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Beers of the world.

Importers showcase new products and promotional campaigns.

Sapporo's new Two-Liter Mini-Keg

The availability of an all-aluminum two-liter mini-keg of Sapporo Draft has been announced by Sapporo U.S.A. According to the importer, the new packaging will provide longer shelf life and serve to keep the beer cool if it is removed from refrigeration.

"The two-liter mini-keg fills a unique niche in our U.S. product line," says Yoshi Mochida, president of Sapporo U.S.A. "We anticipate the combination of the unusual packaging and clean, crisp taste of our cold-filtered product will attract a new wave of Sapporo Draft consumers and further increase Sapporo's share of the imported beer market in the U. S. "

Sapporo points out that several brewers market four to five-liter "party kegs" but says there are few products filling the mini-keg niche. The company reports that it spent a full year transforming its plastic mini-keg design into an all-aluminum design that is 100-percent recyclable. "Sapporo is demonstrating its concern for the environment without sacrificing the taste of Sapporo cold-filtered draft," Mochida said.

The two-liter mini-keg will be available in nationwide grocery stores, and the company is recommending that retailers price the package at the same level as the Sapporo Draft six-pack. The mini-keg will be supported by in-store point-of-purchase displays coupled with print and broadcast advertising.

Organic ale from Scotland

An organic ale brewed in Scotland by the Caledonian Brewing Co. will be introduced in the U.S. this summer by the Thames America Trading Co. The ale, named Golden Promise, is brewed in Edinburgh, Scotland, using traditional methods.

Caledonian uses one of the few remaining deep-bed infusion mash tuns in the U.K. The mash is then channeled into large open copper vessels that are fired by direct flame. The beer is then filtered and cask conditioned for 60 days.

According to Thames America, for a beer to be certified as organic, all ingredients must be grown in soils that have been free of pesticides and insecticides for at least three years. The hops used in Golden Promise are grown in Kent, England, and the barley in Scotland's Border country.

The Caledonian Brewing Co. won the first three places in the Cask beer of the Year Award in 1991, and the brewery has been in operation since 1869.

Draught Stout in a can

In what the Guinness Brewing Co. calls, with only slight hyperbole, the "ultimate marriage of art and science," the brewers have worked to produce the taste of Draught Guinness in a canned product. According to the company, the challenge lay in duplicating, in a can, the break-out of mixed gas (nitrogen and carbon dioxide) which causes a surge of bubbles and forms Guinness' characteristic creamy head.

Guinness reports that the creation of a patented "in-can" system took more than five years of research and development. The company invented a plastic "widget," which is fitted to the inside of the can. When the can is filled with stout (which contains dissolved nitrogen and carbon dioxide) some of the beer is forced into the widget through a pin-sized hole. The liquid nitrogen in the beer evaporates into nitrogen gas, increasing the pressure in the can, and in the widget. After the can is opened, the pressure is released. The only escape for the beer in the widget is through the pin-sized hole, and the result is a "geyser" of small bubbles. This geyser causes agitation in the pouring beer, and the result is good head formation.

"Guinness has created a unique patented process to provide consumers with an unparalleled drinking experience," said Declan Maguire, group marketing director at Guinness Import Co. "The Pub Draught Guinness experience is an interactive experience that allows true beer aficionados to sculpt their own pint of beer."

Pub Draught Guinness was first marketed in the U.K. in the late 80s. The product has now made its way to the U.S. and is currently available in several test markets, including Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, Chicago and San Francisco. Guinness reports that a national U.S. launch is planned for later in the year.

An Italian specialty

The John Labatt Brewing Co. of Canada now holds a controlling interest in the Moretti Brewery, of Udine, Italy. Labatt's U.S.A. has taken advantage of this relatioNship to offer two of Moretti's beers in the U.S. market.

In addition to the flagship brew, Moretti, Labatt's is importing La Rossa, one of the Italian brewery's specialty brews. La Rossa is an all-malt beer, brewed to an original gravity of 1072, with an alcohol content of six percent by weight.

As inferred by the name, La Rossa is a deep red color in the glass, and the beer critic Michael Jackson has praised its "rich aroma and palate."

According to Labatt's U.S.A., La Rossa is marketed to upscale Italian restaurants as a companion brand to Moretti. "It's a darker beer," says Michael Mitaro, director of marketing for Labatt's specialty import division, "and if a restaurant wants to have an upscale Italian beer, La Rossa is ideal. It's a niche product, but for an elegant restaurant it's a nice label to have available. "

Wheat Beers from Munich

Spaten-Franziskaner-Brau, and its U.S. importer, Chrissa Imports, Ltd., of Brisbane, CA, have announced the introduction of a line of top-fermented wheat beers to the U.S. market. The line includes Hefe-Weisse, a bottle-conditioned Bavarian wheat beer; the Dunkel Hefe-Weisse, a dark version of the brew; and Kristall-klar, a lighter wheat beer. The brands will be marketed in 17-oz bottles.

Wheat beer is a traditional summertime brew in Germany, and some American markets, notably Portland, OR, have embraced the style. "In Europe they've seen the emergence of wheat beer drinkers," says Brian Owen, president of importer Spaten West, "and we're starting to see that here as well. "

In other news, Spaten has announced new packaging for the entire Spaten line. The new bottles will feature gold lettering and a larger logo. "It's a much cleaner look," Owen comments. " The redesign will help the brand stand out better on store shelves. "

"The ultimate consumer product"

"Molson Breweries U.S.A. has introduced Molson Special Dry into the U.S. market. Initially the brew will be available in California, Michigan, Ohio, Colorado and Washington, with expansions planned into Minnesota, Illinois and Texas.

"Molson Special Dry is the result of our efforts to develop products which meet the changing needs of today's beer drinkers," says Jim Mullahy, vice president for marketing. "In that sense, Molson Special Dry could be called, |the ultimate consumer product'."

According to Mullahy, extensive consumer research was employed in the development of the brand. "Consumers told us they wanted the prestige and full-flavored taste of an imported beer," he says, "and drinkability too. Younger, trend-setting consumers told us they prefer to drink beer from long-neck bottles and they like colorful painted labels more than traditional paper labels."

According to Peter Reaske, director of brand management, Molson Special Dry was introduced in Canada two years ago. Citing a 70 percent share of the Toronto dry beer market, Reaske says the brand launch was one of Molson's most successful.

The brand will be supported by Molson's well-known radio campaign. "The |Molson Couple' campaign has been adapted for Molson Special Dry and will be used on a market-to-market basis to ensure a successful introduction," Reaske says.

Antarctica Lager from Brazil

A premium beer from Brazil will now be offered in the U.S., according to Cap Beverage Co., of Wheaton, MD. The company is importing Antarctica, which Cap reports has been the "premium quality beer of Brazil for more than a century." Cap says that 27 Brazilian breweries produce Antarctica, which is reportedly the best selling beer on the South American continent.

"Antarctica beer is created by brew-masters in the European tradition," says Cap president J. Wilson Antunes, "and they take the greatest care in the selection of the malt hops and other ingredients. They scrupulously follow Antarctica's demanding brewing standards, brought from Germany many generations ago.

"Antarctica has thus become the preferred beer of Brazil," Antunes continues, "and is now the choice of knowledgeable beer drinkers in North America as well."

Antunes reports that Cap is currently seeking wholesalers for the product. "Brazil's favorite beer is looking to favor a few U.S. distributors who need no favors," he said.

St. Pauli & Double Diamond change

hands

The Hiram Walker group and Barton Inc. announced in June that they would combine their beer importing business with Associated Beverage Importers. Associated will transfer its brands - St. Pauli Girl and Double Diamond, together with related operating assets - to Barton.

High-Visibility Asahi advertising

Asahi has launched high-visibility advertising campaigns for its New York and Los Angeles markets. According to the company, the promotional efforts are designed to cut through the clutter of other advertising.

Billboards feature product photography of Asahi's two beers, Super Dry and Draft Z, superimposed on an ocean of golden beer and white foam. The Asahi logo appears in the middle, with the tagline: "The Rewards of Innovations."

Asahi says it chose this slogan because it reflects the brewer's philosophy that "Making beer isn't enough. You have to invent it." The brewer cites Asahi Super Dry and Draft Z as brands that reflect this philosophy.

In New York City, the campaign appears on bus-mounted billboards on the Fifth Avenue and Madison Avenue transit routes. In Los Angeles, the campaign is on billboards throughout the city, including high-profile locations like Mann's Chinese Theatre and Century Boulevard near LAX.

"Finding a perfect blend of visuals, type and the clients logo was tricky," says Bonnie Stoll, art director for the billboards, "but I think we did a good job in keeping with the essence of the beer. "

The billboards in L.A. supplement an already visible Asahi presence in the city - the large neon Asahi sign atop a building in the La Brea district. According to Asahi, this is the largest neon sign of its kind in California and its illuminated logo can be seen at night for miles.

Canadian draft amber beer

Labatt's U.S.A. of Darien, CT, is marketing a draft amber beer in select U.S. markets. The beer, called Duffy's Draught, is brewed in Canada and is intended to satisfy rising consumer demand for specialty beers.

According to Labatt's, consumer response to the brand has been favorable. The beer is described as a "rich amber brew" with a mild taste and clean finish.

Duffy's is offered in a standard U.S. 15.5-gallon keg, instead of the typical 13.2-gallon import keg. The brand is supported with a rough-hewn "tree" tap and on-premise materials.

Summer promotions for Corona

A variety of summer promotions have been announced by Barton Beers of Chicago, IL, for the Corona brand. Barton handles the importation of Corona in 25 western states.

For the seventh consecutive year, Corona Extra will sponsor a concert tour by Jimmy Buffett, "the king of the parrotheads and the captain of tropical rock." The 31-city, 51-date "Recession Recess" tour kicked off in Richmond, VA, on May 2 1, and continues through September 4th, with a final performance in Los Angeles.

"We've had a very rewarding relationship with Jimmy over the years," says Timm Amundson, Corona brand manager for Barton. "We think Corona is the perfect compliment to the warm breezes and relaxed rhythms of a Buffet show. Jimmy's long history in the music business has resulted in an appreciative and faithful audience."

Barton is also orchestrating one of the largest retail promotions in the Corona brands' history this summer. The importer is offering consumers the opportunity to win a $10,000 vacation in the "Create Your Own Mexico" Sweepstakes.

Barton will offer one grand prize winner a custom-designed trip to Mexico with a value of $10,000. Five first-prize winners will be awarded a $2,500 "Create your own Mexico vacation" vacation and 500 second-place winners will receive "Create your own Mexico" party kits.

According to Barton, the "create your own Mexico" sweepstakes was designed to maximize sales during the summer selling period and to reinforce the new Corona/Corona Light radio campaign with the same theme. Consumers can enter the contest by filling out entry forms found at in-store displays. The displays will feature a six-foot Corona "Palapa" pole topper display, and will be complimented by case cards and neck hangers. Barton notes that the "Palapa" display is patterned aster the palapa canopy common to the beaches of Mexico.

New package for Ichiban

Kirin US.A. and Martlet Importing have introduced a 12-oz. package for Kirin Ichiban. According to the importers, the new package has been introduced as a result of rapid sales growth of the 21.4-oz. bottle in Japanese restaurant accounts.

Initially, the 12-oz. bottle will be available in New York, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey. The beer will be offered in six-packs of 12-oz. bottles and cases in on- and off-premise accounts.

Kirin has created point-of-sale materials including a case card, cold box sticker and table tents to support the new packaging. Additionally, Kirin will offer customers a "Trial Offer Rebate." A $1.50 rebate will be offered to consumers who purchase a six-pack. A coupon on the case card and neck hangers will announce this rebate.

"Kirin U.S.A. has developed the 12-oz. bottle to meet the needs of its American customers and build off-premise sales," according to John Gomatos, vice president of general market sales.

Holsten German Pils

Holsten Pils, brewed by Germany's Holsten Brewery, was first exported to the United Kingdom in 1952. In the intervening years, Holsten Pils has become the top imported beer in Britain, with a 30-percent share of the market. Last year, Holsten sold 13.5 million cases of Hoisten Pils in the U.K.

Now the Holsten Import Co. of Tarrytown, NY, has brought Holsten Pils into the U.S. market. Initially, Holsten Import Co. will market the brand to the pockets of English and Irish emigres in Boston and New York.

Holsten will support the brand with a variety of point-of-sale materials, including bar towels, drip trays, T-shirts, posters, hanging signs and bottle displays.

Revamped packaging from Fischer

Fischer Beverages International, of Waltham, MA, has announced two major changes for 1992.

First, Fischer La Belle Strasbourgeoise will become Fischer La Belle with new labeling and packaging. According to Fischer International, research showed that the former design was seen as too exclusive and expensive by consumers. The company says that the new packaging has a more "mainstream" aspect, and fits more into the beer tradition.

Fischer is supporting the revamped brand with a coupon program, and reports encouraging early results - an increase of 220 percent in the first three months of 1992.

The importer has also produced new point-of-sale materials for the brand, which incorporate the Eiffel Tower with the slogan: "The Towering Taste of Beer."

Fischer is also introducing a new package for the brewery's Amber, which had previously been offered in a 22-oz. bottle. The new package will be an embossed 11.2-oz. bottle with a swing-top porcelain cap. According to Fischer Beverages International, "The self-promoting bottle seems to attract the attention of the consumer to the Amber taste, which is very well-received."

Fischer Beverages reports that it will meet its 1992 sales objective, which is a 20-percent increase. "It appears that selection of brands by the U.S. consumer is changing," a Fischer Beverages representative stated, "and that old brand habits are weakening. Fischer's new packaging and new beers are making a profit in the present trends. "

Gouden Carolus introduced in U.S.

Phoenix Imports of Ellicot City, MD, has announced the introduction of Gouden Carolus to select markets. Named for the golden coinage of the Holy Roman Emporers Charlemagne and Charles V, Gouden Carolus has been brewed at Mechelen, Belgium, since at least 1369. Chronicles at Mechelen, which at that time was the capital of the Austrian Netherlands, indicate that this strong brown ale was popular at royal fox hunts "because it fired both rider and steed with such enthusiasm for galloping that the hunt took place in the best possible atmosphere."

Even after his abdication in 1558, Charles V had this "grand beer" delivered to the Spanish monastery where he had retired, "because this daughter of the grain is superior to the blood of the grapes."

The beer is brewed by Brasserie Gouden Carolus (formerly Het Anker). Beer critic Michael Jackson has described Gouden Carolus as being "very deep copper-brown, Burgundy color, creamy in texture . . . rich and complex in palate..[with] a gentle, soothing character ... and a hint of fruitiness in the finish. A lovely after-dinner beer; or better still, a nightcap."

New Outdoor for Corona

The Gambrinus Importing Co. of San Antonio, TX, has unveiled a new advertising campaign for Corona Extra. Outdoor boards have been unveiled in the major metro markets of the company's 25-state eastern territory. The theme of the 1992 campaign, which also includes print and radio advertising and seasonal promotions, is "Satisfying More Than Thirst."

"The idea was to come up with conspicuous creative," said Ron Chrissteson, marketing director for Gambrinus. "We knew the imagery had to be good enough to get noticed, so the brand would get talked about. The campaign is a lifestyle scene that's packed with sizzle."

The Corona Extra campaign is the work of Howell Boyd Advertising of San Antonio, and features photographs shot in Cancun, Mexico.

"The imagery of exotic Mexican setting is a natural for Corona Extra," said Carlos Alvarez, president of Gambrinus. "In the economy-minded '90s, the import drinker still wants quality, but probably thinks of it in terms of extra value. Image-wise, the customer has a thirst for more than just a beer. Given the stresses and strains of everyday life," he continued, "simple, uncluttered tropical settings and lifestyle hold lots of appeal."

Gambrinus has announced an increase in sales of Modelo products for the first quarter, up over 16 percent compared with the first quarter of 1991. Gambrinus says that Corona Extra showed 14-percent growth, and Corona Light sales moved up nine percent. Sales of Coronita Extra, the seven-ounce Corona package, were reported to grow by 140 percent.

Dan Cook, Gambrinus sales manager, attributed the upswing to what he calls, "a more favorable position among distributors and retailers."

"Certainly the cumulative effect of absorbing the Federal Excise Tax increase over a year ago has helped boost sales," Cook noted. "Retailers recognized that not having a price increase in the last year was almost a favor to them. In return, distributors and retailers have executed more effective sales and promotion programs. We've earned a favorable position among our distributors because of our aggressive pricing strategy."

Welsh Beers Now Available

Throughout U.S.

Felinfoel Welsh ales, advertised as the only non-pasteurized beers imported into the U.S., are imported by the Thames America Trading Co. of San Rafael, CA. Thames America reports that Felinfoel beers are filtered, not pasteurized, a procedure that the importer says can allow the full and complex flavors to be tasted unimpaired.

Thames America is currently importing three of the Felinfoel products; the Welsh Bitter, described as an ale typical of the Welsh brewing style; Welsh Ale, a full-bodied and robust ale with six-percent alcohol content by weight; and Welsh Porter, a light and smooth black porter.

Felinfoel Ale is produced at an independent family-owned brewery near Llanelli, Wales. The brewery was founded in 1878, and the present managing director represents the fifth generation of family ownership.

A Japanese beer for Americans

Kirin has introduced Cipango Lager in U.S. test markets, and reports that the beer was expressly developed to appeal to American tastes. The beer was developed after Kirin market research "discovered a void among America's young business executives who were looking for an upscale, full-bodied beer with no aftertaste."

According to Kazo Kato, president of Kirin U.S.A., "Cipango uses only the first press of the grain as part of its unique brewing process."

Kato noted that the name Cipango was chosen because it is "an early European word for Japan, chosen to reflect both its Asian origin and Western European imagery."

The brand is packaged in 12-oz. long-neck bottles with six-color gold-and silver-accented labeling. Cipango will be supported by point-of-sale pieces that use the same imagery. Initially, the brand will be test marketed in the San Diego area.

Expanded distribution for

Ginjikomi

Ginjikomi, which is Japanese for "Special Clean Malt" is Sapporo's name for its newest brand in the U.S. market. According to Sapporo, the beer is a full-bodied lager with four percent alcohol content by weight. The brewer notes that the beer is produced using a special brewing process in which the husk of the grain is removed prior to mashing. Sapporo asserts that this process can remove a measure of astringency from the beer.

Ginjikomi entered limited U.S. markets in the fall of 1991, and Sapporo has announced that it will expand distribution into 13 additional markets by early summer. Sapporo reports that the brand will be available in 21.4-oz. containers in Oregon, Nevada, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and Hawaii; in 16-oz. containers in upstate New York, Florida, Connecticut, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C. In addition, Sapporo will offer Ginjikomi in an 11.8-oz can in California and Washington state.

According to Sapporo, this is the first time that Sapporo has marketed its Japanese beer to a middle-American audience. "Sapporo has received an overwhelming response from the Japanese communities around the country," said Sapporo U.S.A. president Yoshi Mochida, "and we are now aggressively expanding into 13 new markets and targeting Sapporo's clean, crisp taste to mainstream American consumers."

Mochida says that the popularity of specialty beers in the U.S. market began because the market is diversifying, even while on a per-capita basis, it is shrinking. "People are drinking less, but are drinking higher quality products," he said. "New products that offer a unique taste can win a significant share of the imported beer market in the U.S. "

Mochida says that American consumers have been receptive to Sapporo's specialty offerings. He notes that Yebisu Stout Draft, an "ultra-premium" beer released to U.S. test markets in May 1991, is scheduled for widespread U.S. distribution in 1992.

Dentergems Belgian White Beer

Phoenix Importers of Ellicot City, MD, reports that Riva of Dentergem is one of the few Belgian brewers still producing a "white" (wheat) beer. Phoenix calls Riva's Dentergems, "an exquisite and full-flavored Wit beer that combines the aroma and flavor of a secret herb with the characteristically tart-sweet flavor of the style."

Phoenix says Dentergems is more in the full-bodied southern German wheat style than the lighter Berliner Weisse. The beer is bottle-conditioned, and thus naturally cloudy in the glass. Dentergems is available in an 11.15-oz. bottle.

Nordik Wolf changes hands

R.J. Imports of Rosemont, IL, recently announced the purchase of the Nordik Wolf Light brand from Vintners Import Co. "We will place strong sales support behind the brand," says R.J. Imports president Meyer Moussa, "in an effort to revitalize the sales of this brand and hopefully push it to the sales level that it enjoyed several years ago."

Nordik Wolf Light is brewed and bottled by the Silver Creek Brewery, in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. According to R.J. Imports, the brand offers a "richer, more flavorful taste than that available in ordinary light beers."

"Schankbier" from Holsten

A new light beer has been introduced in the U.S. market by the Holsten Import Co. Holsten Light meets Reinheitsgebot standards, as it is brewed from only barley-malt, hops, yeast and water. The beer has 92 calories per 12-oz. bottle.

Canadian Gold debuts in U.S.

Canadian Gold, a cold-filtered draft produced by Canadian National Breweries of St. Catherine's, Ontario, is now available in the U.S. Canadian Gold is brewed from a blended malt of 75 percent two-row barley and 25 percent corn. According to the brewer, Yakima Cluster hops give the beer a spicy herb overlay and a dry finish..

The brewer says that Canadian Gold is a premium brand that has been developed for connoisseurs and everyday beer drinkers. The beer is bottled in clear long-neck bottles, and sold in a closed case to protect the product.

"The label very proudly says Canadian'," Bruce Charkow, president of Canadian National Breweries said. "We worked very hard to achieve that effect. We are proud to be Canadian and think that we produce some great beer. It's time that people in other countries had the opportunity to try us out, since Canadians are known for their brewing expertise. "

Poulaner reports double-digit

growth

According to Paulaner North America, five years of double-digit growth in the western part of the U.S. has laid the foundation for an expansion into eastern markets. The importer reports that its newest distributors include United Distributors of Georgia, Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida, M.S. Walker of Massachusetts, Jaydor of New Jersey and the Brooklyn Brewery for New York State.

According to Paulaner, the largest gains in 1991, which are projected to hold true in 1992 as well, are from Paulaner Hefe-Weizen and Paulaner Thomasbrau. The importer says Paulaner Hefe-Weizen has doubled in volume sales in the past three years to become the importer's largest selling brand.

Plans for 1992 include continued state-by state expansion of Paulaner's five-brand portfolio, as well as an expansion of draught Paulaner Hefe-Weizen.

Scottish & Newcastle bullish on

America

Scottish & Newcastle Importers Co., based in San Francisco, continued its sponsorship of traditional British culture by featuring two of the last few remaining coopers in Britain's beer industry at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Novato, CA.

During the event, the two coopers, who are employed full time by Theakston's Brewery in Masham, England, where Old Peculiar Ale is brewed, demonstrated their barrel-making techniques and tools to a very interested audience.

"We are proud to help the Renaissance Faire showcase the traditional barrel-making craft," explains Ken Vermes, Scottish & Newcastle Importer's western regional manager. "Scottish & Newcastle has long advocated tradition and quality and there are no finer examples of this than the centuries-old crafts of ale-making and coopering."

With its exporting roots founded with the age of the clipper ships during the 1840s, other Scottish & Newcastle products continued to make inroads in the U.S. during the 1991.

Found in more and more American taverns and pubs, Newcastle Brown Ale continued to make friends in the New World during the past year. A distinctly Northern English ale with a tangy, hearty taste and nutty aroma, Newcastle Brown is sometimes called "the dog" in Britain because, based on legend, walking the dog was often a man's excuse to head to the local pub for a Newcastle.

Another brand that continues to expand for Scottish & Newcastle is McEwan's Export, which possesses a honey-amber color and a creamy head. The brand is currently available at draught accounts and in 12-oz. bottles in selected markets.

Touted as the |only draught British lager available in the United States," McEwan's Lager, also brewed in Scotland, is a creamy smooth premium that Scottish & Newcastle hopes will become as popular in the U.S. as Ireland's Harp Lager.

Bitburger Pils continues growth

Imported to the U.S. since the fall of 1990 by East Coast Importing Co., Bitburger Pils is now available in 12-oz. bottles, half-liter cans, 16.9-oz. bottles, as well as kegs.

According to the importer, Bitburger plans to introduce Bitburger Light and Bitburger Drive, a non-alcohol brew, by the end of the summer.

All Bitburger brands are distributed by East Coast importing throughout New England, New York and New Jersey.

Additionally, later this fall, East Coast Importing will begin importing St. Andrews Ale, a seasonal Scottish brew. According to the importer, this brew is "one of a series that represents Scotland's continuing drive to provide Scottish real ale drinkers with beers of distinctive taste and unique quality."

Ringnes soles alive in U.S.

Just as the Vikings celebrated their landing on the North American continent with ale they brought with them from Norway, Ringnes Special Jubilee Ale continued that tradition in 1991 with increasing distribution at on-premise accounts in several U.S. markets.

Additionally, Ringnes Brewery's flagship brand, Ringnes Export, continues to receive support as the "Official beer" of the Norwegian Pavilion at Disney's Epcot Center. Because that initial exposure was so positive, Ringnes now sells draft barrels of the brand throughout Florida.

On the marketing front, Ringnes plans to take advantage of the fact that Norway will host the World Cycling Championships in 1993, and the Winter Olympics in 1994. Accordingly, the brewer has begun planning promotions on the distribution, retail and consumer level to further boost Ringnes sales.

"New Look" for Whitbread &

Mackeson

The Royal Class Import-Export Co., a subsidiary of the Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Co. of Cincinnati, OH, has announced new packaging for two of their brands - Whitbread Ale and Mackeson Triple Stout.

According to the importer, Whitbread Ale's body and neck label have been redesigned. The traditional colors of blue and cream, highlighted by gold, are still used, but the signature of Whitbread founder Samuel Whitbread has been added.

Mackeson Stout was also provided with larger, brighter graphics, the company reports. Metallic silver replaces gray on the labels, and a new logo " Original and Genuine " has been added.

Weissbeer Gains

Despite a decline in overall German imports during 1991, St. Killian Importing Co. reports a sales increase for their Julius Echter Weissbeer. "We estimate that Julius Echter is the leader in this segment," reports Harry Hague, St. Killian's president. "Our sales for 1991 reflected an eight percent increase over 1990.

"This is significant for two reasons," Hague says. "First the German import market showed a decrease, and second, we experienced supply problems." According to Hague, the brewery has been hard-pressed to meet demands for beer since unification.

Fermented Cider on the rise.

According to the Thames America Trading Co., the popularity of English fermented cider is on the rise in the United States. The cider, which is a mainstay beverage in English pubs, was a popular tipple in pre-Prohibition America. As Thames America points out, for most of the 300 years before Prohibition, fermented cider was one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in the U.S. Since Prohibition, however, the term cider has become synonymous with apple juice.

Thames America is currently importing Dry Blackthorn, the leading English cider, which is produced in England by Taunton Cider. According to Thames, Dry Blackthorn provides consumers with an alternative between the heaviness of beer and the high alcohol content of wine. The company describes the cider as golden in color and lightly carbonated, with 98 calories per serving and no additives or preservatives.

Thames has developed a recipe book to serve as a promotional tool for the cider. The booklet describes numerous mixed drinks that use cider as a base, including the "Snakebite," a mixture of premium lager and cider.

China Light sees new management

PMI Co., the importer of China Light, announced the company came under new management in June. According to PMI, China Light, which is produced in Canton, China, has "enjoyed overwhelming success since its inception as its sophisticated taste, lightness and bold appeal will soon make it the most popular beer import from mainland China.

PMI also noted the brand is targeted at the "sophisticated" beer drinker looking for a beer "that appeals to a European taste consumer and the light beer customer. "

Tecate, Wisdom sales up through

May

Wisdom Import Sales Co. reports that it is in the midst of recovering from the industry-wide sales slump by notching a 11.2-percent sales increase through the end of May, when compared to the same figures of a year ago.

"It's a strong sales increase for our company during the first five months of '92, and an encouraging sign about the recovery of sales growth in the imported beer industry," noted Manuel Ramos, Wisdom's vice president of sales, while describing company-wide performance. "Orders for all of the Wisdom brands continue to show strength for the summer months, and we're optimistic that 1992 overall is going to be an excellent year for our company and products."

According to Ramos. Wisdom's sales gains were spearheaded by the growth of Tecate beer, which saw a sales increase of 14.2 percent during the period.

"Tecate sales in '92 have been strengthened by good promotions, very successful Cinco de Mayo activities and displays, and a new consumer advertising campaign with Tecate's two party Aztecs," Ramos says.

Carlsberg, Elephant Malt Liquor

eye growth

According to Anheuser-Busch, Inc., importer of Carlsberg, the brand experienced nearly 20-percent growth through April, as compared to the same period in 1991. In 1991, A-B continues, Carlsberg saw a 7.2-percent rise.

"We are very pleased with Carlsberg's recent performance." notes Brian Porter. Carlsberg's senior brand manager. "Despite the decline in the import category this past year, Carlsberg has maintained solid momentum, unlike many of its competitors."

A-B reports that the Carlsberg family will be supported by a busy promotional calendar in 1992.

Retailers and consumers can also continue to take part in Elephant Malt Liquor's "Save the Elephants" programs, whereby a portion of the brand's sales are donated to Wildlife Conservation International.
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Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Jul 13, 1992
Words:5560
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