Industry Issues

Barton Begins 2007 as Crown Imports
Crown Imports LLC, formerly Barton Beers, officially opened its doors this month as the largest beer importer in the United States. The new organization is a joint venture between Constellation Brands Inc. and Mexico’s Grupo Modelo. The company will import, distribute and market Corona Extra, Corona Light, Modelo Especial, Negra Modelo, Pacifico, St. Pauli Girl and Tsingtao beer brands nationwide. Prior to this, Barton Beers marketed the St. Pauli Girl and Tsingtao beers nationally and the Modelo portfolio in 25 western states.
“We have enjoyed a long and very successful working relationship with the Modelo Brewery, and we look forward to building on that success through this new and innovative national partnership,” says Bill Hackett, president of the new company. “Establishing Crown Imports as the single national importer for the industry-leading portfolio that includes the Modelo Brands, St. Pauli Girl and Tsingtao beers, offers a new range of opportunities for the business, the brands, our wholesaler and retailer partners and our employees.”
Coca-Cola to buy Jugos del Valle
Coca-Cola Femsa, Mexico City, and The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, announced an agreement to buy Jugos del Valle for approximately $380 million. The companies say the deal will increase the Coca-Cola system's presence in the non-carbonated beverage segment in Latin America. Jugos del Valle is the second-largest producer of packaged juices, nectars and fruit-flavored beverages in Mexico, the largest producer in Brazil, and has a presence in other Latin American markets.
“This joint venture represents a formidable platform to further develop our non-carbonated business in a segment that is growing three times faster than other non-alcoholic beverages,” said Carlos Salázar, chief executive officer of Coca-Cola Femsa, in a statement. “Working together with The Coca-Cola Co. and the rest of the Coca-Cola bottling system in Mexico and Brazil, we are unlocking new value-creation opportunities and developing a competitive portfolio of beverages.”
Craft beer to be exported to China
The first mixed container shipment of American craft beers is on its way to mainland China, according to the Brewers Association, Boulder, Colo., and American Craft Beer Partners, Pittsburgh. An assortment of products from Oregon’s Rogue Ales Brewery, New York’s Brooklyn Brewery and California’s North Coast Brewing Co. were shipped in mid-December to Shanghai, China.
The groups say the shipment is a culmination of three years of research into opportunities for U.S. craft beer in China and reverse trade missions to the United States by leading Chinese beer distributors. The effort was funded in large part by the USDA's Emerging Markets Program. The beer will be available this month at bars and restaurants in Shanghai for the equivalent of $4.50 to $7 per bottle.
Nor-Cal sells brands, vending assets
Nor-Cal Beverage Co., West Sacramento, Calif., will sell the soft drink distribution and bottling rights to Cadbury Schweppes’ Dr Pepper, Squirt and Hawaiian Punch brands to The Pepsi Bottling Group, based in Somers, N.Y. The company says this will allow it to focus on contract packing for other beverage companies, including those in chilled juices and hot-fill beverages.
It also plans to sell a significant portion of its vending route assets to 24seven Vending for about $2.8 million. During the next year, the company will sell related vending machines and equipment, and 24seven plans to sell franchised routes. Nor-Cal will manage the day-to-day operations of the franchisees in the Northern California region and provide fee-based services through a separate agreement.
“In addition to route management, we plan to sell services to franchisees that include vendor refurbishing and repair, product storage, equipment moving and cash counting,” said Vice President Shannon Deary-Bell in a statement. “Nor-Cal will be a supplier of vending consumables as well. We also plan to expand and enhance this service model to other vending operators.”
The company added that it plans to use proprietary software for vending machine management that will allow it to monitor consumption trends and reduce product shortages.
‘The Show’ will go on
The Nightclub & Bar Beverage & Food Convention and Trade Show will combine forces with two other shows March 4-7 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Dubbing itself the “The Show: The Hub of Hospitality,” the International Las Vegas Restaurant Show and Las Vegas Hospitality Expo will be held at the same time.
The event will cover four exhibit halls with more than 2,000 booths as well as on-floor events, such as Shake It Up: Battle of the Mixologists on March 6 and 7. Nightclub & Bar Show keynote speakers include Toni Abou-Ganim and Dale DeGroff, master mixologists; Alain Barbet, president and chief executive officer Pernod Ricard USA; Andrew J. Thomas, president and chief executive officer, Heineken USA; and Peter H. Cressy, president and chief executive officer, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.
In addition, there also will be pre-conference events, educational programs and a power lunch. For off-premise owner/operators, “The Show” offers a seminar series where retailers can learn strategies and techniques to help their businesses succeed. True to its name, attendees also can attend nightly events on the Las Vegas Strip.
To find out more about “The Show” or to register, visit

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