Beverage, retail associations fight Chicago
bottled water tax
The International Bottled
Water Association, the Illinois Retail Merchants Association, the Illinois
Food Retailers Association and the American Beverage Association filed a
lawsuit on Friday to overturn Chicago’s new bottled water tax. The
first-of-its-kind tax went into effect Jan. 1 and adds 5 cents per
container to bottled water sales. According to reports, the tax is intended
to address environmental concerns and is hoped to raise about $10.5
The associations argue that the ordinance unlawfully
taxes a food product under Illinois law. In addition, they say the Illinois
state constitution requires tax uniformity, meaning that a specific product
cannot be taxed when other similar products are not, and that the money
raised actually will be used for general revenue purposes rather than
“The Chicago bottled water tax is a bad idea for
many reasons,” said IBWA President and Chief Executive Officer Joe
Doss in a statement. “It is both unlawful and in violation of [the]
state’s constitution and will significantly increase the cost of this
healthy, safe product.”
“We're going to stand up for our customers, both
retailers and consumers who are being forced to pay a tax on a healthy
product like bottled water,” added Susan Neely, president of the
American Beverage Association, in a statement. “We're not just going
to take a tax like this without raising a challenge. It’s
disconcerting that government spending is leading government officials to
start taxing products that are good for you simply to cover their budget
deficits. Like most Americans, we're confident Chicagoans are tired of
being taxed for every facet of their life, including drinking more
Republic, Capital Group join forces
Distributing Co., Atlanta, and the Capital Group of South Carolina are
entering into a 50/50 joint venture to create Republic National
Distributing Co. (RNDC) of South Carolina. The new company will be based in
RNDC is the second-largest distributor of premium wine
and spirits in the United States, with operations in 17 states and
Washington, D.C. The Capital Group, employs 290 people and has subsidiaries
in West Columbia, Easley, Myrtle Beach and North Charleston, S.C.
Peter Fawcett has been named chief executive officer
for the new company and Charlie Bradford, who has been the RNDC state
president in South Carolina, was selected as president.
PBG adds Batavia bottling group
The Pepsi Bottling Group,
Somers, N.Y., plans to acquire Pepsi-Cola Batavia Bottling Corp., a family
owned and operated business in Batavia, N.Y.
Pepsi-Cola Batavia serves New York’s Genesee,
Orleans and Wyoming counties, along with parts of Livingston, Alleghany and
Cattaraugus counties. It was founded in 1890 and is currently owned by
Thomas and John Houseknecht. The Houseknecht family will continue to own
and operate Loose Ends Vending Inc., an affiliated company. The transaction
is expected to close during the first quarter of 2008. Terms of the
transaction were not disclosed.
Miller to test craft-style ‘Lites’
Miller Brewing Co. will
begin testing new craft-style light beers in February as part of the Miller
Lite Brewers Collection. The company says consumers in Minneapolis, San
Diego, Baltimore and Charlotte, N.C., will be the first to sample blonde,
amber and wheat styles in the new collection.
Light beers are the largest-selling beer category in
the United States, but to date, are only a small part of the craft and
import segments. Sam Adams Light and Heineken Premium Light are notable
exceptions, and will likely be the new line’s top competition.
“The brewer who can provide a more refreshing
and drinkable craft style can stake out a whole new niche in the
market,” Randy Ransom, Miller chief marketing officer, said in a
statement. “That’s what we intend to do.”
The company says the new beers capitalize on three
current beer trends: the popularity of light beer, a desire for more
variety and the “premiumization” of the category. The line will
be priced between mainstream light beers and craft beers.
Beam plant receives safety award
Beam Global Spirits &
Wine’s Clermont, Ky., plant was awarded the 2007 Governor’s
Safety and Health Award. According to the company, employees at the plant
have worked 779,525 hours without a “lost-time” injury or
illness. Corden Porter, deputy commissioner of the Kentucky Department of
Labor, presented the award to company officials and employees.
"Health and safety are top priorities for our
organization so we are grateful that the Kentucky Department of Labor
recognizes and rewards their importance,” said Jim LeTourneau,
manager of the Clermont plant, in a statement. “We are honored and
proud to receive this award which gives special recognition to our plant
and to our employees for outstanding safety and health performance. Each
and every one of our employees deserves recognition for this
Beam’s Booker Noe Plant also received the safety
award in April.
New York city touts water quality
The city of Syracuse,
N.Y., has launched a unique marketing campaign to promote the city as a
prime manufacturing location based on the quality of its water. Greg
Hitchin, of the Syracuse Economic Growth Council says the campaign, which
is designed to market the new Clay Business Park, highlights the fact that
the area has access to 8 million gallons per day of high-quality,
low-priced water from Lake Ontario. “For a beverage or
food-processing company, where water is vital to the manufacturing process,
this is as good as it gets,” Hitchin says.
The marketing effort initially was targeted toward the
food and beverage industry with ads and web banners, and will also include
direct mail and additional advertising to site consultants and the
corporate real estate trade.
Nightclub & Bar Show to become ‘Hub of
The Nightclub & Bar
Convention and Trade Show this year teams with the International Restaurant
Show, HotelWorld Expo & Conference and the International Coffee and Tea
Expo as part of International Hospitality Week, Feb. 24-27, 2008 at the Las
Vegas Convention Center. Show organizers say this year’s event will
feature new product launches, a new demo stage on the show floor that will
feature food and wine pairings, an AAMA Coin-Op pavilion and a series of
Maker’s Mark/Small Batch Bourbon Classroom Tastings. In addition,
Tuesday Feb. 26 will offer the “Shake it Up” battle of the
mixologists in which contestants will present original recipes to be judged
by a panel of leading mixologists.
Delivering keynote addresses during the show will be
Hamish Dodds, president and chief executive officer at Hard Rock
Café Worldwide; G.J. Hart, president and chief executive officer at
Texas Roadhouse restaurants; John McDonnell, chief operating officer and
executive vice president at the Patron Spirits Co.; Peter H. Cressy,
president and chief executive officer at the Distilled Spirits Council of
the United States Inc.; and Richard Rivera, chairman of the board of the
National Restaurant Association.
In addition, six pre-show workshops will be held on
Feb. 24, including:
Jon Taffer’s Marketing Dynamics 2008: As a return presenter, show organizers say
Taffer’s approach to filling a restaurant or bar are legendary. His
strategy includes "Four Walls Marketing," Dynamic Human Dynamics,
and Reaction Management, Promotion and Marketing.
Building Brands, Driving Profits: Mike Ginley, president of Next Level Marketing, will share
highlights of his custom on-premise research findings on what today’s
on-premise beverage consumers want and how to best influence their purchase
behavior. He will also provide information on how to develop and execute
cutting-edge drink menus.
Promo Idea Exchange: Properly
executed promotions are the topic of discussion in this open-forum workshop
led by Jonathan Ressler, an on-premise veteran. The session will take
operators step-by-step through planning, executing and evaluating a
successful promotion, and allow them to swap profitable ideas with business
Liquor Liability Boot Camp: Broken into four parts, this five-hour Basic Training
program will feature expert panels, including an insurance company panel,
an attorney's panel and an expert witness panel, and will focus on being
proactive regarding lawsuits.
The Art of Mixology: Mixologist
Tony Abou-Ganim and a panel of mixologist from around the world share
insight on cocktail development.
Back of the House Tours: A
VIP view of some of Las Vegas' most profitable properties. Get the inside
scoop from their operations teams as you see first-hand how they make these
hotels, casinos, restaurants, nightclubs and bars work together.
As part of International Hospitality Week, the show
also will take advantage of events from the other participants, including
the International Restaurant Show’s 9th Annual Las Vegas Culinary
Challenge, the Southwest Regional Barista Competition at the International
Coffee & Tea Expo, and the International Star Chef Challenge. For more
information, or to register for the show, visit www.nightclub.com
Van Stolk steps aside at Jones
Jones Soda Co., Seattle,
announced Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Peter van Stolk has given up
those titles as of the end of last month. Board members Scott Bedbury and
Steve Jones have taken on the positions of chairman and chief executive
officer, respectively, while the company searches for van Stolk’s
replacement. Van Stolk will remain on the company’s board of
“As I stated earlier this year, I planned to
step down at the end of 2007,” van Stolk said in a statement.
“I've worked hard this past year to lay the foundation for future
growth with an increased product line and national distribution at the
retail level. Recruiting a strong and seasoned CEO is the next step in that
process, and utilizing the experience of Scott and Steve in that effort
will help ensure a successful outcome. During the coming weeks, I will be
focused on the transition and look forward to working with the board to
continue to grow the company to bring it to its full potential.”
New online rules for spirits
The Distilled Spirits
Council of the United States (DISCUS), Washington, D.C., announced new
industrywide buying guidelines for placing online advertising and marketing
materials on third-party Web sites to meet the industry’s 70 percent
21 years of age and older demographic standard.
“With online communication channels becoming
increasingly present in today’s media landscape, this new Internet
guideline will further assist beverage alcohol companies in meeting the
code’s standard when using this rapidly evolving marketing
tool,” says Distilled Spirits Council President Peter Cressy.
“Over the decades, the spirits industry’s advertising code has
evolved to meet the challenges of new media technology.”
The guideline provides standards for the appropriate
use of Internet demographic measurement tools, including syndicated data
sources; independent demographic surveys; and Web site “register
user” databases. It will apply to all paid and unpaid placements
under the control of the advertiser, including ads on third-party Web
sites, video advertisements, audio mentions, Internet banners, pop-ups,
sponsorships, user-generated content (including blogs) and “limited
edition” Web sites.
Estimated percentage increase in spirits sales in
2007, according to an Associated Press report.
Number of beverage categories that made
ACNielsen’s list of Top 10 Consumer Packaged Goods Sold in U.S.
Retail Stores. Carbonated soft drinks were No. 1 on the list, refrigerated
milk No. 2, bottled water No. 7 and light beer No. 9.
Percent potential drop in Colorado’s wine grape
harvest in 2007 vs. the state’s record harvest of 1,515 tons in 2006,
as reported by Rocky Mountain News. Unusually cold weather took a toll on the grapes, and the
losses could climb as high as 50 percent before the final number is
Percent of survey respondents who associated
“natural,” “organic” and “sustainable”
product labels with “high quality,” according to Technomic
Information Services. Seventy-one percent said such items were more
healthful than conventional products, but only 18 percent said they
were a good value.
Years since V8 juice first hit the market. The product
celebrates its anniversary this year, and parent company Campbell Soup
suggests the brand was ahead of its time, given that increasing vegetable
consumption is a top health and wellness priority today.
Number of product placements by Coca-Cola in 2007
broadcast network TV, according to ACNielsen. That’s more than twice
as many placements as the next highest company/category, which was 24-Hour