News Briefs

National Distributing Co.
, Atlanta, has acquired additional products from The Wine Group in Maryland, to represent brands such as Corbett Canyon, Franzia and Fish Eye. NDC distributes Wine Group products in six additional markets, including Florida, Georgia, New Mexico, New York, Virginia and Washington D.C.
Absolut Vodka has received kosher certification by the Orthodox Union. Absolut Vodka, Peppar, Kurant, Ruby Red, Apeach and Raspberri will all carry the certification, and Absolut Citron, Mandarin and Vanilla are expected to be certified in the near future. Absolut products are manufactured at the V&S blending and bottling facility in Ahus, Sweden.
Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA, Harrison, N.Y., announced its coffee manufacturing facility in Suffolk, Va., has received organic certification by Quality Assurance International, a third-party certification group. The Virginia plant is located on a 31-acre site, and features a fully automated production process for roasting and grinding coffee.
Heartland Spirits Group, Springboro, Ohio, has acquired Downunder Vodka. Bottled in Melbourne, Australia, Downunder Vodka is triple distilled from molasses in a copper distillation column, which is said to impart a unique flavor. It will be available in 750-ml. and 1.75-liter sizes.
Information Resources Inc., Chicago, has acquired Secant Inc., a beverage alcohol consultancy and information provider. Secant principals Elena Amboyan and Anne Carlson have been named senior vice presidents and will join the beer, wine and spirits practice at IRI.
Triple A Products LLC, Boca Raton, Fla., has signed agreements with Budweiser wholesalers Dana Distributors, Goshen, N.Y., and Dutchess Beer Distributors of Poughkeepsie and Kingston for distribution of its Vitazest Vitamin & Fruit Enriched Water. The agreements extend Vitazest's availability in the region to include Ulster, Dutchess, Columbia, Greene, Orange, Sullivan and Rockland counties.
SABMiller will buy Zhejiang Yinyan Brewery Co. in China for $42.3 million through its affiliation with China Resources Snow Breweries. It also will acquire the brewing assets of Anhui Huaibei Xiangwang Brewery Co. for $10.1 million and invest $7.4 million in plant upgrades.
Jones Soda Co., Seattle, has acquired the 24C brand from Mindful Inc. The product is an effervescent vitamin drink mix that is available in Pomegranate Berry, Peach Mango and Key Lime flavors. The company also has inked a new contract with K-Mart stores to sell bottled beverages, and has signed a distribution agreement with Spike Beverages in Arizona. Jones has an exclusive arrangement with Target stores for canned beverages through the end of the year.
Florida’s Natural Growers has sold its Bartow, Fla., plant and surrounding citrus grove to Clear Springs Enterprises LLC. The company closed the plant, which produced frozen concentrates, last fall due to citrus shortages.
Go Fast Energy drink recently received the Gold Medal Taste Award by the American Academy of Taste. The beverage was chosen as the Superior Energy Drink at the American Academy of Taste’s Annual On-Premise Judging, and the Academy’s Jesse Sartain commented that Go Fast Energy Drink is “delightfully refreshing” and “not medicinal.” “We are very excited about this award,” said Troy Widgery, founder of Go Fast Sports & Beverage Co., based in Denver. “Go Fast Energy Drink was created as a premium energy drink with high-quality energy ingredients and great taste to set the drink apart from other energy drinks. To be recognized as the superior tasting energy drink by America’s prestigious national panel of working executive chefs is a great honor for Go Fast.”
Maine Distilleries, Freeport, Maine, has expanded distribution of its Cold River Vodka to Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The product, which is made from potatoes grown in Maine, was released last November in its home state and New Hampshire.