Diageo Forms Luxury Brands Group
Diageo has established a new brand division to focus on marketing its luxury brand portfolio. The group will be responsible for Ciroc; Tanqueray No. 10; Don Julio; Bulleit Bourbon; Johnnie Walker Green, Gold and Blue Label; Godiva, The Classic Malts of Scotland, and any future brands launched in the luxury category.
In explaining the creation of the new group, Ivan Menezes, Diageo North America president and chief executive officer, said, “The capabilities required to build luxury brands are fundamentally different from the rest of Diageo’s premium portfolio.”
Katherine Nicholls will lead the Reserve Brands group as vice president of marketing, Reserve Brands. Efren Puente will serve as director of marketing, Reserve Brands; and Glen Philpott will be commercial director.
The company says the group will develop the luxury brand portfolio by “amplifying Diageo’s high-image event reach, developing relationships with leading luxury brands, and optimizing strategic alliances with media partners.” BI
Palandri Wines creates U.S. importer
Palandri Wines Ltd. of Margaret River in Western Australia has formed Palandri America Inc. to import and market its wines.
“By importing and marketing the Palandri portfolio of wines from Western Australia directly, we are creating efficiencies in distribution and sales to ensure added value to our distribution partners, consistency in supply and pricing as the Palandri brand continues to grow,” said John Castillo, president of the new U.S. company.
The company will be based in Houston, Texas. Bill Ellerman will serve as regional manager for the western United States, Robert Iandolo regional manager for the northeast, Michael Karaus regional manager for the southeast, and Steve Rubsam regional manager for the Midwest.
Palandri’s initial U.S. releases will include a Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Merlot and Merlot, and will retail for $14 per bottle. BI
Apple & Eve buys Northland juices
Apple & Eve, Port Washington, N.Y., has acquired Northland Cranberries Inc.’s juice division for approximately $10.8 million. The companies also have entered into a supply agreement that allows Apple & Eve to purchase $6.7 million of cranberry concentrate from Wisconsin-based Northland, with a nine-year option for additional concentrate.
The purchase includes the Northland, TreeSweet and Awake brands, and the reassignment of the Seneca brand license. It gives the company a leading position in cranberry’s 100-percent juice segment. Apple & Eve says it will maintain the existing Northland brand names, and Northland’s national distribution will help it expand in the grocery channel from approximately 40 percent of the United States to national distribution. BI
Brown-Forman moves wine unit to Louisville
Brown-Forman Beverages says it will consolidate its wine business in Louisville, Ky., reducing its operation in San Rafael, Calif.
“We are constantly striving to improve our organization to best meet the needs of our consumers and maximize our brand-building opportunities. An important part of this evolution is our decision to create a center for wine brand-building excellence based here at Brown-Forman’s corporate headquarters in Louisville, where we have excellent support infrastructure, including access to hundreds of talented people,” David Dearie, president of Brown-Forman Wines, said in a statement.
Brands making the move include Korbel Champagnes, Fetzer Vineyards, Sonoma-Cutrer, Bonterra Vineyards, Mariah, Jekel Vineyards, Bolla, Fontana Candida Italian wines, and Michel Picard French wines.  BI
Molson Coors closes Memphis plant
In one of its first moves as a combined company, Molson Coors Brewing Co. announced it will close its Memphis, Tenn., brewery in 2007. The closure is one of several moves anticipated to help it achieve cost synergies. Molson Coors plans to shift production to other brewing facilities and will begin a phase-out in Memphis this year. The brewery, which employs 410 people, has a brewing capacity of three million barrels per year and produces Coors Light, Zima XXX, Blue Moon and Keystone Light.  BI