Brand Profile: Timely Messaging Meets Good Cheer

Posted on | October 31, 2014   Bookmark and Share
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This Q4, Heineken USA has recharged programs to increase action at point of sale.

Driving better beer sales over the holiday season can be difficult, as consumers sometimes look outside their usual drink of choice. This year, from Halloween through New Year’s, Heineken USA has big plans to provide retailers with tools for success, leveraging both traditional and modern techniques.

“During the holidays, consumers focus on appreciating friends and family and showing they care,” says Jonathan Simpson, Senior Director, Commercial Marketing, Heineken USA. “They want confidence that they are making the right purchasing decisions.”

Simpson adds that during the holidays, the upscale segment is the only portion of the beer biz to grow share, so Heineken has developed a fully integrated program that will engage shoppers.

Advertising on television, outdoors and digital, along with various social media platforms, is designed to increase awareness and drive traffic to retail outlets. This year, the campaign includes:

  • Geo-targeted mobile ads and a partnership with Evite, among other digital assets
  • In-store, targeted shelf blades 
  • Holiday messaging on large and small format displays and POS 
  • Out-of-category merchandising solutions
  • A cross-category partnership with Korbel

With an emphasis on point of sale, these executions have been designed to increase basket ring and encourage repeat purchase.

Tying Halloween to New Year’s Eve

For Dos Equis, its annual Halloween push—the Dos Equis Masquerade sweepstakes—this year ties in with New Orleans as the destination for the “Ultimate Masquerade.” Masquerade-themed six- and 12-packs (both Lager and Amber) will ship throughout Q4. The campaign will include a partnership with Shopkick, a popular shopping app that alerts users to promotions the second they enter a store.

“The city of New Orleans, a destination known for its irreverence, celebrations, music and food, offers the perfect backdrop for Dos Equis’ Ultimate Masquerade Party,” says Simpson. “The lucky national sweepstakes winner will get to attend the event, which will feature a performance by the legendary Q-Tip and an appearance by the iconic “Most Interesting Man.” (This marks the fourth consecutive year of the Masquerade sweepstakes program, with previous events held in New York City and Miami.)

An array of digital support—Evite, Brand.Net and InMobi—is intended to drive consideration and shopper traffic to retail outlets. In addition, consumers will be encouraged to share their Dos Equis content through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, generating greater awareness and engagement to ultimately drive incremental sales. Cross-category partnerships with Sauza and Twang Beer Salt along with additional coupon offers are also new to the program this year.

Sports Get Social

Like with the other brands, social media is a big part of Newcastle’s fall sports promo. Viewed as passionate about sports and interested in staying connected socially, Newcastle consumers will be on the receiving end of “Drink the Beer. Get the Gear,” a campaign that promotes the purchase of Newcastle Brown Ale for sports viewing gatherings and encourages fans to share their experiences via Twitter for the chance to win prizes.

“Social media is key to building brand loyalty and increasing consideration and purchase of Newcastle Brown Ale, while delivering value to both retailers and bars alike,” says Simpson. The program targets all fall sports viewing occasions with a nod to football, the season’s biggest fan draw. The program is national in scope with built in flexibility for local customization to maximize results, he says.

New Products & Promotions: November 2014

Posted on | October 31, 2014   Bookmark and Share
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The latest from Blue Chair Bay is still rum-based, but adds gentle spice and creamy coconut to the mix. Blue Chair Bay Coconut Spiced Rum Cream can be enjoyed as a cocktail base, or on the rocks. The creamy, nutmeg-tinged profile is sure to please egg nog fans. Like the other Blue Chair Bay expressions, this one is inspired by country music star Kenny Chesney’s love of the island lifestyle. 30 proof.

SRP: $18.99/750ml |





Well-timed for holiday festivities, Pinnacle’s latest flavor—CranApple—delivers a fusion of tart cranberries and sweet green apples, complete with a smooth finish. It joins a portfolio that now comprises 40+ flavored vodkas. 70 proof.

SRP: $12.99 |





Quickly becoming known as a leader in flavored whiskey, Bird Dog grew 195% in 2013 and is on track to hit 100,000 cases in 2014. Their latest move is a slight departure as the brand is turning to moonshine, made from the finest grains and infused with natural peppermint. Bird Dog Whiskey flavors include Hot Cinnamon, Peach, Maple and original Blackberry. 750ml, 375ml and 50ml; 80 proof.

SRP: $19.99/750ml




As America’s whiskey love affair continues, Canadians are happily taking notice. From the folks who scored with maple and Port-finished whiskies, Tap is an eight-year-old Canadian rye blended with Spanish Amontillado Sherry, creating a sophisticated rye that is as smooth and flavorful. After the Sherry is added, the liquid goes into charred white oak ex-bourbon barrels for at least two months before bottling. 83 proof.

SRP: $39.99 |


Recently introduced at an “affordable luxury” price point, The Wine Group’s Chloe Collection is gaining momentum. In 2015 a 2013 Monterey Pinot Noir will join the line of Sonoma Chardonnay, Valdadige Pinot Grigio and Red Blend No. 249 (North Coast). Meanwhile, branded gift bags will be available for select retail stores for the holidays. The brand targets women and celebratory occasions with its elegant black-and-white packaging.

SRP: $17 |


Delicate, sensual and ready for a celebration, Blanc de Bleu California Chardonnay has also been vividly pasteled with the hue of blueberries. Fresh aromas, lively effervescence and exception fruit characterize the wine. The smooth, stylish, curvy bottle adds extra eye appeal. Blanc de Bleu is marketed nationally by Bronco Wine Company which is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year.


Wild Turkey’s American Honey, the original honey bourbon liqueur, has introduced American Honey Sting, a new ghost pepper bourbon liqueur with a punch of sweet heat. The new limited-edition combines bourbon and pure honey with one of the world’s hottest chili peppers—the ghost pepper, which is 400 times spicier than Tabasco. American Honey recommends serving Sting as a chilled shot. Available in 50ml and 750ml; 71 proof.

SRP: $22.99 |



Milagro Tequila has launched a second edition of “Unico.” The rare expression combines aged silver tequila with rare barrel-aged reposado and añejo reserves, creating a super-premium joven blend. Using 16 pounds of hand-selected agave per liter, it features a robust agave-forward taste. A specialized filtering and oxygenation process enhances the blend and removes color. The unique handcrafted bottle features the signature piña inside the glass. 80 proof.

SRP: $300 |



Heaven Hill Distilleries is extending the Hpnotiq line into bubbles with a seasonal offering through the end of 2014. Targeting multicultural women, the blend of natural fruit, white wine, vodka and a touch of Cognac now features effervescence, lower alcohol (12.5% vs. 17% for non-bubbly Hpnotiq) and Khloe Kardashian in the marketing materials.

SRP: $19.99 |






Encouraging people to “live in a summer state of mind and experience the luxury of the tropics with every sip,” Sean “Diddy” Combs recently launched Cîroc Pineapple, with Diageo. Featuring a touch of vanilla and a tropical finish, it joins Amaretto, Peach, Red Berry and Coconut. Brand support includes a “Tropical Luxury” integrated marketing campaign. Sizes from 50ml to 1.75L; 70 proof.

SRP: $34.99 |




The Wyborowa Company, a unit within the Pernod Ricard Group, in collaboration with Crillon Importers Ltd., is bringing Wyborowa Wódka, the #1 Polish vodka in Poland, back to the U.S. Coined “Wybo” in the States, the vodka is made with pure rye exclusively from Poland. It is currently in more than 80 countries; the U.S. launch includes 12 markets. Available in a long neck bottle and a new “ripped paper” label.

SRP: $15.99/750ml – $19.99/1L – $24.99/1.75L



Emblematic of Spain’s diversity and quality, Viña Mayor offers three wines from distinct Denominaciones de Origen (D.O.). The wines include: the traditional and prestigious Viña Mayor Barrel Aged Tempranillo (D.O. Ribera del Duero); the fresh and vibrant Viña Mayor Verdejo (D.O. Rueda); and the modern and distinguished Viña Mayor Vendimia Seleccionada Tempranillo (D.O. Toro). Viña Mayor is marketed nationally by Bronco Wine Company.


Newcastle Brown Ale & USBG Put on Bartender Gigs

Posted on | October 31, 2014   Bookmark and Share
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On September 29th at the Cake Shop on the Lower East Side, the U.S. Bartenders Guild held the fifth “Bartender Gig” in a 10-event series, sponsored by Newcastle Brown Ale. Each show’s opening band is comprised of working bartenders. During their performance a nationally known act gets behind the bar to pour beers, and then they switch places for the headline set. At Cake Shop Titus Andronicus headlined with Weird Womb, comprised of Lower East Side bartenders.

Gekkeikan Presents ‘Saké Unfiltered’ at Koa

Posted on | October 30, 2014   Bookmark and Share
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On September 22nd, Gekkeikan presented “Sake: Unfiltered” at new restaurant Koa in the Flatiron District for media and hospitality industry influencers. The multi-sensory, educational experience featured stations for guests to learn about saké using all five senses, a cocktail-making session with Toranosuke Matsuoka; and a discussion led by Sidney Frank VP and sake expert Yoshi Yumoto on the history of saké.

Akvinta Vodka and Fiji Water Sponsor Nobu 20th Anniversary

Posted on | October 30, 2014   Bookmark and Share
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On September 17th, fans joined chef Nobu Matsuhisa and partners Robert DeNiro, Meir Teper and Drew Nieporent to kick off the year-long Nobu 20th Anniversary Celebration. The kick-off was sponsored by Akvinta Vodka and Fiji Water and styled as a Japanese street festival with traditional fare. Celeb fans in attendance included Questlove, Thomas Keller and David Blaine.

Baron François Launches Cognac Park in NYC

Posted on | October 30, 2014   Bookmark and Share
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On September 8th, Baron François welcomed the local bar and restaurant industry as they launched Cognac Park. Brand Ambassadors Naomi Schimek and Anaïs Brisson were joined by Cellar Master Jerome Tessendier for an evening of cocktails, music and bites at the legendary Flatiron Lounge. The launch was followed by a dinner at Orsay on the upper east side on Wednesday the 10th.

Drambuie’s ‘Hail To The Nail’

Posted on | October 30, 2014   Bookmark and Share
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On September 30th, Drambuie celebrated the iconic cocktail, the Rusty Nail, at the The Flatiron Room. Guests experienced an interactive historical exhibit on Drambuie and the evolution of the cocktail as well as being treated to a fashion, art and burlesque show.

RECIPE: Drambuie Rusty Nail
1 part Drambuie Liqueur
1 part Dewar’s White Label

Serve over ice in a rocks glass.

Suggested variations include replacing Dewar’s with 1 part rum, bourbon, mezcal, tequila or rye.
Optional additions: Dash of bitters or lemon, orange or grapefruit peel

M.S. Walker Presents First Annual Portfolio Tasting

Posted on | October 29, 2014   Bookmark and Share
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M.S. Walker held their first Annual Portfolio Tasting on September 23rd at the Gansevoort Hotel-Penthouse Park Lounge. Members of the trade sampled wines from M.S. Walker’s portfolio and enjoyed the lovely views of the Flatiron area.

Gina Fossitt Trains La Marina Staff on Buchanan’s Scotch Whisky

Posted on | October 29, 2014   Bookmark and Share
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On September 19th, staff members from La Marina in Washington Heights attended training to learn about Buchanan’s blended Scotch and the flavor profiles for Deluxe 12, 18 and Red Seal. Gina Fossitt, Diageo Scotch Ambassador led the training.

Planet Bordeaux Presents “A Goldmine of Bordeaux Wines”

Posted on | October 29, 2014   Bookmark and Share
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The third annual Planet Bordeaux “Goldmine” took place on September 23rd. The event offered a unique opportunity to discover accessible, affordable wines from Bordeaux, available in the U.S. There were over 50 red, whites and rosés—representing the Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur appellations.

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