impossible because of the volume of customers we service so we employ shelf talkers so the wine buyer can gain some knowledge about the wine they are thinking about buying. It would not be a prudent business decision to overstaff, and the differing opinions between staff members may, in fact, hinder sales. Further, shelf talkers need no personal time off from work, don’t have babysitting problems, and don’t require workers comp insurance. They are silent salespersons. Further, when our staff members write the shelf talker, they are learning about the wine, too. We look at our primary job as being the offerers of a product of value. As it pertains to wine, a wine’s ultimate value is in the taste buds of the consumer and not reliant on a number.

Jim Glantz
B.Y.O.B., Inc. Wine & Spirits
Kalispell, MT

Dear Beverage Dynamics:

I recently read an article written by Mary Ewing-Mulligan titled, “Talking To Customers About Wine.” [January/February 2005, “Retail Training”] I have 18 years experience in the retail wine business and I was very impressed with her simplification of a very hard task to master. I am of the belief that every customer needs to be talked to at THEIR level of understanding wine.

As Ms. Ewing-Mulligan states, “knowing just a little information can do more harm than good.” How true this statement is when training staff. In the world of wine, it should never be embarrassing to admit to not knowing something a customer inquires about. No one can be expected to know everything about wine. It is important to seek information from those much smarter than you are.

Jeff Fader
Bar Barry Liquors
West Lafayette, IN


Diageo is simplifying its North American organization and consolidating its spirits operations under the leadership of Larry Schwartz, who has been appointed president, U.S. Spirits, effective immediately. Previously, he was president of Key Markets for Diageo North America…. Peroni Nastro Azzurro joined Miller‘s roster of imported beer brands. Peroni is now being “reintroduced” to the U.S. market, with the global Peroni Nastro Azzurro name, reformulated liquid and new package design. Peroni will be supported by upcoming advertising, promotions and pr initiatives…. E&J Gallo Winery purchased Barefoot Cellars for an undisclosed price. The Sonoma County winery is the 25th largest in the U.S., with annual sales of about 500,000 cases…. Allied Domecq Spirits, North America appointed Rob Warren as senior vice president, National Accounts, with responsibility for channel management, on- and off-premise chain accounts and military sales…. Blavod Extreme Spirits signed a long-term agreement to distribute the wines of the L’Illuminata estate, one of the properties of Guido Folonari, in the U.S…. Barton Brands, Ltd., and jstar Brands L.L.C. announced a joint venture: Planet 10 Spirits L.L.C. The new company will develop and market luxury brands, including Effen Vodka, the new venture’s initial offering. Alexander Berk, ceo of Barton Inc., will be chairman of the new venture… Bruce Jacobson was named senior vice president, National Sales for Barton Beers, Ltd. Jacobson takes over the post from Marty Birkel, who has been promoted to president.


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