News Briefs

Tropicana Products Inc. and a European regulatory group have cleared Citrosuco Paulista SA of shipping diluted orange juice, despite anonymous allegations made last month against the Brazilian juice processor. A letter sent to U.S. and European juice companies accused Citrosuco of shipping adulterated not-from-concentrate orange juice.
Castle Brands, New York City, has become the exclusive U.S. importer of I.L.A.R.’s Pallini Limoncello, a super-premium lemon liqueur from Italy. The company says the limoncello category in Italy represents more than 1 million cases, and although it is relatively new in the United States, has received favorable press and is growing rapidly. Pallini Limoncello will retail for $25 per bottle.
Coca-Cola is jumping back into the French bottled water market, with the introduction of Chaudfontaine, a spring water from a Belgian source. While the brand is sold at retail in Belgium, the company reportedly will stick to vending for the time being in France.
Lassonde, a juice and juice drink manufacturer based in Rougemont, Quebec, has acquired trademarks, production equipment and automotive equipment from Alfresh Beverages Canada Corp., Toronto. Alfresh trademarks include Everfresh, Sunlike, Fairlee, Tropical Grove and Rich ’n Ready. The newly acquired businesses will operate under a new division known as Lassonde Beverage Canada.
“This acquisition will enable A. Lassonde Inc. to strengthen its presence in the Canadian fruit juice and fruit drink sector, especially in Ontario foodservices (the institutional network),” said Lassonde President and Chief Executive Officer Jean Gattuso, in a statement.
The Chicago Board of Education last month voted to discontinue its contract with Coca-Cola, replacing vended soft drinks with fruit juice and soft drinks supplied by American Bottling Co. According to the Chicago Tribune, American Bottling will pay $6.4 million in guaranteed revenue and sales over five years, compared with Coca-Cola’s $21 million. The previous contract split the money between the schools and the district, while Chicago officials say the new contract will keep all of the money at the schools.
Allied Domecq has selected Magnolia Marketing Co. to represent its spirits products in Alabama and Mississippi, and Charmer Industries to represent its wine and spirits brands in metropolitan New York.
Anheuser-Busch has been asked to give up exclusive rights for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and allow German beers to be sold. The company had signed an agreement with FIFA to give Budweiser exclusive sales rights at tournament venues.
Pennsylvania bottler Pittsburgh Flavor has been charged with distributing falsely labeled Coca-Cola products to restaurants in southwest Pennsylvania. Joseph Stefancic Jr. pled not guilty to the charge of trademark infringement, which is alleged to have occurred between 2001 and 2003.
Vermont Pure Holdings will acquire the assets of Mayer Brothers Home & Office in Buffalo, N.Y., in addition to the distribution assets it purchased from Mayer Brothers earlier this year in Rochester, N.Y. According to Vermont Pure, the new acquisition will give it an additional 7,500 customers in western New York, and a total account base of 95,000 customers.
Pernod Ricard has completed the sale of its Orangina business in the United Kingdom, Eastern Europe, Africa/Middle East, South America and Asia to Cadbury Schweppes for 31 million euro. The transaction completes the sale that began in 2001.
Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Miami, plans to build a 640,000 square foot facility in Lakeland, Fla. According to a report, the facility will cost $10.5 million, and will create 300 jobs for the area.
National Distributing Co.’s Midwest Wine & Spirits division has completed a merger with Universal Marketing, which it says will make it the leading wine and spirits broker by volume in Ohio. The merged business will be renamed NDC General LLC, and Ed Nemo will serve as president and general manager. NDC General will carry products from Allied Domecq, Barton Brands, Brown-Forman, David Sherman, Nolet Spirits, Constellation Brands, Pernod Ricard, Sazerac and White Rock.