TXT Cellars Invites Consumers to Take the “The TXT Cellars Pledge” in a New Responsibility Campaign

Posted on | July 31, 2012   Bookmark and Share
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August 1, 2012; Secaucus, NJ – TXT Cellars, the wine brand launched in late 2011 with popular texting acronyms on its labels, has just launched a new online responsibility campaign petitioning consumers to sign a pledge on its website that they will not drink and drive or text and drive.

 All consumers of legal drinking age are invited to visit www.txtcellars.com and follow the link on the home page to “Take The TXT Cellars Pledge,” or they can simply scan the QR code found on the wines’ back labels to sign up for the pledge on a smart phone.  Additionally, the campaign will be promoted through Facebook ads and on point-of-sale materials.

 The online form asks that consumers opting to take the pledge input their name, address and date of birth in exchange for a bumper sticker that affirms “I Took the TXT Cellars Pledge … Have You?”  Additionally, the first 1000 consumers to sign it will also receive a free TXT Cellars T-Shirt.  All eligibility details are available on the website.

 “TXT Cellars is a fun brand playing on texting acronyms with unpretentious, fruity, easy to drink wines.  It is important for us to balance the levity of the brand with the serious message that neither texting nor drinking goes with driving.  It is our hope that encouraging our consumers to sign the TXT Cellars Pledge will make them think twice and lead to good decisions,” stated Vision Wine & Spirits Managing Director Dan Lasner.

 TXT Cellars currently consists of OMG!!! Chardonnay, LOL!!! Riesling, LMAO!!! Pinot Grigio, WTF!!! Pinot Noir, CYA!!! Shiraz and GR8!!! Cabernet Sauvignon.  All wines are available in most major markets across the USA and aresold in 750ml format for a suggested $7.99-$9.99.

Wines of Germany Celebrates Summer of Riesling

Posted on | July 30, 2012   Bookmark and Share
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Wines of Germany celebrated 31 Days of Riesling in July, partnering with Paul Greico and his team at Terroir Wine Bars and Hearth Restaurant to involve almost 500 restaurants and retail accounts to participate in the national “Summer of Riesling” program, offering deals, menu pairings and tastings.

Bar Talk: Wild Card

Posted on | July 30, 2012   Bookmark and Share
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Max Solano, Beverage Director, Delmonico Steakhouse and Table 10, Las Vegas

Walk by Delmonico, Emeril Lagasse’s buzzing steakhouse at the Venetian Resort Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, during happy hour, and the bar will be packed. But Beverage Director Max Solano (he also presides over the drinks list at Lagasse’s Table 10), who can be found behind the stick most evenings, isn’t plying guests with just the typical well offerings.

The Beverage Network: You work in Las Vegas, land of high rollers and tourists. What are they drinking?

Max Solano: Everything! But, sadly, it is still a vodka- and wine-dominated city. That is not to say that people are not searching for high-quality, contemporary libations or properly made classic cocktails, because they are. We are seeing more and more of this. From bitters and tinctures to syrups, foams and ice, we try to do as much as we can in-house. Barrel-aged cocktails and bitters are two things that I have been experimenting with over the past two years that are still fairly uncommon in this market, though thriving in other cities. Lastly, whiskey, as a general category, is booming. And, I am capitalizing on this more than anyone here in Las Vegas.

TBN: You have quite the affinity for Scotch in particular.

MS: It has a very dear place in my heart. There is no other category like Scotch in the world, because it offers such a huge spectrum of flavor profiles based on where and how it is made, as well as the aging process utilized. I am a student of all whiskies and cannot read enough about them. I also am a huge vintage cocktail buff.

TBN: Why do you think the Delmonico Steakhouse whiskey program has emerged as one of the country’s finest?

MS: It’s not by judging just how many selections are on the backbar, but how we utilize them, as well as the little details such as the Glencairn nosing glasses, water droppers, personal ice buckets and specialty ice. Where we excel is that each category from bourbon to rye to Scotch to Irish is stocked with quality and large selections.

TBN: And you also dream up quite a few Scotch cocktails yourself.

MS: I have over 40 that are my own special creations. I have three new ones that I am working on that utilize some level of molecular gastronomy application and really cool ingredients.

TBN: How do you turn customers, many with predisposed conceptions, on to new drinks?

MS: Educating guests is the fun part, especially if they are eager and willing. It still amazes me how many individuals live in a bubble and are perfectly happy with the same selections every time they go out. I am a consummate professional when it comes to opening people’s eyes, not pretentious. Reading the guest is very important and we let them initiate the order. An individual who asks for a vodka tonic will get just that; the only thing we will ask for is their preference of vodka. Now, if a person asks for a rum and coke and open-endedly asks if we can recommend something unique yet similar in style, then we will follow up with a little sample and even a story or information about the product. We like to build up that consumer confidence. On the cocktail side, Delmonico offers three lists consisting of nine cocktail selections each—“specialty,” “vintage” and “whiskey.” If the guest is discerning, then creating a cocktail per his or her preferences is where we really excel. I have a dedicated cooler that is all fresh fruit and herbs, as well as a monstrous liquor selection, and close to 40 different types of bitters and more than 20 syrups.

TBN: As it forges ahead to build a cocktail scene, what is Las Vegas’s biggest limitation?

MS: We certainly lack in quantity, not quality. Meaning that unlike New York, Chicago and San Francisco that have very deep selections of mixology-centric venues, we have just a few. But my hunch tells me that this will not be for too much longer, as we have some very talented individuals who reside here—whom I have the great pleasure to call friends.

Pasternak Wine Imports Appointed Sole U.S. Agent And Importer For The Mud House Wine Group (New Zealand)

Posted on | July 30, 2012   Bookmark and Share
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Pasternak Wine Imports is pleased to announce the appointment as Sole U.S. Agent and Importer of The Mud House Wine Group from New Zealand, effective July 1, 2012.

Established in 1996, Mud House has become renowned for producing award-winning wines from New Zealand’s most noted wine growing regions – Sauvignon Blanc from Marlborough, Pinot Noir from Central Otago and Aromatics from the Waipara Valley. Mud House is also the proud producers of the Hay Maker wines. Focused on remaining true to each region’s terroir, Mud House’s viticulture team is committed to nurturing their vineyards to reach optimum grape ripeness, varietal character and flavor. As such, Mud House is a leading member of the Sustainable Winegrowers program of New Zealand.  Led by Nadine Worley, the Mud House winemaking team captures the essence of the wine’s origin, ensuring their unique complexities.

In making the announcement, MJ Loza, CEO of the Mud House Wine Group comments, “We are very excited to be starting our partnership with Pasternak Wine Imports.  Pasternak’s deep understanding of international fine wines and their keen ability to develop and grow consumer brands is a wonderful opportunity for the Mud House Wine Group.  We are equally impressed with their creative marketing initiatives and the fierce dedication to wine that the PWI organization embodies.  We look forward to the benefits that our new relationship will afford both organizations in the US market, and to a long and fruitful partnership.”

PWI’s President and CEO James Galtieri noted, “Mud House is an ideal addition to the Pasternak portfolio. The scope of the Mud House Wine Group’s portfolio combined with their dedication to quality puts Pasternak in a leadership position in the importation of fine wines from New Zealand. Pasternak welcomes Mud House and is pleased to be associated with such a dynamic organization. We are proud to represent them in the United States. “

The appointment was effective July 1, 2012.

Speakeasy: Bacardi’s Robert Furniss-Roe

Posted on | July 27, 2012   Bookmark and Share
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Regional President, North America

The Beverage Network sat down recently with Robert Furniss-Roe to discuss how the ever-expanding spirits market has become more challenging than ever.

On Innovation

THE BEVERAGE NETWORK: As Bacardi celebrates 150 years in business as an industry leader, where do you see opportunities going forward?

ROBERT FURNISS-ROE: What characterizes us best is our very focused portfolio; we are not all things to all people. There are some categories in which we don’t play—and who knows, maybe one day we might. That said, the obvious opportunity would be American whiskey. However, if you look across the U.S. spirits market, the largest categories—from a growth perspective—are vodka, rum and tequila. We have very large positions in all three, as well as a very large position in Scotch. So we are in the right categories, and we are always looking to expand. And that’s why we supported the idea of taking on distribution of a new Cognac, for example, with newly launched D’Ussé.
We’re all about substance. We don’t throw a hundred products against the wall every year. We try to be very focused; we try to be very deliberate, and we try to do it for the long term. When we go to the retailers—whether they’re in the on-premise or the off-premise—with a new product, the marketing package with it is complete. We’re not keen on just filling retailer shelves and then leaving them with the responsibility to see what’s going to work.
Like everywhere in the world, one of the reasons people relate to good spirits brands is because it’s an affordable luxury. There will always be a place for quality. People are willing to pay for that, if it’s a notch above the average.

TBN: There has been an explosion of new products and line extensions in general in recent years. How does Bacardi stay in front of the pack?

RF-R: We support retailers by building brand equity for the long term and by  encouraging trade-up. One of the things that should resonate with our friends in retail is that we believe in the long-term premiumization of the business, that it is important to encourage consumers to be more connoisseurs. Also, we are very interested in sell-through, rather than sell-in. I think some of our competitors still talk the language of sell-in. I think it’s far more useful to look at consumer pull, and to put yourself in the shoes of the consumer. Our industry faces the challenge of how confusing we are to the consumer. We like to focus on helping consumers better navigate and understand our products on the shelf.

TBN: Sometimes that is easier said than done. What sort of approaches are working for Bacardi?

RF-R: It’s all about education. The world we live in is changing; consumers are better informed. It’s critical that the retailer keep up with the information flow because the consumer is likely to have done research prior to purchasing a product. We’re increasing our focus on point of decision and how to adapt our offer to different environments. We’re able to deliver different learning experiences according to what people are looking for.
At the other end of the spectrum, a lot of what we do in the digital space involves short films that educate the consumer around the history and heritage of the brand. We’ve had an amazing response to the things we’ve done there like offering consumers vintage items (T-shirts, etc.) in exchange for which they view a film to gain a bit of brand knowledge/education.

On Flavor

TBN: Flavor variations have become an important source of growth for many categories, including rum. Bacardi was a pioneer in this regard, and most recently introduced Bacardi Wolf Berry and Black Razz. Where do you see flavored spirits heading?

RF-R: Instead of launching flavors that people already know, we try to bring things that will appeal to the Millennial consumers who have been brought up in this environment of choice. They are more cosmopolitan, more connected than ever before. We go through a thought process: what are the combinations, the level of flavor and intensity of a product that will deliver the best finished drink to the consumer?

Black Razz uses a particular fruit only grown in Mexico: sapote. The flavor is more subtle, more interesting because it’s a fusion, between fruit and exotic flavor. For our spiced rum, OakHeart, we focused on the liquid, on trying to create spiced rum with a smokiness, from barrels that are over-charred to deliver that differentiating hint.

As the leaders in the rum category, we had to come up with something that was proven to be preferred by more people. We’ve taken the idea of spiced rum to the next level. Grey Goose Cherry Noir was done with a huge amount of thought and care to stay true to the French origins of Grey Goose. It is important to develop a product that has the right balance that’s ideal for making a selection of drinks rather than having an overpowering flavoring element. Reaction to that has been fantastic so far.

On Distinctive Spirits

TBN: Bacardi is unveiling a new-to-market Cognac, D’Ussé. Why the decision to take a position like that right now?

RF-R: We fell in love with the brand. The rest of the category is about old royalty; D’Ussé is about new royalty. The Cognac category is a bit dusty, backward looking, not attentive to trade. D’Ussé has a fresh approach. It has Cognac credentials, but with a very different bottle and symbol. Amazing liquid, very sophisticated, refined, smooth. It won’t be pushed out everywhere, retailing for $50 a bottle.

With Cazadores and Corzo, Bacardi has an important stake in the tequila world. Do you see the superpremium segment decreasing or increasing in overall importance?

RF-R: It is a large category, and still growing. Cazadores is all about authenticity, made in the highlands in a very quirky, old fashioned way. It represents the heart of the tradition of old Mexico. Those are our strengths—that sense of authenticity and that sense of craftsmanship.
Corzo is more about sleekness, design, and its striking packaging. It’s an approachable liquid, more refined. Bottom line: the future for premium spirits is positive in the U.S.—no exception in the tequila business.

TBN: Any other thoughts on what you think people are looking for in spirits?

RF-R: There is a relentless pursuit of novelty, entertainment and new products. But, again, what we believe in is not innovating on the massive scale, but doing a few things really well and properly thought out. What people look for is solidity, substance, and value. There’s a reason why Bacardi has been around for 150 years. Bacardi is the “one bottle bar”—it’s made expressly to be a product that doesn’t dominate and doesn’t disappear. Enough body to bring the spirits feel but not too much flavor to overpower a cocktail.

Our Light products are an example of innovation with a purpose: great taste with 95 calories a serving. It’s the brand you trust (Bacardi) coming out with the innovation you’re looking for: calorie control. Not a new idea but it’s been done in a good way. We are re-inventing the products to make them more natural and better-tasting. People have high expectations in that area of innovation—we want to be sure that we are delivering.

New Products & Promotions: August 2012 Edition

Posted on | July 27, 2012   Bookmark and Share
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The newest additions to the Smirnoff Flavored Vodka portfolio are Iced Cake and Kissed Caramel, joining the successful Whipped Cream and Fluffed Marshmallow flavors. Crafted from top-selling Smirnoff No. 21, both new flavors are sweet and creamy—Iced Cake offers flavors of vanilla cake and light icing, while Kissed Caramel has a rich, caramel finish. Both work well over ice or as mixers.


SRP: $15.99


Robert Hall Winery’s Sauvignon Blanc maximizes freshness and preserves varietal flavor thanks to grapes that are handharvested in cool morning temperatures. The resulting wine is a vivid straw-green, and greets the senses with tropical fruit and green apple aromas plus hints of toasted almond. On the palate, the wine displays bright flavors of lemongrass, pear and lime, with medium body and crisp acidity. Marketed by Domaine Napa Wine Company.




Exclusiv Vodka has launched Exclusiv Rosé Vodka, which combines Exclusiv’s own sweet Rosé Moscato wine and their awardwinning vodka, creating the world’s first rosé vodka. Imported from Moldova by Serge Imports LLC, Serge Christov said, “We found the best possible tasting combination using our flavored vodka, raspberry vodka and combined that with our Rosé Moscato wine.” 64 proof.


SRP 750ml: $9.99



The newest addition to the Knob Creek portfolio is Knob Creek Rye. As bartenders and consumers want more cocktail options, Knob Creek Rye is an entry that offers diverse serving choices. Handcrafted in small batches and aged for nine years in barrel, this 120 proof Rye showcases mature Knob Creek flavor with vanilla and spices.


SRP: $46.99


Punzoné introduces the first imported Italian line of ultra-premium vodka and vodka-infused cocktails. Punzoné incorporates simple fresh organic ingredients from Italy’s Piemonte region. Punzoné Vodka smoothly balances Italian wheat with pristine waters from the Italian Alps. Originale, combining vodka, red sangria and blood orange, and Lemoncino, blending vodka, white sangria and lemon, are ready to drink—just add ice.


SRP 1L: $42.99; Originale/Lemoncino $37.99


Kobrand recently introduced Bodega Alta Vista Argentine wines, at multiple price points. Alta Vista Classic features fruit forward Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay; Alta Vista Premium includes high-elevation Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon and Torrontes; Terroir Selection offers a blend of estate fruit from four high altitude vineyards; and the Single Vineyard wines showcase old vine Malbecs. Alto is a luxury benchmark, only produced in the best years.


SRP: $11.99 – $89.99



First unveiled at the Texas Package Store Convention last August, Lunés Sparkling Moscato has now sold almost 70,000 cases in 20 U.S. markets. The nose is fresh and peachy, and the blend with natural fruit essences makes Lunés slightly sweet. The unique “Collio” bottle has clear labeling and coordinated Stelvin screwcaps. Colorful cartons make excellent stacked displays. Moscato flavors include mango, peach and strawberry.


SRP: $11



Domaine Laurier Brut is an award-winning, affordable and traditionally-made California sparkling wine. “Using the traditional méthode champenoise process to make Champagne results in a sparkling wine that has that wonderful, toasty aroma and fine bead. We also preserve the nuances provided by the Chardonnay grape so that the wine has the added fruit, depth and complexity that are hallmarks of Chardonnay wines,” said winemaker Bob Stashak.




Marnier-Lapostolle is unveiling Grand Marnier Cherry in September, a limited-edition expression for the holiday season. Grand Marnier Cherry is a blend of the same fine Cognacs used to craft Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, as well as the iconic orange spirit the brand is known for, and also incorporates the essence of European Griottes cherries. The result is a lush, yet balanced marriage of orange and cherry flavors mellowed by Cognac.


SRP: $41.99



World Elite Spirits has introduced the recipient of the Best Vodka award at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. Platinka Original Vodka is coming to select U.S. markets. The 40% ABV spirit comes from the Brest Distillery in Belarus, using 100% rye ingredients and undergoing additional filtration steps.



SRP: $19.99


Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum has released the very rare limited-edition 50 Year-Old Jamaica Rum—Jamaica Independence Reserve—celebrating the 50th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence. This is a blend of rums aged for a minimum of 50 years in hand-selected oak barrels. Only 800 bottles are available worldwide, with 70 for the U.S. market, from Kobrand Spirits.


SRP: $5,000


The makers of Veev Açai Spirit are rolling out VitaFrute Superfruit Cocktails this month. VitaFrute is offered in three flavors, Organic Lemonade, Margarita and Organic Cosmopolitan, all made with Veev and other fresh ingredients like all-natural lemon, lime and cranberry juices and agave. Each cocktail is under 125 calories per serving and 30 proof.


SRP: $14.99


HuffPo: New York City Alcohol Abuse: New Poll Suggests Mayor Bloomberg Eyeing Booze For Next Public Health Campaign

Posted on | July 26, 2012   Bookmark and Share
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Is Mayor Bloomberg quietly plotting to tackle the city’s alcohol consumption again?

Despite a quick and angry backlash following the mayor’s last attempt to limit the sale of booze in the city, The Post has caught wind of a 50-question survey currently being conducted via telephone and focused primarily on alcohol intake.

The city told potential pollsters the survey would explore “behavior patterns around unhealthy alcohol consumption and awareness of existing alcohol-related laws and standards.”

Read the entire article at its source: huffingtonpost.com

Diageo & Atlantic Visit Burgundy

Posted on | July 26, 2012   Bookmark and Share
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In July, Diageo representatives and Atlantic Wine & Spirits managers took an educational trip to Burgundy. Domaine Marquis Angerville, Domaine Blain-Gagnard, Domaine Michel Niellon, Domaine Jean Grivot and Domaine Vocoret were among the many wineries they visited.

Pasternak Celebrates Rothschild Champagne

Posted on | July 26, 2012   Bookmark and Share
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Pasternak Wine Imports celebrated the rollout of Champagne Barons de Rothschild with a reception at Dream Downtown. The Champagne represents not only the first-ever collaboration among the three branches of the revered winemaking family, but also the first new luxury Champagne launched since the Millennium. In attendance from France were Philippe Sereys de Rothschild and Frédéric Mairesse, managing director.

Select Wines of Romania Host Seminar and Tasting

Posted on | July 26, 2012   Bookmark and Share
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On June 28th, Select Wines of Romania hosted a Grand Tasting and Seminar at Astor Center. Christy Canterbury, MW, led a seminar to introduce attendees to Romania’s leading indigenous grapes—Feteasca Neagra, Babeasca Neagra and Tamaioasa Romaneasca. Afterward, members of press and trade attended a tasting which featured five of Romania’s top vineyards.

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