Central European Distribution Corporation (CEDC) has announced that it has decided not to pursue the acquisition of Ukrainian vodka company Nemiroff.

The makers of Sheep Dip whisky have launched a gin.

Spain/Portugal/Italy: Diageo has launched two ready to serve cocktails. The J&B Manhattan is to sell for €9.99 (70cl) and will roll out across Spain’s off-trade this month.  J&B blended scotch whisky is mixed with cherry and cranberry flavours as well as citrus and the product has an ABV of 14.9%.

David Stewart, The Balvenie malt master, has crafted a 40 year old single malt scotch whisky, aged in sherry casks and refill hogsheads. A batch of 150, hand numbered bottles of The Balvenie Forty will be available at selected travel retail outlets in the world’s leading airports, from July 2010.

Chivas Brothers is relaunching its Aberlour Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky range, upgrading packaging to bring a consistent premium look to the 12, 16 and 18 Year Old bottlings, alongside top-end A’bunadh.

US: Diageo has launched a range of brightly coloured flavoured vodkas called Ursus. The products feature a label that changes from white to blue when chilled in a freezer.

Diageo has redesigned its Smirnoff 21 packaging. The new bottles have launched in the UK and will roll out across the world from August.

UK: Alcohol awareness charity Drinkaware has found that more than half (53%) of parents who plan to provide their 16 and 17 year olds with alcohol for a week long summer holiday with friends will give them five or more bottles of spirits or wine.

The southern Rhône village of Rasteau has been granted its own appellation contrôlée (AOC), backdated to include the 2009 vintage.

Dutch beer Grolsch has announced a partnership with British Airways and has opened a bar in one of the airline’s lounges in Terminal 5.

The 2010 Drinks International Millionaires research has been compiled. Based on sales volumes for 2009, this year saw a record number of brands on the list – 162.

Pernod Ricard UK has launched a bartender networking and knowledge sharing website.

According to the Scotch Whisky Association more than 5 bottles of scotch are shipped to France every second.

Estonian alcohol producer AS Liviko has acquired 50% of a Japanese alcohol import and distribution company.

In its 250th anniversary year, Champagne Lanson is changing its corporate identity in the UK, renaming its operations Lanson International UK.

The Edrington Group has appointed Matthew Turner as brand controller for Highland Park.

The results of the English & Welsh Wine of the Year Competition are in. 

A record number of medals were awarded across the style categories by a judging panel of five Masters of Wine, chaired by Susan McCraith MW.  According to the organisers, results showed the quality of the 2009 vintage, particularly in the dry white and still rosé categories. Sparkling wines were consistently impressive.

The 2010 New Zealand grape harvest totalled 266,000 tonnes, 19,000 tonnes smaller than the 2009 crop and in line with the pre-harvest forecast.

US: Foster's Wine Estates has announced long-term distribution agreements with Southern Wine & Spirits in three US markets.

South Africa-based wine company Origin Wine has announced growth in Holland, and Denmark for its brands Stormhoek and Fairhills.

UK: Alcohol awareness charity Drinkaware has appointed three new trustees to its board.

Bombay Sapphire gin is to launch a global digital campaign, aimed at the social media market.

E&J Gallo has announced staff changes within the European sales team.

US: Heaven Hill Distilleries has launched the 21st flavour of its Burnett’s flavoured vodka brand.

The Isle of Arran distillery is to double production to meet rising demand. Production in 2008 was 150,000LPA (litres of pure alcohol) and 130,000 in 2009. During 2010, the distillery aims to double the 2009 total.

Belgium: The European Spirits Organisation CEPS and The European Forum for Responsible Drinking (EFRD) have teamed up with the Belgian Federation of Wine and Spirits to launch a responsible drinking campaign during the World Cup.

Travel retail: Bacardi has launched a limited edition bottling of Bénédictine liqueur.

Russian Standard has launched Russian Standard Gold into the travel retail market. The company launched the brand at TFWA Asia Pacific in Singapore.

Diageo has announced the return of its Arthur’s Day celebrations for stout brand Guinness.

Diageo has unveiled a new ad campaign for its ultra premium vodka Cîroc.

Diageo has announced changes to its global marketing department following a review of its structure.

A new study has revealed that Scotch whisky is worth £4 billion a year in added value to the Scottish economy - with the industry spending in excess of £1.1 billion annually on supplies produced in Scotland.

Despite problems in some major markets, Austria’s wine exports defied all expectations in 2009, rising by 5.3% in value and 16% in volume.

UK: Alcohol awareness charity Drinkaware has launched a programme to help fans stay safe and drink responsibly throughout the World Cup this summer, whether they’re travelling to South Africa or watching from the UK.

Foster’s Group plans to create separate stock exchange listings for its beer and wine divisions.

US popularity and universal appeal have kept the Irish whiskey market buoyant, according to business analyst Datamonitor.

Carlsberg Group is to sponsor the UEFA Euro 2012. It is the first UEFA Euro ever to be hosted in Eastern Europe. Carlsberg considers the UEFA European Championship its most successful marketing activity for the Carlsberg brand.

Islay malt whisky, Ardbeg is to launch a second edition of Ardbeg Supernova – SN2010 – to be released on May 31 2010. This limited edition release is 40% more peaty than the distillery’s already heavily peated flagship Ardbeg ten years old.

An Austrian bio-dynamic winemaker has produced a wine from the 2009 harvest by fermenting grapes in clay amphorae buried underground.

Research commissioned by the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) in the UK, has shown a further shift to the off-trade in terms of wine consumption.

US: Foster's Wine Estates has appointed master sommelier Fred Dame as vice president, luxury sales. He will report to Mike Holden, SVP sales. Dame will head-up the selling division for brands including Beringer, Penfolds, Chateau St Jean, Stags' Leap Winery, Etude and St. Clement.

A major scientific study into the storage of wine in different forms of packaging has revealed that the bag-in-box, single-layer PET and small multi-layer PET altered the character of white wines when stored over six months, with oxidation clearly noticeable.

The 2010 global Tax Stamp Forum is to take place in London in June.

The Edrington Group has appointed a new area director for global travel retail.

Diageo’s chief financial officer is to step down. Nick Rose will stand down from the board at the company’s AGM on 14 October 2010.

A 56% increase in exports confirmed Scotch whisky’s growing popularity in Brazil in 2009, according to new figures published by the UK-based Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

Carlsberg, the official beer of the England football team, has launched its new TV advert in the build-up to this year’s World Cup.

Smirnoff has retained its position as the world’s leading alcoholic drinks brand according to The Power 100, 2010, the annual survey of the world’s leading drinks brands published by brand valuation and strategy consultancy Intangible Business.

Scottish family owned distiller William Grant & Sons has announced the formation of a new wholly owned subsidiary, William Grant & Sons Australia Pty Ltd.

Scotland: The Wemyss family has launched a small batch gin called Darnley’s View. Darnley’s View celebrates the meeting of Mary Queen of Scots and her husband Lord Darnley at the Wemyss family home, Wemyss Castle in Fife, in 1565.

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Joe Bates

Sky-high rents cost duty free dear

One of the biggest bugbears for any liquor brand wanting to build a presence in duty free is the high cost of entry.

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