Six items that have consumers buzzing in the world of beer, wine and spirits as we head into the weekend.
1. Anheuser-Busch Getting Ready to Take Flight?: Is an LGA lager in the future for the New York Area? Anheuser-Buschhas filed trademark applications for 42 airport codes, including LGA, JFK, ORD, LAX and DFW. Last year, AB filed trademark applications for 15 area codes. The brewer is no a stranger to beers named for a city’s local data. One of the most popular beers in the AB-I-owned Goose Island Brewing portfolio is 312 Urban Wheat Ale, “312” being the area code of the brewery’s home in Chicago.
2. Heineken Bringing Indio To the U.S.: Heineken USA, already the exclusive U.S. importer for Mexican beer brands including Tecate, Tecate Light, Dos Equis, and Sol is adding another import to its portfolio. The global brewer is expanding with Indio, a Mexican dark beer brewed and sold in Mexico since 1893. The beer will only be available in seven markets in California and Texas. Indio will be marketed towards Hispanic men aged 21 years to 26 years old and is part of Heineken's attempt to reach an estimated five million “multicultural millennial consumers.”
3. New Belgium Hits the Slopes: The craft beer brand best known for its bicycle is strapping on skis. New Belgium Brewing, the third largest craft brewer in the U.S., is teaming with The Westin Snomass Resort in Colorado to open a slope side bar and eatery. Named after its popular Ranger IPA, the New Belgium Ranger Station will offer Colorado craft beers just steps from the ski slopes. As part of the deal, the renovated Wildwood Snowmass hotel will also have a New Belgium-themed establishment, with 10 of the Fort Collins-based brewer’s beers on tap, including its flagship Fat Tire Amber Ale. Both establishments will be open for the 2012/2013 winter ski season.
4. Dogfish Head Creates A “House Party In A Box”: Delaware-based Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is famous for its unique collaborations. Now they’ve joined together with hip hop artist Dan The Automater of Deltron 3030 to create a “House Party in a Box.” The brewery is packaging a six-pack of 750 millileter bottles of its Positive Contact beer/cider hybrid with a vinyl record with tunes from Deltron 3030. Also included are beer-inspired recipes from well-known chefs like Mario Batali.
5. Jim Nantz Finds A Calling in the Wine Business: Known to sports fans around the world as a live commentator on everything from the Masters to the Super Bowl, Jim Nantz has made his living calling the action in the biggest sporting events. Now, Nantz is partnering with Peter Deutsch, a leader in the wine industry, to roll out The Calling, a Sonama-based wine brand. The Deutsch Nantz Alliance expects to bring its first wine to the market in June.
6. Diageo Markets Bushmills to a Younger Crowd: The push to capture the attention of millennial consumers is one of the hottest trends in the alcohol space right now and to that end Diageo is marketing one of it its oldest brands to the this young audience. The spirits giant is launching a global website for the Bushmills brand and will be partnering with celebrities like electro-funk producers Chromeo and folk band Bon Iver on collaborations designed to help the brand reach a younger audience.
-By Tom Rotunno