On the beer business front:
– Drinks Americas announced that it has selected package designs submitted by Beacon Branding for the upcoming re-launch of Rheingold Beer. Drinks Americas plans to re-launch Rheingold in Metro New York this coming October. Rheingold Beer has been sold and marketed in New York since 1883 and was acquired by Drinks Americas last October.
In addition to 6, 12 and 24 pack bottles and 6, 12 and 30 pack cans, Rheingold will go to market in a “modern, ultra-chilled designer metallic bottle” and also is looking to reestablish the “Rheingold Chug-a-Mug,” an integral part of the brand’s history.
– Heineken proved that $50 million will still buy you something. The Dutch brewer lifted its profit outlook for 2006 after sales of its new Premium Light beer fared better than it originally forecast. The company now expects comparable growth of 10% or better.
It said the successful launch in the U.S. of Heineken Premium Light, with volumes expected above the target of 400,000 hectoliters (84.5 million pints) for the year, was a strong growth driver. Premium Light has been on the market since March, supported by a $50 million marketing budget.
– Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo, maker of top U.S. import Corona, has made Constellation Brands its distributor for the United States and Guam.Constellation now imports Modelo’s Mexican beer portfolio in the U.S. West Coast, and will take over from Modelo’s East Cost distributor Gambrinus.
The Miller-supported Brew Blog notes that although Anheuser-Busch owns half of Modelo it was something of a loser in negotiations since it was reported to be in the running but didn’t close the deal:
. . . rumors swirled that A-B was seeking distribution rights for Corona Extra as part of its â€œfunnelâ€ strategy to bring imports to its restricted wholesalers who have not participated in the import surge.
Brew Blog also reports: “As noted by Beer Marketerâ€™s Insights, the deal will make Barton a much bigger player in the U.S. beer indsutry. Based on 2005 shipments, Barton will be at 10.5 million barrels, compared to 5.1 million barrels before the deal. It will be ‘close to 12 [million] barrels in 2006 at current growth rates. Thatâ€™s nearly 6 share, [two times] Pabst and vaults Barton to #4 distributor in the U.S. ahead of Heineken USA.’â€
The loser, of course, was Gambrinus.